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?
- 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
Here is the table of content of this blog:
Who to address a cover letter to?
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.
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 a cover letter when you don't know the 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 a cover letter when you know the 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,
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 who work for your 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@example.com 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.
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.
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
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.
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:
If you want to create such a cover letter, go to Hiration Cover Letter Builder, select 20+ design templates, and create a professional-grade cover letter for yourself.
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.
- "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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure to reach out to you as soon as possible.