1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How to Address a Letter

How to Address a Formal Letter: Mr., Dr., Ms., or Mrs.


Computer skills
John Lamb/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

When you are writing a letter or sending an email message for employment or business purposes, it's important to address the individual you are writing to formally, unless you know them well.

The appropriate title for writing to a male is Mr. For a female, use Ms. Ms. is more professional than Mrs. even if you know the person you are writing to is married. For a medical doctor or someone with a PhD, use Dr.

If you don't know whether the individual is a man or woman use a gender neutral greeting and simply include their first and last name i.e. Dear Tristan Dolan.

The following is a list of letter salutation examples that are appropriate for business and employment-related correspondence.

Letter Greeting Examples

  • Dear Mr. Smith
  • Dear Mr. Jones
  • Dear Ms. Markham
  • Dear Kiley Doe
  • Dear Dr. Haven

Follow the greeting with a colon or comma, a space, and then start the first paragraph of your letter. For example:

Dear Mr. Smith:

First paragraph of letter.

When You Don't Have a Contact Person

If you don't have a contact person at the company either leave off the salutation from your cover letter and start with the first paragraph of your letter or use a general salutation. For example:

To whom it may concern:

First paragraph of letter.

General Salutations

  • To whom it may concern
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Human Resources Manager
  • Dear Sir or Madam

How to Write a Cover Letter
How to write a cover letter, including what to include in your cover letter, how to write a cover letter, cover letter format, targeted cover letters, and cover letter samples and examples.

Related Articles

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.