StandOut CV

How to address a cover letter | with examples

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The way you start your cover letter counts.

It’s the first thing a hiring manager sees when they open your application so you need to make them excited to peek into your CV .

In our guide, we’ll show you the ropes on how to address your cover letter, and even teach you how to find the recruiter or hiring manager’s name for maximum impact.

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Address the hiring manager or recruiter directly

How to address a cover letter

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name to start building a rapport with them.

Something simple like, “Hi Lucy” will do the trick.

According to recent research , simply seeing your own name can trigger a strong response in the brain. So, be sure to do this, to captivate the recruiter’s attention.

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How to find the recruiter or hiring manager’s name

You may be wondering, “How do I figure out their name?”

There are several ways to find out the name of the person handling the job opening, which we’ll look at below.

Recruiter's name in job advert

When you’re reading a job advert, you’ll sometimes find the name and email address of the person you need to get in touch with directly in the ad.

Look out for the section that says “For enquiries” or “Contact person”.

For example, the advert might say something like:

“For more info, please contact Susan Wright at [email protected].”

Usually, this person manages that job vacancy.

If you see this information, it’s your lucky day – job adverts are the simplest way to find the correct name.

Company website

Recruiter's name on website

If you can’t find the recruiter’s name on the job advert , and you’re applying for a job directly via a company, check out their website.

Keep an eye out for a “Who We Are” , “About Us” or “Our Team” section.

Here, you’ll usually be able to find the info about the people who work there, including the head of the department or hiring team connected to the position you’re applying for.

Look at the people’s profiles to get the one that fits your job’s department.

If you have trouble finding it directly, use the search bar on the company’s website and type in “Head of [Department Name]” or “HR Manager”.

You could also run a Google search for “[Company name] + team” for a quick way of finding an About Page for a particular team or department.

LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find a hiring manager or recruiter because millions of them are registered on the platform.

Firstly, ascertain the company that posted the position and the team it’s connected with from the information provided in the job advert.

When you know the department and organisation, head over to LinkedIn . Here, you can use the search bar to look for the company name, department or job title associated with the job opening.

Let’s say you’re applying for a marketing vacancy at Tesco. You can search for “Marketing Manager” in the search bar like this:

Recruiter's name on LinkedIn

Once the search results appear, click the “People” filter button to narrow down your findings further so that you’re only seeing people (and not companies or groups).

LinkedIn people filter

Then make sure you choose your target company under “Current Company” – this ensures you only view people who are current employees.

You will need to type the name of the company into the text box like this:

LinkedIn current company filter

Click on the name of the company you typed in. In this case, it’s “Tesco.”

Then hit the blue “Show results” button.

LinkedIn show results button

And examine the profiles that come up.

LinkedIn profiles

You’ll be able to find the person handling the job applications by looking for titles such as “recruitment manager” or “team leader” .

And once you view their profiles you may even be able to get hold of their phone number or email address.

Contact info

Here is how you can find a person’s email address via the contact details, if they have entered them.

Click on their profile then seek out the “Contact info” section.

This sits under their profile picture and headline.

LinkedIn contact info

If the user has made their contact info visible, you’ll see it here.

LinkedIn user email address

About section

Often, you can locate additional contact info, such as email addresses, in the “About” or “Summary” section of their profile.

To do this, scroll down to the user’s “About” section.

If the user has decided to include their email address, you’ll see it here.

LinkedIn about section

If you can’t find an email, you can contact them directly through LinkedIn.

Here’s how you’d do this:

  • Send a connection request – Send the person a connection request and a message. When they accept your request, you’ll be able to write an accompanying message.
  • Use InMail – If this specific individual isn’t in your network, use the LinkedIn InMail. This is a premium feature which lets you send messages to LinkedIn members outside of your network – it’s useful but do. Of course, there is a fee to use this feature but it’s a useful tool.

What if you can’t find a name?

Addressing cover letter if you can't find a name

Don’t panic if you can’t find the name of the individual you’re trying to address. This will happen a lot during your job search .

In such cases, it’s absolutely fine to begin with a friendly “Hi.”

But don’t use expressions like “Dear Sir or Madam” – this sounds extremely outdated and aloof.

If you use the word “Hi”, this ensures your cover letter is more amicable and modern , even when you’re unsure of the person’s name.

This is a courteous and simple way to start if you have difficulty locating the specific hiring manager’s name.

How to write a cover letter email subject line

Cover letter email subject line

A recruiter’s inbox gets flooded with applications, so when you write your cover letter email , your initial goal is to entice them to read your email.

You must catch their attention with a compelling subject line and give a captivating reason for them to click on your message.

