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How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.
Write a First Draft
Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.
Customize Your Salutation
When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.
Close Your Letter
End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.
Edit and Proofread
As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.
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How to Address a Cover Letter in 2023
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.
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:
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!
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 ).
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How to Address a Cover Letter
Learn how to address a cover letter under different circumstances and how to find a contact to send the letter to when you don’t have a name.
When you're applying for a job or contacting an employer speculatively, the format of your cover letter will vary depending on whether you have a named contact and the reason for your letter. It's important that you address a cover letter properly as it's the first thing the reader will see It needs to be professional and create a good impression.
What is a cover letter and why is it important?
A cover letter is a document sent in conjunction with your resume or application for a job opening. A great cover letter expresses your reason for applying and pulls together all the main evidence supporting why you're the best person for the job, as outlined in your resume, application, and any other supporting documents.
Each cover letter you write is highly tailored to the position you’re applying for and the hiring company. It should address essential criteria and elaborate on important points in your resume. Consider your cover letter to be your sales pitch. A great cover letter will be an invitation for a recruiter to read your resume or application.
Who do you address a cover letter to?
Your cover letter should be addressed to the person responsible for recruitment. If you don’t know the name of the person, there are ways to find out. Getting this can be the difference between your letter being read or lost in the pile, so follow the guidelines below to make sure you address your cover letter most effectively.
Addressing a cover letter with a name
If you have a name for your recipient, this is the best start. It means the letter will likely be delivered to the appropriate person, rather than get lost or sent to someone without the decision-making power you require.
A cover letter is a formal document, and so it should be addressed as such. The most professional way to do this is with “Dear.” For example:
Dear Mr. Miller,
Dear Ms. Jones,
Dear Dr. Lopez,
If you don’t know the person’s gender or preferred pronouns, you can use their first name. For example: “Dear James Miller.” Follow the salutation with a comma.
Addressing a cover letter to a recipient with a professional title
If the recipient of your cover letter has a professional title, always include it. Someone with a PhD will be Dr. rather than Mr./Ms. This also makes things easier if you are unsure of which personal pronoun to use.
Addressing a cover letter without a named recipient
When trying to decide who to address a cover letter to when you don’t have a name, it’s definitely worth taking the time to find one. This is covered in more detail in our "First steps in determining a recipient" section below.
If you absolutely can’t find a name, address your cover letter to the appropriate department within the company or organization. For example “Dear [Department] Hiring Team.” If you know the job title of the person you need to send your letter to and it’s just their actual name that eludes you, you can use that. For example: “Dear Head of [Department]” or “Dear Director of [Department].”
Addressing a speculative cover letter
When writing a speculative cover letter—one that isn't in response to a job posting—the principles are much like the above. You may or may not know the name of the person you're trying to reach. If you do, so much the better. Include the name.
The difference with a speculative letter is that you may have been given the name of the appropriate recipient by a mutual connection. If this is the case, mention that connection in your introduction. For example:
Dear Mr. Morris,
I was given your details by my former employer, Jenny Lee, of Brandenburg and Associates following news of the development of your new customer service department.
Addressing a cover letter sent by email
Addressing a cover letter to send via email is slightly different from a printed letter. A printed letter would include the address of the recipient and the date, which is not necessary in an email, as the letter will simply be the body of the email.
However, your email still needs to be as professional as a traditional cover letter. Use a formal way of addressing the letter, as you would in a printed cover letter.
The subject line is all-important with an email cover letter in order to be noticed amid the hundreds of emails a recruiter might receive. Include your name, the job title you’re applying for or reason for contact, and what is included in the documents you're sending. An example would be:
Helen Williams – Marketing Manager Position – resume and cover letter
If you have a recipient’s name but you're sending your email to an ‘info’ address, you can include ‘FAO’ (For the attention of) in your title:
FAO Mark Booth – Helen Williams – Marketing Manager Position
How to find the right recipient
If you don’t have a recipient for your cover letter, you'll need to do some research. It might even be the case that you have a name, but not an email address. Here are some tips for hunting down elusive contacts and their addresses.
Check out the company website and social media sites. Use Google to piece together what you know and find details on lesser-known websites such as About pages. For example, if you know the desired department to contact, you can search for, “Head of Marketing for [Department]” and see what it brings up.
If you have a name but no contact address, you can search your contact: “Mr Jones, Head of Marketing at [Company].” You may be lucky enough to find a social media page this way, if not a contact email address.
