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How to Address a Cover Letter to Recruiter or Hiring Manager

5 min read · Updated on November 24, 2021

Lisa Tynan

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 . 

Recommended Reading:

Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

5 Things to Say in Your Cover Letter If You Want to Get the Job

How To Write a Cover Letter (With Example)

Related Articles:

How to Create a Resume With No Education

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

Background Image

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.  

job search masterclass novoresume

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: 

how to address a 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! 

matching resume and cover letter

Key Takeaways 

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 ).

Related Readings: 

  • Do I Need a Cover Letter in 2024
  • Entry-Level Cover Letter
  • Cover Letter for Internship
  • How to Write a Cover Letter in 2024

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How to Address a Cover Letter

The beginning of a cover letter typically includes a salutation to the person who will be reading it—most likely the hiring manager. This important first line, written in the proper format, makes a positive first impression and can help you land an interview with a potential employer.

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Cover Letter Address Template

Download a free cover letter address template in MS Word format.

Cover Letter Address Template:

[Full Name]

[Email Address]

[Contact Number]

[LinkedIn Profile/website link]

[Name of the Company or Institution receiving your cover letter]

[Subject Line]

[Cover letter body.]

[Insert name]

A step-by-step guide to addressing a cover letter.

How to address the hiring manager.

Find the name of the hiring manager..

While it's important to address the hiring manager directly in your cover letter, oftentimes a job ad won't mention a contact person, especially if it's advertised through a recruiter. Fortunately, you can often find out who the hiring manager or head of the department is with a quick internet search. If all else fails, use "Dear Hiring Manager."

Address hiring managers by name if possible.

Always address the hiring manager directly by using Mr. or Ms. followed by their last name. Furthermore, using Ms. instead of Miss or Mrs. will avoid offending a female hiring manager, particularly if you don't know her marital status.

For example:

"Dear Mr. Smith"

"Dear Ms. Smith"

If you're unsure about the gender of the hiring manager, use both their first and last names.

"Dear Taylor Smith"

"Dear Jordan Newton"

Use the correct title.

Generally, using a professional title conveys respect and should always be used when the hiring manager has one, such as Doctor, Professor, Sergeant, Reverend, etc. You can shorten the title for brevity.

"Dear Dr. Smith"

"Dear Prof. Einstein"

"Dear Sgt. Newton"

"Dear Rev. Parker"

Address unknown hiring managers by their job title.

When you don't know the name of the hiring manager, the most acceptable salutation to use is "Dear Hiring Manager." Although you're not addressing someone directly, it still conveys professionalism and attention to detail. Avoid using the antiquated "To whom it may concern."

"Dear Customer Service Hiring Manager"

"Dear Sales Team Hiring Manager"

Note: Use a comma after your salutation, followed by a space and the body of your cover letter.

How to address an e-mail cover letter.

Include a subject line..

Hiring managers receive tons of emails so it's important to include a clear subject line indicating which job you are applying for.

Subject Line: Job application for sales manager position.

Address the hiring manager.

Start off the body of your email with the hiring manager's name or use a general salutation.

Dear Mr. Smith, OR Mr. Smith,

[Cover letter text...]

Include your name and contact details.

Lastly, sign off your email with your name, email address, phone number, and LinkedIn profile or website link.

Samantha Phillips

[email protected]

+09 012 029 9234

www.samanthaphillips.com

Common cover letter address mistakes:

  • Make sure that you've addressed your cover letter to the right person, and that their name is spelled correctly.
  • Do not use "Hello," "Hey," or "Hi," as this could come off as too informal.
  • Do not use outdated salutations like "Dear Sir," "Dear Madam," or "To Whom it may Concern."

Additional Resources.

  • Best Cover Letter Generators .
  • Best Cover Letter Tips .
  • Common Cover Letter Mistakes .
  • Best Resume Builder .
  • Skills to Put on a Resume .
  • Best Font for Resume .
  • How to Prepare for a Job Interview .

Common Cover Letter Mistakes

How do I address a cover letter?

Always address the hiring manager directly by name . If you don't know the hiring manager's name, do some research or use a general salutation.

How do I address a cover letter to a PHD (doctor)?

If the hiring manager has a professional title , always put the title in front of their name, e.g. "Dear Dr. Einstein."