Avoid using generic subject lines, such as:

  • “Check This Out” – Subject lines like this sound spammy, and hiring managers may ignore it.
  • “Important” – Recruiters won’t know why your email is important – they might deem it clickbait.
  • “CV Attached” – This subject line doesn’t offer any context or engage the recruiter in any way at all.
  • “Hire Me” – This comes across as too blunt and provides no context.
  • “I Need a Job” – This sounds too direct and may sound a little too desperate.
  • “Looking for Work” – While you’re being upfront, this isn’t an engaging subject line.

Instead of including any of these generic subject lines, you must promote your selling points right off the bat.

For instance, use subject lines that highlight your skills and expertise in a concise, screen-friendly title.

Determine your main strengths as an applicant and invent a way to integrate them into your subject line.

You could say something like:

  • “Veteran Graphic Designer with a Portfolio of Projects”
  • “Registered Nurse with Intensive Care Unit Expertise”
  • “Committed Secondary School Teacher with 10 Years’ Classroom Expertise”
  • “Certified IT Professional with Experience in Network Security”

These subject lines are effective because they communicate key information and value to hiring managers clearly and concisely. Each tells the recruiter about your qualifications and expertise and is tailored to the specific job or field.

A recruiter is more likely to open an email from someone who can potentially meet their requirements.

A quick tip: Remember, subject lines have a limited amount of space – you’ll probably only be able to squeeze in between 30 and 35 characters.

How not to address a cover letter

When you’re addressing your cover letter , some things simply aren’t worth including. These old-fashioned or overly formal ways of starting a cover letter can make a negative first impression.

So, avoid the below phrases in your cover letter greeting:

  • “Dear Sir or Madam” – This is far too old-fashioned and doesn’t show much effort. It’s also fairly impersonal.
  • “What’s up, [Department Name]?” – This is excessively informal and will probably give hiring managers the wrong impression about you. It also doesn’t address the specific person.

Steer clear of these unimpressive ways to address your cover letter and plump for a more personal, engaging approach, like “Hi James” or “Hello Sarah”. Don’t forget, you need to get the perfect balance of friendliness and professionalism.

How to Address a Cover Letter in 2024

Background Image

Yes, how you address your cover letter matters.

After all, this is the first thing the recruiter reads when going through your cover letter, and yes, there is a right and wrong way to do it.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to address your cover letter in such a way that you leave a positive impression on any recruiter!

  • How to address a cover letter to a recruiter? (Casual or formal)
  • What title to use when addressing the hiring manager
  • How to address a cover letter without a contact person/to a company
  • How to address a cover letter without an address
  • How to address a cover letter in an email

How to Address a Cover Letter To a Recruiter (Casual or Formal)?

As we already mentioned, the way you address your cover letter is important because it is the very first thing recruiters see upon opening your cover letter. 

A well-formulated cover letter address means that you care enough to research the company (i.e. to find the hiring manager’s name and title) and that you show attention to detail. 

As such, you should always put some research into who you’re addressing your cover letter to and do so in a formal way.  

And yes, the formal part is important too. The recruiter isn’t your best friend - you want to maintain a sense of professionalism.

If this is how you address the recruiter in your cover letter:

  • What’s up Hiring Manager
  • Hi there Hiring Team

Then you say goodbye to the job.

Now, you’re probably wondering, how can I find out whom to address my cover letter to?

That’s what we’re about to teach you:

Who Am I Addressing My Cover Letter To?

Here are some tricks to find the full name of the hiring manager: 

  • Check the job listing. The job listing may have information about the recruiter or the department doing the hiring. Make sure to read through the entire job listing, as it might not be at an entirely obvious place.
  • Check the company website. Some websites feature the names of the hiring managers or heads of departments that may go through your cover letter. Alternatively, LinkedIn is another place where you can look for this information.
  • Check the company’s LinkedIn. You can look up who works in the company you’re applying for on their LinkedIn page.
  • Ask around. Do you have friends that work for the company? They could provide you with valuable inside info.

To avoid making a bad impression, head over to our guide on cover letter mistakes to learn about what NOT to do when writing your cover letter.  

job search masterclass novoresume

Addressing a Cover Letter With a Name

By now, you have probably found the hiring manager’s full name and gender. With this information available, it’s best to address the hiring manager formally, as follows: 

  • Dear Mr. Brown,
  • Dear Miss Fitzpatrick,
  • Dear Mrs. Lockhart,
  • Dear Ms. Walters,

If, for some reason, you are unsure about the person’s title, gender, marital status, or preferred pronouns, just address them using their entire name to avoid any mistakes. For example:

  • Dear Alex Brown, 
  • Dear Blair Fitzpatrick,
  • Dear Jesse Lockhart,
  • Dear Madison Walters,

Addressing someone with a title 

Now, if you found out that the hiring manager has a professional or academic title, then it’s more appropriate to address them using that title. If, for example, the hiring manager has a Ph.D., then it’s more respectful to address them as “Dr. Last Name,” instead of “Mr. Last Name.”  

