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I need to write a letter to a specific person, who I only know by title. I do not know their name or gender.

I can think of a couple ways to greet this individual in a letter, however I can not decide which greeting is the most optimal.

Should I start my letter with:

Dear Sir or Madam,


Dear Manager of Standards,

...or some other greeting.

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Both sound equally acceptable. I don't feel equipped to say anything more than that Dear Sir or Madam is a standard, and you can't go terribly wrong using it, and that I've seen Dear [title] a lot too. – Daniel Sep 28 '11 at 20:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would put the title as the first line of the address.

But if I don't know their name I would always start a letter with the standard Dear Sir or Madam. (If you know their name, use Dear Mr. Smith.)

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I have also seen: Dear Sir/Madam – GEdgar Sep 29 '11 at 15:00

I think either would be acceptable, but addressing the person by his/her title is a little more specific and evidence that you've put some thought into it. If you have any way to find out the specific name -- for example, by exploring the company's website or calling and talking to the receptionist -- it would probably earn you a few points by making your letter look less generic. Receptionists are used to answering questions like that. Good luck!

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You can always write, "Dear Reader".

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That would not be appropriate for a formal letter. – Chenmunka Apr 29 '14 at 17:46

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