35 Salutations to Use (Salutations List)


Looking for salutations to use in a business letter, email, cover letter or some other type of professional use case? Then look no further. This list of salutations will help you come up with the right start to your message.

In this write up you’re going to learn:

Ready? Let’s go ahead and jump right in!

What Are Salutations?

According to Webster's Dictionary, a salutation is "an expression of greeting, goodwill, or courtesy by word, gesture, or ceremony"

In essence, salutations are the greetings that are used when you begin an email, a legal letter, a business letter or any other kind of professional letter.

Salutations are often confused as the closing statement that is made when you are trying to end your letter. For example, saying, “Thank you very much”

That is a closing statement or sign-off. That is not actually a salutation, but is often confused as one by many professionals.

When thinking about what a salutation is, remember that it is the greeting you use and the first statement that is read by the person you’re referring to.

Formal and Traditional Salutations List

If you don’t know which salutation to use, at all costs reference someone as “Mr. [Last Name]” or “Ms. [Last Name]”. For example, if you were addressing Marty Smith, then you would put your salutation as Mr. Smith.

By referring to someone by this format, it is the most formal and most widely accepted. Meaning, if you don’t know whether or not your business scenario requires a certain salutation, use that one.

Informal Salutations List

When using informal salutations, be sure that you are only using a salutation that is for close friends, family members, or colleagues that you have a great relationship with.

And be sure that you use a salutation that is proper to the body of the message. For example, if you’re sending an email regarding updates on a project and you have something good to share, then you may want to consider using “Good news”.

If you choose salutations which aren’t applicable to the message you’re sending, you could risk the reader feeling as though they shouldn’t respect or listen to what you’re about to say.

Salutations for Cover Letters

Salutations for Emails

Related: 50 Ways to Start a Professional Email (By Scenario)

Salutations for Business Letters and Legal Letters

Bad Salutations List (Avoid These Salutations)

Try to avoid using some of these salutations as it won’t make you sound professional. Additionally, it could risk the message you’ll be sending and the impact it could have on the reader.

Match Your Business Scenario with the Salutation

Remember to think about what your business scenario is. Are you sending an informal email to someone you know personally? If so, then you might be able to pick one of the informal greetings. Are you sending a legal letter to someone you don’t know? Then avoid informal greetings.

The more you can understand the context of your message, the easier it will be to choose the proper greeting.

If you don’t know which greeting to use, remember that you can always back up to using the most formal options. Those are:

Why are Salutations Important?

Salutations or greetings when starting an email, business letter, legal letter, cover letter, or professional letter can set the tone for the message. It informs the reader that the message is either going to be formal and professional (or serious). Or informal.

If you choose the wrong salutation, it might be sending mixed signals to the reader. For example, if your letter is intended to be serious but you use an informal greeting, you might expect to get an informal response. Which may not have been your intention from the start.

This is the equivalent of using body language in written format.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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