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How to Address a Cover Letter to Recruiter or Hiring Manager
5 min read · Updated on November 24, 2021
Knowing how to effectively address a cover letter makes you a very visible and appealing candidate.
Did you know that the cardinal rule of cover letters is personalization? It impresses a hiring manager or recruiter because it tells them you took time to research the specific information for the letter rather than sending a generic version.
What many people forget, however, is that the greeting or salutation in a cover letter must also be personalized with the hiring professional's first and last name whenever possible.
There are several effective ways to find the hiring manager's name for your greeting — and some acceptable back-up strategies when you can't. Either way, knowing how to address a cover letter effectively can prevent you from ending your hiring chances before they even begin.
When you know the hiring manager's name
More often than not, you'll be given the name of the hiring professional or the manager that you'll work for. Whoever it is, use their full name (first and last name) in the greeting.
If you cannot definitively tell the gender of the hiring person, do not use a gender-based title such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” in the greeting. Instead just use the person's full name.
For example, Alex Johnson could be male or female. To avoid a gender mistake, use Dear Alex Johnson, Hello Alex Johnson, or simply Alex Johnson .
However, professional titles such as “Professor” or “Dr.” are definitely acceptable as a cover letter salutation and should be used as a sign of respect. Be on the lookout for these and other titles to include.
How to find a hiring manager's name for your cover letter
If you're not given the name of the hiring manager, here are some effective ways to discover their name by using:
The job description: Check this document for the hiring manager's name. While it's not generally listed, you never know. If it's not obvious, there's also a trick to quickly discover an email in the job description that might contain the name; while in the document, press Ctrl +F or run Command + F and search for the @ symbol.
An email address: If you discover an email address, it may not have a full name but rather a first initial and last name or just a first name like [email protected] or [email protected] . A Google search combining the person's name as shown in the email and the company name might find you the person's full name.
A LinkedIn post: A name connected to the LinkedIn job posting is probably that of the hiring professional who posted it, so use that name in your greeting.
The supervisor's title: It's more likely that a job description will list who the new hire will report to — such as the director of accounting — without listing a name. In this case, there are several search options:
Search the company's website for listings of staff members by title.
Run an advanced LinkedIn or Google search for all directors of accounting at that specific company.
Check with your network for someone who might know the person's name or search the appropriate professional networking sites.
Contact the company by phone or email. Tell them you're applying for [job title] and want to address your cover letter to the right person.
In the end, this research can be the difference between making a great first impression and getting noticed for the position — or getting totally ignored by the hiring manager.
Acceptable options in lieu of a name
If you try the steps above and come up empty, there are still some alternative greeting options that will put you in a professional light.
The idea is to show that you've read the job description and tailored your greeting based on the company department where the job is located, the hiring manager's title, or the team with which you'll potentially work.
Some good examples include:
Dear Head of Design
Hello IT Department
Dear Accounting Manager
To Company ABC Recruiter/Hiring Professional
Hello Marketing Hiring Team
Dear Customer Support Hiring Group
Dear Human Resources
If you still can't find any specific name or department information, go with “Dear Hiring Manager.” It sounds professional and it's not gender-specific. In fact, a recent survey of over 2000 companies by Saddleback College showed that 40 percent preferred “Dear Hiring Manager” as the best greeting when a manager's name can't be found.
“Dear Sir or Madam” is another option that works because it's gender-neutral and respectful. However, it sounds a bit old-fashioned and may signal a hiring professional that you're an older worker or just not aware of other greeting options. It's perfectly acceptable, but the better choice is “Dear Hiring Manager.”
In the end, an actual name or any of the alternative examples will let you stand out from the crowd, so do your best to find and use those whenever you can.
Never leave the greeting blank
Whatever information you may or may not find, it's important to never leave your greeting line blank.
A blank greeting line can make you come across as lazy or rude, or imply that you simply don't understand how to write a cover letter — all of which will immediately put you out of contention for the job. There's no reason to leave the greeting blank when there are so many options that can be used effectively.
When you spend the time and effort to personalize your cover letter, you don't want to come across as “just another candidate” by using a generic greeting or no greeting at all.
A personalized greeting will impress any hiring professional, increasing the chance they'll read your entire cover letter — and ask you for an interview.
Not sure if your cover letter is cutting it? Our writers don't just help you with your resume .
Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?
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How To Write a Cover Letter (With Example)
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From Bland to Beautiful: How We Made This Professional's Resume Shine
See how your resume stacks up.
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How to Address a Cover Letter in 2024
Yes, how you address your cover letter matters.
After all, this is the first thing the recruiter reads when going through your cover letter, and yes, there is a right and wrong way to do it.
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to address your cover letter in such a way that you leave a positive impression on any recruiter!
- How to address a cover letter to a recruiter? (Casual or formal)
- What title to use when addressing the hiring manager
- How to address a cover letter without a contact person/to a company
- How to address a cover letter without an address
- How to address a cover letter in an email
How to Address a Cover Letter To a Recruiter (Casual or Formal)?
As we already mentioned, the way you address your cover letter is important because it is the very first thing recruiters see upon opening your cover letter.
A well-formulated cover letter address means that you care enough to research the company (i.e. to find the hiring manager’s name and title) and that you show attention to detail.
As such, you should always put some research into who you’re addressing your cover letter to and do so in a formal way.
And yes, the formal part is important too. The recruiter isn’t your best friend - you want to maintain a sense of professionalism.
If this is how you address the recruiter in your cover letter:
- What’s up Hiring Manager
- Hi there Hiring Team
Then you say goodbye to the job.
Now, you’re probably wondering, how can I find out whom to address my cover letter to?
That’s what we’re about to teach you:
Who Am I Addressing My Cover Letter To?
Here are some tricks to find the full name of the hiring manager:
- Check the job listing. The job listing may have information about the recruiter or the department doing the hiring. Make sure to read through the entire job listing, as it might not be at an entirely obvious place.
- Check the company website. Some websites feature the names of the hiring managers or heads of departments that may go through your cover letter. Alternatively, LinkedIn is another place where you can look for this information.
