Salutation Examples for Professional Letters and Emails
Updated 27 June 2023
Using the right salutation when writing a business letter to your manager or colleagues is important. Most business letters and emails are incomplete without a professional salutation that addresses the reader. Understanding the context and usage of different salutations can help you choose the right salutation for your situation. In this article, we highlight the importance of professional salutations, share a few business salutation examples and discuss how to select the most appropriate ones.
What is a business salutation?
Business salutations are formal greetings that appear at the beginning of professional documents, like business letters, emails, job applications, resignation letters and memos. The salutation consists of a greeting alongside the name and title of the recipient. What salutation to use often depends on the purpose of your document and your relationship with the recipient.
What are some salutation examples?
Here are a few salutation examples you can use when writing professional emails and letters:
Dear Vikas, (if the recipient is personally familiar and in close proximity)
Dear Vikas Gupta,
Dear Mr Gupta,
Dear Vikas and Rohit,
Dear Vikas Gupta,
Dear Dr Gupta,
Dear Professor Vikas,
Hello Vikas, (if the recipient is personally familiar and in close proximity)
Dear Hiring Manager,
Dear HR Manager,
Dear Marketing Team,
To Whom It May Concern,
The usage of these salutations depends on the following factors:
Purpose: The tone and purpose of the subject determine the salutation. For instance, the salutation used on a resignation letter will likely be different from a memo announcing an off-site visit.
Recipient: Salutations for letters and emails you write to colleagues may vary depending on whether you write them for a close colleague, the team leader or an external stakeholder.
Available information: If you do not know the name of the recipient, use the job title instead of a name. Jobseekers usually use this salutation when submitting an application via email.
Why are business letter salutations important?
The salutation used in business letters and emails is essential because of the following reasons:
Displays professionalism: A properly worded and punctuated salutation that addresses the reader politely reflects professionalism. It is a sign of being courteous and respectful to the recipient.
Increases personalisation: Since a salutation contains the name or job title of the recipient, it indicates that the subject matter is specifically for them. Salutations show that the letter or email is not sent in bulk but holds a special purpose.
Sets the tone. Starting the letter with an appropriate salutation sets the tone for what is to follow. Similarly, ending the letter or email with a positive sign-off ends the communication on a good note.
When and where are professional salutations used?
A professional salutation is included in almost all professional communication, like:
Cover letters: When you use the right salutation on your cover letter, it helps to make a better first impression on hiring managers and recruiters. Using the appropriate salutation also demonstrates your professionalism and business writing skills.
Business emails: It is vital to start all business emails with a positive and appropriate salutation. Make sure any emails you write to your colleagues, managers, team leaders, HR and even to recipients outside the company contain the correct salutation.
Business letters: Letters written to external stakeholders, like vendors, contractors, partners and clients, generally begin with a proper salutation. Whether sent through mail or electronically, a formal salutation is a must in business letters.
Memos: Business memos meant for employees and other internal stakeholders must mention the salutation to address the department(s) or group(s) of recipients. The salutation helps clarify who should pay attention to the content of the memo.
What professional letter salutations should I use?
The most commonly used letter salutations that indicate professionalism in emails are as follows:
This is the safest and most widely-used salutation. If you know the recipient personally, consider using this salutation. "Dear" is usually followed by their title (if any) and name, such as "Dear Vikas Gupta", "Dear Mr Vikas Gupta", "Dear Dr Vikas Gupta" or "Dear Mr Gupta."
A less formal variant, "Hello" or sometimes "Hi" is used to address an entire department or team. It is also used to address friendly clients, suppliers, contractors and stakeholders. Examples would include "Hello Marketing Team", or "Hello Vikas."
Although used sparingly, "Greetings" is an acceptable salutation that indicates less formality and more warmth. It is typically used in cold pitch emails. You can also use it in press releases and other instances where the name of the recipient is not available.
Tips for writing professional salutations
Here are some useful tips while selecting which business salutation to use:
Use "Dear". It is one of the most preferred salutations in all forms of business communication. Although "Hello" and "Greetings" are sometimes used, whenever in doubt, use "Dear."
