Options for Addressing Your Cover Letter (2023)

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.

Options for Addressing a Cover Letter

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.

Note

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:

Options for Addressing Your Cover Letter (1)

  • 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,LinkedIncan 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.

(Video) Who to Address Your Cover Letter To

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

What Title to Use

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.

Note

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 thesubject 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 ofcover letter salutationsyou 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 candetermine 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 andstart with the first paragraphof your letter or use ageneral 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:

(Video) How to Address a Cover Letter, BUILD A GOOD COVER LETTER

Dear Hiring Manager:

First paragraph of the letter.

Body of Email Cover Letter

The body of your cover letterlets 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.

Note

When you're sending anemail 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.

Conclusion

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 youremail signature.

Signature

Your email signature should include your name, full address, phone number, email address, andLinkedIn 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

(Video) How to Address a Cover Letter, BUILD A GOOD COVER LETTER

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.

Options for Addressing Your Cover Letter (2)

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:

(Video) Address Your Cover Letter To The Right Person

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.

Sincerely,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Mary Garcia

Before You Send Your Letter

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.

FAQs

How should you address a cover letter? ›

For a cover letter, you should always default to addressing it to the hiring manager for the position you're applying to. Unless you know for sure that the culture of the company is more casual, use the hiring manager's first and last name. You can include a title, such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” (never Mrs. or Miss).

Who do I address a cover letter to without name? ›

Address the Cover Letter With “Dear Hiring Manager

It is the most common way to address a hiring manager with no name and 40% of hiring managers prefer this salutation over no salutation at all.

What is a good opening sentence for a cover letter? ›

A Universal Method for Starting a Cover Letter

Dear [First Name], I was excited to come across the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. As a [Current Job Title] with [# of Years] years of experience, I have become competent in [Relevant Skills & Job-Related Abilities].

Is it OK to write Dear hiring manager? ›

Addressing a cover letter to the hiring manager is appropriate in most situations. It's always better to include a generic greeting, like "Dear Hiring Manager," if you don't know the name of the hiring manager. It's also preferable to use if you're not sure of the accuracy of the hiring manager's information.

How do you start a letter without dear? ›

Here are a few good alternatives:
  1. "Hello, [Insert team name]"
  2. "Hello, [Insert company name]"
  3. "Dear, Hiring Manager"
  4. "Dear, [First name]"
  5. "To Whom it May Concern"
  6. "Hello"
  7. "Hi there"
  8. "I hope this email finds you well"
May 7, 2019

Do people still use to whom it may concern? ›

"To Whom It May Concern" is an outdated letter greeting. It is still sometimes used, but nowadays, there are other, better options for starting a letter. One simple approach is to not include any salutation.

How do you write to someone you dont know? ›

I like “Dear Sir,” “Dear Sir or Madam,” or To Whom it May Concern.” All of those will be considered correct. How do you address a letter to an unknown person? Well if you know the gender of the person you would address them as Dear Sir or madam.

Is To Whom It May Concern rude? ›

No, to whom it may concern is not rude.

It is the proper address to use when you're uncertain who it is you're addressing. However, if you know the person you are addressing, using the phrase to whom it may concern is inappropriate and may be considered rude.

How do you start a professional cover letter? ›

The opening paragraph of your cover letter should grab the hiring manager's attention and make them want to read your cover letter. Some tips to write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph include being direct, starting with a strong belief statement, or leading with a relevant achievement.

How do you grab attention in a cover letter? ›

How to Create an Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter: 7 Tips
  1. Write a compelling introduction. ...
  2. Use tasteful humor in your cover letter. ...
  3. Find the addressee's name. ...
  4. Do your research about the company. ...
  5. Demonstrate your confidence. ...
  6. Keep it concise. ...
  7. Use a striking cover letter template.
Aug 18, 2021

What can I say instead of dear? ›

  • beloved,
  • cherished,
  • darling,
  • fair-haired,
  • favored,
  • favorite,
  • fond,
  • loved,

How do you address a cover letter if you don't know the hiring manager? ›

"If the hiring manager's name is nowhere to be found and the company is unwilling to give you his or her name, you should use 'Dear Hiring Team' in your cover letter salutation," she says.

Can I say dear HR department? ›

If you do not have the name of a specific individual, use “Dear Human Resources” or “Dear Selection Committee.” The punctuation following the salutation can be a colon (:) or comma. The body of the letter follows the salutation.

What is a professional salutation? ›

Salutations for business letters

The most formal salutation is Dear, [title], then the last name. If you're unsure of the person's pronouns, it's a good idea to use Dear [First and last name] or Dear [First name].

What can I say instead of sincerely? ›

Alternatives to "Sincerely" and when to use them
  • All my best.
  • Best or Best wishes.
  • Goodbye.
  • Regards or Warm regards.
  • Respectfully.
  • Looking forward to hearing from you.
  • Speak to you soon.
  • Take care.

