The hiring manager opens up your cover letter. She looks at it for half a second before kicking it to the recycle bin.
Can an address on a cover letter hurt your chance to land the interview?
You bet it can.
That manager has 100 to 300+ cover letters and resumes to read. She's already not in the best mood.
Without knowing her name, there's a whole bag of things you can do wrong, and only a few ways to do it right.
You want her to feel good about you from word #1.
This guide will show you:
- How to address a cover letter without a name.
- The #1 way to address a cover letter.
- Who to address a cover letter to (with four great tricks to learn their name).
- The top 4 cover letter address mistakes.
Here's an example cover letter made with our fast online cover letter tool. Want to write your introduction letter fast? Use our cover letter templates and build your version here.
That example of who to address a cover letter to without a name will start your relationship off right. Now let me show you several ways to do it perfectly.
How to Address a Cover Letter with No Name
Imagine you're reading emails.
Sounds fun already, right?
One starts, "Dear esteemed gentleman of high regard." To make things worse, your name is Nancy.
Can you say Nigerian scam?
Of course you won't do anything that silly in a business letter. But if you don't know how to address a cover letter without a name, you may sound almost as tin-eared.
The first and easiest way to address a cover letter without a contact?
Leave the salutation off and start with the first paragraph.
Addressing a Cover Letter with No Salutation
Agilium's commitment to employee development is well known...
Why does that work for addressing a cover letter to unknown? It avoids the chance to make things worse.
Addressing a Cover Letter with "Dear" + a Generic Title
Dear Hiring Manager,
That's another way to start an introduction right. In fact, 40% of managers prefer "Dear Hiring Manager" to any other salutation.
Is it perfect? No. But it's invisible. It lets the manager get on to the important info in your letter, like why your resume is so amazing.
For the best way to address a cover letter with no name, you'll need specifics.
I'll show you a career-saving way to do that next.
Pro Tip: Should you use "dear" in a cover letter address? It's common and accepted. If you don't like it, leave it off and just say, "Hiring Manager,".
Ready to move past the "who do you address a cover letter to" question? Need great tips and advice to write the whole thing? See our guide: "How To Write A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]"
The BEST Way to Address a Cover Letter with No Name
"This applicant clearly has a brain."
What if I gave you a button, and by pushing it, you could make the hiring manager say the words above?
If you just want to know how to address your letter without a name, the examples above will work.
To convey high competence from the beginning, use specifics. Like this:
Who to Address a Cover Letter To [The Best Way]
Address your cover letter to the hiring manager, even if the letter will go through a recruiter.
Here are five examples of how to address someone in a cover letter when you don't know their name.
- Dear Project Manager Hiring Team,
- Dear Sales Associate Hiring Manager,
- To the Customer Service Search Committee,
- To the Computer Science Recruitment Team,
- Dear Software Team Hiring Manager,
Pow. There's a switch somewhere in the hiring manager's head, and it just flipped to "Pay Attention."
Why do those examples for how to address a cover letter work?
They show you're not just scattershooting resumes from a potato gun. You actually have some idea what's going on within the company.
Pro Tip: Knowing the hiring manager's name is the best tip for addressing a cover letter. I'll show you six fantastic tricks up next.
Want to move past how to address a cover letter and on to the first paragraph? See this guide: "How to Start a Cover Letter: Sample & Complete Guide [20+ Examples]"
How to Find the Hiring Manager's Name without a Detective
You addressed your cover letter with "Dear Hiring Manager." The manager pictured a mouthbreather. She folded your resume into a little triangle and flicked it at the trash.
Well, that probably won't happen.
Still, if you're looking for how to address a cover letter in the best way possible, it's with a name.
You know that, but you're not Miss Marple. You don't have time to show the manager's picture around a bunch of coffee shops.
So, do these things:
How to Find Out Who to Address a Cover Letter To
Don't create a generic letter address until you've tried these tips to find a name:
Double check the job posting. Make absolutely sure the name's not in it. If it is and you miss it, you'll have enough egg on your face to make a double omelet.
Examine the email address in the job description. If it's firstname.lastname@example.org, do a Google search for "p fudderman" and "amible.com." Chances are, you'll find your manager's full name.
Check LinkedIn. Job offers on LinkedIn often identify the one who did the posting. Also, look at the company page or do a LinkedIn company search.
Check the Company Website. Try to find the head of the department on the company's staff page.
Ask friends. You can use LinkedIn to check if you've got contacts at the company. A Facebook shout-out may work too. If you're six degrees from Kevin Bacon, you're probably even closer to the hiring manager.
Call. If all else fails, call the receptionist and ask who the contact person is.
Use a Title in Your Address
If the hiring manager has a title like Dr., Professor, Reverend, or Captain, use that in place of a first name. She'll notice the respect and it'll give her a good feeling.
- Dear Dr. Steuben,
- Dear Professor Onion,
Pro Tip: Still can't find the hiring manager's name? Don't panic. Just use one of our excellent tips above for how to address a cover letter without a name.
Finished your cover letter and need to close it? See our guide: "How To End A Cover Letter [Complete Guide With Examples]"
How to Address a Cover Letter with Ms. or Mrs.
Picture a pencil.
It's full of bite marks.
You put them there because you're not sure whether to use "Miss" or "Mrs."
Is she married? Isn't she? You don't want to insult her.