- Check the company’s LinkedIn. You can look up who works in the company you’re applying for on their LinkedIn page.
- Ask around. Do you have friends that work for the company? They could provide you with valuable inside info.
To avoid making a bad impression, head over to our guide on cover letter mistakes to learn about what NOT to do when writing your cover letter.
Addressing a Cover Letter With a Name
By now, you have probably found the hiring manager’s full name and gender. With this information available, it’s best to address the hiring manager formally, as follows:
- Dear Mr. Brown,
- Dear Miss Fitzpatrick,
- Dear Mrs. Lockhart,
- Dear Ms. Walters,
If, for some reason, you are unsure about the person’s title, gender, marital status, or preferred pronouns, just address them using their entire name to avoid any mistakes. For example:
- Dear Alex Brown,
- Dear Blair Fitzpatrick,
- Dear Jesse Lockhart,
- Dear Madison Walters,
Addressing someone with a title
Now, if you found out that the hiring manager has a professional or academic title, then it’s more appropriate to address them using that title. If, for example, the hiring manager has a Ph.D., then it’s more respectful to address them as “Dr. Last Name,” instead of “Mr. Last Name.”
Here are some professional titles and how they’re abbreviated:
- A professor is Prof.
- A reverend is Rev.
- A sergeant is Sgt.
- Honorable is Hon.
If, however, you are uncertain about how a title is abbreviated, then avoid it altogether.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea:
- Dear Prof. Welsch,
- Dear Director Smith,
- Dear Rev. Owen,
Dear Dr. Leonard,
When addressing women and you don’t know their marital status, always go with Ms., because it doesn’t comment on marital status. Some women prefer not to be addressed with Miss or Mrs. even when they’re married, so sticking with Ms. is the best choice.
Want to learn more cover letter tips ? Our guide has all you need to ace your cover letter!
How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Contact Person
It might happen that, no matter how hard you search, you can’t find the name of the hiring manager or department head that will read your cover letter.
In that case, you can address your cover letter to the department, faculty, or the company.
- Dear Software Development Hiring Team,
- Dear Customer Service Department Hiring Team,
- Dear Head of the Literature Faculty,
- Dear Director of Marketing,
- Dear Human Resources Recruitment Team,
Alternatively, if you don’t have enough information either about the department or the team, you can opt for addressing the cover letter directly to the company’s hiring staff, as follows:
Dear [Company Name] Hiring Team
Dear [Company Name] Recruiting Staff
If all else fails (meaning, you don’t know the name of the department head or even the exact department, in addition to the recruiter) then you can use one of the good, old-fashioned:
Dear Hiring Manager,
...but NOT the impersonal and way outdated “To whom it may concern” and “Dear Sir/Madam.”
Starting a cover letter can be challenging. Our guide can show you how to start a cover letter that will get you results from the get-go.
How to Format the Company’s Address
Before you reach the salutation, you have to make sure that the header with the recipient’s contact information is formatted correctly.
It might not be the deciding point of whether you’ll secure an interview or not, but it will cost you points if it’s off.
So, the first thing you want to do is add your name and surname on the upper left side of the cover letter. Underneath, you should write your professional title (if applicable), your email , and your phone number .
Now, after you’ve also added the date, you should leave one more space and add the recipient’s contact information and, most importantly, the company’s address.
It should look something like this on your cover letter:
When You Can’t Find the Company’s Address
Some companies might have several addresses listed (as per their branches, for example), or even none at all.
Since an application that doesn’t have an address line could end up lost or misplaced, make sure you do one of the following before skipping the company’s address completely:
- Check all your resources, (pretty much like when you were looking for the hiring manager’s name) to find the company’s address.
- Use the company’s headquarter address. This is sometimes easier to find, especially if the company has several branches.
- Use the P.O. Box number for the company. This is not as specific as an actual address line, but if all else fails, it’s still something.
Frequently, you’ll be asked to submit your job application (including your cover letter) electronically, or by email. In those cases, you can skip the address line altogether.
Here’s how you’d go about addressing a cover letter in an email.
How to Address an Email Cover Letter
If you’re sending your job application through email, chances are you’ll need to format your cover letter in the body of the email, or as an attachment along with your resume.
First and foremost when you’re addressing a cover letter in an email is the subject line, which should be between 6-10 words long.
Considering that hiring managers receive countless emails daily, you want to make sure that yours is a job application immediately. And the way to do that is straight through the subject line, which should indicate exactly the position you’re applying for and your name so that it’s easier to find through the recruiter’s swarmed mailbox.
Here’ what we mean by that:
- Subject Line: John Doe - Software Development Job Application
- Subject Line: John Doe - Job Application for Marketing Manager Position
- Subject Line: John Doe - Stock Manager Job Application
Afterward, if you’re including your cover letter in the body of the email (as opposed to attaching it as a document), begin by using a salutation, add space, and start your letter.
If someone referred you for the position, make sure to mention that in the subject line of your email as well as in your opening paragraph.
So, let’s see how all the above plays out in practice:
Subject Line: John Doe - Carl Jacob’s Referral for Software Developer
I was very glad that Mr. Jacobs, a long-time partner at your firm who also happens to be my mentor from college, referred me for the Software Developer position.
Do you want your style, personality, and overall personal brand to shine through your application? With Novorésumé, you can match your cover letter with your resume to make a lasting impression!
And that’s all there is when it comes to addressing a cover letter! You should feel much more confident in doing so by now.
Either way, let’s go over the main points we covered throughout the article:
- Your cover letter address should be formal and well-researched. Don’t address the hiring manager with “hey,” “what’s up,” “hi there,” or even the old-fashioned “Dear Sir/Madam” and “To Whom It May Concern.”
- Always try to find the hiring manager’s full name and professional title through the company’s website, LinkedIn, by calling, or by asking someone who works there.
- If you know the hiring manager’s name, go with “Dear Mr./Miss Last Name,” but if you’re unsure about their gender, marital status, or preferred pronoun, just address them using their full name.
