Any business correspondence has to have the right salutation. Without a proper greeting, the letter may seem incomplete and impolite. A common way of addressing professional letters in the past was, “To Whom It May Concern.” It is a broad greeting that can be used when the name or title of the recipient is unknown such as contacting a new client or applying for a job.
It can be difficult to understand when to use “To Whom It May Concern” to address your letter. Read on to learn about the situations where it is okay to use this generic greeting and find out some better alternatives that you can use to address your letters.
The use of this phrase in professional communication has reduced with the increased popularity of the internet. Writing a letter “To Whom It May Concern” was used as a form of corporate communication when the recipient was unknown. This generic salutation was used as a form of greeting at the beginning of the letter when the sender was unaware of who would be reading the letter.
It still continues to be used as a formal greeting when the name of the person receiving the letter is not known. For example, when sending out a cover letter along with a job application, you are not sure who is going to read it. In such a case, instead of making a guess about who to address the letter to, you should use “To Whom It May Concern” in the salutation. Since it has already been established that this salutation is only used in formal letters, you need to ensure that you use the correct To Whom It May Concern format in order to form a good first impression.
While this phrase was commonly used in the past, most corporate communications have now shifted online. This makes it easy to find the name and information of the person you need to contact. This is why it is better to avoid using “To Whom It May Concern” unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.
In case you do not have a choice but to use this salutation, know how to use To Whom It May Concern in the right format in your letter to make sure that you sound professional.
A letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern” is usually written when reaching out to a large company or new department. You can also use this salutation when you are contacting new or potential clients, and you are unaware of their name or position. Some situations that require you to use “To Whom It May Concern” as a salutation include:
All these situations are the answer to when to use To Whom It May Concern in a formal letter or email.
Before resorting to addressing a letter “To Whom It May Concern,” it is better to put in some effort into identifying the recipient. The results will be worth your time because this makes you come across as a dedicated and resourceful person.
Ideally, you should restrain from using a generic greeting in your letter. But if none of these steps work, then you have no choice but to use “To whom It May Concern” as a salutation in your letter. Knowing how to use To Whom It May Concern letter format is important if you are using this salutation.
Using “To Whom It May Concern” may come across as lazy and outdated. This is why you should use the following alternatives whenever possible.
You should also refrain from using “Dear Sir/Madam” as a salutation as it is considered outdated and a lazy way of addressing a letter.
It is important that you use the correct format when using any salutation since the correspondence is related to your business or job and is therefore high-staked. If you are wondering when to use “To Whom It May Concern,” the answer is never, unless you wish to sound overly formal. Finding the name and details of the person you have to contact is extremely easy in the era of the internet, which is why using such a generic salutation makes you come across as lazy.
Use this salutation when you cannot find the name or position of the recipient anywhere. Some scenarios where it is okay to use “To Whom It May Concern” as the salutation include registering a formal complaint, sending out a cover letter, or prospecting messages to new or potential clients.
How to capitalize “To Whom It May Concern”-
If you are looking for the correct 'To Whom It May Concern' format- the entire phrase is usually capitalized when using it to address a letter. This is the commonly accepted norm. The phrase is typically followed by a colon. Add a line between the salutation and the body.
To Whom It May Concern:
Body of the letter
Another point to remember is that it is appropriate to use "Whom" instead of "Who" or "Whomever" in the salutation. Avoid using a comma, and always remember to put a colon after the phrase.
Before sending out any email or letter, you need to do some research to assess the level of formality of that particular company. This will give you an idea about the type of salutation, honorifics, and other details that you need to include. Know How to Use the Salutation “To Whom It May Concern,” if you are adding it to your letter.
While there are still some cases where it is acceptable to use “To Whom It May Concern” as a salutation, you make a much better impression when you email/letter is addressed to someone specific. It shows that you have put in the time and effort to find the right person to contact. A lot of recruiters see “To Whom It May Concern” as a lazy way of addressing a job application, which is why you should steer clear of using it when applying for a job. It is better to use any “To Whom It May Concern” alternative such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruiter” if you do not know the name of the person.