Dear Sir or Madam is a formal way of addressing a letter to a person whose name, title, or gender is unknown. Most people still use it, but this method is now archaic; you can hardly hear when people are addressed as Madam, and I am also sure that you must have heard that “Dear Sir or Madam” is used in formal letters. It is used to sound respectful and strictly professional and not to be anywhere near informal. I would advise that this salutation should be avoided by all means as it comes off as old-fashioned. Before we continue, I would like to make us have an in-depth meaning of the word “salutation” so that we can understand the subject better.
At the end of this discussion, you should be able to know the following.
- What a salutation is
- Appropriate salutations
- Alternatives to “Dear Sir or Madam”
Salutation is a greeting that is seen at the beginning of a cover letter. It is included in cover letters or resumes while applying for a job. It is recommended that whatever salutation you should use while you are writing a cover letter or sending an email message for a job application should be appropriate to catch the recipient’s attention in a few seconds. Often, how catchy the recipient sees your cover letter or resumes in the first few seconds will most likely determine the level of attention they may give your cover letter or resume. Therefore it would be nice to convey an appropriate level of friendliness, familiarity, and respect at the same time. For this to happen, many salutations would help and others that wouldn’t.
There are likes of “To whom it may concern.” This particular salutation may seem too impersonal. It might give the impression that you do not care enough to find out whom you should be addressing your letter to, which is why it is necessary that you should, of course, make every effort you can to find the name of a contact in the particular and area that you are interested in.
There are examples of letter salutations that can be seen as appropriate for cover letters and other employment-related letters when you have the recipient’s details. The examples are below:
- Dear Dr. Richard
- Dear Professor Mike
- Dear Ms. Chloe
- Dear Mr. Duke
- Dear Jenifer Jones
In situations where the contact of the recipient is not available even after you research the company’s website, then you may call the company and ask to be forwarded to their Human resource department (if any) tell them that you want to apply for a job in the company and ask for the name of their hiring manager. It is also great to say that LinkedIn is another wonderful tool to source out the name and details of the hiring manager. You can easily do this by searching for the company you are applying to and putting keywords to describe the person hiring for the position, and you can then scroll down until you find the details that best fit the person you are looking for.
There are tons of companies that do not make known the contact person when jobs are posted. This is because companies have a team that sorts out through cover letters and resumes before forwarding them to the appropriate department’s hiring manager. Some companies do not make known their hiring manager’s identity or details to avoid tons of emails from people, especially from potential job applicants. In situations like this, you do not need to worry much, and you can go ahead to forward the letter to the correct department and recipient.
Below are examples of general salutations that can help to serve that purpose(if you can’t find the specific recipient for the letter):
- Dear Sir or Madam
- Dear (Company name) recruiter
- Dear Human Resource Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear Hiring Manager
WRITING AN APPROPRIATE COVER LETTER SALUTATION
It has always been a norm for a business to have a standard of cover letter salutations, and this requires the writer to provide their own contact information and date of the letter, then write the recipient(contact people son’s) name, the name of the company and the address of the company, then followed by the formal salutation. There are formal and informal types of salutations, and the formal salutations show a level of professionalism. Informal salutations can be used to address friends, family, and people that you know and you are used to. While writing a cover letter salutation for a job, it is best to make your salutation look formal and at the same time look friendly so that you would not end up sounding like a stranger.
AN EXAMPLE OF A COVER LETTER
72, Peter Street, Uptown, CA ****. ****-***** [email protected]
January 19, 2021
Downtown Rd. Downtown City, LA 1234
Dear Mr. Smith
********** *********** ********* ********** *********** ********** **************** ******** ******* ******** ***** ***** ******* ********** ******* ********** *********** *************** ********* ******* ********** *****.
You should know the name of whoever you are writing to. Even if it is a company, you can research those essential details to show that you took extra time to get more information about the person you are writing to. It goes a long way to show your zeal, dedication, and large scale of interest you have for whatever you are writing for. Thanks to the internet, this is possible, unlike those old days when there was no internet, and you couldn’t tell who you are writing to. Gone are those days, the world is revolving, and we should revolve with it. As the saying goes, change is a constant thing in life.
I know that the question now is; what if you have checked the internet and couldn’t lay your hands on anything that could be helpful? Can you now use “Dear Sir or Madam?” Well, I am here to tell you that even in situations like this, there are still better alternatives to prevent the use of “Dear Sir or Madam.” The truth is that “Dear Sir or Madam” is not forbidden, but there are better alternatives, especially if you want to give a better impression on a starting note. As the saying goes, you won’t have a second chance to make a first impression.
