• Resume and Cover Letter
  • The Do's and Don'ts of Cover...

The Do's and Don'ts of Cover Letter Salutations

3 min read · Updated on October 19, 2021

TopResume Editor

Greet your future employer the proper way with these cover letter do's and don'ts.

When you're applying for a job, the best-case scenario is that you know who is supposed to receive and review your application. If that's the case, you should always address your cover letter to that individual by full name, first and last. You don't need to add in a relevant title if that's the case. "Dear John Doe," is just fine. Indeed, it's better to leave out titles in your cover letter salutations since you don't want to make assumptions about gender. The name "Terry" could refer easily to a man or a woman, for example. What if you don't know the person's name though? How should you address your letter and ensure that it is polite and gets to the right person?

There are several acceptable greetings you can use. The majority of people use "Dear Hiring Manager." This is a good salutation for a couple of reasons. It isn't gender-specific, which eliminates that issue, and it also doesn't sound awkward. It's a simple, clear phrase. It also makes it obvious who you're trying to reach. You're looking to get your letter to the person who can give you a job. It clarifies the letter's purpose right off the top.

Another phrase that is commonly used is "To whom it may concern." There's nothing wrong with this phrase, although it is somewhat inferior to "Dear Hiring Manager." Why is it inferior? It's an awkward greeting. For one thing, while "whom" may be grammatically proper, how many of us actually use the word "whom" in conversation? For another thing, it isn't clear about your purpose. When you write "Dear Hiring Manager," in your cover letter salutations, that shows that you believe the Hiring Manager should be concerned about your letter. If you write "To whom it may concern," you're inviting ambiguity. What if it doesn't concern anybody? You've hardly made a case for anyone bothering with your letter. These are all subtle nuances. Again, you can use this phrase. It's just better to use "Dear Hiring Manager."

One more acceptable phrase to use in your cover letter salutations is "Dear Sir or Madam." This phrase accounts for either gender, which is good, although it does sound awkward since it makes a big affair out of doing so. "Dear Hiring Manager" is a bit less ungainly in this sense. There is also something old fashioned sounding about saying "Dear Sir or Madam." You could look at this as a good thing (it shows you have proper manners and respect) or a bad thing (it could imply you're a bit outmoded). It's again a fine greeting, but you can see how "Dear Hiring Manager" might still be the better choice.

In terms of punctuation, it doesn't really matter what you use in your cover letter salutations. A comma, a semi-colon or a colon is just fine; this bit is pretty irrelevant. With several good greetings to choose from, don't leave your greeting line blank. A blank greeting line communicates nothing, though it may make a hiring manager think that you're lazy, rude, or simply incompetent. If you can't make up your mind, always just default to "Dear Hiring Manager."

Follow these cover letter do's and don'ts and you'll set yourself up for greater success in landing an interview.

Related Articles:

What to Say in a Cover Letter: 5 Things You Should Include

How to Maximize Your Resume Action Words to Wow the Employer

Resume Spelling and Accent Explained

See how your resume stacks up.

Career Advice Newsletter

Our experts gather the best career & resume tips weekly. Delivered weekly, always free.

Thanks! Career advice is on its way.

Share this article:

Let's stay in touch.

Subscribe today to get job tips and career advice that will come in handy.

Your information is secure. Please read our privacy policy for more information.

  • Search Search Please fill out this field.
  • Career Planning
  • Finding a Job
  • Cover Letters

How to Address a Cover Letter With Examples

cover letter etiquette salutation

Options for Addressing a Cover Letter

  • Letter Without a Contact Person
  • Non-Gender-Specific Names

What Title to Use

  • Address an Email Cover Letter
  • Review a Sample Cover Letter

Before You Send Your Letter

One of the trickiest parts of writing a cover letter comes at the very beginning. Much of the time, you won’t know exactly who will read your letter. How do you address your cover letter when you don’t have the contact person’s name and/or gender ?

First of all, try to find out the name of the contact person. Some employers will think poorly of an applicant who does not take the time to learn the hiring manager’s name. Also, take care not to assume that you know the gender of the recipient based on the name. Many names are gender-neutral, and some hiring managers may identify as a gender other than male or female.

It’s also possible that you’ll do your research and still be unable to figure out to whom you are addressing your letter. In that case, it's better to be safe and use a generic greeting . It's also acceptable to start a letter without a greeting and start with the first paragraph of your letter .

You have a lot of options when addressing your letter. Learn more about the possibilities before you make your choice.

How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Contact Person

There are a variety of general cover letter salutations you can use to address your letter. These general cover letter salutations do not require you to know the name of the hiring manager.

In a survey of more than 2,000 companies, Saddleback College found that employers preferred the following greetings:  

  • Dear Sir/Madam (27%)
  • To Whom It May Concern  (17%)
  • Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
  • Leave it blank (8%)

Do keep in mind that terms like "To Whom It May Concern" may seem dated, so the best options may be either to use "Dear Hiring Manager" or not to include a greeting at all. Simply start with the first paragraph of your letter.

