Thursday, January 13, 2011


The other day I had written a reference letter for one of my employees looking for a promotion. I am stoked when I get the opportunity to write reference letters. Sometimes I write them for former students seeking a college and need a reference letter for admission. Other times I write them for individuals that I have had a direct influence in their lives looking for employment. Finally as a manager there are times when employees no longer work for me and need a reference letter.

Years ago I took a business writing class. It was probably one of the best classes I have ever taken in college. Why? From that class I learned how to communicate clearly and concisely, and not to waste the reader’s time. Most of the aspects from that class I use every day.

Unfortunately the reference letter I wrote the other day was questioned by one of the recipients. They were questioning if I used the proper salutation. If I do not know the name of the recipient I always start my reference letters with “Dear Sirs:” I realize we live in a diverse world where both women and men are in roles in leadership and decision making. Is there a better way to start a business letter? What salutation do you use?

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