Call the company
The good old-fashioned telephone is an excellent way to find out a contact for your cover letter. Call the company, explain why you are calling, and ask them who best to send your cover letter and resume to.
LinkedIn is a great tool for finding people thanks to its built-in and highly effective search function-. You can search by the person's name if you have one, and for a more advanced search, you can add in the company and location. If you find the person you’re looking for, you will see a ‘Contact info’ link on their profile under their name, so you can attempt to message them and ask.
If you don’t have a name, you can search the company and see who is listed as an employee. If the person you want isn’t listed, you may be able to contact someone in a related department, such as HR, and ask for assistance. You may even be able to get an introduction from a mutual connection.
Read more: Letter of Introduction Writing Guide + Samples
Formatting your cover letter
The format of your letter is as important as who you send it to. When you’ve put in the effort of tracking down the most appropriate recipient, you’re going to want the rest of the letter to stand out, too.
Address and date
Your letter should be professionally formatted with your name, address, phone number, and email address in the top left. On the next line down, add the date, followed by the name and address of the recipient. As with any document, you begin writing the cover letter with ‘Dear [Name]’ on the left of the page.
If you are sending your letter digitally, which is far more common these days, your letter should be in the body of the text and you need to include the date, your city/state, phone number and email address at the top, but not the recipient's name and address.
Cover letter template
Using a cover letter template can be very helpful. Generally, cover letters follow the same format (aside from the address at the top) and should ideally be no longer than a page, whether they are printed or emailed. Feel free to download this cover letter template for your use.
When deciding how to address a cover letter and who to send it to, your efforts in finding the right person and formatting your cover letter professionally can help you get the interview you're looking for. For further help on crafting cover letters that get you noticed, you can check out the Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters course offered by the University of Maryland on Coursera.
How to Write a Cover Letter When You’re Changing Careers
How to Write an Internship Cover Letter: 9 Tips (+ Examples)
How to Get a Job: 10 Effective Tips to Land Your Next Role
Job Search Guide: Resources for Your Next Career Move
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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To Whom it May Concern? How to Address and End a Cover Letter
We’ve put together a few tips to help you personalize your cover letter, whether you know the hiring manager’s name or not.
In our modern age of personalization, To Whom It May Concern is both an antiquated and detached way to address a cover letter . It may also imply that you haven’t researched the company or that you assume the letter can be read by anyone. Below, we’ve put together a few tips to help you personalize your cover letter , whether you know the hiring manager’s name or not.
When it comes to addressing a cover letter, advice columns frequently spotlight these two pitfalls:
- Mistake 1 : Failing to address your cover letter to a specific person
- Mistake 2 : Addressing a cover letter to the wrong person
Most job postings don’t specify who will be reading your cover letter. This puts job seekers in a tricky situation. Fixing the first mistake could cause you to make the second. So what’s the best way to replace “To Whom It May Concern” on your cover letter?
Get instant feedback on your cover letter with Jobscan’s cover letter optimization tool. See it in action .
3 Key Tips for Addressing Your Cover Letter
1) don’t address your cover letter to the recruiter.
For many job openings, the first person you need to impress is a corporate recruiter. That doesn’t mean you should address your cover letter to them.
“Recruiters do not read cover letters,” a long-time healthcare recruiter told Jobscan . “Bottom line.”
That might be an overstatement — most don’t, some do — but many recruiters would admit that they aren’t the intended audience of a cover letter. “It’s mostly for the hiring manager,” said a recruiter in the non-profit industry. “For us [recruiters], it’s just an extra step in an already elongated process.”
The healthcare recruiter agreed: “If you’re sending it straight to a hiring manager who’s looking at a much lower number of applicants, they might actually read that.”
2) Search for the Hiring Manager’s Name
The best way to personalize your cover letter is to address the hiring manager by name. However, it can be difficult to identify the hiring manager, and your educated guess could cause you to address your cover letter to the wrong person. Here are some tips for finding the hiring manager.
Search the Company Website
Few job postings list the hiring manager by name but many will tell you the position to which you’d be reporting.
With this information, a little detective work can reveal the name of the hiring manager.
Start off by browsing the company’s website. Look for an about page, company directory, or contact page. These pages are frequently linked at the very bottom of the website. Companies that feature employees on their about page make it much easier to figure out who will be reading your cover letter.
