How to address an unknown person in a cover letter


Is it correct to start a cover letter like this:

"Dear Sir / Madam..." with a forward slash,

or would you rather use

"Dear Sir or Madam..."

when you don't know your recipient's name?


Posted 2016-10-20T14:01:38.130

Reputation: 21

1I'm not sure, but I think this might be a better fit at Workplace.SE, since this isn't really a question about the English language per se. – stangdon – 2016-10-20T14:37:03.203



"Dear Sir or Madam," is the standard form. When not addressing someone by name, end with "Yours faithfully," not "Yours sincerely,". However, it is not too difficult to find out the names of people that you are writing to and you should certainly do this if you are making a job application or if you are writing an important business letter.


Posted 2016-10-20T14:01:38.130

Reputation: 6 424

Could it be correct to use slash (/) instead of "or".

Dear Sir/Madam ? – Erika – 2016-10-20T17:50:30.633

If you like. One is pretty much as good as the other. No one will be offended. – Mick – 2016-10-20T17:52:34.337


I wrote several cover letters and usually started them with “To whom it may concern.” Not the best choice, frankly speaking. That’s a total cliche. “Dear Sir/Madam” is a little bit better. But after I researched this topic myself, I found this page with some practical advice on addressing the cover letter.

Robert Hoyt

Posted 2016-10-20T14:01:38.130

Reputation: 1