Here are some professional titles and how they’re abbreviated: 

  • A professor is Prof. 
  • A reverend is Rev. 
  • A sergeant is Sgt. 
  • Honorable is Hon. 

If, however, you are uncertain about how a title is abbreviated, then avoid it altogether. 

Here are a few examples to give you an idea: 

  • Dear Prof. Welsch,
  • Dear Director Smith,
  • Dear Rev. Owen,

Dear Dr. Leonard,

When addressing women and you don’t know their marital status, always go with Ms., because it doesn’t comment on marital status. Some women prefer not to be addressed with Miss or Mrs. even when they’re married, so sticking with Ms. is the best choice. 

Want to learn more cover letter tips ? Our guide has all you need to ace your cover letter!  

How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Contact Person

It might happen that, no matter how hard you search, you can’t find the name of the hiring manager or department head that will read your cover letter.

In that case, you can address your cover letter to the department, faculty, or the company.

  • Dear Software Development Hiring Team,
  • Dear Customer Service Department Hiring Team,
  • Dear Head of the Literature Faculty,
  • Dear Director of Marketing,
  • Dear Human Resources Recruitment Team,

Alternatively, if you don’t have enough information either about the department or the team, you can opt for addressing the cover letter directly to the company’s hiring staff, as follows: 

Dear [Company Name] Hiring Team 

Dear [Company Name] Recruiting Staff

If all else fails (meaning, you don’t know the name of the department head or even the exact department, in addition to the recruiter) then you can use one of the good, old-fashioned:

Dear Hiring Manager,

...but NOT the impersonal and way outdated “To whom it may concern” and “Dear Sir/Madam.” 

Starting a cover letter can be challenging. Our guide can show you how to start a cover letter that will get you results from the get-go. 

How to Format the Company’s Address

Before you reach the salutation, you have to make sure that the header with the recipient’s contact information is formatted correctly. 

It might not be the deciding point of whether you’ll secure an interview or not, but it will cost you points if it’s off. 

So, the first thing you want to do is add your name and surname on the upper left side of the cover letter. Underneath, you should write your professional title (if applicable), your email , and your phone number . 

Now, after you’ve also added the date, you should leave one more space and add the recipient’s contact information and, most importantly, the company’s address. 

It should look something like this on your cover letter: 

how to address a cover letter

When You Can’t Find the Company’s Address 

Some companies might have several addresses listed (as per their branches, for example), or even none at all. 

Since an application that doesn’t have an address line could end up lost or misplaced, make sure you do one of the following before skipping the company’s address completely:

  • Check all your resources, (pretty much like when you were looking for the hiring manager’s name) to find the company’s address. 
  • Use the company’s headquarter address. This is sometimes easier to find, especially if the company has several branches. 
  • Use the P.O. Box number for the company. This is not as specific as an actual address line, but if all else fails, it’s still something. 

Frequently, you’ll be asked to submit your job application (including your cover letter) electronically, or by email. In those cases, you can skip the address line altogether. 

Here’s how you’d go about addressing a cover letter in an email.

How to Address an Email Cover Letter

If you’re sending your job application through email, chances are you’ll need to format your cover letter in the body of the email, or as an attachment along with your resume.

First and foremost when you’re addressing a cover letter in an email is the subject line, which should be between 6-10 words long. 

Considering that hiring managers receive countless emails daily, you want to make sure that yours is a job application immediately. And the way to do that is straight through the subject line, which should indicate exactly the position you’re applying for and your name so that it’s easier to find through the recruiter’s swarmed mailbox. 

Here’ what we mean by that:

  • Subject Line:   John Doe - Software Development Job Application 
  • Subject Line: John Doe - Job Application for Marketing Manager Position   
  • Subject Line: John Doe - Stock Manager Job Application 

Afterward, if you’re including your cover letter in the body of the email (as opposed to attaching it as a document), begin by using a salutation, add space, and start your letter. 

If someone referred you for the position, make sure to mention that in the subject line of your email as well as in your opening paragraph.  

So, let’s see how all the above plays out in practice: 

Subject Line: John Doe - Carl Jacob’s Referral for Software Developer

I was very glad that Mr. Jacobs, a long-time partner at your firm who also happens to be my mentor from college, referred me for the Software Developer position. 