How do I start a cover letter?

It's important to start a cover letter with a greeting or salutation .

What is a good cover letter address format?

Addressing the hiring manager by name shows professionalism and establishes a connection. If you don't know their name even after doing a Google search, use a general salutation like "Dear Hiring Manager."

How do you address a cover letter to an unknown recipient?

It's acceptable to use a general salutation like these:

  • "Dear Hiring Manager."
  • "Dear Sales Team Hiring Manager."
  • "Dear Customer Service Hiring Manager."
  • "Dear IT Department Hiring Manager."

Related Articles:

What is a hiring manager, the 12 best cover letter tips for 2024, action verbs for resumes, cv vs. resume, how to write a cv.

How to Address a Cover Letter When Applying for a Job

While addressing your cover letter may seem like a small part of your job application, your salutation may be the first thing an employer reads on your application. An appropriate opening can leave a good first impression and set the tone for a successful application that engages the interest of an employer. This article explains how to address a cover letter depending on the information available to you about the job you are applying for.

Who should you address a cover letter to?

While you may not be certain who will read your cover letter when applying for jobs, there are a few best practices for addressing a cover letter. Unless a job description includes information on a different person to send application materials to, you should address your cover letter to the hiring manager for the position. ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ is an appropriate greeting for situations when you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, but seeking out details about the team you would be working with shows that you have a strong interest in the company and pay attention to details.

Methods for finding the hiring manager’s name

The following methods can help you find the hiring manager’s name when applying for a new job:

Check the application materials

Sometimes a job posting or other application materials have the name and title of the person reviewing your application listed. Many companies include information about who to contact in order to streamline the job search process, so read the job listing carefully for any instruction on who to address your letter to. Look at email addresses or social media profiles linked to the posting and see if the hiring manager’s name is listed. If you previously communicated with someone at the company about your application, consider reaching out and asking who you should address your cover letter to.  

Look at the company website 

Some companies keep a list of key employees or even a full directory of their employees available on their website. They may have a separate careers page with information on a hiring manager, or you may be able to find the name of a human resources representative for your position. Look for who the managers are for the department are applying to work with and determine who would work most closely with your position. You can also search for the company online and find outside information on their hiring structure.

Call the business

You can call the front office of a company and ask for the name of the contact person for the position you are applying for.  Be sure to call during business hours and be as specific as possible so that you get the name of the correct person. If you are still not able to confirm the name of a contact, the company will likely expect applicants to use the name of their hiring manager’s position or even leave off the greeting entirely.

How to address a cover letter

Use these steps as a guide toward addressing your cover letter:

1. First, verify your information

Once you have the name or title of the person receiving your cover letter, make sure that all of your information is accurate. Do a quick search to see if they have any honorifics such as Dr. or Prof. that you can include in your greeting Avoid using gendered language such as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ unless you have confirmed that they prefer to be addressed by that term.

2. Second, choose a salutation

Including a salutation is optional and based on personal preference. One option for beginning your cover letter is to simply list the name of the hiring manager followed by a comma. ‘Dear’ followed by their name and a comma is also a professional way to open your greeting. You should avoid less casual greetings such as ‘hey’ and ‘hello.’

3. Third, use a consistent format

When addressing your cover letter, use the same font and style as the rest of your application materials. Your greeting should be above the body of your letter and below a header that includes your name and contact information. Use consistent spacing before and after the greeting to make the letter easier to read for the hiring manager while devoting most of the page to the content of your letter.

4. Lastly, proofread

Every time you send out a cover letter, proofread every part of it including the address. Proofreading can help you avoid accidentally sending one company a cover letter with another company’s hiring manager listed in the greeting. Confirm the spelling of any names or titles and have another person check your work for typos. You should also make sure that you are using proper capitalization for their name and title.

Template for how to address a cover letter

Here is a brief template you can use when crafting a new cover letter or adding to an existing one:

[First name] [Last name] [Address] [City, State ZIP code] [Email] [Phone number]

Dear [Honorific]. [First name] [Last name],

Examples of how to address a cover letter

These are all examples of an acceptable greeting for a cover letter:

  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • Dr. Alison Choudary,
  • Dear Human Resources Manager,
  • Dear Revolve Marketing Team,
  • Dear Prof. Rivera,
  • Dear Sierra, 
  • Ms. Cleo Thet,

Regardless of whether you can find the name of the hiring manager or not, you can still include a professional greeting when addressing your cover letter. While the way you address your cover letter will not likely convince someone to hire you, a greeting with dated or unprofessional language can easily discourage a hiring manager from taking your application seriously. You can use only a first name or add a salutation and honorific depending on your preference. 

