To Whom It May concern is a common letter salutation that has used for ages at the beginning of letters, notices, and documents. Today, this salutation is still prevalent and widely used. Often, To Whom It May Concern is used when the identity of the reader is unknown. For example, when the recipient is an institution or a person who is unfamiliar to you.
While it is acceptable to use To Whom It May Concern, it is always a good idea to make an effort to find the contact name to use in your letter or inquiry. But in case you don’t succeed in finding the name, then it is OK to use this salutation.
Today, advancement in technology has made it easier to find details of recipients. So, before opting to use this salutation, consider leveraging the infinite abilities technologies such as the internet provides. And the good news is that you are always assured to pull some reliable information from the web if you research thoroughly.
How to write Whom It May Concern
- Capitalize the first letter of every word.
- Add a colon or comma at the end of the term.
- Before starting the body of your message, add a double space.
When to use To Whom It May Concern
As aforementioned, never rush to use this salutation before trying your best to find the name of the intended recipient. Luckily, technology has made it possible to find the names of HR managers, heads of departments, and other key individuals you may be attempting to reach.
Below are a few scenarios where it is usually appropriate to use To Whom It May Concern:
- Recommendations/reference checks: In case you are providing a recommendation or reference for a former employee or colleague and the request was auto-generated without information about the hiring manager. In such a scenario, it is OK to use To Whom It May Concern because the company is more interested in your thoughts on the candidate they are about to hire.
- When lodging a formal complaint with a company: Lodging a formal complaint with the company? It is right to use To Whom It May Concern. This is because you are not sure who to address or who the complaint will reach. Is the CEO, administrator, or customer service team?
- Introducing yourself or business: Consider a scenario where you have been asked to submit information regarding your business or to submit a quote from a generic company inbox. In such a case, you don’t know who to address your response to. Then it is OK to use To Whom It May Concern and remember to ask for their name in your message.
- Prospecting: As a salesperson, one of the hardest tasks you have is that of finding the actual contact details of your prospects. Now in the event, it still remains challenging to get the contact information of your prospects after exhausting all the options you have, then proceed to use To Whom It May Concern.
When not to use To Whom It May Concern
We have said it before, and we shall repeat it again, To Whom It May Concern is not the best salutation to use. Only use it as the last option after exhausting all the alternatives you have on the table. In fact, sometimes using this salutation may portray you as lazy, especially when there exist other ways of finding recipient contact details. For example, you can try to search the target recipient on LinkedIn.
Below are tips that will help you avoid using To Whom It May Concern:
- Contact the recruiter or HR rep: It is appropriate to contact the HR rep or recruiter for contact details about the hiring manager when writing a cover letter or email. You can even make a call or inquire through email.
- Visit the company‘s LinkedIn profile: Most companies today have a LinkedIn profile where they list the names of all employees. Therefore, consider visiting the company‘s profile and searching for the details of the contact person.
- Visit the company‘s About Us page: It is a common trend today for companies to include a list of all employees on their “About Us page” or “Team Page.” So, make an effort to visit this page if the other options don’t work for you.
- Make a call: This is probably the easiest way to find contact information of the recipient. Just call the company and request the contact details of the person you are trying to reach.
To Whom It May Concern is still one of the appropriate salutations to use today but only recommended if you fail to find the contact details of the person you are trying to reach. Fortunately, it is much easier to get contact information of recipients today than it was a few years ago. Thanks to technology for making it possible. So, only rush to use To Whom It May Concern after finding it hard to find the recipient’s contact details.