Formal communication is on the wane in modern life, but there are still times when it's the only correct way to reinforce a connection or convey information. If you're applying for a job, looking for a recommendation, or expanding your network, err on the side of formality. Don't let the slightly archaic feel of a formal business letter tempt you into using flowery, outdated language.
Sometimes a person's gender is unclear from a name _ names like "Corey" or "Blake," are both common women's and men's names. If that is the case, do some investigating to determine gender from searching on LinkedIn or a company website. But if it remains ambiguous, simply write out the person's full name, dropping the title. For example, "Dear Corey Meyer."