You can also try searching the website. If the website doesn’t have a built-in search bar, use this syntax in Google:
“[position you’ll be reporting to]” site:company website
This will reveal hard-to-find about pages or other mentions of the position in the company’s blog posts, press releases, and other pages.
If a company doesn’t list the hiring manager on their website, LinkedIn is your next best resource.
Start off by searching for the company page on LinkedIn. Once you’re on the company’s LinkedIn page, click “See all X employees on LinkedIn” near the top.
Depending on the company size, you can either browse all positions or narrow your results by adding search terms to the search bar (e.g. “Marketing Manager”) and utilizing the “Current companies” filters on the right side of the screen.
Search for the “reports to” position from the job listing. If it wasn’t provided in the listing, search for keywords related to your prospective department (e.g. “marketing”). If the company uses an intuitive corporate hierarchy you should be able to determine who will be reading the cover letter.
Contact the Company Directly
There is nothing wrong with calling or emailing the company to ask for the name of the hiring manager. Be polite and honest with the administrative assistant or customer service representative. Explain that you’re about to apply for a job and you’d like to know who you should address in your cover letter.
If they aren’t able to provide an answer or transfer you to someone who knows, let it go. The last thing you need is word getting back to the hiring manager that you were pushy with one of their colleagues.
3) Use a More Personalized “To Whom it May Concern” Alternative
You can still personalize your cover letter, even when you don’t know the identity of the hiring manager. Instead of “To Whom It May Concern,” which casts a wide net and is specific to no one, try addressing your cover letter to one specific person.
The most generic version of this is:
Dear Hiring Manager,
But job seekers can often be more specific. Take a look at these examples:
Dear Customer Experience Manager,
Dear Customer Experience Hiring Team Manager,
Some other alternatives include addressing your cover letter to an entire department:
- Dear Engineering Department,
Dear Engineering Team,
OR addressing the entire team:
Hi Jobscan Team,
Dear Jobscan Team,
As with many aspects of the job application process, demonstrating that you put in some extra effort can make a difference. Doing some research before addressing a cover letter contributes to a positive first impression.
8 cover letter salutation examples
Here are eight standard cover letter openings you can choose from. Select the one that best suits the energy of the company you’re applying to and use either a specific name or department depending on the information you have available.
- Hi Mr. Smith,
- Hello Jobscan Team,
- Dear Ms. Whittaker and Team,
- Good morning, Mr. Kennedy
- Good afternoon, Louise,
- To the Jobscan hiring manager,
How to end a cover letter
Just as important as beginning your cover letter is ensuring you end it on a strong note. Your cover letter ending should not be underestimated in its ability to help you move forward in the hiring process. After making your case in the previous paragraphs, you need to end your cover letter with a strong call to action to entice the recruiter to invite you for a job interview.
Madeline Mann , an HR leader in the technology industry and creator of Self Made Millennial , says that while no conclusion will save a bad cover letter, it can distinguish you from another good candidate.
It’s all about enthusiasm, according to Madeline. “Companies want people who want them,” she says. If you can draw to the company’s values and show how interested in working with them you are, that’s a substantial advantage. You want to create a lasting impression by incorporating that enthusiasm in your cover letter ending.
“Companies want people who want them” – Madeline mann
A good conclusion, in fact, should reflect the rest of your cover letter.
Set up the end of your cover letter with a strategic middle section
If you want your cover letter ending to be effective, you first need to build momentum. Most recruiters and career coaches agree that by the time you get to the end of your cover letter, it needs to possess the following three elements:
- It tells a story about yourself
- It shows your value concretely
- It calls the recruiter to action
Julia Reiter, a career coach based in Toronto, suggests that you lead up to your cover letter ending by showing that you understand the company’s current challenges and are equipped to solve them. This will make your cover letter call to action all the more effective.
Although the job description will give you information about what the company is looking to accomplish, it will not help you distinguish yourself from other applicants. Show the company you are willing to go the extra mile by researching the key industry challenges and the particular issues they might be facing (beyond the obvious ones).
For example, you can read articles from industry-related publications and get acquainted with the numbers and statistics about the particular business areas your company is engaged in. By being aware of the particular issues they are facing, you can more easily make your skillset and experiences relevant.
When you talk about your past experiences and accomplishments , make sure you mention the problems the company is facing. For example, if you are applying for a customer success manager position at a Software-as-a-Service company, a relevant issue might be high churn rates.
