How to Address an Email to Someone You Don't Know

Email provides nearly instant communication.
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Whether it's a hard copy or an electronic letter, correspondence should be treated in a professional manner. The subject line of the email should clearly state the nature of the correspondence, such as "RE: Clerical Career Opportunity," and if you don't know the person to whom you're writing, always begin with a formal salutation: "Dear Mr., Ms. or Dr."

1 Using Other Salutations

One exception to the rule of using "Ms." in correspondence is when the person has sent you a letter or email and signed it "Mrs." In that case, use her preferred salutation of "Mrs." In addition, if the person uses other titles, such as "Reverend," "Pastor" or "General," you respectfully address the person with one of those salutations when beginning your email letter.

2 Falling Into Familiarity

While email is a quick and easy method of communication, it's easy to fall into familiarity. Treat email correspondence as seriously as a formal business letter to avoid appearing disrespectful. Clear, concise and cordial are key to successful email exchanges. Use your computer's spell and grammar check functions to ensure that your email letter puts your best foot forward -- especially if you're inquiring about a job opportunity or writing a letter to your partner's parents.

3 Avoiding Awkward Moments

Some names are not gender-specific, making it hard to address correspondence properly. If possible, call the general phone number of the company and explain to the receptionist that you're uncertain if the person is a man or a woman and explain that you want to address the person with the correct salutation.

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.