Every part of your cover letter, from the address to the main body, leaves an impression on the employer. When you are writing a cover letter, the question that should always be on your mind is, how would I receive this letter if I were a hiring manager?
While the hiring manager will focus primarily on the body of the letter, little details like how you address the cover letter still matter. Taking the time to research the hiring manager’s name, for example, shows you have put in some extra effort.
In this guide, we discuss how to address a cover letter, and show what to do when you know the hiring manager’s name and when you don’t. We also provide an example of a cover letter address you can use.
Scenario #1: You know the hiring manager’s name
If you know the hiring manager’s name, you should include it in your cover letter address. This allows you to start the letter on a more personal note. It also shows you have done some research on the person that will be reading the letter.
There are two ways you can address a cover letter if you know the hiring manager’s name.
If you don’t know the gender of the hiring manager, you should begin your cover letter address with “Dear,” followed by their full name. This option is usually preferred to reduce the chance that you use the wrong gender.
Here is an example of a cover letter that addresses a hiring manager by their full name:
Dear Paul Bunting
If you know the gender of the hiring manager, you can state their title followed by their last name. Do this only if you are sure of their gender.
Here is an example of a cover letter address that uses a hiring manager’s name and title:
Dear Ms. Hoover
If the hiring manager is female and you want to use a gender-specific title, you should use “Ms.” This title does not denote marital status. You should only use “Miss” or “Mrs.” if you are certain they prefer to be called by one of those titles.
Scenario #2: You don’t know the hiring manager’s name
Before technology became prominent in the process of applying for a job, it was easy to find the name of hiring managers. You could just walk into the office and ask while you were discussing the position.
However, if you are applying for a remote job, you may not know the name of the hiring manager. In this case, you should do some research to find out the person who will be evaluating your application.
Stating the name of a hiring manager in your application is a good way to show that you have spent time learning more about the company. This sends a positive signal to the employer: you are someone who is willing to go above and beyond to get the details right.
How do you find the hiring manager’s name? First, check the job listing to see if it states the name of the manager who is hiring for the position. If the name is not there, you can try your luck with a quick search on LinkedIn or navigating the company’s website.
If these efforts do not bear fruit, consider calling or emailing the company to ask to whom you should address the letter.
Some people also believe it is a good idea to use a generic address in your cover letter. This, however, should be a measure of last resort. Here are a few examples of generic addresses you can use:
Dear Hiring Manager
Dear Accounting Department
Dear Head of People
Dear Store Manager
“The Hiring Manager Has a Special Title”
If the hiring manager has a specific title, you should use it in your address.
Suppose the hiring manager holds a Ph.D. In this case, you would want to address your cover letter to “Dr. [Last name],” rather than using their gender.
Other titles that you may have to use include:
- Professor (Prof.)
- Reverend (Rev.)
- Sergeant (Sgt.)
- Sir (Sir.)
While the address of your cover letter may not seem as important as the main body, every detail counts. Starting your cover letter with the wrong address gives an employer the impression that you have rushed through the details, or that you have not conducted the right amount of research before submitting your letter.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to properly address your cover letter, even if you don’t know the name of the hiring manager who will be reading the letter.