Tips for addressing a cover letter

Use these tips to make sure your greeting is relevant and appropriate to the position:

  • Avoid phrases like ‘to whom it may concern’ or any other excessively formal language when possible.
  • Consider addressing the team you will be working with as a group if you do not have the name of your contact for the job.
  • If you have already communicated with the hiring manager, look at their email signature to see how they prefer to be addressed. For example, if the hiring manager signs their emails as ‘Mr. Dunlap,’ that is an indication that you should call him that as opposed to his full name.
  • When writing your cover letter or adapting it for a new position, make sure that every section including the greeting is professional and purposeful.
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How to Address a Cover Letter With Examples

should i address my cover letter to the hiring manager

Options for Addressing a Cover Letter

  • Letter Without a Contact Person
  • Non-Gender-Specific Names

What Title to Use

  • Address an Email Cover Letter
  • Review a Sample Cover Letter

Before You Send Your Letter

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.

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 .

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:  

  • 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,  LinkedIn  can 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.

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

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.

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 the  subject 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 of  cover letter salutations  you 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 can  determine 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 and  start with the first paragraph  of your letter or use a  general 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:

Dear Hiring Manager:

First paragraph of the letter.

Body of Email Cover Letter

The body of your cover letter  lets 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.

When you're sending an  email 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.

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 your  email signature .

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

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.

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:

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.

Signature (hard copy letter)

Mary Garcia

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.

Saddleback College. " Your Resume is Your 1st Interview ," Page 14. Accessed Feb. 17, 2021.

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How to address a cover letter if you don’t know the hiring manager’s name

What to use instead of 'to whom it may concern'.

It’s Tip No. 1 for cover letters: Address it to the hiring manager.

Careerealism’s Ariella Coombs says you can take the direct approach and call the company if you don’t know the name.

“Simply call up the company and say, ‘Hi, my name is ____ and I’m applying for a position at your company. Would it be possible for me to get the name of the hiring manager so I can address him or her in my cover letter?'” she notes.

That’s all well and good, but what if you don’t have a contact on the inside to unearth it and your detective work turns up nothing?

Do not despair and do not drag out “To Whom It May Concern,” Coombs advises.

“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. “By addressing your cover letter to the hiring team, you increase your chances of getting it in front of the right pair of eyes.”

Plus, “Dear Hiring Team” may score you more points than the generic concerned whoms.

  • It’s novel.
  • It shows you put some effort and forethought into the greeting.
  • It highlights the fact you pay attention to detail.

via Careerealism

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Melissa is also the author of the  Network World on Management Strategies newsletter.

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should i address my cover letter to the hiring manager

How to Write a Cover Letter That Will Get You a Job

I ’ve read thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of cover letters in my career. If you’re thinking that sounds like really boring reading, you’re right. What I can tell you from enduring that experience is that most cover letters are terrible — and not only that, but squandered opportunities. When a cover letter is done well, it can significantly increase your chances of getting an interview, but the vast majority fail that test.

So let’s talk about how to do cover letters right.

First, understand the point of a cover letter.

The whole idea of a cover letter is that it can help the employer see you as more than just your résumé. Managers generally aren’t hiring based solely on your work history; your experience is crucial, yes, but they’re also looking for someone who will be easy to work with, shows good judgment, communicates well, possesses strong critical thinking skills and a drive to get things done, complements their current team, and all the other things you yourself probably want from your co-workers. It’s tough to learn much about those things from job history alone, and that’s where your cover letter comes in.

Because of that …

Whatever you do, don’t just summarize your résumé.

The No. 1 mistake people make with cover letters is that they simply use them to summarize their résumé. This makes no sense — hiring managers don’t need a summary of your résumé! It’s on the very next page! They’re about to see it as soon as they scroll down. And if you think about it, your entire application is only a few pages (in most cases, a one- or two-page résumé and a one-page cover letter) — why would you squander one of those pages by repeating the content of the others? And yet, probably 95 percent of the cover letters I see don’t add anything new beyond the résumé itself (and that’s a conservative estimate).