- If the recruiter has a professional or academic title, it’s more appropriate to address them using their title.
- If you can’t find the contact person’s name, then address the department, faculty, or company (i.e. Dear Microsoft Hiring Team , or Dear Software Development Recruitment Team ).
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How to Address a Cover Letter: Tips + Examples for Every Type
Learn how to address a cover letter under different circumstances and how to find a contact to send the letter to when you don’t have a name.
When you're applying for a job or contacting an employer speculatively, the format of your cover letter will vary depending on whether you have a named contact and the reason for your letter. It's important that you address a cover letter properly as it's the first thing the reader will see, so you should strive to make a good first impression with it.
In this article, you'll learn what a cover letter is and why it's important along with tips on how to address different recipients for various types of cover letters.
What is a cover letter and why is it important?
A cover letter is a document sent in conjunction with your resume or application for a job opening. A great cover letter expresses your reason for applying and pulls together all the main evidence supporting why you're the best person for the job, as outlined in your resume, application, and any other supporting documents.
Each cover letter you write is highly tailored to the position you’re applying for and the hiring company. It should address essential criteria and elaborate on important points in your resume. Consider your cover letter to be your sales pitch. A great cover letter will be an invitation for a recruiter to read your resume or application.
Who do you address a cover letter to?
Your cover letter should be addressed to the person responsible for recruitment. If you don’t know the name of the person, there are ways to find out. Getting this can be the difference between your letter being read or lost in the pile, so follow the guidelines below to make sure you address your cover letter most effectively.
Addressing a cover letter with a name
If you have a name for your recipient, this is the best start. It means the letter will likely be delivered to the appropriate person, rather than get lost or sent to someone without the decision-making power you require.
A cover letter is a formal document, and so it should be addressed as such. The most professional way to do this is with “Dear.” For example:
Dear Mr. Miller,
Dear Ms. Jones,
Dear Dr. Lopez,
If you don’t know the person’s gender or preferred pronouns, you can use their first name. For example: “Dear James Miller.” Follow the salutation with a comma.
What about "Mrs."?
Traditionally, "Mrs." was used to address married women who took their partner's surname after they tied the knot. Today, though, it's less common in professional settings and likely best to avoid, unless your recipient has explicitly used it to refer to themselves in their correspondence with you.
For female identifying recruiters, u se "Ms." instead of "Mrs." in most cases. This will help ensure that you don't inadvertently offend your recipient, who may be unmarried or who is married but didn't adopt their partner's last name.
Addressing a cover letter to a recipient with a professional title
If the recipient of your cover letter has a professional title, always include it. Someone with a PhD will be "Dr." rather than "Mr./Ms." This also makes things easier if you are unsure of which personal pronoun to use.
Addressing a cover letter without a named recipient
When you're uncertain what the name of your recipient is, it’s definitely worth taking the time to find it. This is covered in more detail in our "First steps in determining a recipient" section below.
But, if you absolutely can’t find a name, address your cover letter to the appropriate department within the company or organization. For example: “Dear [Department] Hiring Team.” If you know the job title of the person you need to send your letter to and it’s just their actual name that eludes you, address their position instead. For instance: “Dear Head of [Department]” or “Dear Director of [Department].”
Addressing a speculative cover letter
When writing a speculative cover letter—one that isn't in response to a job posting—the principles are much like the above. You may or may not know the name of the person you're trying to reach. If you do, so much the better. Include the name.
The difference with a speculative letter is that you may have been given the name of the appropriate recipient by a mutual connection. If this is the case, mention that connection in your introduction. For example:
Dear Mr. Morris,
I was given your details by my former employer, Jenny Lee, of Brandenburg and Associates following news of the development of your new customer service department.
Addressing a cover letter sent by email
Addressing a cover letter to send via email is slightly different from a printed letter. A printed letter would include the address of the recipient and the date, which is not necessary in an email, as the letter will simply be the body of the email.
However, your email still needs to be as professional as a traditional cover letter. Use a formal way of addressing the letter, just as you would in a printed cover letter.
The subject line is all-important with an email cover letter in order to be noticed amid the hundreds of emails a recruiter might receive. Include your name, the job title you’re applying for or reason for contact, and what is included in the documents you're sending. An example of an appropriate email subject line might be:
Helen Williams – Marketing Manager Position – resume and cover letter
If you have a recipient’s name but you're sending your email to an ‘info’ address, you can include ‘ FAO ’ (For the attention of) in your title:
FAO Mark Booth – Helen Williams – Marketing Manager Position
How to find the right recipient
If you don’t have a recipient for your cover letter, you'll need to do some research. It might even be the case that you have a name, but not an email address. Here are some tips for hunting down elusive contacts and their addresses.
1. Research websites
Check out the company website and social media sites. Use Google to piece together what you know and find details on lesser-known websites, such as About pages. For example, if you know the desired department to contact, you can search for, “Head of Marketing for [Department]” and see what it brings up.
If you have a name but no contact address, you can search your contact: “Mr Jones, Head of Marketing at [Company].” You may be lucky enough to find a social media page this way, if not a contact email address.
2. Call the company
The good old-fashioned telephone is an excellent way to find out a contact for your cover letter. Call the company, explain why you are calling, and ask them to whom you should send your cover letter and resume.
3. Check LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great tool for finding people thanks to its built-in and highly effective search function. You can search by the person's name if you have one, and for more advanced searches, you can even add in the company and location. If you find the person you’re looking for, you will see a ‘Contact info’ link on their profile under their name, so you can attempt to message them and ask.
If you don’t have a name, you can search the company and see who is listed as an employee. If the person you want isn’t listed, you may be able to contact someone in a related department, such as HR, and ask for assistance. You may even be able to get an introduction from a mutual connection.
Read more: Letter of Introduction Writing Guide + Samples
Formatting your cover letter
The format of your letter is as important as who you send it to. When you’ve put in the effort of tracking down the most appropriate recipient, you’re going to want the rest of the letter to stand out, too.