Gender rules can make it hard to know who to address a cover letter to.
The good news is, "Ms." works great, and doesn't comment on marital status.
Dear Ms. Passalacqua,
Dear Miss Passalacqua
Dear Mrs. Passalacqua
Don't use "Miss" or "Mrs." unless you know the manager prefers them.
You can also use the first name, or the first and last together.
- Dear Karen Passalacqua,
- Dear Karen,
Pro Tip: Don't know the recruiter's gender? Names like Pat and Adrian can be tricky. A glance at a LinkedIn profile photo can clear up the confusion. Or use both names.
Need to know how to address a general cover letter? See this guide: How to Write a Letter of Interest [Complete Guide & 15+ Examples]
What's the Proper Cover Letter Address Format?
Visualize the ultimate success:
You got the job. You're earning a fat paycheck. Your quality of life would make Mark Zuckerberg jealous.
Is it because you used the right cover letter format?
Knowing how to address a cover letter with the proper format is just a way to sidestep looking sloppy.
But doing that will help you get the interview.
Write your name and address in the upper left.
After a line space, write the date.
After one more space, write the hiring manager's address.
Add one more space and then the salutation.
Barrett Miller, IT Professional
3367 Jewell Road
Minneapolis, MN 55415
IT Hiring Manager
341 Lodgeville Road
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Dear IT Hiring Manager,
I've been interested in Ideonix since...
How to Write a Cover Letter Email Address
Need to know how to address a cover letter when sending an electronic cover letter?
If you're formatting an email, start with a 6-10 word subject line.
Use a salutation, add a line space, then begin your letter.
Subject Line: Job Application for Nursing Position, Referred by Gregory Torres
Dear Dr. Appleton,
When Mr. Torres told me about the opening...
For emails, use that cover letter address format without the address of the company.
Pro Tip: There's a trend for modern job applicants to leave out "Dear." There's nothing wrong with doing that. It all comes down to preference.
Want to know how to format the rest of your cover letter? See this guide: "Cover Letter Formats: A Complete How-To Guide [10+ Examples]"
How NOT to Address a Cover Letter [Mistakes]
Will you sink your chance to land the interview if you don't know how to address a cover letter?
But addressing a letter incorrectly sets the wrong tone. It can make the hiring manager doubt you. And that can hurt your chances.
Avoid these addressing mistakes:
Addressing a cover letter with "Hello" or "Hi" comes off too informal. It sends a message that you don't quite grasp the rules.
The exclamation point is a bonus no-no.
Don't use "Dear Sir or Madam" when you don't know who to address a cover letter to. Not unless you're applying for a position back in 1895.
To Whom it May Concern,
Some managers (about 25%) claim they like the "To Whom it May Concern" cover letter address. The trouble is, the other 75% don't.
Dear Human Resources Director,
That last example looks fine at first. But the hiring manager might not be in HR. She might be the head of Accounting, or the company CEO.
If you know the HR director is handling the talent search, you probably know her name. Use that instead.
Pro Tip: Be rigorous with spell-checking. Nothing shows you don't know how to address a cover letter like botching the manager's name.
Writing a cover letter for an internship position? See our guide: "How to Write a Cover Letter For an Internship [+20 Examples]"
Knowing how to address a cover letter is the first step to starting off on the right foot.
The best tip when you don't know who to address a cover letter to? Learn the name. LinkedIn, Google, and the company receptionist can help.
To address a cover letter without a name, use some variation of, "Dear Software Team Hiring Manager." You can also use, "Dear Hiring Manager" if the addressee really is unknown.
Use titles like Dr., Professor, Captain, Reverend, Ms., or Mr. when you can.
Want to know more about how to address a cover letter? Maybe you found the best way to address a cover letter? Give us a shout in the comments! We love to help!
How to Address a Cover Letter
Addressing a cover letter can be tricky if you are responding to a job listing and either don’t have a contact person’s name or don't know the hiring manager's gender.
First of all, take the time to try and find out the name and gender of the contact person. Some employers will think poorly of an applicant who does not take the time to find out the hiring manager’s name.
However, if you do some research and are still not sure to whom you are addressing your letter, it's better to be safe and use a generic greeting or none at all.
It's acceptable to start a letter without a greeting.
Read below for advice on how to address a cover letter, and example salutations.
Options for Addressing a Cover Letter
When you're not sure to whom to address your cover letters, you have a few options.
The first is to find out the name of the person you are contacting. If the name is not included on the job listing, you might look up the title of the employer or hiring manager on the company website. If there is a contact number, you might also call and ask an administrative assistant for the name of the hiring manager.
If you cannot discover the name of the 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.
Tips for Using a General Salutation
There 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 Hiring Manager (40%)
- To Whom It May Concern (27%)
- Dear Sir/Madam (17%)
- Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
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 any sort of title that reveals gender:
- Dear Sydney Doe
- Dear Taylor Smith
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.
What Title to Use
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.
Also, 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 Format a 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 letter.
Spell Check Names
Finally, 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.
Cover Letter Examples
Here are examples of cover letters addressed to a hiring manager, cover letters with a contact person, and more samples to review.
How to Write a Cover Letter
This guide to writing cover letters has information on what to include in your cover letter, how to write a cover letter, cover letter format, targeted cover letters, and cover letter samples.