Instead, your cover letter should go beyond your work history to talk about things that make you especially well-suited for the job. For example, if you’re applying for an assistant job that requires being highly organized and you neurotically track your household finances in a detailed, color-coded spreadsheet, most hiring managers would love to know that because it says something about the kind of attention to detail you’d bring to the job. That’s not something you could put on your résumé, but it can go in your cover letter.

Or maybe your last boss told you that you were the most accurate data processor she’d ever seen, or came to rely on you as her go-to person whenever a lightning-fast rewrite was needed. Maybe your co-workers called you “the client whisperer” because of your skill in calming upset clients. Maybe you’re regularly sought out by more senior staff to help problem-solve, or you find immense satisfaction in bringing order to chaos. Those sorts of details illustrate what you bring to the job in a different way than your résumé does, and they belong in your cover letter.

If you’re still stumped, pretend you’re writing an email to a friend about why you’d be great at the job. You probably wouldn’t do that by stiffly reciting your work history, right? You’d talk about what you’re good at and how you’d approach the work. That’s what you want here.

You don’t need a creative opening line.

If you think you need to open the letter with something creative or catchy, I am here to tell you that you don’t. Just be simple and straightforward:

• “I’m writing to apply for your X position.”

• “I’d love to be considered for your X position.”

• “I’m interested in your X position because …”

• “I’m excited to apply for your X position.”

That’s it! Straightforward is fine — better, even, if the alternative is sounding like an aggressive salesperson.

Show, don’t tell.

A lot of cover letters assert that the person who wrote it would excel at the job or announce that the applicant is a skillful engineer or a great communicator or all sorts of other subjective superlatives. That’s wasted space — the hiring manager has no reason to believe it, and so many candidates claim those things about themselves that most managers ignore that sort of self-assessment entirely. So instead of simply declaring that you’re great at X (whatever X is), your letter should demonstrate that. And the way you do that is by describing accomplishments and experiences that illustrate it.

Here’s a concrete example taken from one extraordinarily effective cover-letter makeover that I saw. The candidate had originally written, “I offer exceptional attention to detail, highly developed communication skills, and a talent for managing complex projects with a demonstrated ability to prioritize and multitask.” That’s pretty boring and not especially convincing, right? (This is also exactly how most people’s cover letters read.)

In her revised version, she wrote this instead:

“In addition to being flexible and responsive, I’m also a fanatic for details — particularly when it comes to presentation. One of my recent projects involved coordinating a 200-page grant proposal: I proofed and edited the narratives provided by the division head, formatted spreadsheets, and generally made sure that every line was letter-perfect and that the entire finished product conformed to the specific guidelines of the RFP. (The result? A five-year, $1.5 million grant award.) I believe in applying this same level of attention to detail to tasks as visible as prepping the materials for a top-level meeting and as mundane as making sure the copier never runs out of paper.”

That second version is so much more compelling and interesting — and makes me believe that she really is great with details.

If there’s anything unusual or confusing about your candidacy, address it in the letter.

Your cover letter is your chance to provide context for things that otherwise might seem confusing or less than ideal to a hiring manager. For example, if you’re overqualified for the position but are excited about it anyway, or if you’re a bit underqualified but have reason to think you could excel at the job, address that up front. Or if your background is in a different field but you’re actively working to move into this one, say so, talk about why, and explain how your experience will translate. Or if you’re applying for a job across the country from where you live because you’re hoping to relocate to be closer to your family, let them know that.

If you don’t provide that kind of context, it’s too easy for a hiring manager to decide you’re the wrong fit or applying to everything you see or don’t understand the job description and put you in the “no” pile. A cover letter gives you a chance to say, “No, wait — here’s why this could be a good match.”

Keep the tone warm and conversational.

While there are some industries that prize formal-sounding cover letters — like law — in most fields, yours will stand out if it’s warm and conversational. Aim for the tone you’d use if you were writing to a co-worker whom you liked a lot but didn’t know especially well. It’s okay to show some personality or even use humor; as long as you don’t go overboard, your letter will be stronger for it.