How to Address a Cover Letter for a Non-Gender-Specific Name

If you do have a name but aren't sure of the person's gender, one option is to include both the first name and the last name in your salutation, without a title that reveals gender:

  • Dear Sydney Doe
  • Dear Taylor Smith
  • Dear Jamie Brown

With these types of gender-ambiguous names,  LinkedIn  can be a helpful resource. Since many people include a photo with their profile, a simple search of the person's name and company within LinkedIn could potentially turn up the contact's photograph.

Again, you can also check the company website or call the company’s administrative assistant to get more information as well.

Even if you know the name and gender of the person to whom you are writing, think carefully about what title you will use in your salutation.

For example, if the person is a doctor or holds a Ph.D., you might want to address your letter to “Dr. Lastname” rather than “Ms. Lastname” or “Mr. Lastname.” Other titles might be “Prof.,” “Rev.,” or “Sgt.,” among others.

When you address a letter to a female employer, use the title “Ms.” unless you know for certain that she prefers another title (such as “Miss” or “Mrs.”).

“Ms.” is a general title that does not denote marital status, so it works for any female employer.

How to Address an Email Cover Letter

Hiring managers get a lot of emails each day. Make it easy for them to scan your email and follow up by including a clear subject line and a signature with your contact information. It's important to address the email cover letter correctly, including the name of the person hiring for the position if you have a contact, to ensure that your letter gets noticed.

Subject Line of Email Message

Never leave the subject line blank. There is a good chance that if a hiring manager receives an email with no subject line, they’ll delete it without even bothering to open it, or it could end up in their spam mailbox. Instead, write a clear subject indicating your intentions.

List the job you are applying for in the  subject line of your email message , so the employer knows what job you are interested in. They may be hiring for multiple positions, and you will want them to identify the position you’re interested in easily.

How to Address the Contact Person

There are a variety of  cover letter salutations  you can use to address your email message. If you have a contact person at the company, address the letter to Ms. or Mr. Lastname. If you aren’t given a contact person, check to see if you can  determine the email recipient's name .

If you can’t find a contact person at the company, you can either leave off the salutation from your cover letter and  start with the first paragraph  of your letter or use a  general salutation .

How to Format the Salutation

Once you have chosen a salutation, follow it with a colon or comma, a space, and then start the first paragraph of your letter. For example:

Dear Hiring Manager:

First paragraph of the letter.

Body of Email Cover Letter

The body of your cover letter  lets the employer know what position you are applying for, and why the employer should select you for an interview. This is where you'll sell yourself as a candidate. Review the job posting and include examples of your attributes that closely match the ones they are looking for.

When you're sending an  email cover letter , it's important to follow the employer's instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume.

Make sure that your email cover letters are as well-written as any other documents you send.

If you have attached your resume, mention this as part of your conclusion. Then finish your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow up. Include a closing, then list your name and your  email signature .

Your email signature should include your name, full address, phone number, email address, and  LinkedIn Profile URL  (if you have one) so it is easy for hiring managers to get in touch.

Firstname Lastname  Street Address  (optional) City, State Zip Code  Email  Phone  LinkedIn

Sample Cover Letter

This is a cover letter example. Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Sample Cover Letter (Text Version)

Mary Garcia 12 Rogers Avenue Townville, New Hampshire 03060 555-555-5555 mary.garcia@email.com

February 17, 2021

Franklin Lee

CBI Industries 39 Main Street Townville, New Hampshire 03060

Dear Mr. Lee:

I was excited to see your ad for the operations assistant position in your Townville offices.

I have five years of experience as an operations assistant/associate. In my most recent role at ABC Corp., I fulfilled orders, resolved customer issues, ordered supplies, and prepared reports. In previous roles, I’ve done bookkeeping, data entry, and sales support. Basically, anything your department needs to run smoothly, I can do – and most likely, I already have experience doing it.

My other skills include:

  • Strong communication skills, in person, in writing, and on the phone
  • Excellent attention to detail and organization skills
  • Top-notch customer service
  • Experience in the industry and passion for the product
  • Adept at all the usual professional software, including Microsoft Office Suite

I’ve included my resume for your review. Please contact me if you have questions or would like to schedule an interview. Thank you for your consideration.

Signature (hard copy letter)

Mary Garcia

Review Cover Letter Samples: It’s hard to write cover letters from scratch. To make life easier – and to make sure you don’t forget any of those pesky formatting rules —start by reviewing cover letter samples . Sending an email version instead? Look at a few examples of email cover letters to get started.

Customize Your Cover Letter: Why personalize your cover letter every time you apply for a job? Because even similar job titles have different requirements. The goal of a cover letter is to show the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for this particular job. Customizing your cover letter will help you emphasize your skills and experience and how they fit with the job requirements .

Spell-Check Names: Before sending your cover letter, make absolutely sure that you have spelled the hiring manager’s name correctly. That is the kind of small error that can cost you a job interview.

Carefully Proofread Your Letter: Whether you're sending an email or uploading or attaching a printable cover letter, it's important to make sure that your cover letter and resume are written as well as any other business correspondence. If you can, have a friend proofread before you hit send, to pick up any typos or grammatical errors.