Do you want your style, personality, and overall personal brand to shine through your application? With Novorésumé, you can match your cover letter with your resume to make a lasting impression! 

matching resume and cover letter

Key Takeaways 

And that’s all there is when it comes to addressing a cover letter! You should feel much more confident in doing so by now. 

Either way, let’s go over the main points we covered throughout the article: 

  • Your cover letter address should be formal and well-researched. Don’t address the hiring manager with “hey,” “what’s up,” “hi there,” or even the old-fashioned “Dear Sir/Madam” and “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Always try to find the hiring manager’s full name and professional title through the company’s website, LinkedIn, by calling, or by asking someone who works there.
  • If you know the hiring manager’s name, go with “Dear Mr./Miss Last Name,” but if you’re unsure about their gender, marital status, or preferred pronoun, just address them using their full name.
  • If the recruiter has a professional or academic title, it’s more appropriate to address them using their title.
  • If you can’t find the contact person’s name, then address the department, faculty, or company (i.e. Dear Microsoft Hiring Team , or Dear Software Development Recruitment Team ).

Related Readings: 

  • Do I Need a Cover Letter in 2024
  • Entry-Level Cover Letter
  • Cover Letter for Internship
  • How to Write a Cover Letter in 2024

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How to Choose the Right Greeting for Your Cover Letter

addressing a generic cover letter

Cover Letter Greetings to Avoid

When you have a contact person.

  • When You Don't Have a Contact Person

Examples of General Salutations

  • When to Use 'Dear' in a Cover Letter
  • Writing a Cover Letter Salutation

Concluding Your Letter

Cover letter example, sending your letter.

Hilary Allison / The Balance 

A salutation is the greeting at the beginning of a cover letter that is included with a resume when applying for a job. When you're  writing a cover letter  or sending an  email message  to apply for a job, it's important to include an appropriate greeting at the beginning to set the tone for your letter, which should be professional and appropriate.

The greeting is the first thing the recipient will see  when they read your cover letter . Therefore, it's important for you to convey the appropriate level of familiarity and respect.

Using casual greetings, such as “Hello” and “Hi” can make your letter seem unprofessional. Reserve these casual greetings for personal email and refrain from using them in your cover letter unless you are very familiar with the recipient. Such greetings are simply too informal—not the most professional way to begin the conversation if you’re looking to land a job.

“Hi” is appropriate only in casual email correspondence with people you personally know well. For example, if you're checking in with a close friend to find out if they've heard of a job opening at their company. "Hello" is appropriate only in email correspondence. It should be used primarily for people you know well but can be used in very casual circumstances.

Beginning your correspondence “To Whom It May Concern,” on the other hand, may seem too impersonal and make the hiring manager believe you do not care enough to find out whom you should be addressing. The only time to use " To Whom It May Concern " as a cover letter greeting is when you simply cannot find out the specific person to whom you are writing.

You should, of course, make every effort to find the name of a contact in the specific department in which you are interested. When making an inquiry  with a company for unadvertised openings, this greeting may be most appropriate.

The following is a list of letter salutation examples that are appropriate for cover letters and other employment-related correspondence when you have the name of a contact.

  • Dear Mr. Jones
  • Dear Ms. Brown
  • Dear Riley Doe
  • Dear Dr. Haven
  • Dear Professor Lawrence

When You Don't Have a Contact Person

If this information was not provided in the job announcement and you cannot find it on the company’s web site, then you may be able to call the company, ask to be forwarded to their Human Resources department (if they have one), explain that you will be applying for a job there, and ask for the name of their hiring manager.

Always make every effort to find a contact name to use in your letter. It leaves a good impression on the hiring manager if you have taken the time to use their name, especially if you needed to work a little to find it.

LinkedIn is also a great tool to find out the name of the hiring manager. You can do a search for the company you are applying to with one or two keywords that would describe the person hiring for the position. Scroll down the list until you find the person who fits the criteria. This approach may help you pinpoint the appropriate contact person.

Many companies don't list a contact person when they post jobs, because they have a team of hiring staff who sort through cover letters and resumes before passing them to the hiring manager for the appropriate department. They prefer to leave the hiring manager anonymous until he or she contacts you for an interview.

An organization may also not want to disclose who the hiring manager is to avoid emails and phone calls from applicants, particularly if they anticipate receiving a large number of applications from potential job candidates. So, don't worry if you can't find someone to address your letter to. It will be forwarded to the correct department and recipient.