Don’t use a form letter.

You don’t need to write every cover letter completely from scratch, but if you’re not customizing it to each job, you’re doing it wrong. Form letters tend to read like form letters, and they waste the chance to speak to the specifics of what this employer is looking for and what it will take to thrive in this particular job.

If you’re applying for a lot of similar jobs, of course you’ll end up reusing language from one letter to the next. But you shouldn’t have a single cover letter that you wrote once and then use every time you apply; whatever you send should sound like you wrote it with the nuances of this one job in mind.

A good litmus test is this: Could you imagine other applicants for this job sending in the same letter? If so, that’s a sign that you haven’t made it individualized enough to you and are probably leaning too heavily on reciting your work history.

No, you don’t need to hunt down the hiring manager’s name.

If you read much job-search advice, at some point you’ll come across the idea that you need to do Woodward and Bernstein–level research to hunt down the hiring manager’s name in order to open your letter with “Dear Matilda Jones.” You don’t need to do this; no reasonable hiring manager will care. If the name is easily available, by all means, feel free to use it, but otherwise “Dear Hiring Manager” is absolutely fine. Take the hour you just freed up and do something more enjoyable with it.

Keep it under one page.

If your cover letters are longer than a page, you’re writing too much, and you risk annoying hiring managers who are likely sifting through hundreds of applications and don’t have time to read lengthy tomes. On the other hand, if you only write one paragraph, it’s unlikely that you’re making a compelling case for yourself as a candidate — not impossible, but unlikely. For most people, something close to a page is about right.

Don’t agonize over the small details.

What matters most about your cover letter is its content. You should of course ensure that it’s well-written and thoroughly proofread, but many job seekers agonize over elements of the letter that really don’t matter. I get tons of  questions from job seekers  about whether they should attach their cover letter or put it in the body of the email (answer: No one cares, but attaching it makes it easier to share and will preserve your formatting), or what to name the file (again, no one really cares as long as it’s reasonably professional, but when people are dealing with hundreds of files named “resume,” it’s courteous to name it with your full name).

Approaching your cover letter like this can make a huge difference in your job search. It can be the thing that moves your application from the “maybe” pile (or even the “no” pile) to the “yes” pile. Of course, writing cover letters like this will take more time than sending out the same templated letter summarizing your résumé — but 10 personalized, compelling cover letters are likely to get you more  interview invitations  than 50 generic ones will.

  • ‘I Had a Great Job Interview — Why Haven’t I Heard Back?’
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by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

IMAGES

  1. how to address an application letter for a job

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  2. Recruiter Cover Letter Example & Template (Free Download)

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  3. Hiring Manager Cover Letter

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  4. How to Properly Address a Cover Letter (with Examples)

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  5. Sample Message To Hiring Manager

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  6. How To Use a “Dear Hiring Manager” Cover Letter

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VIDEO

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  6. Who do I address my cover letter to?

COMMENTS

  1. How to Address a Cover Letter (With Examples)

    Follow the title with their last name. For example: Dear Ms. Greene. Dear Mr. Johnson. Since your cover letter is likely going to be the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager sees, it's important to use good judgment in choosing a salutation. — Mary Morgan, SHRM-CP.

  2. How to Address Your Cover Letter in 2023

    Rule #1: Address your cover letter to the hiring manager using a formal, full-name salutation (if possible). 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 ...

  3. How to Address a Cover Letter to Recruiter or Hiring Manager

    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 ...

  4. How to Address a Cover Letter (and Who to Address)

    Who to address a cover letter to. You should address a cover letter to the hiring manager of the job you're applying for, or the HR manager of the company. A basic cover letter salutation (or greeting) uses the hiring manager's first and last name and includes a "Mr.", "Ms.", or other relevant professional title before their name.

  5. How to Address and End a Cover Letter: 25 Examples & Tips

    3 Key Tips for Addressing Your Cover Letter 1) Don't Address Your Cover Letter to the Recruiter. For many job openings, the first person you need to impress is a corporate recruiter. That doesn't mean you should address your cover letter to them. "Recruiters do not read cover letters," a long-time healthcare recruiter told Jobscan ...