Address and date
Your letter should be professionally formatted with your name, address, phone number, and email address in the top left. On the next line down, add the date, followed by the name and address of the recipient. As with any document, you begin writing the cover letter with ‘Dear [Name]’ on the left of the page.
If you are sending your letter digitally, which is far more common these days, your letter should be in the body of the text and you need to include the date, your city/state, phone number and email address at the top, but not the recipient's name and address.
Cover letter template
Using a cover letter template can be very helpful. Generally, cover letters follow the same format (aside from the address at the top) and should ideally be no longer than a page, whether they are printed or emailed. Feel free to download this cover letter template for your use.
When deciding how to address a cover letter and who to send it to, your efforts in finding the right person and formatting your cover letter professionally can help you get the interview you're looking for. For further help on crafting cover letters that get you noticed, you can check out the Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters course offered by the University of Maryland on Coursera.
Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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How to address a cover letter?
I'm sure that you had to create a cover letter at some point in your job search. And like most other job seekers, you probably came across this problem: "How to address a cover letter?"
Most of the time, you have no idea who is going to read the cover letter.
So, how to address a cover letter without a name?
Hiring managers get roughly 100-200 resumes every day. And, they are already under a lot of pressure to sort the resumes.
On top of that, if they get cover letters that do not have proper formatting and do not address the hiring manager in the cover letter header, mark my words; they will surely throw your resume away.
In a resume cover letter, minute details make or break your chance of being hired.
So, you need to make sure that you know how to address cover letter correctly.
In this blog, we will tell you everything you need to know about:
- Who to address cover letter to?
- How to address a cover letter without a name?
- How to find out who to address a cover letter to?
- How to address an email cover letter?
- How to address a cover letter for internal position?
- What should you not do when addressing a cover letter?
- Example of Proper Cover letter address format?
- Some common question about how to address cover letter
Who to Address a Cover Letter To?
Ideally, you need to address your cover letter to hiring managers , not the recruiters .
In many job postings, the name or email address of the hiring manager is given.
If you are lucky enough to find such job listings, then you are sorted. You can write a personalized cover letter addressing the hiring manager directly.
Unfortunately, not many job listing sites give the name and email address of the contact person.
Do not quit and send the cover letter without a name.
Go to the company website/about page and see if it has the list of staff.
That way, you can probably get the hiring manager's name or someone from the talent acquisition department to whom you need to address your cover letter.
The critical aspect is to do a lot of research .
Suppose you still don't find any name or contact information of anyone in the hiring department. In that case, you can also address your cover letter to someone in authority in other departments, such as the senior manager or the head of the department you are applying for.
It is a hundred times better to address your cover letter to someone in the organization than not addressing it at all.
At least, this way, they will understand that you are not throwing rocks in the dark. You have done your research and have good ideas about the organization.
Also Read: How to write a stellar cover letter in 2022?
How to Address a Cover letter Without a Name?
There are plenty of generic cover letter salutations you can use in your cover letter. These generic cover letter salutations eliminate the need to know the name of the contact person.
The only drawback is that you have no option to personalize your cover letter.
A survey conducted by Saddleback College has seen that only 8% of hiring managers are ok with a cover letter without name. But 92% of hiring managers prefer to have some address in the cover letter.
- Dear Hiring Manager (40%)
- Dear Sir/Madam (27%)
- To Whom It May Concern (17%)
- Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
However, we don't recommend you to use to whom it may concern in your cover letter address.
Instead, the best general salutation can be "Dear Hiring Manager."
If you want to personalize the address, you can address your cover letter to the specific department you are applying for. For example, "Dear Digital Marketing Department."
How to Address Cover Letter When You Don't Know Hiring Manager's Gender?
There will be times when you will find the gender-neutral name of the hiring manager. In that case, altogether avoid using gender-specific cover letter addresses. Instead, address with their both name and last name in the salutation like this:
- Dear John Doe,
- Dear Charlie Brown ,
- Dear Taylor Paisley,
Hiration Pro Tip : In this type of gender-neutral name, you can search for the person on Linkedin to find out their gender. Alternatively, you can search on the company page or call the company reception to get more information about the hiring manager.
How to Address Cover Letter When You Know Hiring Manager's Gender?
If you know the hiring manager's gender, things will be much easier for you. For men, you can address the hiring manager with "Mr.," but things get a bit tricky for female hiring managers.
You have addressed the hiring manager with "Miss.," and if she turns out to be married, it will not look good on your part. You definitely do not want to offend your hiring manager.
Instead of "Miss" or "Mrs.," use " Ms.," which does not focus on their marital status.
- Dear. Ms. Moore,
- Dear Miss Jane,
- Dear Mrs. Black,
Should You Address the Hiring Manager With Only Their First Name?
If you know the hiring manager personally, only then can you use their first name to address the cover letter. Else, address the letter with their full name.
How to Use Professional Titles When Addressing a Cover Letter?
If the hiring manager has a professional or academic title, don't forget to address them by their title. You can write the full title like this:
- "Dear Doctor Taylor,"
Or you can use the abbreviated form like this:
- Dear Dr. Taylor ,
- Dear Sgt. Park,
- Dear Prof. Hoverman,
- Dear Principal Fury,
Also Read: How long should a cover letter be?
How Do You Find Out Who to Address a Cover Letter To?
If you don't find the hiring manager's name and contact information on the job description, don't just leave it like that! Do some research and put some effort into finding the name and email id of the hiring manager.
It may take some extra effort, but it shows that you are interested in this job. This section will tell you everything you need to know about finding the hiring manager's name and to who you address a cover letter.
Call the Company
Calling the company to ask for a hiring manager's details is the best way to accurately determine the hiring manager's name and number.
- Call the company desk
- State who you are and why you are calling
- Tell that you are applying for a job position and confirm who the hiring manager is for addressing in the cover letter.
- Most of the time, the hiring manager will happily give you the information you need.
Tip : When taking their name, ask for the spelling of the hiring manager's name. You do not want to screw up the spelling.
If the company desk refuses to give information for any reason, don't worry; we have four other ways in our arsenal.
