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You know those movies where character A can’t pronounce or understand character B’s name so they just say something like “Can I just call you Bob?” And “Bob” is never really happy about it.
That’s kind of what you’re doing when you just slap on “Dear Hiring Manager” on your cover letter because you’re too busy to deal with finding a name.
Trouble is that just like in the movie, hiring managers aren’t going to receive your cover letter very well. We’ll show you how and when to use a “Dear Hiring Manager” cover letter so that you don’t get a negative “Dear Candidate” response in return.
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Take a look at these handy articles about cover letters:
- General Cover Letter
- Career Change Cover Letter
- Cover Letter for Internal Position
- Entry-level Cover Letter
- "Dear Sir or Madam" Cover Letter
- “To Whom It May Concern” Cover Letter
- Good Cover Letter Examples For Any Application
“Dear Hiring Manager” in a Cover Letter
“Dear Hiring Manager” seems to have appeared when it turned out that “Dear Sir or Madam” and “To Whom It May Concern” were no longer fab.
The thing is, they all express the same thing—you don’t know who you’re sending your resume cover page to. How do recruiters read that? Most times, you're just too lazy to find a simple name.
But is that fair? What if you’ve searched everywhere and still can’t find a name? What if the company keeps its data under lock and key to prevent spamming? What then?
Let’s go through each situation you might encounter when sending out your cover letter.
When You Can Use a “Dear Hiring Manager” Cover Letter
Use “Dear Hiring Manager” in your cover letter only in the following situations:
1. The name of the hiring manager is nowhere to be found
This a common case when applying through recruitment or headhunting agencies. Nowadays companies also pay more attention to data security and may have concerns with sharing any employee information. This can be a major issue especially if you’re sending a cold cover letter.
If you’ve hunted far and wide and still come up nameless, a generic greeting is better than nothing at all (especially “Hello!”). That’s when you can use “Dear Hiring Manager”.
2. The name of the hiring manager is gender neutral
Let’s say the hiring manager’s name is Alex Finley. Super! Except you sent out your cover letter to “Mr. Finley” and Alex is a woman. Ouch.
The reaction to that will depend on the hiring manager’s sensitivity, but it’s better to avoid that situation from the get go. Using “Dear Hiring Manager” takes away the chance of accidentally stepping on some employer toes.
3. The hiring manager is actually a team
Some companies are huge or the number of open positions so numerous that there’s actually a team of people in recruiting. You usually get a group email address to send you job application to and it makes it doubly hard to find a specific name. To make it even more difficult, you can’t be sure which team member will read your cover letter.
Use “Dear Hiring Manager” in this situation to save yourself potential embarrassment.
“Dear Hiring Manager” Cover Letter Format
If you choose to use “Dear Hiring Manager” in your cover letter, you’ll need to add it to your covering letter format properly.
So what should you keep in mind? A common question is should “Dear Hiring Manager” be capitalized in a cover letter? Yes. Remember to follow it with a comma.
How to Address the Hiring Manager in a Cover Letter—Sample
Dear Hiring Manager,
First paragraph of cover letter
Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter
Why You Should Avoid Using “Dear Hiring Manager”
If you opened up a letter that started with “Dear Jan/John Doe” or “Dear Customer” you’d probably chuck it in the garbage. Recruiters are no different.
Chances are if a hiring manager sees “Dear Hiring Manager” at the top of their cover letter, they’ll automatically ignore it, thinking that it’s just the same generic garbage they get from everyone else. They like specifics.
To avoid that, try these tips to find a name to add to your cover letter salutation:
- Scan the job ad for a name. Check the email you’re supposed to send your resume to, sometimes the name is lurking there.
- Check the company’s website “about us” or “our team” pages to see if there’s someone there who already works in or leads the department you want to get into.
- Rummage around LinkedIn to see if you can find some company employees you could ask to give you a name.
- If you have a friend or colleague in the company you’re applying to, ask them to give you a name and details.
- Call the company and ask for the name of the hiring manager responsible for the job opening. Most companies will be happy to comply.
All these strategies give you a name, but also demonstrate that you’re willing to put some work into getting that job. In the end, quality in the job application and the candidate is what hiring managers are looking for.
Read more: How to Write a Professional Cover Letter
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“Dear Hiring Manager” Alternatives
Although “Dear Hiring Manager” is an okay go-to when you’re addressing your cover letter to unknown recruiters, you don’t have to stop there.
Here are some other options for addressing a cover letter with no hiring manager:
- Dear [title of the person you would be reporting to]
- Dear Recruiter
- Dear [Department] Manager
- Dear Recruiting Manager
- Dear Hiring Personnel
- Dear Hiring Team
- Dear HR Manager
- Dear HR/ Dear Human Resources
- Dear Hiring Committee
The first tip is especially useful since some job ads will point out who you’ll be reporting to (usually as a title, e.g. team leader, branch manager, etc). Use that information to narrow down your salutation even if the chance your future will read it is small.
Double check that your whole cover letter heading format is correct—your salutation shouldn’t be the first thing on your cover letter.
Read more: How to Address a Cover Letter
Addressing a cover letter when the hiring manager is unknown is pretty common, but that doesn’t mean you can use whatever phrase falls into your lap.
When thinking about how to address a hiring manager in a cover letter, keep this in mind:
- Using “Dear Hiring Manager” isn’t the right choice for every situation.
- Always try to find the hiring manager’s name or title.
- When using “Dear Hiring Manager”, remember to use proper capitalization and punctuation.
That’s it! Pretty straightforward, wasn’t it?
Have any questions about how to write a “Dear Hiring Manager” cover letter? Drop it down in a comment below!
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