Saddleback College. " Your Resume is Your 1st Interview ," Page 14. Accessed Feb. 17, 2021.

Eight Cover Letter Greetings for Every Situation

Caroline Forsey

Published: May 26, 2021

When you’re trying to make a good first impression, a greeting is critical. Saying “Yo, what’s up” to your new employer will evoke a different, likely more negative reaction than, “Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” 

job applicant writing a cover letter and using a personalized greeting

A cover letter greeting is just as important as your first in-person salutation. It’s a chance to demonstrate professionalism and even effort — for instance, addressing your hiring manager by first and last name shows you did your research. 

Here, we'll explore the best cover letter greetings you can use to ensure your cover letter is well-received.

→ Click here to access 5 free cover letter templates [Free Download]

Cover Letter Salutation and Greeting Examples

Sometimes job listings let you know who will be in charge of your application process, but sometimes they don’t. Let’s go over how to address your cover letters for either situation. Please note that it’s always important to capitalize the nouns for all of your greetings.

  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • Dear [name of team or department you’re applying for a position in],
  • Dear [company name] Recruiter,
  • To the [name of team you are applying for a position in] Department,
  • Dear [title of the person you would report to],
  • Dear [position title] Hiring Manager,
  • Dear [hiring manager, recruiter, or name of point of contact],
  • Dear Human Resources Manager.

Below we’ll go over an example of how to start a cover letter greeting when you have the name of the hiring manager, recruiter, or point of contact for your application process.

How To Start a Cover Letter Greeting

1. use "hello," or "dear," followed by their first and last name..

If the job description includes the hiring manager's name, or if you've managed to figure it out through research (which we’ll cover below), an easy greeting uses a full name with a "Dear" or "Hello" before it. Additionally, this helps prevent the possibility of misgendering someone that can come from using “Dear Ms./Mr.”

2. Include their title if possible.

If you're writing to a hiring manager with a title like "Dr." or "Professor,” include it in your greeting. It will demonstrate a level of respect and that you’ve done your research. It’s also non-gender specific, again reducing the likelihood of misgendering. 

For instance, you might start your cover letter like this — "Dear Dr. Grace [Insert Last Name]."

3. If you don't know their name, you can still make it specific.

If you've done your research and can't find a specific person hiring for the role, it's likely because the company has a team assembled to delegate the hiring responsibilities. To address a letter to a team, figure out the department or group in which the role falls. Then, follow this formula — "Dear [Department] Hiring Team.”

For instance, if you're applying for a role within Customer Service, you might say, "Dear Customer Service Hiring Committee," or "Dear Customer Service Hiring Team." 

However, it’s worth putting in the effort to research who the hiring manager may be, as the information can sometimes be easy to find.

How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Name

A customized greeting goes a long way towards helping your cover letter stand out in a sea of "To Whom It May Concern." Let’s go over what you can do to uncover who the hiring manager or person responsible for the application process may be. 

Find Recruiters on Company Website

An easy way to try and find the direct responsible individual is by visiting the company website and looking for an “About Us” tab. Some businesses list names of people who work there, and you can browse through the list to see if you can find the recruiter for your position or relevant department.

Find Recruiters on LinkedIn

Some companies have such big teams that each department has its own recruiter or hiring manager. LinkedIn can come in handy here, as you can use the “People” tab to search for keywords like “hiring manager + department you’re applying to,” or “department you’re applying to + recruiter” to figure out who the direct responsible individual is for different departments. 

Find Recruiters on Twitter

Twitter is also a great social media tool for identifying recruiters or hiring managers. You can search through keywords related to the business you’re hoping to work for and browse through profiles to see what you can find. Most professionals using Twitter have some description of their job position in their bio, so you should be able to identify them when you see them. 

You can also search on Twitter for the position title you’re applying for to see if a recruiter has Tweeted a link on their profile. 

If you’ve done all your research and you can’t find a hiring manager to address your letter to, and you weren’t given a name in the application process, there are still some alternatives:

  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear [name of team or department you’re applying for a position in]
  • Dear [position title] Hiring Manager
  • Dear Human Resources Manager

To Whom It May Concern is an often recommended option, but most would say that you shy away from it as it is considered a more outdated and less personalized greeting than others on this list. It would be safe to consider using it as a last resort option.

At the end of the day, when writing your cover letter , your ultimate goal is to make a good impression. If you’re able to find the name of the recruiter or hiring manager, use their name, but if not, any of the recommended greetings in this post will do.

Professional Cover Letter Templates

Don't forget to share this post!

Related articles.

The 23 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

The 23 Best Cover Letter Examples: What They Got Right

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship [Examples & Template]

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship [Examples & Template]

Letter of Interest Tips, Templates & Examples [A 2023 Guide]

Letter of Interest Tips, Templates & Examples [A 2023 Guide]

15 Cover Letter Templates to Perfect Your Next Job Application

15 Cover Letter Templates to Perfect Your Next Job Application

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Cover Letter

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Cover Letter

How to Start a Cover Letter to Impress Employers [+ 14 Examples]

How to Start a Cover Letter to Impress Employers [+ 14 Examples]

7 Expert Cover Letter Tips to Get the Job

7 Expert Cover Letter Tips to Get the Job

Five fill-in-the-blank cover letter templates to help you impress recruiters.

Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform

right-icon

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus convallis sem tellus, vitae egestas felis vestibule ut.

Error message details.

Reuse Permissions

Request permission to republish or redistribute SHRM content and materials.

Salutations in Cover Letters and E-Mail

A person typing on a laptop with an email icon.

​Bestselling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.

I was wondering if you could provide the recommended salutations to use in a cover letter and thank-you letter when addressing a hiring manager or HR professional. Clearly, the traditional salutations of "Dear Mr." or "Dear Ms." are no longer sufficient in today's gender-neutral environment.

First of all, well done for taking the time to write and send thoughtful cover letters and thank-you notes. Business letters and e-mails display your courtesy and professionalism, and no one ever lost a job offer by being professional and courteous. 

That leads us to your question of how to address the recipients of your letters and e-mails. Your letters' salutations and closings should be inclusive and respectful, just as the body of the letters and e-mails should be well-written and specific to the job for which you are applying. 

The opening and closing of your communications set the tone for what you have to say, who you are and your grasp of business etiquette. Getting it right shows your written communication skills, professionalism and social graces—and your willingness to learn will be of immeasurable help to an employer over the years.

Whenever you have the opportunity to address someone by name during a job hunt, you should do so. You can use any of the following salutations as appropriate. Notice that they all start with "Dear," which is the accepted standard; not beginning a letter this way can come off as abrupt or aggressive:

  • Dear Susan Roberts
  • Dear Martin Yate
  • Dear Ms. Susan Roberts
  • Dear Mr. Martin Yate
  • Dear Dr. Roberts
  • Dear Dr. Yate
  • Dear Judge Roberts
  • Dear Senator Yate
  • Dear Pastor/Reverend Roberts
  • Dear Professor Yate

Not all sources agree, but I feel that in these less-formal times, it is perfectly acceptable to drop the "Mr." or "Ms." if you don't know the recipient's preferred title and to replace it with a first name.

Note that in the instances above, the writer has taken the time to find a name.

When You Can't Find a Name

The cover letter can be your opportunity to connect with the hiring manager. But if you don't know the manager's name, you may be stuck with these salutations: 

  • Dear Sir or Madam
  • To Whom It May Concern
  • Dear Controller/Director/V.P. 
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Human Resources Manager

Unfortunately, none of these is a powerful communication-building opening. Soon, I'll share headhunters' tactics for finding names, so stay tuned.

Write Short Paragraphs

Your salutation should be followed by succinct content that is relevant to the reader and runs no longer than one page. Starting a new paragraph for every fresh point you make clarifies your messaging.

The body of your letter should also be constructed in paragraphs that rarely exceed seven lines. Longer paragraphs are harder for the reader's eye to penetrate. If you must take more than seven lines to make a point, try using bullet points to break up the text and make reading easier. 

Take care with how you write your cover letter. It shows the hiring manager what your communication will be like on the job, as well as in the interview.

Closing Your Letter

Close your letter respectfully, and thank the reader for his or her time. These endings are appropriate for a cover letter, interview follow-up letter or any other business communication:

  • Sincerely yours
  • Yours sincerely
  • Yours truly
  • Most sincerely
  • Respectfully
  • Respectfully yours
  • Thank you for your consideration

Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to  YourCareerQA@shrm.org . We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.

Related Content

cover letter etiquette salutation

Rising Demand for Workforce AI Skills Leads to Calls for Upskilling

As artificial intelligence technology continues to develop, the demand for workers with the ability to work alongside and manage AI systems will increase. This means that workers who are not able to adapt and learn these new skills will be left behind in the job market.

A vast majority of U.S. professionals  think students should be prepared to use AI upon entering the workforce.

Employers Want New Grads with AI Experience, Knowledge

A vast majority of U.S. professionals say students entering the workforce should have experience using AI and be prepared to use it in the workplace, and they expect higher education to play a critical role in that preparation.

Advertisement

HR Daily Newsletter

New, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.

Success title

Success caption

How to Address a Cover Letter: Proper Etiquette

How to Address a Cover Letter: Proper Etiquette

When preparing job applications, the importance of addressing a cover letter accurately can't be overstated. Your keywords for today's post are 'addressing a cover letter' and 'cover letter etiquette', which we will use to guide us through the do's and don'ts of this professional formality.

Understanding the Importance of Addressing a Cover Letter

Before we delve into the specifics of how to address a cover letter, it's crucial to understand why it matters. In essence, addressing your cover letter correctly allows you to set the right professional tone, stand apart from the competition, and capture the attention of hiring managers. This etiquette demonstrates respect, attention to detail, and an illuminated understanding of formal communication.

The Correct Way to Address a Cover Letter: 'Cover Letter Etiquette'

Should we address our cover letter to a specific person? Is it acceptable to use 'To whom it may concern'? These questions often haunt job seekers. In most cases, it's best to address your cover letters to a specific person. Researching the hiring manager's name demonstrates initiative and willingness to put in extra effort. However, in cases where the name is not available, it's appropriate to use generic salutations.

