Writing Dear Sir or Madam: Yes or No? Best Alternatives


Shricareer Tue, 11/29/2022 - 13:50

Putting a professional touch while writing a cover letter, or business email to a recruiter or a hiring manager is very crucial.  And for that you need to start your letter’s greeting in a memorable way, that will help you get their attention. In today’s business world, using ‘Dear Sir/Madam is considered poor business etiquette. It is because the receiver’s name and identity are already available on the internet and they might feel offended knowing you didn’t put any effort to know them before sending an email. So, to put an impressive remark on the receiver, it is indispensable to determine which salutation will be appropriate to use in your email or letter. Know when to use a formal greeting like "Dear Madam/Sir" or "Hello Recruiting Team”. This will help you to stand out from others.

In this article, we will walk you through when and when not to use “Dear Sir/Madam” and what are the best alternatives for it.

Should you use Dear Sir or Madam?

Using “Dear Sir/ Madam” before beginning a professional business email or cover letter is a thing of the past. Although it is not inaccurate to mention it at the beginning of the letter. But, in some situations, it must be avoided. There are various reasons behind that. Let’s know them.

  • In today's technology era, you can find the name of the person easily on the internet. So, if you still write 'dear sir/madam' before starting your email or cover letter, then the person on the other side of the email, might assume you are lazy.
  • It's offensive to assume the gender conformity of a business associate or peer. So, if you mention any particular gender, and guess it wrongly, then you might offend them immediately. so do your research and learn who they are.

When should you use dear Sir or Madam?

Salutations like “Dear Sir/ Madam” can be used only when you don’t know to whom you should write the letter/ email. When after hours of your research you couldn't find the recipient's name, gender, or designation on the internet.  Or else you can use some other salutations and mention the company name or a particular department to start your letter/email, like “Hello ABS Company” or "Hello HR Team", or whatever team you are writing to. Writing it will ensure that your messages go to the head of the department or the intended recipients. Such type of casual salutations can only be used when you are opening greetings for work-related messages that you send to your work colleagues or team members.

What are some of the best alternatives to “Dear Sir/Madam”?

Whether appropriate or not, it is one of the most commonly used salutations that professionals use at the beginning of their letters/ emails. So, if you want your letter/ email to be a more professional and or less formal greeting, then there are several alternatives that you can consider before starting an email.

"Hello, [Insert recipient’s name or team name]"

You can start your email or letter with this casual greeting when you want to send an informal letter or email to anyone in particular or any specific department.

"Hello, [Insert company name]"

While sending a business email or letter to either your company or another team in the company, you use this salutation as a greeting.

"Dear, Hiring Manager"

This salutation can be used when you want to write an email or letter to a hiring manager but you have no idea about the person’s name. Also, if you are writing a cover letter or a follow-up letter about a previously sent job application, then also you can use this salutation.

"Dear, [First name]"

you can use this salutation opening in your letter or email when you know the recipient's name or are on a first-name basis with the person

“Hello [Name or Surname of Recruiter]”

You can start your message with this salutation when you know the receiver’s name. You can mention their first name or their last name as you wish. For example: “Hello William” or “Hello Mr.Robert”


Begin your informal/ formal letter or email with this salutation to the people you know well. You can use greetings like "Hello" or "Hi there."

"Dear [Job title]"

While sending a cover letter or business email, it is acceptable to begin it with such a greeting when you don’t know the name of the person but you know the designation of the person. For example: “Dear Sales Manager” or “Dear Editorial-in-chief”

"Dear Recruiter"

You can open your letter or email with this greeting when you want to send a job application or a follow-up email or letter to a recruiter, and you do not know the recruiter's name.

"Good Morning"

Using “Good Morning” as an opening of the email is a commonly used salutation used in company emails and newsletters. It can also be used in an email or letter you send to a recruiter or a recruiting team.

“To whom it may concern.”

This opening salutation is appropriate when you are emailing someone with whom you don’t share any personal relationship. This salutation will reduce the chance of offending someone.

“I hope this email finds you well"

This salutation means you wish for their good health at the time you receive this email. It is a formal way of expressing well wishes to the recipient of an email.


Writing an impressive business email or letter might feel like a difficult task, but can be done easily with the right tactics. So, to put an impressive remark in the receiver you must start your business emails or letters with an impressive salutation.