If you don't have a contact person at the company, either leave off the salutation from your cover letter and start with the first paragraph  of your letter or, better yet, use a general salutation.

When using a general salutation, capitalize the nouns.

  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • To Whom It May Concern
  • Dear Human Resources Manager
  • Dear Sir or Madam
  • Dear [Company Name] Recruiter

When to Use 'Dear' in a Cover Letter

It is appropriate to use “Dear” in most circumstances, such as when the potential employer is someone you know well, or they are a business acquaintance. Follow these tips on choosing the right greeting:

  • For people who you know well on a first-name basis, it's okay to use their first name only. For a business acquaintance or associate, use their first name if you met them more than once and addressed them by their first name.
  • For potential employers, use Mr., Ms. or Dr., unless you have been instructed otherwise. Even if you know a woman is married, it is safer to use “Ms.” as opposed to “Mrs.,” as the latter may be offensive in certain circumstances.
  • If you are unsure of the appropriate greeting, play it safe and use Mr./Ms./Dr. [last name] or Mr./Ms./Dr. [first name, last name].

How to Write a Cover Letter Salutation

Standard business correspondence formatting requires that, after providing your own contact information and the date of your letter, you then write down your contact person’s name, the company’s name, and the company’s address.

The formal salutation/greeting comes next: “Dear [Contact Person’s name].” If you have a contact person for your letter, include their personal title and name in the salutation (i.e. "Dear Mr. Franklin"). If you are unsure of the reader's gender, simply state their full name and avoid the personal title (i.e. "Dear Jamie Smith"). Follow the salutation with a colon or comma, leave one line blank, and then start the first paragraph of your letter on the following line.

Your letter greeting has the potential to improve your chances of getting an interview. To enhance your candidacy, make sure your  cover letter  maintains a professional appearance and offers relevant information, including your qualifications for the position. Choose the appropriate closing and always thank the reader for their time and consideration.

This is a cover letter salutation example. Download the salutation cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Cover Letter With Salutation Example (Text Version)

Alex Applicant 123 Main Street Anytown, CA 12345 555-555-5555

September 1, 2018

Brett Lee Nurse Manager St. Ansgar Hospital 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321

Dear Mr. Lee:

I am writing to apply for the position of nursing attendant, as advertised on the St. Ansgar Hospital website. As a trained nursing assistant who is fulfilled by working with patients and staff, and by helping people, I would be a great asset to your nursing staff.

I completed my nurse assistant program in June of 20XX, and I also have a nurse attendant certificate from the state of New York. I have been working part-time at Dr. Ellen Mueller’s primary care office in Smithtown, NY, for the past year, so I am experienced in working with patients. In addition, I am diligent about my responsibilities, and I have a flexible schedule which enables me to work almost any hours that you need.

I’ve attached my resume so that you can review my education and experience. I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


Signature (hard copy letter)

Alex Applicant

When you are sending your letter via email, include the reason you are writing in the subject line of your message:

Subject: First Name Last Name – Nurse Attendant Position

List yourcontact information in your signature, rather than in the body of the letter:

FirstName LastName Your Email Your Phone Number

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How To Address A Cover Letter (With Examples)

  • Cover Letter Format
  • Salutation and Greeting
  • Who To Address When Unknown
  • How To Start A Cover Letter
  • How To End A Cover Letter
  • Best Cover Letter Font And Size
  • Cover Letter Spacing
  • Cover Letter Length
  • Key Elements Of A Cover Letter
  • How To Write An Address
  • Official Letter Format
  • Cover Letter Opening

Find a Job You Really Want In

A cover letter is a great way for a hiring manager to get to know you a little better. Writing a great letter can help you land the interview.

When sitting down to write a cover letter, you may be asking yourself how to address a cover letter correctly when you don’t know who the hiring manager is and how formal addressing a cover letter needs to be.

Thankfully, addressing a cover letter is quite simple. Keep reading for details on how to address a cover letter with confidence.

Key Takeaways:

It’s important to do your research to figure out who you are writing to before sending your letter.

Try remaining gender neutral if you don’t know the gender of who you are addressing.

If the hiring manager or recruiter ’s name is not available online, then you can address the cover letter with a generic salutation such as “dear hiring manager”.

How To Address A Cover Letter (With Examples)

How to Address a Cover Letter

Examples of how to address someone in a cover letter, cover letter subject lines, how to find the hiring manager’s name, final thoughts.

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Research. The first step in addressing a cover letter is researching who the cover letter will be read by. One way to make a very good impression, especially with online applications, is taking the time to research who the hiring manager or recruiter is for the department you are applying for.