When The Name is Unknown: Ways around it

Should you find yourself unable to locate the hiring manager's name, try to keep the salutation as professional as possible. Approaches like 'Dear Hiring Manager' or 'Dear [Department] Team' effectively maintain a formal tone without being overly generalized. Rest assured, these strategies are useful for those concerned with 'cover letter etiquette'.

In conclusion, by making a small effort to address your cover letter correctly, you can make a strong first impression. Remember the power of details - especially when it comes to addressing a cover letter accurately. By following these tips, not only will you demonstrate professional awareness but will enhance your chances of your application standing out from the rest.

Get your personalized cover letter, instantly.

  • Get an instant price to have your English document edited by professionals.

cover letter etiquette salutation

English Editing Blog

cover letter etiquette salutation

How to Start and End a Cover Letter

Now that you’ve written your resume in English , and you’ve found a job advertisement, here are a few tips on how to write a respectable cover letter.  I consider these tips to be the ‘good manners’ you’d want to extend to your potential new company.

When we’re editing cover letters at English Trackers , I’ve come to realise that many people don’t know how to start or finish a letter in English.

Compared to some of the flowery endings you find in other languages, English is incredibly simple and the salutation and sign off should be learned in pairs.

Let me explain.

The Salutation  – How to start a cover letter

There are three possible choices:

You know the person’s name – then use it:

  • Dear Mr Parker

You don’t know the person’s name – but have been told to write to the HR department:

  • Dear HR Manager

You don’t know the person’s name and don’t want to offend either gender:

  • Dear Sir or Madam

NOTE : Do not use ‘To Whom It May Concern’

This should only be used on letters of reference, certificates etc. These kinds of documents are submitted over and over again, and are therefore addressed to many different people – whom ever it may concern.

The Sign Off – How to end a cover letter

There are only two choices: Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully

Here’s a very simple way of remembering whether you end with Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully.

“You can never have more than one ‘ S ’ in a salutation and signoff.” Therefore – Dear S ir & Yours s incerely – should never appear together.

If you know the person’s name, you ALWAYS sign off with Yours sincerely. For every other salutation, you sign off Yours faithfully.

  • Dear Mr Parker – Yours sincerely
  • Dear Ms Little – Yours sincerely  
  • Dear Sir – Yours faithfully
  • Dear Madam – Yours faithfully
  • Dear HR Manager – Yours faithfully

I said it was simple! If you want more info on coping with letter etiquette, download the English Trackers Email Etiquette Tips – we’ve covered just about every eventuality in there.

Setting the tone

Tone is not an easy thing to master in another language. You need to write in such a way that you don’t presume anything – that the person will call you for an interview, that the company will hire you etc. – but you do want to show you’re a good fit for the position.

Endings are very hard – as hard and important as the beginning of a cover letter, and they merit a fair amount of time. You want to end on a positive note that points to the future – the possibility of an interview, the submission of further information.

In the edited version below, these two points are merged together into one fluid and positive last sentence.

I thank you for taking the time to consider my application, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you in more detail.

In the following unedited example, the first sentence is not too bad in terms of tone, but the second sentence is basically an order; there is not even a please or a thank you!

In case this application together with my attached CV has paid your attention I will be happy to elaborate on the value I can bring xxx company.

As I am permanently employed it is very important that you treat this application with full discretion and confidentiality.

Below, is a polite, edited version of those two sentences:

Should you wish, I would be very happy to discuss the contents of this letter and the enclosed CV in person. I would also request that in light of my on-going permanent employment this application be treated with full discretion and confidentiality.

And don’t forget, when you’ve finished writing  – edit, edit, edit .

Re-read it and then if possible, leave it for a night. Come back to it fresh and go through it again. Ask someone else to read it – preferably a native English speaker – and only when you are sure it’s error free and ready to represent you politely – then push SEND!

Good luck with your job applications.

Give me more!

Have you ever wondered what your emails say about you?

What Do Your Emails Say About You?

20 Examples Of How To Address a Cover Letter to an Unknown Recipient

Introduction.

Imagine sending out dozens of job applications, only to realize that you've been addressing your cover letters incorrectly. As it turns out, addressing a cover letter to an unknown recipient can be a tricky task. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide strategies for finding the right name, using job titles as an alternative, formatting the letter, avoiding common mistakes, leveraging professional networking, and understanding the importance of personalization. By following our advice, you can increase your chances of landing that job interview and making a great first impression.

Finding the Right Name

Before you give up on finding the recipient's name, consider these research strategies:

Check the job post for a specific name. Sometimes, the name of the hiring manager or contact person is listed in the job posting. Read the post carefully to see if a name is mentioned.

Search the company website for a company directory or listing of key personnel. Many organizations have a "Meet Our Team" or "About Us" section that introduces their staff members. Look for someone with a relevant title, such as "Hiring Manager" or "Human Resources Director."

Call the company directly and ask for the appropriate contact person. If you're unable to find the name online, consider calling the company and asking for the name of the person responsible for hiring for the position you're applying for. This approach can be particularly effective for smaller organizations.

