So, you’re sending an email or cover letter to someone you haven’t met.
You might be thinking about including “Dear Sir/Madam,” but you’re also worried it’s a bit outdated or offensive.
Well, you’re in luck!
This article will explain all you need to know about modern, gender-neutral alternatives to show you how to write “Dear Sir/Madam.”
It is still appropriate to use “Dear Sir/Madam.” However, it is also outdated. Most people find it quite stuffy and jarring, so it’s not always the best way to make a good first impression.
It is not gender neutral, as it implies that the reader of your letter is either a man or woman. It does not include non-binary readers, which can be offputting if you’re not careful.
Of course, you can still use it in a cover letter if you want. The same applies for “Dear Sir or Madam.” Either way, both are acceptable; you might just find them a little outdated!
Check out this cover letter example to see how it works:
I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to be considered for this role, as I believe I have what it takes.
- It’s a classic greeting.
- It covers both men and women without knowing who you’re talking to.
- It’s outdated.
- It’s not gender-neutral, so it doesn’t cover non-binary readers or employers.
So, “Dear Sir/Madam” is no longer the most effective choice in letters and emails. It’s time to start exploring some alternatives to help you mix things up and sound less old-fashioned!
Keep reading to learn how to address a gender-neutral letter. We’ll teach you what to say instead of “Dear Sir/Madam” to keep things modern and professional.
- To Whom It May Concern
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Good Day
- Hi there
- Dear [Job Title]
- Dear [Name]
- Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening
- To the Concerned Party
One of the better alternatives to “Dear Sir/Madam” is “To Whom It May Concern.” Honestly, it doesn’t get better than that in most formal letters.
As gender-neutral greetings go, this is a great choice. It shows that you aren’t assuming the name or gender of the person reading your letter.
So, we highly recommend using it when you’re not very familiar with whoever is on the other side.
That way, whether they’re male, female, non-binary, or something else, you can avoid accidentally offending them.
Also, “To Whom It May Concern” is a classic email and letter greeting when you don’t know someone’s name. So, it won’t feel out of place in professional contexts.
You can also review this cover letter sample:
To Whom It May Concern,
I believe I am a great fit for this role. I have many qualifications that have given me specific experience related to what you’re looking for.
Another great alternative to “Dear Sir/Madam” is “Dear Hiring Manager.”
You can use this as it specifies someone’s job title without needing to name them.
Generally, a hiring manager will be the one reading your email. So, when you contact someone about a job posting, it’s almost guaranteed that a hiring manager will be reading your email.
That’s why we think this phrase works so well.
It’s professional and direct. It shows you know who you’re talking to, which goes a long way in most formal emails.
Here’s a great email sample to show you more about how it works:
Dear Hiring Manager,
Please review my resume, which I have attached to this email. It will demonstrate why I think I’m a great candidate for this position.
All the best,
For something more simple, try “Hello.” You really can’t go wrong with a simple “Hello.” After all, it doesn’t get more gender-neutral than that.
“Hello” doesn’t assume anything about the reader. It doesn’t assume names, genders, or even job titles.
Instead, it simply allows you to introduce yourself. Try using it when writing a letter to a company.
If they’ve recently sent you information about an upcoming product, this could be a great way to get in touch. It shows you’re greeting the company as a whole rather than any one individual.
If you’re still unsure, you can review this sample letter:
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m reaching out because I’d love to learn more about what you offer.
Thank you so much,
You can also use “Good Day” as a more generic greeting in a gender-neutral email.
It’s a great phrase as it keeps things formal yet friendly. We highly recommend it when you’re greeting someone via email and would like to start things off on a more positive note.
Generally, you can read an email at any time of day. So, “Good Day” is a perfect introductory phrase.
Check out this example to learn more about it:
It’s a pleasure to get this opportunity to speak with you. I’m very interested in coming to one of your events.
All the best,
Feel free to use the more conversational alternative “Hi there” in your emails as well.
It’s a great phrase that shows you don’t want to come across as too professional.
This can work well when contacting a more casual company. For instance, you might reach out regarding one of their products, and it’s good to use a phrase like this to start with.
Generally, using less formal phrases like “Hi there” to introduce yourself in an email keeps the tone light-hearted.
It shows that you’d like to discuss something with a company, but you don’t want them to take your words too seriously (i.e., you’re not complaining).
If you’re still unsure, you can check out this email sample:
I’m keen to get started with this product. I know your company sells them, but I’m wondering if you could provide me with more information.
Thank you so much,
If you know someone’s job title before you contact them, it’s worth using that in your letter.
For instance, you can write “Dear [Job Title]” when you know what someone does in a company.
It’s formal and direct. Also, it shows you take initiative and find out more about the people you write emails or letters to.
We recommend using this when contacting a recruiter or director. It shows you’re keen to hear more about a position or company and would like to ask a few questions.
Also, we recommend reviewing this example:
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m interested in starting with your company, but I’d like to learn a little more about it if that’s okay.
I look forward to hearing from you,
You can also write “Dear [Name]” in certain cases. However, this one is a little trickier and more limited.
Of course, you can only write someone’s name when you know what it is. So, you’ll need to research to find their name.
If their name isn’t readily available, it might be a little harder to contact them directly.
With that said, if you can do your own research and learn their name before contacting them, it shows you’re diligent and pay attention to detail.
Both of these qualities are especially effective if you’re applying for a new job role.
Here’s a great sample email to show you more about how it works:
Dear Mr. Burton,
I hope this email finds you well. Please find attached my cover letter and CV to express why I’d be a good fit for this position.
All the best,
Depending on the time of day, you can change the greeting used in an email or letter.
For instance, you have three options with “Good Morning,” “Good Afternoon,” and “Good Evening.”
Of course, this time of day applies when you write the letter. It doesn’t matter what time it is when someone reads the letter (as you can’t guarantee when they’ll open it).
Nevertheless, it avoids using genders or names. So, it’s a great gender-neutral greeting that shows you’re happy to contact someone.
If you’re still unsure, you can check out this formal letter example:
I am writing this letter to express my interest in this role. Please review my qualifications to find out why I’m such a good fit.
Finally, we recommend using “To the Concerned Party” as a gender-neutral greeting in a letter.
It shows that you’re writing to a specific individual without knowing much about them.
This keeps things formal and polite when starting a letter. So, you really can’t go wrong with it, even if you’re not too sure who’s on the other side!
We also recommend reviewing this sample letter:
To the Concerned Party,
I would like to put my name forward for this position. I believe I am a great fit for it and would like to prove myself.