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"To Whom It May Concern" - What does it mean, when is it used?

What is the purpose of this phrase, or should I use "Dear Sir/Madam"?

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Comments  (Page 7) 
I have always felt that "To Whom It May Concern" implies that the receiver of the letter has some sort of interest in the content, which is innapproriate in some contexts For example, I would never use it in a resume cover letter. In a cover letter, you're trying to convince someone that your resume is worth consideration. If you assume in the first 5 words that they are already concerned, then why are you bothering to write a cover letter? I just don't feel it sets the appropriate tone for that kind of letter.

I do, however feel it is appropriate in letters formally granting permission to an unknown party. For example, a permission slip for a school field trip (for which one probably would not think this heavily about word choice, but that's beside the point) might be read by a teacher, a school administrator, possibly law enforcement if the trip leaves the country, etc.
I am doing a general cover letter for career builder so it is not going to anyone specific. Should I put To whom it may concer: To whom it may concern, or should I put To Hiring Manger, or To Human Resources,

I am pretty good at this but I haven't been in college for over 15 years...

Help

Thanks
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
AnonymousI am doing a general cover letter for career builder so it is not going to anyone specific. Should I put To whom it may concer: To whom it may concern, or should I put To Hiring Manger, or To Human Resources,

I am pretty good at this but I haven't been in college for over 15 years...

Help

Thanks

That is a tough one.

Does the career builder site itself list any sample letters to see how others have handled it?

I'd go with "Dear Hiring Manager:" myself but maybe the site had advice on how to handle it.

Good luck with your job search!
Im writing a letter to an american company as a represent from a swedish company and i dont know if the e-mail adress i got is the right one. We have never been in contact before and im trying to get a meeting.
Could i use "To whom it may concern"
Hi,

Absolutely not.

Say 'Dear Sir or Madam'.

Don't forget about capital letters.

Clive
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Okey, could you tell me why its so wrong?

And what should I end the mail with?

Yours faithfully or Sincerely?

Br
Niclas
Hi,

Okey, could you tell me why its so wrong? First, please glance through this thread, and then ask if you are still not clear.

And what should I end the mail with?

Yours faithfully or Sincerely?

In my experience, 'Yours faithfully' is not used a lot these days. I'd use 'Yours sincerely'.

Best wishes, Clive
Dear Aronika,

You obviously work as a translator (translates written texts), NOT as an interpreter (translates the spoken word). How come even you do not know the difference between interpreters and translators? I can not imagine that "to whom it may concern" is ever used in speeches in your company, or is it?

Kate
(has been trying to get people to understand the above difference for 25+ years)
Try out our live chat room.
To Whom It May Concern is a formal salvtation used for opening a letter to an unknown person.
I hope this help you!
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