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,

  • I am probably in the minority on this, but I don't like using the word "Dear" in this context as I think it conveys a level or familiarity. I prefer "Sir or Ma'am..." Or even "To: Branch Manager"
    – TecBrat
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 18:03

4 Answers 4


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'.

  • 1
    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". Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 9:34

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 . . .)


Right from the start, your cover letter must convey to your prospective employers that you're an aggressive, professional, business minded person eager to belong to their company.

And so, I would go for "Dear CityBank Human Resources:" as a sign on, and would sign off with a sober, yet quite effective and professional "Sincerely,".

That said, in order to enhance your chances of being hired, I think your best bet would be to inquire about the name of the person you're writing to by any possible way you can find.


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.

  • 4
    I believe he was showing the alternatives he had come up with.
    – J D OConal
    Commented Sep 22, 2010 at 2:21
  • 2
    @J D: this is not at all clear from the formatting...
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Sep 22, 2010 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
    Commented Sep 26, 2010 at 23:17

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