to whom it may conCern 

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All You Need To Know About The Salutation “To Whom It May Concern”

To Whom It May Concern is a phrase which is often used in letters as salutation when the recipient is unknown to the writer. The expression is not made up of complex English words so you simply get the meaning of it just by reading it. So if you are someone looking for proper usage and dos and don’ts while using this salutation, then keep on reading for a full disclosure on the topic.


This phrase first came into existence between the years 1805-1809 for addressing unknown recipients. It is still being used skillfully by many professionals in salutation of business and formal letters.

What is the proper usage?

Although you should always try your best to research on the recipient you’re about to write a letter to but in some cases it’s totally acceptable to use To Whom It May Concern as salutation.

Approaching a big company or a new organization

When you are addressing a big corporation with a complicated corporate framework and are not sure which point of contact is appropriate, you will need to request a message using a messaging form on the company’s site or write an email to a particular address such as “”, in this situation it might be sufficient to use this phrase of words. Also, for your request in the body of your letter, it is suggested that you ask for the correct person in contact.

Checks of reference / recommendations

When you present a former peer or employee with a reference or recommendation, the request may be made by an automatic system generator that does not provide you with any recruiting manager’s details. Also, the company doesn’t want to be researched or looked up by you but they only require your opinion on the candidate they want to hire. So “To Whom It May Concern cover letter” can be used here without any hesitation.


If you are addressing yourself to someone you have not met, it may be helpful to use it. For instance, you might be able to respond with this salutation if you have received a query for a quotation, or details about your firm, from a general company feedback or email form.

Marketing purpose

It’s your responsibility to put time and effort into researching people who you are approaching if you are a sales representative. To Whom It May Concern letter format is ideal here, but not quite sufficient. Preferably, you should first connect to them through major social media networks or meet them via a shared connection. You may want to contact “To Whom It May Concern,” but don’t expect a high rate of response if you seem to not be able to locate their personal details.

Some tips to avoid using it

In today’s world, this phrase is being replaced by many other alternatives because it seems like an act of laziness. Presently, some best practices finding personal information related to a specific personnel are followed:

  • Searching the company’s website

You can look up the internet for the company’s about information on their website. This comes in handy when you’re trying to reach someone whose organization is small and can be easily be searched for on their company’s website.

  • Calling company itself

It’s best if you know the company’s landline number. You can simply call them and acquire information related to their xyz designated employee and then write a more appropriate letter to them. You might end up getting all worked up but it will all be worth it when you’ll find your recipient’s name and use it instead of “To Whom It May Concern”

  • Browsing the company’s social media pages

It’s completely easy to browse through their social Medias. LinkedIn can be really useful when you need to find the related person, his name, or his working position in that company. 

  • Asking them about the hiring manager/recruiter

You might want to ask your recruiter about the company’s hiring manager if you’re writing a cover letter, and they might know it as there’s a chance they may be a mutual connection to them.

are there any alternatives to use this phrase?

Yes there are!

It’s not a bad thing to use this phrase but at certain times its best to use some greater value alternatives instead. Like:

  • Hi there,
  • Hello there,
  • Hello,
  • Dear hiring manager/recruiter,
  • Dear head of department,
  • Dear CSR,
  • Dear government official,
  • Dear (name of the person, if you know),
  • Greetings,
  • Season’s greetings,
  • Good day,
  • Good morning,

how to format this phrase correctly?

Following are the steps which will lead you to mastering this salutation’s correct formatting:

  • To Whom It May Concern capitalization is very important since it’s a salutation. You’ll need to capitalize first letter of each word in the phrase. As “Whom” is the subject of a verb or preposition and is suitable for use in this context.
  • Instead of using a comma you’ll use a colon after this phrase
  • Before you begin writing the body of your message, add a double space right after salutation.

As mentioned above, you are probably approaching a business conversation or formal conversation when you’re using “To Whom It Can Concern.”  Let your first impression not be jumbled up by careless formatting.

These amazing tips will surely make you successful in no time. 

Now you know the complete usage of this salutation and can rock any business letter professionally and with more impact.

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