REASONS WHY “Dear Sir or Madam” NEEDS ALTERNATIVES
- Using Emails, for example, it is best to avoid the use of “Dear Sir or Madam” in emails, and this is because emails are even less formal than cover letters, so when you start by writing “Dear Sir or Madam,” it looks so out of place, so, you should start by addressing your letter directly to the recipient.
- Dear Sir or Madam is not gender-inclusive, and this is because the recipient may not identify as Sir or Madam. In a situation like this, you have already made a bad impression on whoever it is that you are directing the letter to… And like I said earlier, you don’t always get a second chance to make a good first impression.
- It looks very general and makes you look lazy: With how easy it is to access the internet, you should be able to find something or anything that makes your address specific other than “Sir or Madam,” even if you couldn’t find a particular name to the person that you want to address the letter to, you should be able to find a specific position or department that you can address the letter to. You can easily find the information you are looking for on the “About Us” or “Contact Us” page of the company’s website. You can introduce yourself and ask for help in reaching or communicating with the right person.
Like I said earlier, it is true that there are scenarios where you would be tempted to use “Dear Sir or Madam” because most times, it may be diﬃcult to know or get the details of the person you are submitting your application to. Still, as I also mentioned earlier, there shouldn’t be an excuse to push the old fashioned “Dear Sir or Madam” on your salutation(Greetings). It would be much better to address it to the department you are applying to or the hiring manager who will read your letter. For example, if you are submitting your letter for a job in the marketing department, you should address your application as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear (Company name) Marketing.” These salutations are more precise and friendly, not too formal, and helps you connect better with the recipient.
- If you do not know the name of your email recipient, and you still email them with the “Dear Sir or Madam,” it may end up looking like a bulk email; also, emailing someone you do not know is referred to as “cold email” which isn’t also nice.
It’s better to take your time to know and learn whom you are emailing; probably look out for their social media handles and connect with them. Then you can have the privilege of getting better responses than sending emails that would look like bulk emails that you probably forwarded to many other companies that might also be sent to the spam section. The results you would get from “Dear Sir or Madam” cannot match up with the type of response you would get from going the extra mile to send a more catchy salutation.
If you would really want to be as familiar and friendly to your recipient as possible, you need to research to get to know them and show that you actually put effort, and this also goes to show the level of interest you have for you to have inquired to that extent. You should also try to use your cover letter to show a difference in the crowd, and I am sure that “Dear Sir or Madam” cannot do that for you.
- And average oﬃce worker receives tons of emails every day that might pile up to hundred’s of emails each day, and they send a lot too, and by a lot, it is not even up to half of the emails that they receive, this, in turn, goes to show that oﬃce workers or people generally receive lots of email messages and the end up responding to just a few of them. With that being said, it is recommended that anyone sending an email, especially for a job application, should send something that will help to catch the attention of the receiver in a few seconds, and using the archaic “Dear Sir or Madam” is not a good way to do that.
ALTERNATIVES TO “Dear Sir or Madam”
- “Dear (first name)”
- “Hello (company name)”
- “Dear Recruiter
- “Dear Customer Service Team”
- “Good morning”
- “Dear (job title)”
- “Dear Sales Representative”
- “Dear (First name)”
- “Dear (Last name)”
- “Dear (First and last name)”
If you notice, the thing that is common in these alternatives is that it shows that effort was put to either know the name of the person’s position that the letter is to be addressed to.
To summarize, on the subject “Alternatives to Dear Sir or Madam and appropriate use of the salutation.”
“Dear Sir or Madam” is still used and accepted by many recipients, but as the saying goes, “change is a constant thing in life,” and the world is changing; we should change with it instead of remaining in the past. And this is not just about change; it is also about improvising to stand out from the rest because people send cover letters and resume for job applications daily. It would be best for you to stand out from your fellow applicants. With the way most people are yet to come to terms with the change, it would be recommended that you use every opportunity you get to show that you stand out from the rest, which is one of the major things that most companies taking new employees look out for in the applicants. With you standing out, it may even interest the recipient in reading more or giving them a certain interest depending on the impression that they get from your letter, which is usually determined in their first few seconds of looking at your letter.
With all these said, you can tell that the old fashioned “Dear Sir or Madam” can’t help you achieve them.
Also read Please find attached my resume – Best alternatives to use