What Is the Format for a “To Whom It May Concern” Letter?

A “To whom it may concern” letter should be written in a formal manner, in standard business letter format. This salutation is used when the letter writer is unsure of the name of the intended recipient. An example would be a letter of recommendation or request for interview.

When writing a letter to an unknown recipient, instead of using “Sir or Madam,” another option is to use “To Whom It May Concern.” The preferred capitalization rule is to capitalize all of the words in that phrase. Even though the salutation is generic, the letter should follow standard business rules.

  1. Address details
  2. Begin the letter with the address details of the sender as well as the recipient. Also include the date. The letter should be written on company letterhead, if applicable.

  3. Include a reference line
  4. When writing a letter to an unknown recipient, it is helpful to include a reference line. This is usually noted in “Re:” format and is a short statement of the purpose of the letter. For example, “Re: Reference for Ms. Jane Doe.”

  5. Introduction
  6. In the first paragraph, the person writing the letter should introduce him or herself. Explain the reason for the letter so the recipient knows what to expect.

  7. Give details in the body of the letter
  8. Include details and any other information that might be helpful to the recipient. In a reference letter, for example, describe the person and how he or she would benefit the company.

  9. Close on a positive note
  10. Thank the reader for his or her time. Be sure to leave contact information such as an email or cell phone number.