You can call the HR department at a company and ask for the hiring manager’s name to be used on a cover letter. If you were contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn or another job hiring platform, you can confirm with the recruiter who the cover letter should be addressed to. Properly addressing the cover letter by having the correct name is the most important step.

Keep it formal and modern. Regardless of who’s receiving your cover letter, we recommend sticking with “Dear” as your greeting . It’s a timeless classic for a reason, and there’s really no need to risk your opener with something more daring.

Remain gender neutral. If you don’t know the gender of who you are addressing, its best to use gender-neutral identifiers. Even if a name might sound like a typical man or woman’s name, its best not to assume. Staying gender neutral is a great way to show respect and not get your cover letter thrown out right away.

Use the job title. If you aren’t sure what their name is, a great way to address them is to use their job title. It also shows your interest and that you did research before sending in your letter.

Professional title. How you address your cover letter is core to its format . To address a cover letter correctly, you will need to make sure you have an appropriate salutation paired with the correct title/honorific.

For example, if you are addressing a cover letter to a person with a medical degree or doctorate, you will need to write “Dr.” before their name. Not doing so is unprofessional.

Dear Dr. Keller Dear Dr. Michael Ward Dear Dr. Liz Sells

If you do not know the correct title of the person, do not put a title with the name. The same goes for people with other special titles, like Reverend.

Dear Rev. Bill Smith Dear Prof. Johnson Dear Lt. Saraceno Dear Principal Luzi

As you can see from the above examples, you can include the person’s full name or only their last name after their title. The choice is yours.

Mrs. vs. Ms. It is better to address women without the Mrs. title. The Mrs. title implies that the woman is married and since that information is not easy to come by, keep it safe and address the woman as Ms. Don’t ever use “Miss,” as it is seen as infantilizing.

Dear Ms. Keller Dear Ms. O’Brian Dear Ms. Sells

For males, keep to Mr. as the title. You don’t need to write “Master” or “Sir” when addressing your cover letter. Using alternative titles can seem old-fashioned and much too formal.

Unknown gender. If the hiring manager or recruiter’s name is gender-neutral, try looking the person up on LinkedIn to learn their gender. If they have a photo and a personal blurb, it should clear up any confusion.

Not everyone has an easily-findable picture online, though. In those situations, avoid using Mr. or Ms. in your salutation. Instead, write out the hiring manager’s full name:

Dear Sam Kenney Dear Alex O’Hanson Dear Jamie Tyrell

Unknown recipient. If the hiring manager or recruiter’s name is not available online , then you can address the cover letter with a generic salutation. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can write, “Hey you!” or “Dear hiring person,” but there are a few phrases you can use that are professional and fine to use.

If you do not know the recipient of the cover letter, you can use a more generic greeting or you can even go without a greeting. It is better to be safe than sorry for these greetings as they are a key part of your cover letter .

The more specific you can get, the better. It shows that you’ve done your research and aren’t just sending the same cover letter to hiring managers all over town.

Dear Hiring Manager Dear Talent Acquisition Team Dear [Company Name] Recruiter Dear Human Resources Manager Dear Human Resources Department Dear [Position Title] Hiring Team Dear [Position Title] Hiring Manager Dear [Position Title] Recruitment Team Dear [Position Title] Recruiter Dear [Department] Team Dear [Title of Person You’d Report To] Some people like to use “ Dear Sir or Madam ” as a generic greeting for a cover letter, but using that is a bit too formal for the United States. Using the greeting “ To Whom It May Concern ” is also too stuffy for most cover letters and will probably not match the rest of your writing style, making it seem awkward.

All right, so you’ve got a perfectly-address, beautifully-written cover letter. Now it’s time to make sure the recipient actually opens up your email with a winning subject line. The ultimate goal is for the hiring manager or recruiter to know exactly what to expect when they open your email.

With that in mind, here are a few options for formatting your subject line:

[Position Title] Application – [Your Full Name] Application for [Position Title] Application for [Position Title] – [Your Full Name] [Position Title] Looking for New Role – [number of years] years experience Application for [Position Title] Position – referred by [Referral Name} Referred by [Referral Name] – [Position Title] Position

Never leave your subject line blank, or the recipient will probably delete it without ever opening it. It may even just go straight to their spam folder .

Additionally, we always recommend including the position title, because hiring managers and recruiters are often hiring for multiple open roles simultaneously.

Since knowing the hiring manager’s name is 95% of the battle, let’s go through a step-by-step process of finding out your cover letter’s recipient:

Read the job posting. The obvious first step is to carefully review the job listing and see if a contact person is given. Or perhaps the email address they’ve told you to send your application documents is obviously a person’s name, like [email protected]. Even for less obvious ones, you can try Googling the email address and see what turns up.