Instead of writing something like “my experience in customer success makes me confident I will be a great addition to your team,” write something like “When I worked at XYZ company, I was able to reduce the churn rate by 30%. With this experience and my deep knowledge of B2B consumer psychology, I am prepared to ensure we have one of the lowest churn rates in XYZ industry.”
End your letter with a call to action
You may be tempted to write that “I’m looking forward to hearing from you” for your cover letter ending. That isn’t a call to action. For Madeline, the end of a cover letter serves to give one last push and show interest and enthusiasm in a way that stands out.
Likewise, Julia says, “now that the company knows you are aware of their current challenges and are equipped to solve those challenges for them, don’t leave them hanging. Tell them how they can make your skills and experiences a reality on their team. What number can they reach you at for an interview?”
How do you conclude a cover letter? Here are 3 examples
- “I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk about how I could join your team in its quest for XYZ value. I’m particularly thrilled about XYZ project and would love to know how I can contribute to it.
- “I am keen on meeting with you to see what I can contribute to XYZ company as it moves on in its journey to XYZ goal. I am available at your convenience for a phone call or in-person meeting.”
- “I would love to get your thoughts on what I mentioned. I am happy to hop on a phone call at your earliest convenience to discuss how I can help XYZ company with XYZ issue.”
Mistakes to avoid when ending a cover letter
The mistakes people make when they end their cover letter are often the same ones they made earlier in the piece. However, they can be particularly detrimental to your chances of landing an interview if they constitute the final impression a recruiter has of you.
When ending a cover letter, avoid:
Making it about yourself instead of the company: use sentence constructions that make the recruiter see how the company is going to benefit from hiring you. For example, try to use “you” or “we” instead of “I.”
Sounding generic or robotic: we’ve all seen these cover letters that end with the same plain paragraph. If you write one of those, the last impression you’re giving is not different from those given by all other applicants.
Selling yourself short: the conclusion is your last chance to show off the value you can bring to the company. Emphasize it and use it as a segue into your call to action.
How to end a cover letter with the appropriate salutations
Always remember that recruiters review hundreds of applications for each position. When you are competing with that many candidates, the slightest mistake will disqualify you immediately Although you may not think too much of the salutations, they can hurt your chance of landing an interview.
Make sure your salutations are formal and polite. You should be respectful not only by indicating your appreciation of the recruiter’s time but also by being concise. Do not overdo your salutations and do not employ informal greetings. “Sincerely,” “Thank you for your consideration,” “kind regards,” are all safe options.
When ending your cover letter, you want to balance confidence, respect, and appreciation.
17 cover letter ending examples
Depending on the energy of the business you are applying to, and your own personality, select one of the following 17 cover letter closing options.
- Best wishes,
- Sincere thanks,
- Many thanks,
- Thanks in advance,
- Thank you for your consideration,
- Thank you for your time,
- Sincerely yours,
- Yours truly,
- Kind regards,
- With best regards,
- Looking forward to speaking with you,
- With gratitude,
One Final Important note: Cover letters aren’t what they say they are
Cover letters don’t introduce your resume, they supplement it.
In order to get your cover letter into the hands of a hiring manager who cares, your resume has to get past the recruiter and, in many cases, the applicant tracking system they’re using.
Try analyzing your resume below to receive instant optimization tips and recruiter insights from Jobscan so that the time you spend crafting your cover letter isn’t a waste.
The keyword analysis also shows exactly what to focus on in your cover letter.
Jobscan Premium (one month free) even has a cover letter scan feature.
Editor’s Note: A section of this article was originally written in a separate blog post by Léandre Larouche on June 9, 2020. It has been updated and combined with this article as of June 10, 2021.
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- Cover Letter
How to Address a Cover Letter (+ Who to Address) in 2023
If you want the hiring manager to give your letter a read, you must address it correctly. Learn how to address a cover letter the right way, even when the recipient is unknown.
As seen in:
Just like the first message you send on Tinder can ruin your chances of meeting the match in person, the first line of your cover letter can make the recruiter squirm and reject your application.
Don’t risk it! Learn how to address a cover letter the right way ASAP.
This guide will show you:
- How to address a cover letter correctly when you know the recruiter’s name.
- Ideas on how to address a cover letter without a name.
- Who to address a cover letter to, especially if the recipient is unknown.
- Common cover letter address mistakes.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.
Create your cover letter now
Sample cover letter for a resume— See more cover letter examples and create your cover letter here .