Network With People Working With Prospective Employer
The second best way to get the hiring manager's name and contact information is to connect with your prospective employer's employees.
This way, you can ask your connection to refer you to the hiring manager or ask for the hiring manager's contact information when a job becomes available.
It is easier than you think.
Just do a quick Linkedin search and see the employers active on Linkedin.
Now, slowly start engaging with the person you want to connect with.
After a couple of days, send them a personalized connection request and slowly build a rapport.
You do not want to ask right out for reference after introducing yourself. Instead, add some value to the conversation, and show genuine interest in them.
This process takes some time, but the connection you will make with these people will take you a long way in your professional journey.
Read the Job Description Carefully
It is a sad truth that most job seekers do not read the job description carefully. In this way, they miss vital information and potentially the hiring manager's contact name and details.
Most of the job descriptions contain the email address of the hiring manager at the end. And you can easily find the name of the contact person with the email address.
Most professional email ids contain the name of the person and the company name. For example, [email protected] has two parts- Judy.M and hiraiton.com.
And if you search on Google by the first part of the email address "Judy.M" and the company name, there is a high chance that you will find the Linkedin profile of the respective person. And you can get to know other information about them as well.
Find Out Who Will Become Your Superior or Manager
Many job descriptions include the details about the reporting manager. In such cases, you need to address your cover letter to the reporting manager.
You can find more information about the reporting manager by a quick Linkedin search with the reporting manager's job title and the company.
If the company is larger, there may be multiple individuals with the same job title. In that case, you can further narrow down your search by location.
Do an Online Search
Another easy way to search for the hiring manager is by simply doing a Google search. Google will show you the most relevant results for your search query. Example: See in this example how the first result itself answered your question.
Also Read: How to address a cover letter without name?
How to Address a Email Cover Letter?
We live in a digital age now.
Nowadays, most candidates send email cover letters to the hiring managers. And hiring managers get 100s of email cover letters daily.
To stand out from these 100s of email cover letters, you need to make sure your email cover address is perfect.
1. Subject Line of Email Cover Letter
The first thing the hiring manager will see is your email cover letter subject line. So, never leave the subject line blank.
Hiring managers sort the email cover letters by the job title. And if your cover letter does not have a subject line, it will not show in the hiring manager's list.
Here is an example cover letter subject line :
Subject line: Job Application for Video Editor Position, Ref: Hanna Moore
2. Address the Cover Letter in the Correct Way
The rules of a formal cover letter and an email cover letter salutation are similar. You can refer to the previous section of this blog to know more about it. Here is an example of an email cover letter address
- "Dear Mr. Doe,"
Note : Recent trends have seen many job seekers do not include "Dear" in the salutation. You can do that too. There is nothing wrong with it.
Also Read: How to start a cover letter for maximum impact?
How to Address a Cover Letter for Internal Position?
If you address the cover letter to higher management or hiring manager, always use their name to address in the cover letter.
luckily, since it's an internal position, you can easily find the name of the person by asking your colleagues.
What Not to Do When Addressing a Cover Letter
Even if you did everything right on your resume and cover letter, starting it wrong may cost you a chance to get a call for an interview.
Let's see what you should not do when addressing a cover letter.
Do Not Address the Cover Letter to the Recruiter
" Recruiters do not read cover letters. "
Recruiters only sort the resumes by keywords and forward the same to the hiring managers.
This is the golden rule you need to keep in mind when addressing a cover letter. Always address the cover letter to the hiring manager.
Do Not Address the Cover Letter to an Ex. Hiring Manager
Company websites do not get updated regularly. If a hiring manager leaves the company, you may still find their name and contact information on the website or other third-party websites. So, be extra careful when addressing a cover letter.
Spelling the Hiring Manager or Company Name Wrong
Do not sabotage your first impression by making a spelling mistake on the hiring manager's name or the company name. It demonstrates a lack of attention to detail.
Do Not Start With a Bland Greeting
Avoid using to whom it may concern cover letter address. It is very generic and shows utter laziness on your part. It projects that you did not put much effort into writing the cover letter.
Example of a Cover Letter Address Format
Here is an example of a proper cover letter address format:
Frequently Asked Questions
How to address a cover letter to a large company.
If you have to address a cover letter to a large company, and you don't know the hiring manager's name, you can always address the cover letter to the department you are applying job to. For example:
- Dear Finance Department
- Dear Marketing Team
- Dear Customer Service Department
Can I get creative with my cover letter address?
There is no restriction on being creative with addressing a cover letter. It is essential to research and understand who your audience is and if he/she will appreciate your creativity.
For example, if you do something creative with your cover letter salutation to apply in a creative field, it will get the hiring manager's attention.
On the other hand, if you apply for a technical position, you might hold off from showing your creativity on the cover letter address.
Should a cover letter address the company location?
It is a traditional practice to include the company address in the cover letter. Primary because it is a formal document, it would be better to add the company address before starting your cover letter.
Should a cover letter header include the candidate's address?
The candidate's address is an essential part of the cover letter. If not the whole address, at least City, Country should be mentioned in the cover letter. Example:
- "Pine Bluff, AR"
This helps the hiring manager sort the candidates based on location.
Also, the Application Tracking Softwares sort the resumes and cover letters based on their locations. And if your location is not mentioned in the cover letter, it might get unnoticed by the ATS software.
Should a cover letter header, and resume header be the same?
Ideally, your cover letter header should be the name of the role you are applying for. And resume heading should be your current job title. For example, if you are currently working as a data analyst, your Resume headline should be something like:
- "Jr. Data Analyst."
And you are applying for a Data Scientist position, then your cover letter heading should be,
- "Data Scientist"
There is no hard and fast rule, but this is the approach we at Hiration follow, and it has been working for our clients.
You can also write the same heading for the cover letter and resume if you like. It has some added advantages. If the cover letter gets misplaced, it will be a lot easier to trace it back to the resume.
How to write the intro to a cover letter?
If you want to hook the hiring manager to read your cover letter, you need to write a professional intro explaining why you are applying and what role you are applying for.