The company website. Most company websites have an “About Us” and/or “Company Directory” page . Try to navigate to your department and see if you can find a hiring manager’s name.

Check professional networking sites. The company’s LinkedIn page might also have information about hiring managers for different roles. You can also search for “[company name] + recruiter” and see what turns up. You might not find exactly who you’re looking for, but a quick message might help direct you.

Targeted Google search. Searching for the company’s name, location, and the position title you’re applying for might turn up some information on the hiring manager.

Contact the company. If all else fails, you can always call or email the company (someone in human resources is a good idea) to ask for the hiring manager’s name. If you explain that you’re trying to address your cover letter correctly, they’ll most likely be happy to help.

How to write a cover letter

When applying for jobs, making sure you have every detail perfect can be a nerve-wracking time. With the tight job market, you are probably applying to many jobs at the same time, but don’t let the volume of the applications lower your quality of applications.

Take the time to research who you should address your cover letter to — it can make a great first impression on recruiters and hiring managers.

Address the cover letter with the correct title or honorific, and when in doubt, go without. Address your cover letter with a title or honorific if you are not sure what to use.

Addressing the cover letter with class is a simple way to making a great first impression for recruiters and hiring managers.

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Heidi Cope is a former writer for the Zippia Career Advice blog. Her writing focused primarily on Zippia's suite of rankings and general career advice. After leaving Zippia, Heidi joined The Mighty as a writer and editor, among other positions. She received her BS from UNC Charlotte in German Studies.

Matt Warzel a President of a resume writing firm (MJW Careers, LLC) with 15+ years of recruitment, outplacement, career coaching and resume writing experience. Matt is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Focus) from John Carroll University.

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How to Write a Generic Cover Letter (and Still Make a Mark with It)

Elena Prokopets

Having a generic cover letter prepared to accompany your resume is always a good idea. Say what? Most career advice blogs will unanimously tell you that you need to customize your cover letter to every job you are applying to. That’s the advice we also stand by at Freesumes. But to every rule in life, there are some exceptions. 

Why Would I Use A Generic Cover Letter?

Having a generic cover letter for a resume makes sense in the following cases: 

  • When you are submitting your resume to the company for general consideration. A lot of employers these days prompt people to pitch them their resume even if they don’t have open roles at the moment. Doing so is a good way to ‘get your foot in the door’ and get on the recruiter’s radar. So when a new position for your skill set becomes available, you’d be among the first to get considered or called up. 
  • When visiting job fairs. Job fairs are an excellent way of building up your professional network as a recent graduate. Since you don’t know which companies would be there and whom you may get interested in, having a printed generic cover letter with a resume can come in handy. 
  • If you plan to use a staffing agency . Another situation when a generic cover letter is perfectly acceptable is when you are planning to search for a job in-directly, via an agency. 

In other cases, that is when you are applying to jobs posted online, it’s best to write a personalized cover letter . 

But since writing doesn’t come naturally to all of us, you can (and should!) create a general-purpose cover letter and then personalize it for each position. This way, you won’t waste hours, staring onto a blank page or gathering your thoughts whenever you’d want to jump on a freshly posted opportunity.

And remember: speed is often key. Data from Smart Recruiters suggests that people who apply within the first 4 days after the job is posted have a nearly 65% higher chance to get considered than later applicants. 

How to Write a Generic Cover Letter To Speed Up Job Applications 

A pre-made generic cover letter template that you can easily customize can be a true time-saver. Instead of fretting over clever wording and keywords , you’ll just need to fill in certain gaps and add a quick few personalized touches. Blissful, right?

So let’s help you build that master ‘cover letter’ that you can use over and over again for any good job you come across. 

The Basics: What To Include in a Cover Letter 

The standard cover letter has four key elements:

  • Customary greeting 
  • Catchy intro paragraph 
  • Detail-heavy body 
  • Concluding paragraph with call-to-action (CTA). 

You can spell out most of these details within a generic template and leave out gaps or highlights for information that needs to be customized. 

Now let’s have a quick walkthrough over each section with some quick generic cover letter examples. 

How to Address a Generic Cover Letter

If you plan to submit a generic cover letter to a staffing agency or someone at a job fair, it’s alright to make the greeting impersonal. For example: 

  • Dear Employer
  • To Whom It May Concern

typing cover letter

In all other cases (including when you are pitching to a company without any open roles at the moment), it’s best to do the following. 

