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 Don't let the slightly archaic feel of a formal business letter tempt you into using flowery, outdated language.
Contact Information: The first section of your letter should include your contact information and the contact information of the person you are writing, too. Also, include the date you are writing at the top of your letter. Letter Salutation: Unless you know the reader well and typically address them by their first name, you should include the person's personal title and full name in the salutation (i.e., "Dear Mr. James Franklin"). If you are unsure of the reader's name, include his or her title (i.e., "Dear Executive of Marketing"). If you are unsure of the reader's gender, simply state their full name and avoid the personal title (i.e., "Dear Jamie Smith"). If you are unsure of the reader's gender, name, and title, simply write, "To Whom It May Concern." Leave one line blank after the salutation.