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I prepare to write a cover letter to several banks. The application is online and I need to submit it to each employer. So how could I write in the salutation of the cover letter. I don't have the contact of HR people. Could I write something like this:

To whom it may concern,

Dear Citibank HR,

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

According to Debrett's General Rules for Writing Letters:

The sign-off depends on the salutation. As a broad rule, if you addressed the letter to 'Dear Mr Debrett' the sign off is 'Yours sincerely'. If addressed to 'Dear Sir/Madam', then 'Yours faithfully' is correct.

If you don't know the name of the person to whom you are writing, start with 'Dear Sir/Madam' and end with 'Yours faithfully'. However, I would strongly urge you to find out the name of the HR manager. Individually addressed letters are obviously more personalised and, while it won't make a huge difference, will appear better than standardised ones.

EDIT (CLARIFICATION): The only traditionally appropriate way to start a letter to an unknown person is 'Dear Sir/Madam'.

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I was taught a simple way to remember this at school: "never two Ss together". That is, if you start with "Dear Sir" then you never write "Yours sincerely" (note the S in Sir and sincerely), but instead write "Yours faithfully". When you write "Dear Mr Smith" you use "Yours faithfully" and not "Yours sincerely". –  Antony Quinn Sep 22 '10 at 9:34
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It is also possible to address a letter to a position title.

Dear Human Resources Manager:

Dear Human Resources Director:

(I would avoid using the abbreviation, since it is less formal.)

I would not include the company's name in the title—it should instead be listed in the address above the salutation (if you are including those) or in the body of the letter. (I would be an asset to Citibank because . . .)

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You can get by with To Whom It May Concern, Dear Citibank, or Dear Sir or Madam, but only one of the above. If I understand, you are proposing to use a double salutation, which would seem weird to me as the recipient.

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I believe he was showing the alternatives he had come up with. –  J D OConal Sep 22 '10 at 2:21
@J D: this is not at all clear from the formatting... –  RegDwigнt Sep 22 '10 at 11:03
I agree, but that is what I believe he was trying to show. The formatting could certainly be cleaned up. –  J D OConal Sep 26 '10 at 23:17
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