How to Address a Lady in a Business Letter
How you address HR depends on the topic.
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- 1 How to Address a Business Letter to Multiple Persons
- 2 How to Address Multiple Persons in a Letter
- 3 Good Salutations for Business Emails
- 4 How to Write a Letter of Introduction For Employment
Writing a business letter requires you to follow certain rules of etiquette to maintain a professional image. You should address the recipient by name, if possible, instead of sending a generic letter. When writing to a man, addressing him as “Mr.” is a common and acceptable practice. However, if you are sending a business letter to a lady, choosing your salutation may be more complicated.
The contents of your business letter are important. In general, the information included in your letter should be written in a concise manner, with the message you wish to convey clearly stated. Make sure that your letter is free of errors by proofreading it carefully before sending it. Before your salutation, include a subject or reference line to alert the reader of your purpose for the mailing. A common business greeting begins with “Dear,” regardless of the recipients gender, and is followed by a title and the last name. At the end of your letter, sign your first and last name over your typed name and job title. Always use first and last names unless you and the recipient are very familiar with each other.
Known Marital Status
If you know your female recipient is single, an acceptable title is “Ms.” or “Miss” before her last name. For married women, “Mrs.” and “Ms.” are appropriate terms of address. Some married ladies use a different last name than their husband. If the letter is addressed to both of them, your salutation should use both names, such as “Mr. Jones and Mrs. (or Ms.) Smith.” If you have received a letter or inquiry from a lady that refers to herself in her husband’s first name, then your reply letter may be addressed to her in the same manner, such as “Mrs. Kenneth Jones.”
Unknown Status or Name
In a business letter to a woman whose marital status is unknown, you may address her as “Ms.” followed by her last name. If you are unsure of a person’s gender, use the entire name in a business letter, such as “Dear Jordan Jones.” If you are sending letters to a female target market and you do not have individual names, address your letter to “Dear Madam.” However, you may have a better response to your solicitation if you use the name of the person, instead of a generic substitute.
Use the professional title of a lady to address her in a business letter, such as “Inspector General Smith,” as appropriate, especially if you are not sure if your recipient is a woman. This also works if you do not know her marital status. If the lady is married and the husband has a title but the wife does not, the letter may be addressed to “Dr. Jones and Mrs. Jones.” If both spouses are doctors, for example, you may use their first names in your salutation, such as “Drs. Joseph and Catherine Jones.”
About the Author
Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University.