You’ve just composed a beautiful cover letter. You’ve expressed your enthusiasm for the role and the hiring company, you’ve communicated what makes you uniquely qualified for the position, you’ve included the employee’s name who referred you to the role…you’ve diligently followed everything ResumeSpice preaches about writing cover letters.
Last, minor detail: to whom should you address your cover letter? Below are our suggestions, ranked in order from ideal to least effective:
Address the letter directly to the hiring manager (i.e., Mr. Wilson)
The ideal scenario is that you know the person’s name who is hiring for the role. You don’t? Ok, time to do some research. The first step is to search LinkedIn for the hiring manager’s name. Many roles list the hiring manager directly in the job posting. Next, check the company’s website to see if you can match the hiring manager to the person the role reports to, as outlined in the job description. Next, do you know someone at the company who can fill you in? Have you called into the company (without providing your name) and asked who the person is who is hiring for that role? It takes some effort and ingenuity, but addressing the letter directly to the hiring manager is one small factor that can help set your cover letter apart in a sea of generic applications.
Dear Hiring Manager:
When you’ve exhausted all options for uncovering the hiring manager’s name, the next best option is to address the letter “Dear Hiring Manager”. This salutation makes it clear who you’re trying to contact and is slightly less generic than the other options listed below.
To Whom It May Concern:
The perfect salutation when applying for a position that was posted before 1980. This was “the” catch-all salutation for the pre-Internet years, but in a business culture that, for better or for worse, has become progressively less formal, “To Whom It May Concern” seems conspicuously outdated.
Ideal for situations where you are applying to be someone’s butler. In all seriousness, we recommend avoiding this salutation 🙂
Interestingly, the results of a study by Saddleback College, in a survey of more than 2,000 companies, found that employers preferred the following greetings:
- Dear Hiring Manager (40%)
- To Whom It May Concern (27%)
- Dear Sir/Madam (17%)
- Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
- Leave it blank (8%)
Hopefully the above information has helped shed some light on cover letter salutations. Need some help composing your cover letter? The team at ResumeSpice would love to help!
If you would like to talk to a career consultant about how to – ahem – spice up your cover letter, give ResumeSpice a call or contact us to chat with one of our consultants about how our professional services can help you.