  6. Should You Use 'Dear Hiring Manager' On a Cover Letter?

    The most appropriate ways to begin a cover letter with the hiring manager's name include [Dear First and Last Name] or [Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name]. Only use Mr. or Ms. if you are certain of the person's gender. If your contact has a professional or academic title, you would use their abbreviated title in place of Mr./Ms. followed by their last ...

  7. How To Address a Cover Letter

    For example, 'Dear Austen Myers' is acceptable and considered a professional way to address a cover letter. If you know their gender and wish to use a title in the address, use either 'Ms.' or 'Mr.' to avoid inaccurately describing the recipient's marital status. For example, you'd write 'Dear Ms. Myers' rather than 'Dear ...

  8. How to Address a Cover Letter in 2024 (with Examples)

    There's a right and wrong way to address a cover letter. Way #1: The employer thinks, "This applicant's got a brain.". Way #2: She thinks, "Yuck. Another dud.". It's not rocket science. Just pick the right salutation and the right address cover letter format. In this guide, you'll learn: Who to address a cover letter to.

  9. How to Address a Cover Letter in 2024

    In that case, you can address your cover letter to the department, faculty, or the company. 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.

  10. How to Address a Hiring Manager in Your Cover Letter

    2 Use a formal salutation. Unless you are applying for a very casual or creative position, you should use a formal salutation to address the hiring manager. Avoid using casual or informal ...

  11. How to Write a Cover Letter to a Hiring Manager (With Templates)

    1. Choose the right salutation. We are well past the days when "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam" were considered gold standard business salutations. Unless you're hoping to look like a nonagenarian on paper, plan to address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager or recruiter involved with the search.

  12. How to Address a Cover Letter in 2024: Complete Guide

    Using a person's name in direct communication helps to establish a connection. So it's no wonder you should use it in the cover letter address! Start with Dear + recipient's first name or their first and last name. Use honorific titles such as Mr. or Ms. only if you're 100% certain of the recipient's gender identity.

  13. How to Address a Cover Letter

    While it's important to address the hiring manager directly in your cover letter, oftentimes a job ad won't mention a contact person, especially if it's advertised through a recruiter. Fortunately, you can often find out who the hiring manager or head of the department is with a quick internet search. If all else fails, use "Dear Hiring Manager."

  14. How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Name

    1 Do some research. The first step is to try to find out the name and title of the person who will be reading your cover letter. You can start by checking the job posting, the company website ...

  15. How to Address a Cover Letter When Applying for a Job

    2. Second, choose a salutation. Including a salutation is optional and based on personal preference. One option for beginning your cover letter is to simply list the name of the hiring manager followed by a comma. 'Dear' followed by their name and a comma is also a professional way to open your greeting. You should avoid less casual ...

  16. How to Address a Cover Letter With Examples

    Mary Garcia 12 Rogers Avenue Townville, New Hampshire 03060 555-555-5555 [email protected]. February 17, 2021. Franklin Lee. CBI Industries 39 Main Street Townville, New Hampshire 03060. Dear Mr. Lee: I was excited to see your ad for the operations assistant position in your Townville offices.

  17. How To Address a Cover Letter Without a Name in 5 Steps

    Here are five steps on how to address a cover letter without a name: 1. Remain gender neutral. The first step to addressing a cover letter without a name is to use gender-neutral identifiers. Deepti Sharma spent several years in the corporate world before following her entrepreneurial spirit and starting her business as a human resources (HR ...

  18. Engage Hiring Managers: Perfecting Cover Letter Tone

    3 Stay Positive. Positivity is magnetic, and a cover letter that radiates a positive tone can captivate a hiring manager's attention. Focus on what you can bring to the table, not what you lack ...

  19. How to address a cover letter if you don't know the hiring manager's

    It's Tip No. 1 for cover letters: Address it to the hiring manager. Careerealism's Ariella Coombs says you can take the direct approach and call the company if you don't know the name.

  20. Cover Letters 101: Should You Address Your Letter 'To Whom It ...

    1. Do Your Homework. Before addressing your cover letter, take the time to research the company and find out who the hiring manager or the head of the department is.

  21. How to Write a Cover Letter That Will Get You a Job

    If you think you need to open the letter with something creative or catchy, I am here to tell you that you don't. Just be simple and straightforward: • "I'm writing to apply for your X ...