Believe it or not, addressing your cover letter incorrectly can really irritate a hiring manager which will usually result in automatic rejection. The best way to address a cover letter is using the hiring manager’s name. That’s not always possible, so what’s the next best thing? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ll show you how to address a cover letter the right way in any situation.
Cover Letter Salutations
Find the Hiring Manager's Name If Possible
Although this may be difficult to do, especially with larger companies, always make the effort to find the hiring manager’s name and address it to him or her.
How do you find it?
First, check the job posting and see if there is a name listed. If you can’t find the name listed, try calling into the HR department and asking someone there who the right contact is.
You can say something like:
“Hi, my name is Brian and I’m applying for the junior accounting position you have listed. I don’t want to send it without addressing it properly so would you be so kind and tell me the name of the hiring manager in charge”.
You may think it's a waste of time but going out of your way to find the name of the hiring manager really shows that you put in the effort to apply and have a genuine interest working there.
How to Address a Cover Letter When No Name is Available
You'll find that it's not always easy to find the name of a hiring manager. Here are the top 3 ways to address a cover letter in this case:
Option #1 - Find the name of any hiring manager or recruiter.
Large companies often have many recruiters and hiring managers, so finding the one that will be handling your application will be difficult. However, if you come across the name of any hiring manager or recruiter, you should use it.
No one is going to reject your application because it's addressed to a different hiring manager. It shows you put in the time and effort trying to find someone to address it to. Always try to find the head hiring manager or recruiter when going with this option.
Option # 2 - Use the name of the position and "hiring manager".
If the first option isn’t really available, then you could just write the position you’re applying for and “hiring manager”.
Example: Hiring Manager for the Accounting P__osition
This still shows that you put in the time to mention the exact position you’re targeting. This also tells the hiring manager exactly which position you’re applying for and if needed, they could forward it to the right person.
You wouldn’t write “Dear hiring manager for the accounting position” of course. You would include it in the header before you start your cover letter.
Newark, New Jersey | 862-888-2222 | [email protected]
Hiring Manager for the Accounting Position
10 Oak Drive
Dear Hiring Manager,
I’m writing to you to express my interest in the Accounting position you have open on your company website with the job ID# 11220. I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and am confident that my experience and skill set would be a great match for this position.
To open the cover letter, you would just use “Dear hiring manager” which leads us to our last option.
Option # 3 - "Dear Hiring Manager"
Although finding the name of the hiring manager is always preferred, it’s not always possible and “Dear hiring manager” is acceptable. In a recent study done by Saddleback College which surveyed 2,000 hiring managers, only 40% liked to see “Dear hiring manager” if the name is unknown.
The 3 Worst Ways to Address a Cover Letter
#1 - To whom it may concern
Please don't use this boring and outdated phrase. Not only is it too formal and outdated, it makes it look like no effort was made to find the name of the hiring manager. It also makes your cover letter look like it wasn't tailored for that position and one you use to send to any opening.
Put in the time and effort to customize your cover letter if you really want to get noticed by a recruiter.
#2 - "Hi" or "Hello"
This is just unprofessional and "Hi" is even considered slang. Save the "Hi" for your friends and go with something more professional!
#3 - Leaving it Blank
You should never leave it blank. As we mentioned above, if you can’t find the name, simply address it by using the position and “hiring manager” or just “Dear hiring manager”.
Make an effort to find the name of the hiring manager. Knowing how to address a cover letter the correct way is important but also remember that the first few opening sentences need to be effective. You can check out our post on how to start a cover letter that captures the attention of a hiring manager.
Good luck with your job search!
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.