You need to remember that hiring managers are often dealing with recruitment for more than one position. And it will help them if you specifically mention what role you are applying for.
With that, we have come to the end of this blog. By now, you should get all of your questions answered. But still, if you have any questions regarding how to address a cover letter and who to address a cover letter, let's go over the key takeaways of the blog:
- Do not send the cover letter without addressing someone.
- If you do not know who to address, call the company desk or go to LinkedIn to search the hiring manager's name.
- If you do not know the name, you can address the cover letter with "Dear Hiring Manager,"
- Alternatively, you can address the cover letter to the head of the department you are applying for. For example: "Dear Sr. Marketing Manager,"
- Make sure to use accurate professional and academic titles with the name of hiring managers.
- Do not use "To whom it may concern." It is old-fashioned and does not impress the hiring manager nowadays.
Go to Hiration career platform which has 24/7 chat support and get professional assistance with all your job & career-related queries. You can also write to us at [email protected] and we will make sure to reach out to you as soon as possible.
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How to address a cover letter | with examples
The way you start your cover letter counts.
It’s the first thing a hiring manager sees when they open your application so you need to make them excited to peek into your CV .
In our guide, we’ll show you the ropes on how to address your cover letter, and even teach you how to find the recruiter or hiring manager’s name for maximum impact.
Address the hiring manager or recruiter directly
Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name to start building a rapport with them.
Something simple like, “Hi Lucy” will do the trick.
According to recent research , simply seeing your own name can trigger a strong response in the brain. So, be sure to do this, to captivate the recruiter’s attention.
How to find the recruiter or hiring manager’s name
You may be wondering, “How do I figure out their name?”
There are several ways to find out the name of the person handling the job opening, which we’ll look at below.
When you’re reading a job advert, you’ll sometimes find the name and email address of the person you need to get in touch with directly in the ad.
Look out for the section that says “For enquiries” or “Contact person”.
For example, the advert might say something like:
“For more info, please contact Susan Wright at [email protected].”
Usually, this person manages that job vacancy.
If you see this information, it’s your lucky day – job adverts are the simplest way to find the correct name.
If you can’t find the recruiter’s name on the job advert , and you’re applying for a job directly via a company, check out their website.
Keep an eye out for a “Who We Are” , “About Us” or “Our Team” section.
Here, you’ll usually be able to find the info about the people who work there, including the head of the department or hiring team connected to the position you’re applying for.
Look at the people’s profiles to get the one that fits your job’s department.
If you have trouble finding it directly, use the search bar on the company’s website and type in “Head of [Department Name]” or “HR Manager”.
You could also run a Google search for “[Company name] + team” for a quick way of finding an About Page for a particular team or department.
LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find a hiring manager or recruiter because millions of them are registered on the platform.
Firstly, ascertain the company that posted the position and the team it’s connected with from the information provided in the job advert.
When you know the department and organisation, head over to LinkedIn . Here, you can use the search bar to look for the company name, department or job title associated with the job opening.
Let’s say you’re applying for a marketing vacancy at Tesco. You can search for “Marketing Manager” in the search bar like this:
Once the search results appear, click the “People” filter button to narrow down your findings further so that you’re only seeing people (and not companies or groups).
Then make sure you choose your target company under “Current Company” – this ensures you only view people who are current employees.
You will need to type the name of the company into the text box like this:
Click on the name of the company you typed in. In this case, it’s “Tesco.”
Then hit the blue “Show results” button.
And examine the profiles that come up.
You’ll be able to find the person handling the job applications by looking for titles such as “recruitment manager” or “team leader” .
And once you view their profiles you may even be able to get hold of their phone number or email address.
Here is how you can find a person’s email address via the contact details, if they have entered them.
Click on their profile then seek out the “Contact info” section.
This sits under their profile picture and headline.
If the user has made their contact info visible, you’ll see it here.
Often, you can locate additional contact info, such as email addresses, in the “About” or “Summary” section of their profile.
To do this, scroll down to the user’s “About” section.
If the user has decided to include their email address, you’ll see it here.
If you can’t find an email, you can contact them directly through LinkedIn.
Here’s how you’d do this:
- Send a connection request – Send the person a connection request and a message. When they accept your request, you’ll be able to write an accompanying message.
- Use InMail – If this specific individual isn’t in your network, use the LinkedIn InMail. This is a premium feature which lets you send messages to LinkedIn members outside of your network – it’s useful but do. Of course, there is a fee to use this feature but it’s a useful tool.
What if you can’t find a name?
Don’t panic if you can’t find the name of the individual you’re trying to address. This will happen a lot during your job search .
In such cases, it’s absolutely fine to begin with a friendly “Hi.”
But don’t use expressions like “Dear Sir or Madam” – this sounds extremely outdated and aloof.
If you use the word “Hi”, this ensures your cover letter is more amicable and modern , even when you’re unsure of the person’s name.
This is a courteous and simple way to start if you have difficulty locating the specific hiring manager’s name.
How to write a cover letter email subject line
A recruiter’s inbox gets flooded with applications, so when you write your cover letter email , your initial goal is to entice them to read your email.
You must catch their attention with a compelling subject line and give a captivating reason for them to click on your message.
Avoid using generic subject lines, such as:
- “Check This Out” – Subject lines like this sound spammy, and hiring managers may ignore it.
- “Important” – Recruiters won’t know why your email is important – they might deem it clickbait.
- “CV Attached” – This subject line doesn’t offer any context or engage the recruiter in any way at all.
- “Hire Me” – This comes across as too blunt and provides no context.
- “I Need a Job” – This sounds too direct and may sound a little too desperate.
- “Looking for Work” – While you’re being upfront, this isn’t an engaging subject line.
Instead of including any of these generic subject lines, you must promote your selling points right off the bat.
For instance, use subject lines that highlight your skills and expertise in a concise, screen-friendly title.
Determine your main strengths as an applicant and invent a way to integrate them into your subject line.