Utilize professional networking platforms like LinkedIn to find the recipient. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for job seekers. Try searching for employees at the company with relevant titles, then check their profiles for clues about their role in the hiring process. You can learn more about how to find the name of the hiring manager using LinkedIn in this helpful article.

Personalize your cover letter. Addressing your cover letter to a specific individual shows that you've done your homework and are genuinely interested in the position. This extra effort can make a big difference in how your application is perceived by the recipient.

Using a Job Title

If you're unable to find the recipient's name, consider using a job title or department head as an alternative:

Address the letter to the job title of the reader. For example, you might write "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear Human Resources Director." This approach is more specific and professional than using a generic greeting like "To Whom It May Concern."

Consider addressing the letter to the head of the department where you're applying to work. If you know the department your job falls under, try addressing your cover letter to the department head, such as "Dear Marketing Director" or "Dear IT Manager."

Explain why using a job title or department head can still demonstrate professionalism and personalization. Although it's not as ideal as using a specific name, addressing your letter to a relevant job title shows that you've put some thought into your application and have a clear understanding of the company's structure.

Provide examples of different job titles to use as salutations. You can find a list of different job titles to use as salutations in this resource.

Discuss the potential impact of using job titles on the success of the job application. While using a job title may not guarantee success, it can increase your chances of making a favorable impression. A personalized salutation indicates that you're genuinely interested in the position and have taken the time to research the company.

Formatting the Letter

When addressing a cover letter to an unknown recipient, follow these formatting tips:

Always use "Dear" to start the address. This is a professional and respectful way to begin a cover letter.

Use a gender-neutral title (such as Ms.) if the recipient's gender is unknown. If you're unsure of the recipient's gender, it's better to use a neutral title like "Ms." rather than making assumptions.

For non-gender-specific names, use the recipient's full name. If you can't determine the recipient's gender based on their name, address the letter using their full name, such as "Dear Taylor Smith."

Maintain a professional tone even when the name is unknown. Even if you don't know the recipient's name, it's crucial to keep your language and tone professional throughout your cover letter.

Provide examples of well-formatted cover letter salutations.

While it's always best to try and find the name of the hiring manager or recruiter, there may be times when you just can't find that information. Don't let it deter you. Below are 20 examples of how you can address your cover letter when the recipient is unknown:

1. Dear Hiring Manager, 2. To the Recruitment Team, 3. Dear Human Resources Team, 4. Attention Hiring Committee, 5. Dear [Job Title] Hiring Team, 6. To the [Company Name] Team, 7. Dear [Company Name] Recruiter, 8. To Whom It May Concern, 9. Dear Hiring Authority, 10. Attention [Company Name] Hiring Professionals, 11. Dear Talent Acquisition Team, 12. Hello [Company Name] Selection Panel, 13. Dear Recruitment Advisor, 14. To the [Industry] Professionals at [Company Name], 15. Attention [Company Name] Talent Scouts, 16. Dear Hiring Advocate, 17. To the Selection Committee for [Job Title], 18. Dear [Company Name] Staffing Team, 19. Attention [Job Title] Recruitment Panel, 20. Dear [Company Name] Hiring Panel,

Remember, the goal is to be as respectful and professional as possible in your salutation. Even if you don't know the recipient's name, demonstrating courtesy in your greeting will set a positive tone for the rest of your cover letter.

Also, avoid overly casual greetings like 'Hello' or 'Hi there,' which might seem unprofessional, and stay clear of outdated phrases such as 'Dear Sir or Madam.' Instead, opt for more modern, inclusive alternatives. Be sure to follow your greeting with a comma or a colon, then leave a space before starting the body of your letter.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

When addressing a cover letter to an unknown recipient, it's essential to avoid these common mistakes:

Using generic greetings like "To Whom It May Concern." This phrase is outdated and impersonal, and using it can make your application seem generic and unprofessional. Instead, try to find a specific name or use a job title, as discussed in previous sections.

Using incorrect titles or making assumptions about the recipient's gender. Making assumptions about someone's gender or using an inappropriate title can potentially offend the recipient and hurt your chances of landing an interview. Stick to gender-neutral titles or use the recipient's full name when in doubt.

Addressing the letter to the wrong department or job title. Be sure to double-check that you're addressing your letter to the appropriate person or department. Sending your application to the wrong person can result in your application being overlooked or discarded.

Failing to proofread the cover letter for errors, even in the salutation. Typos and other errors can make a poor impression on the recipient. Be sure to proofread your entire cover letter, including the salutation, before submitting it.

Provide examples of mistakes that could hurt the applicant's chances of landing an interview. Some examples of common errors include misspelling the recipient's name, using an informal greeting (such as "Hey"), or addressing the letter to an unrelated department (e.g., "Dear Accounting Manager" when applying for a marketing position).

Utilizing Professional Networking

Leveraging your professional network can be an effective way to find the name of the recipient for your cover letter:

Use platforms like LinkedIn to research the company and its employees. As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is a valuable resource for job seekers. You can use the platform to find employees with relevant titles, learn more about the company culture, and even discover mutual connections who might be able to provide an introduction or additional information.