Decide salutation based on proximity. Depending on how well you know the recipient, you may use only the first name, the full name or the last name. For example, you can address a close colleague with "Dear (first name)", whereas when writing to a senior leader or an unknown recruiter, use "Dear (full name)" or "Dear Mr/Ms (last name)."
Include names whenever possible. If you do not know the name of the recipient, do some research and try finding it out. For example, when applying for a job, look up the name of the hiring head and use the exact name in the salutation.
Separate multiple recipients with commas. When addressing more than one recipient, mention all the names in the same format and separate them with commas. For instance, "Dear Mr Vikas, Mr Rohit and Ms Shalini" or "Dear Mr Gupta, Mr Sethi and Ms Arora."
Be mindful of the formatting. Most people add a comma after the salutation, but you may also use a colon. Use "Dear Vikas", followed by a space and begin the letter or email from the following line.
Check the spelling. Be sure to check the spelling of the name of the recipient before sending your email or letter. If there is any doubt, confirm it from the company website.
How do you incorporate names and titles in salutations?
Using personal and professional titles in salutations along with names can be confusing. Here are a few things to keep in mind for the same:
Personal titles can be used to increase professionalism. Using personal titles like "Mr" or "Ms" increases the formal nature of the letter. You can write "Dear Mr (full name)" or "Dear Ms (last name)."
Include professional titles. Include titles that people have because of their profession or accomplishments in the salutation. Hence, use titles like "Professor", "Judge", "Officer", "Governor" and "Dr." For example, "Dear Dr (full name)" or "Dear Dr (last name)."
Use "Ms" for women. It is best to use the title "Ms" when addressing women recipients instead of using "Miss" or "Mrs."
Do not misgender the recipient. When you do not definitively know the gender of the recipient, and it is not immediately clear from the name, skip using personal titles. Use only their full name, such as, "Dear Simran Singh", "Dear Harmeet Dhillon", or "Dear Bala Subramanian."
Business salutations to avoid in business letters and email
Avoid these salutations in professional communication as much as possible:
Hey. "Hey" is an informal greeting to address friends and close colleagues, and is not appropriate in a formal setting. Avoid using the term, even if you know the recipient extremely well.
Sir or Madam. Once used dominantly for official and professional communication, the terms "Sir", "Madam" and "Ma'am" are now considered outdated. They fail to personalise the letter and indicate a lack of sincerity.
Good Morning. Do not use phrases like "Good Morning" or "Good Afternoon." This is because you do not know when the recipient will read the email, particularly, when the sender and receiver are in different time zones.
Exclamation points. By their very nature, exclamation points have little to no use in business emails and letters. They are not to be used in the salutation under any circumstance.
Gender-specific words. Using words like "Guys" in salutations or even more formal words like "Gentlemen" or "Ladies" is strongly discouraged. Stick to using "Hello everyone," or "Hi team," when addressing a group of people.
To Whom It May Concern: Use "To Whom It May Concern" only as a matter of last resort and strictly avoid it for all other purposes.
How to close a business letter or email with a salutation?
The valediction or complimentary close appears just before the sender's signature or name toward the end. Also called a sign-off, the complimentary close reflects the final sentiment you want to leave with the reader. A respectful, appreciative and professional complimentary closing follows the last sentence of the letter or email and usually includes words like Sincerely, Regards or Respectfully. More informal closing examples are Best, Thanks or Cordially. This is immediately followed by the signature, which includes your name, title and contact information.
Explore more articles
- What Is A 3PL Company? A Guide To Third-Party Logistics
- What Are Marketing Activities? (With Benefits And Examples)
- A Complete Guide To Corporate-Level Strategies (With Types)
- What Is Field Service Management? (With Advantages And Tips)
- How To Create Feedback Forms (With Importance And Example)
- Zoom Vs. Webex: Differences, Business Uses And How To Choose
- Client Management Skills: Definition, Analysis And Tips
- What Is Quantitative Research? List Of Uses And Methods
- What Is A CDN And Why Is It Important? (With Applications)
- What Is Benefit Segmentation? (With Advantages And Examples)
- Angular Vs. React: What Is The Difference? (With FAQs)
- What Is Descriptive Analytics? And How To Implement It