When carrying out your job search, you can pour hours into your resume and writing your cover letter.
While you make think your resume is the more important piece of the puzzle. One area overlooked can set the tone of the hiring manager’s reading of your entire application.
Writing a cover letter is hard enough, yet it has to be addressed to the right person and title in the right way.
For years, it has been a safe bet to use ‘To whom it may concern’ on correspondence, however, those days are gone, and this generic phrase on your correspondence does little for your application.
In our guide, you can learn all about starting your cover letter in the right manner to catch the attention of the hiring manager. (Read How Do You Ensure You Work Well in a Team)
Can You Use To Whom It May Concern in a Cover Letter?
You’ve found the perfect job and started to write the perfect cover letter. Right from the start, you wonder what you should use. Do you use Mr. or Ms. title or include a first name?
Add to this; you’ve looked everywhere yet can’t find information about the hiring manager’s name?
Here are some rules to follow for your cover letter salutation.
Use Formal Full Name Salutation
Always use the hiring manager’s first and last name unless you know the company culture is casual. Make sure to add “Mr.” or “Ms.” where appropriate such as Mr. Jack White.
You can see a number of openings use the “Dear” greeting. However, many people are dropping this to use “Hello” or just a name. The key area is the actual name.
Hence the reason to ditch “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”
When You Don’t Know the Hiring Manager, Guess
You can spend hours trying to find out names and still might not be able to find the hiring manager’s name for the position you’re applying for.
Suppose you can only find the company’s executives; you can guess and try the head of the department which you are applying for said position.
You can’t be faulted for addressing your letter higher up the chain, and it is better than not adding a name to your cover letter at all. (Learn All About Selection Criteria)
Try to Be Specific
Suppose you carry out an extensive search and can’t find the name to address your cover letter. The company may be privately held and has no reason to divulge names easily.
If you have no name of the hiring manager, try to be specific with your greeting. Perhaps using something such as “Senior Accounts Analyst Hiring Manager” or “Research Committee Manager.”
Doing this shows you’ve written your letter with an intended audience.
How Do You Address a Cover Letter Without a Name?
Even if your letter passes through a recruiter, address your cover letter to the hiring manager.
Here are some examples of how to address a cover letter when you don’t know the name of the person.
- Dear Accounts Manager Hiring Team
- To the Customer Service Search Committee
- Dear Sales Accounts Hiring Manager
- To the Computer Science Recruitment Team
You can find an example or two here that still use “Dear” in the business contact salutation; however, while it is dropping from favour in some areas, it still holds 30% of all salutations used. Any example above will make any hiring manager take note you have done some research.
What Can I Say Instead of To Whom It May Concern?
To Whom It May Concern: I am applying for your company’s position, and I’m not sure of the person’s name who is recruiting. If you ever see an example of a letter starting in that sort of manner, you will see first-hand and understand why a hiring manager might cringe.
The salutation does have its place, such as a customer service complaint, yet your job applications aren’t among them.
When you put your pen to paper, make sure to try one of these “To Whom It May Concern” alternatives.
Dear/Hello (add the name of the person who’d be your boss or is hiring)
When addressing your cover letter, try and determine the person filling the role will be reporting to.
It is also here to determine if you should use “Dear” or “Hello” or use honorifics like Mr., Ms., Dr., Prof. You can also see the company culture and either use the full name or first name.
Dear (Use the head of the department name in which the job you are applying for is located)
You may not find the boss, yet you might still address your cover letter to a specific person with the department head.
Dear (Department name where you are applying)
If you have no fruitful success in the department head, then apply to the department itself.
Dear (Recruiter Name)
If you know a recruiter’s name, you can use this if you have no others. They will be the first person to read your letter and pass you on or reject you.
Dear (Name the company uses for their department or recruiting teams)
If you have no look with a name, take a few minutes to determine what the company calls their departments or teams.
Dear Recruiting/Hiring Manager
Address your letter to the recruiter or hiring manager more generically using titles like “Dear Recruiter” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”
Dear (Role in which you are applying) Research Committee/ Hiring Manager/ Hiring Team
Even using this, you may wish to be a bit more specific.
How Do I Find Out Who to Address My Cover Letter To?
Never write a generic letter salutation until you try to find a business name with these tips.
It can be tempting to address a cover letter, “To Whom It May Concern.” You will find a generic greeting will do you no favours. Though it can be hard to determine to whom you should address a cover letter.
Call the company
Picking up the phone and calling the company’s human resources department is the number one way to find out the hiring manager’s name.
Network with company staff
Identify target companies and start networking with people working there. Once you apply, you can use names or find out information direct.
If you don’t know anyone at the company, do a LinkedIn search and check if you have secondary connections.
Read the job posting correctly
Many applicants skim a job advertisement and miss important details. You can miss job description details and also contact details, such as a name or email.
Find who your boss or manager would be.
Job postings can include who you may be reporting to, such as, “the successful candidate will report to the director of accounting.”
Do online searches
Search online for said company and the title of the position you are applying for. You may find the position posted on the internet and has a name. Make sure to check the company’s website as these offer lots of information you need aside from contact details. (Learn How to End a Cover Letter)
You should be scouring the company website to get a good understanding of what they do.
In most instances, job postings don’t include the person’s name to address your cover letters. However, you can often find a name in an email address of who you would like to address your cover letter.