You could say something like:
- “Veteran Graphic Designer with a Portfolio of Projects”
- “Registered Nurse with Intensive Care Unit Expertise”
- “Committed Secondary School Teacher with 10 Years’ Classroom Expertise”
- “Certified IT Professional with Experience in Network Security”
These subject lines are effective because they communicate key information and value to hiring managers clearly and concisely. Each tells the recruiter about your qualifications and expertise and is tailored to the specific job or field.
A recruiter is more likely to open an email from someone who can potentially meet their requirements.
A quick tip: Remember, subject lines have a limited amount of space – you’ll probably only be able to squeeze in between 30 and 35 characters.
How not to address a cover letter
When you’re addressing your cover letter , some things simply aren’t worth including. These old-fashioned or overly formal ways of starting a cover letter can make a negative first impression.
So, avoid the below phrases in your cover letter greeting:
- “Dear Sir or Madam” – This is far too old-fashioned and doesn’t show much effort. It’s also fairly impersonal.
- “What’s up, [Department Name]?” – This is excessively informal and will probably give hiring managers the wrong impression about you. It also doesn’t address the specific person.
Steer clear of these unimpressive ways to address your cover letter and plump for a more personal, engaging approach, like “Hi James” or “Hello Sarah”. Don’t forget, you need to get the perfect balance of friendliness and professionalism.
Are Cover Letters Necessary?
Do cover letters matter these days? It depends on who you ask.
Some recruiters love learning more about each job applicant, while others find the practice antiquated. So should you write one if it might not even be read at all?
Keep reading for advice from career coaching experts, plus:
- When you should (and shouldn't) write a cover letter
- What to do when a cover letter is "optional"
- Tips for writing an effective cover letter
- What an effective cover letter template looks like
Do I Need a Cover Letter ?
In most cases, yes—you should submit a cover letter with your resume.
While the cover letter has increasingly become a divisive topic among recruiters and job seekers , it's still often listed as a requirement on job applications .
But regardless, many recruiters still think cover letters are important.
According to a 2023 study by recruitment website Zippia , more than a fourth (26 percent) of recruiters "always read cover letters " and think they're an important component of the hiring decision. And almost half (45 percent) said that not including a cover letter could get your application rejected.
So in most cases, it's best to be cautious and include one.
In short, including a cover letter will almost never hurt your job search —but it can help.
- It can help you stand out from the crowd . Recruiters read through countless resumes for just one role. If you have similar qualifications as other candidates, a cover letter allows you to showcase your personality and unique skills.
- It shows you're willing to go the extra mile . Searching for a new job is already a lot of effort, so it may be difficult to rationalize writing a customized cover letter for each role. But the Zippia study found that 61 percent of hiring managers consider a customized resume (with a cover letter, portfolio link, etc.) the "number one tactic for applicants to boost their chances of getting a job."
- You can address potential biases . In a perfect world, recruiters wouldn't count you out based on things like employment gaps or " job hopping ." Career coach Marlo Lyons recommends using your cover letter to "fill in any gaps" and provide context about these types of situations so recruiters don't get the wrong impression.
When You Should Include a Cover Letter
It's ultimately up to you whether you include a cover letter.
Octavia Goredema, career coach and author of Prep, Push, Pivot , says that the decision to submit a cover letter hinges on "where you are in your career journey and your personal career goals."
In addition to when it's a required part of the job posting, here are scenarios where it's in your best interest to submit one:
- If someone referred you to the job : According to Goredema, "If you were referred to an opportunity by someone at the company or have a personal history that correlates with the role, a cover letter enables you to share that."
- If you want to add additional information : Say the job you're applying to requires candidates to live on a specific coast. If you don't currently live in the area but are willing to relocate, mention that in your cover letter so you aren't automatically rejected based on your current location.
- If you're changing careers : Goredema recommends writing one "if you're in the early stages of your career or making a professional pivot. A cover letter provides the opportunity to add additional context to the information included in your resume."
- If you don't have any previous work experience : If you're new to the workforce, you may not have any applicable previous positions to include on your resume. Use your cover letter to highlight transferrable skills and explain why you think you'd still be a good fit.
Lastly, Goredema suggests that "if this is your dream job, a cover letter provides the space for you to explain with impact and highlight what you do best."
Debra Boggs, founder and CEO of D&S Executive Career Management, adds: "As long as a cover letter is well-written and error-free, it will never hurt your chances of winning an interview."
So the more important the role is to you, the more effort you should put in.
When You Shouldn't Include a Cover Letter
There are certainly times when you should send a cover letter with your resume—but are there times when you shouldn't send one in? Here are a few instances:
- If the application platform doesn't have a space to upload one : If there isn't a space for you to attach your cover letter or other supporting documents, don't sweat it. This means that other applicants won't be able to send one either.
- If the job posting doesn't require one : If the post specifically states that you shouldn't include a cover letter, it's not a trick. The recruiter likely doesn't plan to read it, so it's best to reserve your time for other job search activities .
- If you aren't a strong writer : Lyons recommends forgoing a cover letter if you aren't a good writer and don't have anyone to help you. "The cover letter could be your first impression, and a badly written one—especially with grammatical errors—could make recruiters not want to screen you for the job."
- If you don't have time : Strapped for time? Goredema suggests "[focusing] on your resume and the application requirements versus haphazardly throwing together a few sentences just to meet an application deadline."
What To Do When a Cover Letter is 'Optional'
"Optional" cover letters can feel like a trick. You want to show the recruiter you're interested in the role, but you don't want to waste your time if it isn't necessary.
Lyons recommends skipping the optional cover letter "if your resume and LinkedIn profile are complete and no further explanation is needed."
However, it can be helpful to write one if "your resume doesn't tell the whole story about you." (Think resume gaps or career changes.)
Goredema believes it can be helpful to include a cover letter, regardless of whether it's a requirement. "Why not take the opportunity? It may help you to stand out. Going the extra mile by sending a well-written, personalized cover letter can only work to your advantage versus working against you."
So it can be helpful to put in extra effort if you have more to add to your application. But you shouldn't include a subpar cover letter just for the sake of it.
7 Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter
Regardless of your feelings toward the now-controversial cover letter, you'll likely find yourself writing one for at least some of the jobs you apply to.
