10 Best Alternatives To “To Whom It May Concern”

“To whom it may concern” is a common way to start a letter or email when you don’t know who you’re addressing. While a good option, it can seem outdated or overly formal. This article will look at some good alternatives.

What Are The Best Alternatives To “To Whom It May Concern”?

Here are the alternatives we’ll be covering in this article:

Best Alternatives To To Whom It May Concern

The preferred option is “greetings.” It’s quick and to the point and works in both formal and informal settings. “Greetings” is a great option when you’re unsure who you’re addressing and when you’re unsure about how formal the communication should be.


“Greetings” is a great neutral way to open an email or a letter. It’s not as formal as “to whom it may concern” but it also isn’t casual. Additionally, it’s not dated.

“Greetings” is like a more formal way of saying “hello.” If you would normally open your correspondence with a simple “hello” but you want to be a bit more formal, use “greetings.”

You can also use “greetings” when you don’t know who you’re addressing or you’re unsure how to address them.

Here are some examples:

  • Greetings,
  • I hope you’re doing well. My name is Jane Doe and I’m writing to inquire about a job posting I saw in the local newspaper.
  • Greetings,
  • I wanted to find out whether your company provides discounts on bulk orders.

Dear [Department]

“Dear [department]” is a good option when you know which department within a company or organization you’re addressing. “Dear” is a standard way to open professional and formal letters, and addressing the department explicitly can help properly route your message.

Here are some examples:

  • Dear Museum Education Department,
  • My son really enjoyed his experience at the museum this morning! I was really impressed by the teacher and wanted to make sure to send my compliments.
  • Dear Marketing,
  • I was really impressed by your team’s marketing campaign and wanted to invite someone from your department to speak at our annual marketing conference.

Dear Hiring Manager

“Dear hiring manager” is a good salutation to use in a cover letter when you don’t know who the hiring manager is.

Many job listings aren’t clear about who processes the cover letters. “To whom it may concern” is a classic choice in this case, but it often reads as outdated and overly-formal.

“Dear hiring manager” is appropriately professional, but not quite as formal as “to whom it may concern.” That makes it a great alternative.

Here are some examples:

  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • I was excited to learn that Organization A is seeking an Operations Manager skilled in SharePoint and Excel.
  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • I’ve been passionate about museum education since my first class on the subject in my Freshman year of college.

Dear [Job Title]

“Dear [job title]” is another great salutation to use in cover letters. It can also be useful in sending general messages to specific people within an organization. All in all, it’s a good choice for when you know someone’s job title but not their name.

Here are some examples:

  • Dear Office Coordinator,
  • As an executive assistant with 7 years of experience, I know what goes into making an office run smoothly.
  • Dear Director of Education,
  • I wanted to commend your excellent educators on their work in our after-school program.

To [Description]

Starting a letter or email with “to” followed by a description can help get your message appropriately routed when you’re unsure who to send it to. This format is particularly effective for complaints and questions. It’s less formal and more descriptive than “to whom it may concern.”

The description you put will typically refer to a person or a group of people. For example, you could say “to the person in charge of equipment check out” or “to the team putting together the event.”

Generally, “to” is less formal than “dear.” So if you wanted to make any of the “dear” options above less formal, you could replace “dear” with “to.”

Here are some ways you could use “to [description” to open a letter or email:

  • To whoever helped themselves to the cake in the staff room,
  • That cake was meant for a student party. A student’s parents brought it in. There was a label on it. It said “Happy Birthday Ricky” on it. Seriously?
  • To the team that worked on the Easter event at the community center,
  • We’re still getting compliments from community members. Everyone loved the event!

Good Morning/Afternoon

“Good morning” or “good afternoon” are polite ways to open an email. They’re neither formal nor informal and are a standard greeting that any native English speaker will recognize.  

“Good morning” and “good afternoon” are generally better for emails than letters, as when you send a letter you have no way of knowing what time of day it will be received. In an email, you can match your salutation to the time of day you send the message.

Note that “good morning/afternoon” cannot be replaced with “good night.” “Good morning/afternoon” is a greeting whereas “good night” is a way of saying “goodbye.”

You could open an email with “good evening,” but this is less standard as most people try to avoid emails by evening time.

Here are some examples:

  • Good morning,
  • I’ve attached the requirements for data reporting this week. Please review them carefully and get back to me with questions before the end of the day.
  • Good afternoon,
  • My name is Lisa Jones, and I’m a freelance transcriptionist. I saw you were seeking transcription services and I wanted to throw my name into the mix.

Dear Sir or Madam

“Dear Sir or Madam” is a highly formal salutation you can use to start an email or letter. It’s useful when you don’t know who you’re addressing or when you’re planning on sending the letter to many people.

“Dear Sir or Madam” is more formal than “to whom it may concern.” It’s also more direct, which makes it more appropriate for things like fundraisers and event invitations.

It’s not recommended to open a letter “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” as these are formal to the point of seeming antiquated. “Dear Sir or Madam,” however, is still in common use.

Here are some examples of how you can use “Dear Sir or Madam”:

  • Dear Sir or Madam,
  • The Museum of Fine Arts is excited to invite you to our annual black-tie gala.
  • Dear Sir or Madam,
  • You recently indicated you’d like to donate to our organization.

I Hope This Email Finds You Well

“I hope this email finds you well” is a standard semi-formal way to open an email, especially in professional settings. When a “dear” opening feels too formal and something like “hello” feels too casual, “I hope this email finds you well” is a good choice.

If you’re writing a letter, you would say “letter” instead of “email.”

This phrase is also a good way to start the body of an email after a different salutation.

Here are some examples:

  • I hope this email finds you well,
  • I’m writing to inform you that your application to join the Writer’s Guild has been accepted.
  • I hope this email finds you well,
  • Annual staff evaluations are coming up shortly, so we wanted to make sure everyone knew what to expect.


Sometimes it’s best to start with a simple “hello.” “Hello” is moderately formal and appropriate for professional and casual settings alike.

“Hello” has many of the same strengths as “to whom it may concern.” It’s good to use when you don’t know exactly who you’re contacting and it doesn’t make any assumptions about the addressee.

“Hello” is less formal and more standard than “to whom it may concern,” making it a great option in many situations.

Here are some examples:

  • Hello,
  • I tried calling the front office this morning. The voicemail box was full. I’ll leave my message and contact info below.
  • Hello,
  • My name is Johnathan and I’m reaching out in regards to your recent review of our service. I’m so sorry to hear about your difficulties.

Hi There

“Hi there” is a casual, upbeat salutation that’s useful in situations where high energy and personality are more called for than formal writing. This sort of greeting is most common in things like branded emails and blog mailing lists.

Like “to whom it may concern,” “hi there” is appropriate when you don’t know precisely who you’re reading out to. It doesn’t make any assumptions about the reader.

Because “hi there” is so casual, it’s not appropriate for most business or professional correspondences unless you already have a rapport with the addressee.

Here are some examples:

  • Hi there!
  • Thank you for joining my Grammar blog subscription list! You now have access to a weekly roundup of our best articles, as well as some special subscriber-only content.
  • Hi there!
  • We have a new product launching this weekend. Stay tuned!

You may also like: “To Who” or “To Whom”? Correct Version (With Examples)