Emails, letters, proposals — there are multiple areas where you’d need to address a recipient. Where many fall short is using the same salutation repeatedly, regardless of the use case and fail to make an impact. To help you use a mix of varying greetings moving forward, here’s our list of 30 salutations you should start using right now.
- Hi there
- Hey everyone
- Hello all
- Hi guys
- Morning/afternoon/evening team
- Morning/afternoon/evening everyone
- Morning/afternoon/evening all
When writing emails, your salutation options can differ depending on if you’re emailing one person or a group of people. If it’s an individual, it depends on your relationship with them. For example, a colleague you’ve worked with for 10 years might have a great relationship with you and a simple ‘hey’ does the job.
However, if it’s a new CEO, you might need something a little more formal, so it should always be context-dependent. It’s also a good idea to switch it up and not seem robotic, such as working in the time of day or acknowledging that you’re emailing a large group of people at once.
Again, context is vital. Let’s say you’re going through a significant change in the business, which has many people worried. Something as simple as referencing ‘team’ in your salutation encourages buy-in and fosters teamwork from the get-go.
Cover Letter Salutations
- To whom it may concern
- Dear team
- Dear hiring manager
- To the HR team
- To the interviewing team
- For the attention of [name]
Cover letters are another use case of when you’ll need to use salutations. One size doesn’t fit all here either. For example, you might already know the name of the interviewer or hiring manager, or it could be a team on the other side reviewing your application.
If you know the person, you can address them by their name. If not, it’s a safe bet to keep it generic, like in some of the examples listed above.
- Good morning
- Good afternoon
- Good evening
A formal salutation is perhaps the one you’ll use the most when writing letters or to someone in a much more professional setting. Again, it depends on if you know the name of the person you’re addressing. If so, you can add their name to the end of the salutation and address them directly.
However, you won’t know the person in some instances and can’t stick to a generic formal salutation, such as Dear Sir, for example. This format is the most traditional and also most widely used. If you’re debating on whether the recipient should receive a formal or informal salutation, opt for a formal one to be on the safe side.
What you also need to be careful of here is using gender-specific titles. When opting for a salutation such as Mr. or Mrs., consider whether your language is inclusive. This is because your recipient might not identify as a male, female or even identify as the opposite gender. If you’re unsure which is the most appropriate, opt for a salutation that’s format but doesn’t include gender-specific language.
- Hey guys
- Exciting news to share
- Some updates from me
- Some good news to start the day
- A few updates from me
- Good news
Informal salutations are just as challenging to use as formal salutations. If you’re addressing someone you’re close to and have a good relationship with, then informal greetings work perfectly. These are also great options for companies that have a more laid back culture or if you’re in contact with your team.
Also, be sure to match your salutation with the purpose of your message. For example, if it’s about a project, you can use the term update in your greetings. What you want to avoid is updating your team about letting someone go but taking them by surprise by using a salutation that’s quite upbeat, as it gives a false sense of security.
If the salutation doesn’t match the greeting, there’s a chance the recipient will either not read it or feel like the message isn’t that important.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of salutations you can use. Depending on the context and where you are in your communication journey, you can switch your salutations depending on how the conversation progresses.
For example, three more generic salutations you can use include:
- I hope you’re having a great week.
- I hope this email finds you well.
- Thanks for your time.
Although, these tend to work better for emails than letters, especially since it’s easier to follow up on previous messages.
In some instances, your salutation might get right to the point. You usually find a salutation in formal letters followed by the letter’s purpose. However, some other popular salutation/greeting combinations get straight to the point to deliver the message quicker. Some of these examples include:
- Following up on my last email.
- To follow up on our meeting…
- As promised, I’m…
- I’m just checking in on…
- Can you give me an update on…
- As discussed on our phone call…
- I’m getting back to you about…
- It was great to meet you at…
- Here’s some more information on…
Only use these in certain situations. They won’t make much sense as salutations if it’s the first time you’re contacting someone, only when you’ve been back and forth with the recipient already. If this is the case, you won’t always need to say Dear Sir when sending an email, as you might have already established it early on in the first message.
Why Choosing the Right Salutation Is Critical
A salutation sets the tone for the rest of the email or letter. It allows the recipient to understand the tone of the email and its severity quickly, so they know how to mentally prepare for what they’re about to read. If it’s an exciting salutation, they’ll expect the news to match and get their hopes up. They’ll know it isn’t anything to celebrate if it’s a downbeat salutation.
Sending the wrong salutation sends mixed signals to the reader and doesn’t get your intentions across clearly. Compare it to a face to face conversation. Your salutation is effectively your body language. If you’re upbeat and energetic, nobody will expect you to say you’ve had to let someone go, for instance.
Think about how you want the recipients to feel after reading the letter or email, and add a salutation that matches, so it sets the tone right away.
Knowing the best and most relevant salutation to use can be the difference between getting your message across the right way and causing confusion. It’s also poor etiquette if you use an incorrect or inappropriate salutation. Before hitting send, make sure you know your audience, consider the purpose of your message and decide whether the greeting works in this scenario.
Using our list above, you can mix up the salutations you use rather than defaulting to the same couple you’ve used for years. For more tips, tricks and advice to help you land your dream job and progress in your career, make sure to head over to our blog.