What are some formal Greetings? ›

Common Formal Greetings
  • Good afternoon.
  • Good evening.
  • Good evening, Mrs. Smith.
  • Good morning.
  • Hello, Dr. Johnson.
  • Hello, ma'am.
  • Hello, sir.
  • How are you?
Dec 29, 2021

What's another way of saying to whom it may concern? ›

Dear Sir or Madam, This is a similar greeting to the one above, but it applies to situations where you don't know anything about the individual's identity. It's similar to “to whom it may concern” but attempts to be a little more direct.

How do you start a professional email? ›

6 strong ways to start an email
  1. 1 Dear [Name] This email greeting is an appropriate salutation for formal email correspondence. ...
  2. 2 Hi or Hello. As far as email greetings go, an informal “Hi” followed by a comma is perfectly acceptable in most work-related messages. ...
  3. 3 Hi everyone, Hi team, or Hi [department name] team.
Jun 2, 2022

How do you address someone you don't know? ›

Email etiquette for addressing unknown/external recipients:
  1. If you don't know the gender of the recipient just use "Dear First Name, Last Name". ...
  2. If you must absolutely be formal, stick with the good ol' "Dear Sir/Madam". ...
  3. For an email exchange - note that it's all about the dance.
Jun 2, 2015

How do you introduce yourself in a letter? ›

Paragraph 1 – Introduce yourself by telling the recipient who you are and what you do. Be brief, but make sure you mention any important qualifications or experience you have. Paragraph 2 – Explain why you're getting in touch. Make it clear what you're hoping to achieve.

How do you start a professional email when you don't know their name? ›

If you don't know the person's name, use 'Dear Sir/Madam', or 'To whom it may concern'. Top Tip: Remember to always include a comma after 'Dear [Name]'! If you have a more casual or informal relationship with the person you're emailing, something like 'Hi [First Name]' or 'Hello [First Name]' is perfectly acceptable.

How do you start a formal letter? ›

Most formal letters will start with 'Dear' before the name of the person that you are writing to. You can choose to use first name and surname, or title and surname. However, if you don't know the name of the person you are writing to, you must use 'Dear Sir or Madam,'.

How do you address a cover letter if you don't know the hiring manager? ›

"If the hiring manager's name is nowhere to be found and the company is unwilling to give you his or her name, you should use 'Dear Hiring Team' in your cover letter salutation," she says.

How do you address a formal letter? ›

Begin your letter with a polite and professional salutation, or greeting, such as "Dear," followed by the recipient's title and last name and a colon. Only address the person by their first name if you know them well.

Is To Whom It May Concern rude? ›

No, to whom it may concern is not rude.

It is the proper address to use when you're uncertain who it is you're addressing. However, if you know the person you are addressing, using the phrase to whom it may concern is inappropriate and may be considered rude.

Do people still use to whom it may concern? ›

"To Whom It May Concern" is an outdated letter greeting. It is still sometimes used, but nowadays, there are other, better options for starting a letter. One simple approach is to not include any salutation.

How do you start a letter without dear? ›

Here are a few good alternatives:
  1. "Hello, [Insert team name]"
  2. "Hello, [Insert company name]"
  3. "Dear, Hiring Manager"
  4. "Dear, [First name]"
  5. "To Whom it May Concern"
  6. "Hello"
  7. "Hi there"
  8. "I hope this email finds you well"
May 7, 2019

How do you start a professional letter? ›

How to start a professional letter
  1. Enter your contact information. ...
  2. Include the date. ...
  3. Add the recipient's contact information. ...
  4. Start with the most appropriate greeting. ...
  5. Use the most professional form of the recipient's name. ...
  6. Begin the letter with an agreeable tone. ...
  7. Open with the purpose of writing the letter.

How do you address a professional email? ›

Salutation: The salutation of a formal email is similar to the salutation of a letter. When writing to someone you do not know by name, you put “To Whom it May Concern.” When applying for a job, you would address the person by, “Dear Hiring Manager.” If you do know the recipient's name, you put “Dear Mr./Ms.

How do you address a letter to multiple people? ›

When writing to one recipient or a group of people, you may simply write their full name and job title or the name of the group. If you're writing to multiple recipients at the same address, you may list each of their full names and job titles separated by a comma.

How do you address a cover letter in 2022? ›

The most traditional way to address a cover letter is to use the person's first and last name, including “Mr.” or “Ms.” (for example, “Dear Ms. Jane Smith” or just “Dear Ms. Smith”). But to avoid accidentally using the wrong title, or worse, inadvertently misgendering someone—first and last name also work just fine.

How do you address a letter to 2022? ›

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.

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