There are a lot of things that you can do wrong if you don’t know how to address a cover letter. The crazy thing is that if you fail to address your cover letter well, hiring managers will, from the start of your letter, get a negative impression about you. Such an impression can result in your letter been kicked to a recycle bin. That is not something you want to happen after spending sleepless nights preparing your letter.
The good news is that it is possible to nail it when addressing a cover letter. How? This post will show you how to address your cover letter perfectly. Ready? Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Addressing a cover letter with no name
Leave off the salutation leave it blank
Assume you don’t know the name of the hiring manager. What is the best way to address your letter? The easiest way is to go straight to the first paragraph and leave off the salutation. Leaving off salutation is a good idea when addressing a letter to an unknown person as it eliminates the chances of making things worse. Imagine addressing a hiring manager (Nancy) with a salutation like “Dear Sir.” That simple salutation makes things worse.
In fact, according to a study of more than 2,000 companies by Saddleback College revealed that 8% of employers preferred leaving it blank.
- Dear Hiring Manager (40%)
- Dear Sir/Madam (27%)
- To Whom It May Concern (17%)
- Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
- Leave it blank (8%)
Addressing your cover letter using “Dear Hiring Manager.”
This is another alternative if you don’t know the hiring manager’s name. In fact, there is evidence that 40% of the hiring manager prefers this salutation to any other salutation. While it is not the best way to address your letter, it a much better alternative than having no salutation.
If you don’t like including the word “Dear,” you can leave it off and say something like “Hiring Manager.”
Here are other ways to address your letter when you don’t know the name of the contact person.
- Dear Project Manager Hiring Team,
- Dear Sales Associate Hiring Manager,
- To the Customer Service Search Committee,
- To the Computer Science Recruitment Team,
- Dear Software Team Hiring Manager,
By using the above examples, you show you have some idea about the company that has a job opening.
How to address a cover letter for a non-gender-specific name
Mr., Mrs., or Miss, which is the right option to use? Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation why you are not sure about the contact person’s gender. If you find yourself in such a situation, what do you do? It is simple. Just include both the first name and the last name in your salutation.
For example, you can write:
- “Dear Karen Passalacqua”
- “Dear Robert Perry”
Tip: When you address a letter to a female employer, use the title “Ms.” unless you know for sure that she prefers another title (such as “Miss” or “Mrs.”).
What about when the hiring manager has a title like Captain, Dr, Reverend, Sgt., or Professor? Use the title in place of a first name. That way, you will make the target hiring manager feel good.
How to format the salutation
Once you have picked a salutation to use, follow it with a colon or comma, space, and then proceed to the first paragraph of your letter. See the examples below:
Dear Dr. Smith:
The first paragraph of the letter.
What is the proper cover letter address format?
- Write your name and address in the upper left.
- After a single space, write the date.
- After another space, add the hiring manager’s address.
- Add one more space and then add the salutation.
Here is a good example:
Barrett Miller, IT Professional
3367 Jewell Road
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Marketing Hiring Manager
400 Cross Road
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Dear Marketing Hiring Manager,
I’ve been interested in Flemish since…
How to write your cover letter email address
If sending an electronic cover letter, start with a 6–10word subject line, then add a salutation, a line and then begin your letter. You can also add the name of the person hiring for the position if you have a contact. Adding the name is one way of making sure your letter stand out. Have a look at the example below:
Subject Line: Job Application for Graphic Designer Position, Referred by Barrett Perry
Dear Dr. Robert,
When Mr. Perry told me about the opening…
The body of email cover letter
Use the body of your cover letter to let employers know the position you are applying for and why you are a good fit. This is where you market yourself as a candidate. Consider reviewing the job posting and adding examples of your attributes that closely match what the employer is looking for.
Stick to the instructions
Remember to follow the employer’s instructions on how to submit your email cover letter and other application documents. It is also crucial to make sure your email cover letters are as well-written.
Adding a conclusion
If you have attached other application documents such as a resume and certificates, mention this as part of your conclusion. Eventually, end your letter by thanking the employer for taking the time to consider and go through your application. You can also add information on how you will follow up.
An email signature has your name, full address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn Profile URL (if you have one). Basically, add contact information that will make it easier for hiring managers to get in touch.
Addressing mistakes to avoid
- Hi Mary
- Hello Steve! The exclamation point is not a bonus
- Dear Sir or Madam. This an out-of-date way of applying for addressing a cover letter. Using it today is not recommended.
- To Whom It May Concern: This is yet another old-fashioned way of addressing cover letters. Although about 17% of employers will proceed to process your application if you have included it, the majority will not.
- Dear Human Resource Director: Consider when the hiring manager is not in HR. Let’s say she is the company CEO. In such a case, using this salutation will send a bad tone.
The best way to find out who to address a cover letter to
Before deciding to use generic salutations, consider using anything at your disposal to find the name of the hiring manager. You can use these tried tips to find those names:
- Double-check the job posting. Review the job posting several times. You may be surprised to find the name is somewhere in the job post.
- Examine the email address in the job description: It is possible to know the name of the hiring manager by simply examining the email address in the job description. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org. The name “Perry” is probably the name of the hiring manager.
- Check LinkedIn: If the hiring manager did post the job on LinkedIn, it is easier to find the name. You can as well visit the company LinkedIn profile and search the name of the hiring manager.
- Visit the company website: If the company has a website (most companies today have websites), visit the about us or staff page. You might be lucky to find the name of the hiring manager.
- Ask your friends: Do you have people you think can give you a hand, don’t hesitate to engage them.
- Make a call: Call the company and ask who the contact person is.
Here are more tips you will find very helpful:
- Spell check names: Always check that you have spelled the hiring manager’s name correctly. Misspelling a name can cost you a job interview.
- Customize your cover letter: For your letter to stand out, make sure to tailor it well. There are many ways of customizing a letter today. For example, if you google how to customize a letter, you will get a lot of ideas. Besides, remember to personalize your letter for every job you apply.
- Review cover letter samples: Why struggle to start from scratch while samples and templates can make your work easier? Just go through a few samples before writing your version.
- Proofread your letter: It is always a good habit to go through your letter a few more times before hitting the submit button. An error-free letter is appealing and will always make you stand out. You can even use tools like Grammarly to improve your cover letter.
Let us know if you have other tips that worked for you!