Here's how to draft one that actually grabs a recruiter's attention:
1. Keep Things Short
Lyons suggests writing "three to four paragraphs at most, with two to three sentences in each paragraph."
Goredema adds: "Avoid long rambling sentences and keep your letter concise to make it easy to read."
Even if a particular recruiter loves cover letters, they might sift through hundreds of applications to find the right candidates. So it's best to be brief.
2. Follow the Rules
Some recruiters will ask you to include a portfolio link, send the cover letter via email, ask you to answer specific questions, etc. Be sure to fully read the job post's requirements—you don't want to be counted out for failing to follow directions.
3. Don't Repeat Your Resume
Lyons cautions repeating information the recruiter already has access to. Instead, "Tell the story of you—something important that you did not cover on your resume and how that story connects to the current position."
Think of it as connecting the dots between your experience, skills and capabilities. Explain why you'd be a good fit for the role rather than repeating the skills section of your resume .
4. Use Active Voice and Action Verbs
With active voice, the subject of a sentence performs the action. Passive voice puts more emphasis on the object of the sentence.
Using active voice is more direct and straightforward. Plus, it helps keep things brief.
Aim to use active voice throughout your resume and cover letter. This will help you sound clear and confident.
Here's an example of passive voice, plus how to fix it to use active voice:
- Passive voice : The treats were eaten by the dogs.
- Active voice : The dogs ate the treats.
If you struggle with writing in active voice consistently, think about the action verbs you'd use to describe your skills and experiences.
For example, instead of "I was tasked with x," you could say, "I managed x."
5. Be Specific
Include specific examples (i.e., instead of "I'm a team player," allude to a situation where you were a team player). If you've ever taken a writing course, you've probably heard the advice "show don't tell." The same advice applies to your resume and cover letter.
You could say "I have marketing experience," but what does that communicate to the reader? Not much.
Be specific about your experience and accomplishments. Instead, say "I led a marketing campaign that increased quarterly newsletter sign-ups by 40%."
Check your cover letter for grammar and spelling mistakes before submitting it to avoid a professional faux pas.
Use spellcheck or an external app like Grammarly, which is also compatible with web browsers.
7. Customize It
At best, a generic cover letter is boring or a little awkward. At worst, it can be unprofessional if what you wrote about has nothing to do with the job you're applying for.
Think about it this way: your cover letter might be the deciding factor between you and another candidate with the same skills and experience. So you want to grab the recruiter's attention.
You don't need to spend tons of time rewriting your cover letter for every job application, though. Here are a few things you can do to stand out:
- Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name (you can sometimes find this information on the LinkedIn job post)
- Include the company name and job title
- Mention what you like about the specific company and its culture
- Detail skills and experience specifically mentioned on the job post
Boggs advises to "create a template that you can easily customize to include the relevant skills and experience for each job and employer."
Read on for inspiration for your own template.
Cover Letter Template
It can be time-consuming to write a new cover letter for every job application. Here's a template you can customize for different positions:
Dear [name of recruiter, "hiring manager"] , I saw the job posting for [exact title of role] and am excited about the opportunity. [1-2 sentences detailing why you're interested in the role/company.] In my previous role, [brief description of your accomplishments beyond what your resume states.] I also have [1-2 sentences detailing relevant experience, including specific skills and level of proficiency.] [If applicable: include a short paragraph with a link to your portfolio or any other relevant links.] Thank you for your time—if you'd like to schedule an interview, please feel free to contact me [brief description of the best time and method for contact.] Sincerely, [Your Name] [Phone Number] [Email]
Cover Letter FAQs
Still wondering if you need a cover letter for your specific situation? Or if recruiters actually read every cover letter? Read on for answers.
Do I Need a Cover Letter for a Part-Time Job?
The same advice applies to part-time jobs—cover letters aren't always necessary, but they can help you stand out. If you're especially interested in a part-time role, it's a good idea to submit a cover letter.
Do I Need a Cover Letter for an Internship?
Many people who apply for internships don't have significant prior work experience, so a cover letter is especially helpful here.
Instead of previous jobs, you can talk about:
- Your education
- Extra-curricular activities
- Transferrable skills
- Volunteer experience
You can include similar points if you're looking for an entry-level job and don't have prior work experience.
Can I Use AI To Write a Cover Letter?
Proceed with caution when using ChatGPT or a similar tool to write content for you. Employers may be using AI content detectors to identify which candidates used a shortcut.
AI programs like ChatGPT create content based on their existing libraries, so content is never really "new." Meaning it's impossible to tell if you're accidentally plagiarizing someone unless you heavily edit the chatbot's answers.
Goredema points out a potential pitfall in relying too heavily on AI: "If your goal is to get an interview, you don't want there to be a huge gap between how you communicate on paper versus how you communicate in person ."
Here are a few ways you can use AI to add to the writing process :
- Checking for active voice
- Adding action verbs
- Creating a rough draft
- Checking your writing tone
Do Recruiters Actually Read Your Cover Letter?
The big question—is the effort behind your cover letter worth it? Again, there's no perfect answer.
The most important thing is to ensure hiring managers have all the information they need to fairly consider you for a position.
Boggs cautions: "Remember, not all recruiters and hiring managers read cover letters, so
make sure to include all your relevant qualifications and accomplishments
in your resume as well, so these details don't get missed."
But there are other creative ways to stand out apart from a cover letter.
According to Goredema, "The general feedback I hear from the recruiters I work with is that a resume accompanied by their LinkedIn profile supersedes a cover letter because they will tell a recruiter at first glance what they need to know about a candidate."
So, are cover letters really necessary these days?
Lyons says that recruiters primarily care about two things:
- "Does an applicant have the skills and capabilities to do the job?"
- "Will the applicant fit the culture of the team and the company?"
Cover letters can help you stand out among a sea of applicants or explain difficult job situations—so in most cases, it's helpful to include one with your resume.
But whether you decide to send a cover letter with your resume or not, be sure the recruiter has all the information they need to be confident about you and your experience.
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