Are you worried that Dear Sir or Madam sounds a little outdated?
Maybe you’re writing a letter and are trying to find the best way to address an unknown recipient.
Well, you’re in the right place!
This article will share better alternatives to Dear Sir or Madam to show you what works best in your letters.
Dear Sir or Madam is correct to say in formal contexts. It is an appropriate phrase to include in a letter.
However, it is outdated. You won’t often feel the need to use it anymore, as there are much better alternatives out there.
Technically, it is not gender-neutral. It suggests that the reader is either a male or female without allowing the recipient to specify how they identify.
You can use it in a cover letter. Sometimes, people do this when they don’t know the gender of the recruiter reading their letter.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I believe I’ll be the perfect fit for this role.
I’m certain I have the right skills for the job, and I look forward to proving myself.
You can also shorten the phrase with a /. It’s correct to use Dear Sir/Madam when writing a formal email. It only works in emails when used in this way, though.
So, you can check out this email sample to learn more:
I am writing to you to find out more about this offer.
I’d very much appreciate it if you could run me through what to expect.
All the best,
Before you go, make sure you use appropriate punctuation.
First, capitalize Sir and Madam. This is important at the start of your email.
Second, place a comma after the phrase. This helps to break up the flow of a letter or email.
Mistake: Incorrect punctuation choices
- Correct: Dear Sir or Madam,
- Incorrect: Dear sir or madam
So, you should keep reading to learn how to write dear Sir or Madam in different ways. We’ve touched on the best alternatives to give you an idea of what’s available.
Feel free to check out these alternative phrases to learn what to write instead of Dear Sir or Madam:
- To Whom It May Concern
- Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear [Company Name] Team
- Dear [Job Title]
- Good Day
To keep things gender-neutral, you can start with to whom it may concern. It’s an effective non-binary choice that shows you’re polite and respectful without gendering the recipient.
So, if you don’t know who’s going to receive a letter or email, this is a great start.
Try it when writing a cover letter. It’s one of the most common choices that show you’re writing to an unknown recipient and would like to discuss something with them.
You can refer to this cover letter sample to learn more about it:
To Whom It May Concern,
I would like to apply for this position. I believe it’s a good fit for me.
Please review my portfolio to learn more about what I can do for this company.
Feel free to use good morning/afternoon/evening in a formal letter. It’s another great gender-neutral term that works well when you don’t know the recipient.
It’s a more modern take on what to say in a letter, which makes it a great alternative to Dear Sir or Madam.
Generally, this is useful as a professional phrase. It’s a good one to use when contacting an unknown recipient.
It’ll show that you don’t want to offend the person reading your letter accidentally.
Feel free to also review this formal letter example to learn more about it:
I am writing this letter to confirm whether this is the right department.
I have a query that needs answering, and I’d like to know who to ask.
When applying for a job, you’re almost certainly talking to a hiring manager. So, it’s wise to contact them directly to let them know you’re interested.
Dear Hiring Manager is a great formal phrase that shows you’re reaching out to someone on the hiring team.
Generally, this is an excellent way to show the recipient that you want their attention, even if you don’t know their name.
Of course, you might be able to find the name of the hiring manager with some job listings. So, make sure you do your research to confirm it’s not there before using this phrase.
Check out this email sample to learn more about how to use it if you still need help:
Dear Hiring Manager,
I would certainly like to be considered for this position.
I’m keen to learn more about it because I think I’d be a good fit for this role.
Your next option is to write Dear [Company Name] Team. This one works well because it allows you to address a company directly.
Also, it shows you’re paying attention.
Any time you can reference a company or department by name, you’ll show that you’re diligent and have keen attention to detail.
It’s great because it lets the company know you’re reading what they’re putting out. It also avoids accidentally insulting whoever might read a formal email you send out by misgendering or misnaming them.
You can also review this sample email to learn more:
Dear Brownings Team,
I hope I am emailing the right department.
I’d like to discuss the opportunity to work alongside you if that’s okay.
I look forward to your timely response.
Another gender-neutral phrase to include at the start of a formal letter is Dear [Job Title].
This time, it avoids using a name or type of person. Instead, it refers to the job title of the person receiving your letter.
Of course, this only works if you know the title of the person who will read your letter. If you don’t know that, it’s best to avoid this one.
Still, if you at least know the title, this is a great professional way to talk to someone more specifically when you want to contact them.
Feel free to also review this letter example to learn more:
I am writing this letter to confirm whether you need our services to assist you.
Please let me know if this is something that interests you.
We recommend trying Good Day when you’d like to contact someone you don’t know.
Rather than guessing a gender, name, or job title, this one avoids any embarrassment.
Instead, it references the day as being good (without even being specific about the time of day).
It’s non-specific yet professional. That’s what makes it such a great choice when writing an email to a company.
Finally, you can review this example to learn more about how to use it:
I am writing this email to confirm my attendance at the event.
So, please let me know if there’s anything else I need to do.
All the best,