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Just like the first message you send on Tinder can ruin your chances of meeting the match in person, the first line of your cover letter can make the recruiter squirm and reject your application.
Don’t risk it! Learn how to address a cover letter the right way ASAP.
This guide will show you:
- How to address a cover letter correctly when you know the recruiter’s name.
- Ideas on how to address a cover letter without a name.
- Who to address a cover letter to, especially if the recipient is unknown.
- Common cover letter address mistakes.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.
Sample cover letter for a resume—See more cover letter examples and create your cover letter here.
Make sure your knowledge of cover letter rules is up-to-date with these guides:
- How to Write a Cover Letter
- Cover Letter Header: What Is It & Examples
- Best Short Cover Letter Examples
- How to Sign a Cover Letter Properly
- What to Include in a Cover Letter
You can also check our collection of 100+ professional cover letter examples.
Enough chitchat—let’s dive in:
How to Address a Cover Letter With a Name
People love the sound of their own names. Studies show that babies as young as five months old already react to hearing their names. Using a person’s name in direct communication helps to establish a connection. So it’s no wonder you should use it in the cover letter address!
- Start with Dear + recipient’s first name or their first and last name.
- Use honorific titles such as Mr. or Ms. only if you’re 100% certain of the recipient’s gender identity.
- Add titles such as Mrs. or Miss only if you know for certain that the recipient prefers them.
Just like that:
Cover Letter Address Examples With Recipient’s Name
Not exactly rocket science, is it?
Writing a cover letter doesn’t have to take hours. Learn more:How to Write a Cover Letter Fast
How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Name
It’s true that many job postings don’t include the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s name. That can leave you confused. But it’s not a reason to despair. Just channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and investigate using the tips below:
Find Out Who to Address a Cover Letter To
Here are a few ideas to help you establish the right cover letter address:
- Carefully scan the job posting: make sure the hiring manager’s name's not in it—maybe you missed it on the first try?
- Analyze the email address in the job posting: an email like email@example.com most likely includes the recruiter’s name. Give it a Google search and see if a person’s profile comes up.
- Check LinkedIn: job offers posted on LinkedIn often indicate the person who created the offer. You can also take a look at the company’s LinkedIn page to see if the hiring manager is mentioned.
- Check the company website: see if it lists the department’s heads.
- Ask your business network: there’s a chance your LinkedIn connections know someone working for the company that interests you!
- Call the company: surprise, surprise—you can actually call the front desk and ask the receptionist for the name of the contact person.
Use a Professional Title in the Cover Letter Address
If the hiring manager has a specific title, such as professor or doctor, you may use it in place of a name. For example:
Dear Dr. Whitelight,
Dear Professor Maple,
Address a Cover Letter with “Dear Hiring Manager”
It’s the easiest way to address a cover letter without a name. And actually, 40% of managers prefer "Dear Hiring Manager" to any other cover letter salutation. Plus, you can replace the Hiring Manager with a different business title, such as:
As you see, this type of cover letter address works in many situations.
4 Cover Letter Address Mistakes to Avoid
Many job applicants fall for common mishaps when addressing a cover letter. Here are the most common ones—familiarize yourself with them, so you can avoid them in the future!
1. Starting the Cover Letter Address Informally
Addressing a cover letter with "Hello" or "Hi" is a tad too informal for many companies.
2. Using Dear Sir or Madam
|Dear Sir or Madam,|
Don't use Dear Sir or Madam even if you’re not sure who to address a cover letter to. It’s a very outdated phrase, and it will make you look lazy.
3. Using To Whom It May Concern
|To Whom it May Concern,|
Writing "To Whom it May Concern" in a cover letter salutation is very old-fashioned. Unless you travelled back in time, and you’re seeking employment in the 19th century, don’t use it.
4. Addressing the Cover Letter to the Wrong Person
|Dear Human Resources Director,|
This looks fine at first glance. But the HR director doesn’t necessarily have to be the hiring manager leading this particular recruitment process. Pay attention to the roles and departments mentioned in the job posting!
Pro Tip: Careful with spelling—if you address a cover letter with a misspelled name, you’ll end up looking pretty silly.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
That’s all you need to know on the subject of addressing cover letters.
Here are a few important points to remember:
- If you’re not sure who to address a cover letter to, do your best to learn the hiring manager’s name.
- If you’re sending your cover letter to an unknown recipient, use a greeting such as ‘Dear Hiring Manager.’
- Avoid salutation such as ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ and ‘To Whom It May Concern.’
Now you know how to address a cover letter correctly!
Got any questions on picking the right cover letter address in your situation? Let us know in the comments below!
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