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How to Address a Cover Letter with No Name

Dear…who?

Young woman writing a cover letter

If the job description doesn’t tell you who will be reading your application, don’t address your cover letter with to whom it may concern. If there’s no name on the job posting, here’s how to go about addressing your cover letter.

Where to look for the recipient’s name

Before calling it quits, exhaust all possible options for finding the receiver’s name. Look first for the hiring manager’s name, then for the recruiter’s name.

  • Look in the job description: It might mention the hiring manager by name or at least by title (i.e., the analytics manager will report to the VP of analytics), which you can use to find their name. It might also have an email address attached (i.e., send your application to martha@ACME.corp).

  • Find the specific job poster: LinkedIn will sometimes indicate who posted the job listing. Check out their profile to see if they might be the hiring manager or recruiter filling the position.

  • Search on the company’s ‘about’ page: Some will list employees by name, title, and/or department.

  • Search LinkedIn: Look for title see who might be the manager for the position.

  • Email a contact: You might already know someone who works for the company who could find out who the hiring manager is. Keep in mind, this isn’t the time to cold email someone to ask. Reach out only to contacts you already have. 

Read more: How to Write a Career Change Cover Letter That Knocks Their Socks Off

Tips on addressing your cover letter if you still can’t find a name

Still no luck? We have a couple of tips to ensure your greeting still makes a good first impression.

Address your letter to a title or department

Include the name of the department you’re applying to or the specific title of the person who will be reading the letter, if you know it.

Dear VP of Marketing

Dear Marketing Department

Don’t assume gender or marital status

If you don’t know for certain the reader’s gender or preferred pronouns, don’t assume. Use Mr. or Ms. only if you know their pronouns.

Avoid Mrs., which assumes someone’s marital status.

Read more: A Comprehensive List of Job Search Sites

Always choose formality

Whether or not you know whom to address with your letter, keep your greeting formal— even if the company has a more laid-back culture. Use Dear rather than Hello or Hi, and use a comma or colon, never an exclamation point.

Don’t stress about it

Incorrectly addressing your cover letter is not going to cost you the job if you’re a qualified applicant. If you can’t find a specific name, don’t stress. There are plenty of appropriate salutations you can use.

Read more: How to Follow Up with a Recruiter at Any Point in the Hiring Process

Appropriate cover letter greetings

  • Dear Hiring Manager

  • Dear Hiring Committee

  • Dear Accounting Hiring Committee

  • Dear Finance Hiring Team

  • To the IT Hiring Manager

  • Dear Selection Committee

  • Dear [Company] Team (Best for smaller companies)

  • To the Recruiting Team

Cover letter greetings to avoid

Make sure to ditch any of the following options that are outdated, too informal, or just plain wrong:

  • Dear Sir or Madam—This feels stilted

  • To Whom it May Concern—It concerns the hiring manager

  • Hello, Hi, or Greetings—It’s a little to casual

  • Happy [Insert day of the week]—Way too casual

  • Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening—Who knows when they’ll read it

  • Exclamation points—Not necessary!

  • Excluding the salutation completely—C’mon, you can come up with something

Read More: 4 Ways to Start a Cover Letter That Will Set You Apart

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By Megan Hageman

Contributor

Megan Hageman is a Columbus-based freelance writer specializing in social media and content marketing.

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