Are there specific cases where "Dear Sir/Madam," would be better then simpler "Dear," to start an e-mail?

To give more context, I am preparing an e-mail to ask about eligibility for a certain job offer. The e-mails address is one of those generic (like [email protected]).

  • 3
    Never start an e-mail with a simple "Dear," -- it looks too much like a scam/phishing bait. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 0:54
  • What does your job seeker manual tell you about such a situation? Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 0:55
  • So, "Dear Sir/Madam," is the standard approach? May I ask for more appropriate alternatives?
    – KcFnMi
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 1:14
  • Much better than "Dear," -- at least in my book. If you know the name of the person, it would be even better. It might not be a bad idea to give them a call and ask the name of the HR person in charge of job advertisements, and how to contact them. What do you got to lose? Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 1:19
  • You can use "Hi" or "Hello" if you want to be a bit less formal. Depends on the job/area.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


Not on subject line but inside the e-mail I'd use “Dear Sir/Madam” rather than just “Dear.” If you just write "Dear" it makes it sound like a love letter.

  • In graduate school the prof got a freshman student on a work-study program as a secretary. She closed a couple of business letters "Love," and he flipped. ;-)
    – MaxW
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 17:42

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