  • Use the company name: “Dear [Company Name] HR team” or “[Company Name] Recruiting Department is good enough if you are pitching to the business through an on-site form.
  • Try to learn the recruiter’s name: This is the best thing you can do — use the recipient’s full name. On LinkedIn, you can often see the job publisher’s name next to the vacancy. Also, you can often find the contact person’s name in the company’s profile if applying via popular job search websites such as Indeed, Monster, and others.  Take the time to research it when you customize your generic cover letter for a particular job. 

The Introductory Paragraph for a General Purpose Cover Letter 

The purpose of the intro is to explain who you are, how you’ve got to know about the job opportunity, and what makes you qualified. Keep it short and sweet up to 2-3 sentences max. 

You generic cover letter can go like this:

My name is Joan Smith and I’d like to get considered for the [position name] at [company name]. As a certified Salesforce email marketing specialist and CRO expert with 3+ years of experience in the ecommerce domain, I believe that I could be a valuable addition to [company name] team. 

That’s a quick universal opening you can quickly customize by replacing data in the brackets. Need more inspiration? Check other cover letter examples we wrote. 

The Main Body Of Your Generic Cover Letter

The body of your cover letter is where you need to make the most impact. It should highlight your special technical skills , industry knowledge, and relevant work experience and/or professional training. 

You could also include here some details about your very specialaccomplishments, awards, industry recognition, or projects you are super proud of. But don’t duplicate the information from your resume . That will make you sound repetitive. Instead, use the cover letter to provide extra context about the facts and figures you’ve listed on your resume. 

For example, you can work in the next paragraph:

At my current role, I helped [company name] increase the average customer order by 15% within 3 months. Using data from Salesforce and Google Analytics, I’ve suggested a new email list segmentation approach and ran a test set of highly-personalized promotion campaigns to repeat customers. The average open rate was 45% (thanks to good titles) and the click-through-rate was 4.5% — higher than the industry average.

Here, the author expands on the general stat (15% order increase) they had shared in their resume by explaining what exactly they did to achieve that. Using these tactics is a solid way to improve the credibility of your claims. 

Next, you could go on to mention any relevant educational qualifications you have that can back up your knowledge and expertise in your field of employment. This is optional for more experienced candidates, but a good move for a recent graduate or someone changing careers. Here’s a quick example:

Five months ago, I completed my certification at Nutrition Academy and am now a licensed nutritionist. During my studies, I gave individual consultations to a small pool of clients and you can read their feedback on my website. I believe that my new skillset, combined with past experience in customer support, could make me a valuable addition to the Holistic Wellness Center — a company, placing great emphasis on customer experience.

Lastly, stick to including relevant facts only. Recruiting officers are busy people and would not be interested to read that you currently hold a world record in gum chewing, or that you collect Star Wars memorabilia.

You should leave out ‘filler’ things off your cover letter and instead focus on promoting:

  • Core competencies
  • Technical and interpersonal skills
  • Past achievements. 

Cover Letter Conclusion 

The final paragraph of the cover letter is the easiest one to keep generic. You should re-confirm your interest in the position and suggest further action by the employer. So you can end your cover letter with something like this:

I’d be glad to further discuss how I could help [company name] achieve its goals. Please let me know when you would like to meet.

Generic Cover Letter Example 

Now let’s put all of these things together in a generic cover letter sample. 

Your Name Your Phone Number(s) Your Email Address Today’s date

Dear [Company Name] Recruitment Team,

I have over three years’ experience in the hospitality industry, and I believe the knowledge and skills built up during this time make me the perfect candidate for a role within your company.

In my current role as a Customer Experience Manager at  [Company Name], I managed to increase our incoming client bookings for our services by 150% in just over 9 months, which helped the business to greatly increase its annual turnover. This, along with my everyday commitment to creating a delightful experience for our guests and B2B partners, has earned me the “Employee of the Year” title. 

My skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Excellent time-management skills using careful planning and organization of work activities.
  • Vendor selection, wholesale prices negotiation, contract management. 
  • Expert user of Salesforce, SAP, and Hubspot. 
  • Strong communication and conflict management skills.
  • An openness to learning and applying new information.

With my previous experience and expertise, I believe I can hit the ground running and start actively contributing to the business as soon as possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my application further.

[Your name]

Wrap Up 

When you are writing a generic cover letter place a greater focus on your core skills aka those that adapt to suit just about any role across a wide range of different companies.

Also, remember that your cover letter can act as a snapshot of your achievements so far. Your resume has the job of giving your recruiter a more in-depth look at your past education, further education, and training courses completed as well as other work-related experience, but your cover letter is there to introduce yourself and deliver a positive overview of why you should be considered for an interview!

Last updated on December 2020

Elena Prokopets

Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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