Addressing a Cover Letter in 3 Steps
Start your application off on the right foot by addressing your cover letter to the appropriate person. A properly structured salutation demonstrates that you’ve done your research and tailored your application to the position.
Follow our guide and learn how to address your cover letter correctly — with or without the hiring manager’s name, gender, or prefix.
1. Locate the Correct Name (If Possible)
If you’re lucky, the hiring manager’s name will be listed somewhere in the the job description. If this is the case, addressing your cover letter is going to be a piece of cake.
But, wait a minute — are you 100% positive that’s the right name?
Job descriptions often include both the hiring manager and the recruiter’s name. Don’t be fooled by this common pitfall — verify that you’ve got the right name before hitting “Submit.” Use Linkedin or the company website to confirm who’s who.
A basic cover letter salutation will begin with “Dear” followed by the hiring manager’s name — and that’s about it. The only tricky part is selecting the correct title to precede the hiring manager’s name — but, more on this in the next section.
Avoid using salutations such as, “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Hey,” — all of which are too casual for this formal document.
Other Places to Search for the Hiring Manager’s Name
If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name in the job description, don’t abandon the search party just yet — there are still plenty of other places to look.
Addressing the hiring manager directly, allows you to establish a personal connection. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a positive and lasting first impression.
It’s worth the extra leg work, so hone your detective skills and use the following sources to help you crack the case:
- The company website: See if you can pick the hiring manager out of the crowd on the “About us” or “Company Directory” page of the company’s website.
- LinkedIn: Browse the company page on LinkedIn and use filters such as position title, location, and personal names to narrow your search.
- Google search: A targeted Google search can help you uncover the name of even the most elusive hiring manager. It’s easy — just plug the company website and appropriate position title into Google using the following format:
- Site:Resumegenius.com “Position Title”
- Contact the company: If you’ve come away from your digital search empty handed, call or email the company and ask for the hiring manager’s name directly. Explain that you’re applying for a position and that you’d like to address your cover letter to the appropriate party.
2. Use the Correct Title
Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss?
If the hiring manager has a gender-neutral name, steer clear of titles such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” in your greeting. Instead, play it safe and write out their first and last name. For example, “Dear Taylor Johnson” could help you avoid making an awkward — and potentially offensive — error.
If you’re 100% certain of their gender and want to include a title, that’s fine too. “Mr.” is acceptable for men of any marital status, and for female employers you can use “Ms.” to address them. Unlike “Mrs.” and “Miss.,” this neutral title doesn’t denote whether they’re married or not.
Professional and Academic Titles
When addressing a cover letter for a hiring manager with a professional or academic title, it’s considered respectful to include it in your salutation. It’s acceptable to use either an abbreviation or to write out the full title. For example:
- Doctor or Dr.
- Professor or Prof.
- Sergeant or Sgt.
- Reverend or Rev.
3. Apply Appropriate Punctuation and Spacing
Once you’ve selected your cover letter greeting, follow it with a comma or colon — both are appropriate, so choose what you think looks best.
After that, use a space separate the greeting from the first paragraph of your cover letter. Don’t go crazy— all you need is one space to signify that you’re finished your greeting and moving on to your first paragraph. Check out these examples to make sure you’re on the right track:
Want more information on cover letter aesthetics? Check out our complete guide on how to format a cover letter.
How to Address a Cover Letter with No Name
If the hiring manager’s name is nowhere to be found, it’s appropriate to use a generic salutation such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”
Avoid using out-of-date greetings like “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” that come across as overly formal and stiff.
If you want to add a personal touch, you can address your cover letter to your prospective department or line manager. For instance, “Dear Marketing Department.”
Tailoring your cover letter salutation to the position is one way to put in the extra effort. It demonstrates that you’ve read the job description and understand the company’s organization structure.
Cover Letter Salutation Examples
We’ve got you covered with these cover letter salutation examples — for every possible scenario. Just find the situation that applies to your letter, follow our formatting instructions, and plug-in your details, if necessary.
|Gender-Neutral Names||Gender-Specific Titles||Professional / Academic Titles|
|Dear Adrian Allen:||Dear Mr. Cooper:||Dear Doctor Adams:
|Dear Blake Ross,||Dear Ms. Morgan,||Dear Rev. Miller,
|Dear Quinn Johnson,||Dear Mr. Brown:||Dear Professor Davis:
|Dear Riley Jones:||Dear Ms. Williams,||Dear Sgt. Young,
|Generic Salutations||Department / Team Greetings|
|Dear Hiring Manager:||Dear [Department] Manager:|
|Dear Human Resource Director,||Dear [Department] Hiring Manager,|
|Dear Recruiting Department:||To the [Department] Recruitment Team:|
It’s great that you now know how to address a cover letter, but that’s only one part of the equation.
Learning how to write a cover letter that wins interviews is even more important, and it all begins with an effective cover letter opening. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to put together job applications like a pro, and will never be far from your next job.