I am a 21 year-old student and I talked to a person who works in a Bank which I will be applying to.

He is 28 years old but on a very high position and I wonder how should I address him in the email, Dear (first name) or Dear Mr (last name) ?

Usually people on such positions are senior hence I am not sure what to do.

  • 9
    If he is in a high position, he is senior. Age is irrelevant. – HLGEM Sep 14 '16 at 16:48
  • 2
    What country? Acceptable levels of informality are very much culturally dependent. – Myles Sep 14 '16 at 16:59
  • Is this a startup in FinTech? Usually, climbing the ladder in traditional banks takes time. In a startup, the tone is different than in traditional banks. – daraos Sep 14 '16 at 17:04
  • Simple solution. Treat him (in your mind) as though he were 40 instead of 28. Problem solved. – Chris E Sep 14 '16 at 18:18
  • 1
    He's 28? Can't go wrong with, "Yo, Dude". – Nolo Problemo Sep 14 '16 at 22:47

My rule is it's always safer to be too formal than to be informal.

Go with the Mr. at most he'll joke back that that's his father or something.


Let's flip this question round: do you want to be respected because of your skills, or do you want a (lack of) respect because of your age? I'm pretty sure that you'd say that you'd want respect based on your skills, so treat other people the same. It doesn't matter they're 28, 68 or even if they're 18 - they're in a high-ranking position, so have probably demonstrated the skills to get there. Give them the same respect you would anyone else doing the same role.

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    It also shouldn't matter what seniority the person you're addressing has - simple courtesies go a long way. – HorusKol Sep 15 '16 at 4:00

In my personal experience, it heavily depends on the person. I tend to address my emails with a "Hey name," and that is pretty satisfactory. I work for a relatively laid back company, so that kind of thing flies. Unless it's super high upper management that I haven't interacted in person before, a first name is sufficient.

Again, though, it depends heavily on the person you're emailing, as well as the structure of your workplace. Honestly I wouldn't even use Dear; Mr. Lastname would probably suffice.

  • 1
    Yep. I understand that this can seem unprofessional to some, but I work IT for a company and have quite a few sites under my hands, and everything is relatively relaxed. Again, for higher up positions, I will tend to use "Mr." or "Ms." or whatever fits, but otherwise everyone is on a first name basis. People send me emails in the same regard. – Kaizerwolf Sep 14 '16 at 18:28
  • Within the company I work for pretty much everything is first name as well, even if you haven't met. That being said this question is from a student approaching a possible employer so it should be more formal then a laid back intercompany email. I would go with Mr. XYZ, probably without the Dear. – gtwebb Sep 14 '16 at 19:29

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