Connect with current employees or alumni of the company. Networking with people who work at the company or have worked there in the past can give you valuable insights into the hiring process and help you identify the appropriate contact person for your cover letter.

Search for the appropriate contact person within your professional network. Use your connections to find people who work at the company you're applying to, and ask if they know who the hiring manager for your desired position is.

Networking can help job seekers get noticed by potential employers. Building relationships with people at the company can increase your chances of getting noticed and potentially even lead to a referral. Learn more about how networking can help job seekers get noticed by potential employers in this article.

Offer examples of successful job seekers who found the recipient's name through networking. For instance, this cover letter that landed a job seeker a role at LinkedIn is a great example of how personalizing your cover letter and leveraging your network can help you stand out.

Importance of Personalization

Personalizing your cover letter can make a significant difference in the success of your job application:

Discuss the impact of personalization on the reader's impression of the applicant. A personalized cover letter demonstrates that you've done your research and are genuinely interested in the position, which can make a positive impression on the recipient.

Provide statistics on the success rate of personalized cover letters compared to generic ones. According to resume statistics , candidates with typos in their cover letters or resumes are 58% more likely to be dismissed, while those who do not include specific employment dates are 27% more likely to be dismissed.

Offer expert opinions on the importance of addressing cover letters to specific individuals. Many career experts agree that addressing cover letters to specific individuals can increase your chances of landing an interview.

Explain how personalization demonstrates research skills and genuine interest in the company. Taking the time to research the recipient and tailor your cover letter to the specific position and company shows that you're not only a thorough and detail-oriented candidate, but also genuinely interested in the opportunity.

Share anecdotes of successful job seekers who personalized their cover letters and landed interviews. For example, one job seeker found the recipient's name through LinkedIn and personalized his cover letter , which helped him land an interview and ultimately secure the position.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

In summary, addressing a cover letter to an unknown recipient can be challenging, but by following our tips and strategies, you can make a strong impression on potential employers. Remember to:

  • Research the recipient's name or use a relevant job title.
  • Personalize your cover letter to demonstrate genuine interest in the position.
  • Maintain a professional tone and formatting throughout your cover letter.
  • Avoid common mistakes that can hurt your chances of landing an interview.
  • Leverage your professional network to find the appropriate contact person.

By applying these tips to your job search, you'll increase your chances of success and make a lasting impression on potential employers. Good luck with your job applications!

IMAGES

  1. 15 Best Salutation For Cover Letter

    cover letter etiquette salutation

  2. 15 Correct Salutation For Cover Letter

    cover letter etiquette salutation

  3. Cover Letter Salutation Multiple People

    cover letter etiquette salutation

  4. How To Write Salutation In Cover Letter

    cover letter etiquette salutation

  5. FREE 5+ Sample Business Letter Salutation in MS Word

    cover letter etiquette salutation

  6. Cover Letter Format: 6-Step Guide for 2021

    cover letter etiquette salutation

VIDEO

  1. Example Personal Letter

  2. C-Weav

COMMENTS

  1. Cover Letter Salutation: Tips and Examples

    1. Avoid using a casual salutation. When sending a professional letter, it is essential to adopt a formal tone. If you are too casual in your greeting, it might make a poor impression on the recipient. They might assume that you are unaware of the etiquette required in a professional environment. 2. Avoid using the wrong title for the recipient.

  2. How to Choose the Right Greeting for Your Cover Letter

    Updated on July 16, 2021 In This Article View All Cover Letter Greetings to Avoid When You Have a Contact Person When You Don't Have a Contact Person Examples of General Salutations When to Use 'Dear' in a Cover Letter Photo: Hilary Allison / The Balance

  3. Cover Letter Salutation: 15+ Examples of Greetings

    The most professional salutation for a cover letter is "Dear." Even an email cover letter should start with "Dear," followed by the hiring manager's name and a colon or comma. Here's an example of how to format your salutation: "Dear [Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Hiring Manager's Last Name],"

  4. Cover Letter Salutations

    One more acceptable phrase to use in your cover letter salutations is "Dear Sir or Madam." This phrase accounts for either gender, which is good, although it does sound awkward since it makes a big affair out of doing so.

  5. How to Address a Cover Letter (With Examples)

    Dear Ms. Greene Dear Mr. Johnson Since your cover letter is likely going to be the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager sees, it's important to use good judgment in choosing a salutation. — Mary Morgan, SHRM-CP Avoid greetings like " Hey ," or " Hi ," which are too casual for formal documents like cover letters.

  6. Proper Cover Letter Etiquette

    Keep the salutation professional by using "Dear Mr. Jones," not "Dear Brian." Focus on the employer's needs If every other sentence of your letter begins with "I" or "my," you need to change the focus. Research the employer and find out what types of problems managers there are facing, qualities they look for in employees, and their future goals.

