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To Whom It May Concern: Please Stop Using This Greeting

You know who you are

No gif

To whom it may concern is a letter or email greeting used when the sender doesn’t know who will be receiving the message. 

But it’s 2020, and it’s pretty easy to figure out who will be reading your email or letter or message, whether it's the hiring manager or a future mentor or a coworker (please, know your coworker's names) . And even if you don’t know the name of the person you’re writing to, or if you’re writing to more than one person, there is always—always—a better way to address your letter.

Please, just stop using ‘to whom it may concern.’ It’s lazy.

To whom it may concern really reads this way: I have no idea who I’m writing to. Hope this ends up in front of the right person!

It just comes off as lazy. If you don’t have the slightest idea who you’re writing to, then you should consider whether you should write it at all. 

Plus, there are alternatives you can use instead. 

Read more: How to End an Email That Gets Results

Now what we’ve officially retired the greeting, here’s what you can use instead

If you’re unsure of exactly who will be opening your email—, for example—then address your email to the person or people you want to read your message, like Dear Hiring Manager, Dear InHerSight Team, or Dear Most Brilliant Editorial Team. 

Here are some other options for you to play with:

  • Dear Hiring Committee

  • Dear InHerSight Team

  • Dear InHerSight Hiring Manager

  • Dear Hiring Manager

  • Dear VP of Analytics

  • Dear Communications Team

  • To the InHerSight Tech Team

  • To the Writer of the Treatise on the Abolishment ‘To Whom It May Concern’

More resources for writing a professional email or letter

Need a quick refresh on the nuance of professional communication? Re-up below.

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By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Content Strategist, InHerSight

Emily is on staff at InHerSight where she researches and writes about data that describes women in the workplace, women's compensation and contract literacy, and women's rights in the workplace. 

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