We have used this phrase as the usual greeting in our letter when addressing the person who would receive our letter. As it connotes, the “to whom it may concern” letter will refer to anyone who will read the document. Some people see this as outdated and in a way, a lazy way to approach correspondence. But is this always the case? Let’s find out.

To Whom It May Concern Letters

How do you write “to whom it may concern” example?

You should think about what greeting to use when writing persons who aren’t acquainted with you yet should, especially if they occupy important positions. HR managers or prospective employers typically receive a lot of “to whom it may concern” letter samples. Here’s a guide on how to start such letters or emails using this generic greeting:

  • “To Whom This May Concern”
    If you notice in this salutation, we are using “this” in place of “it.’’ But which one is the proper word? Both words are pronouns, however, “this” is more definite and refers to something that was already talked about in conversation. On the other hand, “it” refers to something mentioned for the first time. Using a “To Whom It May Concern” letter, therefore, is more appropriate because you’re introducing something for the first time.
  • “To Whomever It May Concern”
    Even the expert linguistic at times will feel baffled with the problem on which word to use: whoever, whom, who or whomever. In this case, “Whom” is the right choice because it’s a preposition or an object of a verb whereas “whomever” is an object pronoun.
  • “To Who It Concerns”
    Grammatically, “who” here is a subject whereas “whom” is an object of a preposition or verb. Since this greeting’s subject is “it,” then “Whom” is the appropriate choice.
  • “To Those Who Are Concerned”
    When you write a letter, it’s usually directed to just one person instead of a group. Using this salutation is a bit confusing as the letter might end up in the hands of several people, not the person for which the letter is for. No one can take responsibility for the purpose of the letter because there’s no single or specific person addressed in it.
    However, if you direct your letter to a single person, there’s a better chance that it will fall in the hands of the right person. Even the HR department could have a hard time locating your resume if you used this particular salutation.
  • Colon versus Comma
    Which is the correct punctuation to use after the greeting “To Whom It May Concern?” If you’re writing a “to whom it may concern” letter format for business purposes, it’s recommended to use a colon instead of the comma. This is because it’s considered more formal. On the other hand, using a comma for a personal “to whom it may concern” email would work better.

Of course, using the name of a real person who is in the position to address your concern will always be a better option. This will ensure that your letter will end up in the right hands. You can always use the internet to find the correct spelling, job positions, and email addresses of these persons. Remember that even small mistakes in your letter could cost you an interview.

To Whom It May Concern Letter Samples

How do you address a general letter?

You will often have to write a general letter, and as such, you will use a general address. A “To Whom It May Concern” letter is very common, and it carries a tone of formality. Here are a few pointers on how to use it correctly:

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • Use “Whom” instead of “Who” or “Whomever”
  • Use a colon instead of a comma at the end of the phrase when writing a business letter.
  • Double space before beginning the body of the letter.

As mentioned earlier, a “To Whom It May Concern” letter format carries a tone of a formal business conversation, especially if you follow these pointers. The general salutation is the first line of the letter which can build a good first impression so don’t mess it up with unwarranted mistakes.

How do you write a letter beginning with “To Whom It May Concern”?

Any type of correspondence is always directed to a specific person. But if you’re not yet acquainted with the person, the safest option is to write a “To Whom It May Concern” letter. If the recipient has a specific title or role in the organization, you can always go online and search for the person’s name.

Remember that using the name of the person is still the best option as against using this general phrase. At times, however, it’s difficult to determine when using the phrase becomes appropriate. Here are some scenarios where it’s usually okay:

  • Recommendations or Reference Checks
    If you’re writing a recommendation or a reference for a former employee or colleague, your request may go through a system that’s automated which won’t provide specific information. The company won’t really care if you perform research about them. All they want are your thoughts about the person they will hire. This, therefore, is an appropriate time to use a “To Whom It May Concern” letter sample.
  • Company Complaints
    When lodging a complaint against a company for unsatisfactory products or services, it won’t matter to whom you address the letter to, whether it be a customer service associate, an administrator or even a CEO. What matters most is that they will read and address the complaint.
  • Introductions
    A “To Whom It May Concern” letter is okay to use when you introduce yourself to a person you have not yet met. For instance, if you receive a letter requesting a quotation or some information about your business from a company, then you can address your reply with using this. But remember to request their name when you respond.
  • Prospecting
    Although using the greeting is acceptable when prospecting, it’s not ideal. As a salesperson who conducts ways to expand your business, it’s recommended that you do some research to find out exactly who you’re contacting. The best option is to build a relationship with them first via social media or reach out through a mutual acquaintance.
    If you cannot have this connection where you can find personal information, then you can use a “To Whom It May Concern” letter. But if you use this, don’t expect an immediate response.

To Whom It May Concern Emails

Is it correct to write “to whom it may concern”?

When writing a “To Whom It May Concern” email to a prospective employer, make sure to make a good first impression otherwise, your letter will end up in a trash can. The first line that the recipient will read is the salutation, so you need to make it outstanding, especially in form.

Anything less would make the letter so commonplace or worse, informal and it might not pass company standards. If you aren’t comfortable with using a general phrase, here are some alternatives:

  • Get personal
    A little effort can go a long way. Instead of the generic greeting, do some research to find out the full name of the hiring manager. Addressing the person by name will indicate that you did your homework. It will show politeness, diligence, and initiative. Do some professional networking until you identify a person associated with the company who can furnish you the right name and contact information.
  • Incorporate the entire organization
    Another alternative, if you cannot retrieve the hiring manager’s name is to make use of the company’s name in the opening salutation.
  • Appeal to the department heads
    If you still have no luck in getting the contact details of the hiring manager, another option is to address your letter to the head of the department you’re targeting for employment.
  • Use the greeting “Dear Sir/Madam”
    This is another popular salutation in cases where you’re not yet acquainted with the person you wish to communicate with. It is more prim, proper, and formal. It does have a respectful tone for the reader and can also attract attention.
  • Try to use a hook
    Writing passionate first sentence is one good way to capture the attention of the reader. It may even demonstrate your eagerness for the position you are applying for.
  • Reference your referral
    Always refer or mention in your letter the person who recommended you for the job you’re applying for. Include this in the opener.
  • Time of day
    If you’re coursing your letter through email, make sure to customize your greeting corresponding what time of day you sent it.
  • Only use the person’s first name if appropriate
    If you’re well acquainted with the letter’s recipient, it’s acceptable to address him/her in the opening with their first name.
  • Address the entire group
    There are cases where you have to address the entire hiring group or committee. If so, you can use a phrase in your opening that will refer to the whole group. This option shows courtesy as it becomes inclusive to everyone involved in the process of making decisions.
  • Play it safe
    If the manager’s name is one of those which can be for males or females, then play it safe and neutral by using the full name.
TemplateLab May 5th, 2019