  7. How to Address a Cover Letter With Examples

    There are a variety of general cover letter salutations you can use to address your letter. These general cover letter salutations do not require you to know the name of the hiring manager. In a survey of more than 2,000 companies, Saddleback College found that employers preferred the following greetings:  Melissa Ling. © The Balance 2018

  8. Find the right cover letter salutation. With examples and do's and don

    Key takeaways The salutation of your cover letter is your chance to grab a recruiter's attention and make a good impression. In this blog, we explain how to write cover letter salutations with examples of do's and don'ts. Your cover letter is one of the most effective tools you have when introducing yourself to potential employers.

  9. Cover Letter Salutation & Best Greeting Examples

    Updated: December 22, 2023 Article Rating: Our customers have been hired by: Table of Contents Show No matter what situation you find yourself in, introductions are usually hard. You want to be friendly, but not arrogant, you want to be mature, but not a stick in the mud. The same goes for your cover letter salutation.

  10. How to Write The Best Cover Letter Salutations [+Examples]

    2. Add the title and name of the recruiter to the greeting. Then, follow it up with the title and the name of the recruiter. It is very important for you to find out the names of the recruiter to show your respect. 3. Write the cover letter salutation in the correct place. Just like normal letters, include the cover letter salutation right ...

  11. Eight Cover Letter Greetings for Every Situation

    Here, we'll explore the best cover letter greetings you can use to ensure your cover letter is well-received. Cover Letter Salutation and Greeting Examples. Sometimes job listings let you know who will be in charge of your application process, but sometimes they don't. Let's go over how to address your cover letters for either situation.

  12. How to Address Your Cover Letter in 2023

    3/30/2023 eclipse_images/Getty Images You've finally sat down to write that cover letter (good for you!), but immediately you run into a roadblock: How do you even start the darn thing? Who do you address it to? Should you use Mr. or Ms.? Do you include a first name?

  13. How To Format a Cover Letter (With Outline and Examples)

    Jennifer Herrity Updated June 30, 2023 A cover letter is a one-page document that highlights your qualifications and often accompanies your resume when you apply for jobs. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about creating a winning cover letter, including an outline and examples for you to follow.

  14. How To Write a Cover Letter (With Examples and Tips)

    Middle paragraph (s) Closing paragraph. Letter ending and signature. Your cover letter should be one page long and use a simple, professional font, such as Arial or Helvetica, 10 to 12 points in size. Your letter should be left-aligned with single spacing and one-inch margins. Show Transcript.

  15. Salutations in Cover Letters and E-Mail

    Salutations in Cover Letters and E-Mail. News & Trends. The opening and closing of your cover letters and thank-you notes tell potential employers about your style, who you are and your grasp of ...

  16. Writing a Great Cover Letter Salutation

    Cover Letter Salutation Examples. So, what should you write for your cover letter salutation? The best possible option is to use the name of the hiring manager. That would be "Dear Ms. Smith" or "Dear Mr. Smith.". Remember that "Mrs." is based on marital status, which you don't know, so "Ms." is a safer option if the hiring ...

  17. How To Address A Cover Letter: Proper Etiquette

    Learn which salutations to use when the hiring manager's name is unknown. ... Rest assured, these strategies are useful for those concerned with 'cover letter etiquette'. In conclusion, by making a small effort to address your cover letter correctly, you can make a strong first impression. Remember the power of details - especially when it ...

  18. How to Format Your Cover Letter in 2024

    Include a salutation It's good cover letter etiquette to address your cover letter to the hiring manager. To find their name, look for it in the job description or on the company's website. If you still can't find it, try calling the company and asking for the hiring manager's name.

  19. How to Start and End a Cover Letter

    The Sign Off - How to end a cover letter. There are only two choices: Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully. Here's a very simple way of remembering whether you end with Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully. "You can never have more than one ' S ' in a salutation and signoff.". Therefore - Dear S ir & Yours s incerely - should ...

  20. When to Use 'Dear Sir or Madam' & 17 Modern Alternatives

    No, you shouldn't use 'Dear Sir or Madam' in an email or a cover letter. The greeting 'Dear Sir or Madam' is inappropriate to use when writing an email or a cover letter for the following reasons: 1. 'Dear Sir or Madam' shows a lack of effort. Traditionally, you'd use 'Dear Sir or Madam' to address a contact person whose ...

  21. How To Address a Cover Letter Without a Name in 5 Steps

    2. Keep it formal and modern It's customary to address the recipient of the cover letter with a formal greeting. The most common and widely accepted term is "Dear," which you place before the recipient's name. Since this greeting is formal and modern, it's important that any titles that follow also embody this style.

  22. 20 Examples Of How To Address a Cover Letter to an Unknown Recipient

    Feb 13, 2023 Introduction Imagine sending out dozens of job applications, only to realize that you've been addressing your cover letters incorrectly. As it turns out, addressing a cover letter to an unknown recipient can be a tricky task.

  23. Letter and Email Salutations Examples (Plus Tips)

    The most formal salutation is Mr., Ms. and Mrs., followed by the last name of the person you refer to. This salutation is appropriate only if you're certain of the pronouns that the person you're writing to uses. If you're unsure of the person's pronouns, it's also acceptable to use a formal salutation, followed by their full name.