Make sure your knowledge of cover letter rules is up-to-date with these guides:
- How to Write a Cover Letter
- Cover Letter Header: What Is It & Examples
- Best Short Cover Letter Examples
- How to Sign a Cover Letter Properly
- What to Include in a Cover Letter
You can also check our collection of 100+ professional cover letter examples .
Enough chitchat—let’s dive in:
How to Address a Cover Letter With a Name
People love the sound of their own names. Studies show that babies as young as five months old already react to hearing their names. Using a person’s name in direct communication helps to establish a connection. So it’s no wonder you should use it in the cover letter address!
- Start with Dear + recipient’s first name or their first and last name.
- Use honorific titles such as Mr. or Ms. only if you’re 100% certain of the recipient’s gender identity.
- Add titles such as Mrs. or Miss only if you know for certain that the recipient prefers them.
Just like that:
Cover Letter Address Examples With Recipient’s Name
Not exactly rocket science, is it?
Writing a cover letter doesn’t have to take hours. Learn more: How to Write a Cover Letter Fast
How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Name
It’s true that many job postings don’t include the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s name. That can leave you confused. But it’s not a reason to despair. Just channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and investigate using the tips below:
Find Out Who to Address a Cover Letter To
Here are a few ideas to help you establish the right cover letter address:
- Carefully scan the job posting: make sure the hiring manager’s name's not in it—maybe you missed it on the first try?
- Analyze the email address in the job posting: an email like [email protected] most likely includes the recruiter’s name. Give it a Google search and see if a person’s profile comes up.
- Check LinkedIn: job offers posted on LinkedIn often indicate the person who created the offer. You can also take a look at the company’s LinkedIn page to see if the hiring manager is mentioned.
- Check the company website: see if it lists the department’s heads.
- Ask your business network: there’s a chance your LinkedIn connections know someone working for the company that interests you!
- Call the company: surprise, surprise—you can actually call the front desk and ask the receptionist for the name of the contact person.
Use a Professional Title in the Cover Letter Address
If the hiring manager has a specific title, such as professor or doctor, you may use it in place of a name. For example:
Address a Cover Letter with “Dear Hiring Manager”
It’s the easiest way to address a cover letter without a name. And actually, 40% of managers prefer " Dear Hiring Manager " to any other cover letter salutation . Plus, you can replace the Hiring Manager with a different business title, such as:
As you see, this type of cover letter address works in many situations.
4 Cover Letter Address Mistakes to Avoid
Many job applicants fall for common mishaps when addressing a cover letter. Here are the most common ones—familiarize yourself with them, so you can avoid them in the future!
1. Starting the Cover Letter Address Informally
Addressing a cover letter with "Hello" or "Hi" is a tad too informal for many companies.
2. Using Dear Sir or Madam
Don't use Dear Sir or Madam even if you’re not sure who to address a cover letter to. It’s a very outdated phrase, and it will make you look lazy.
3. Using To Whom It May Concern
Writing "To Whom it May Concern" in a cover letter salutation is very old-fashioned. Unless you travelled back in time, and you’re seeking employment in the 19th century, don’t use it.
4. Addressing the Cover Letter to the Wrong Person
This looks fine at first glance. But the HR director doesn’t necessarily have to be the hiring manager leading this particular recruitment process. Pay attention to the roles and departments mentioned in the job posting!
Pro Tip: Careful with spelling—if you address a cover letter with a misspelled name, you’ll end up looking pretty silly.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
That’s all you need to know on the subject of addressing cover letters.
Here are a few important points to remember:
- If you’re not sure who to address a cover letter to, do your best to learn the hiring manager’s name.
- If you’re sending your cover letter to an unknown recipient, use a greeting such as ‘Dear Hiring Manager.’
- Avoid salutation such as ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ and ‘To Whom It May Concern.’
Now you know how to address a cover letter correctly!
Got any questions on picking the right cover letter address in your situation? Let us know in the comments below!
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35+ Successful Cover Letter Tips & Advice (With Examples)
Cover letter writing tips—sure to turn any boring letter into something employers want to read.
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? Ideal Length in 2023
The right word count can make or break your cover letter. So how long should a cover letter be? 1 or 2 pages? Read on to find out.
Should I Put My Address on My Resume in 2023?
Should I put my address on my resume? It seems impossible to get a straight answer. We examine the pros and cons and put this issue to bed once and for all.
- Search Search Please fill out this field.
- Career Planning
- Finding a Job
- Cover Letters
How to Address a Cover Letter With Examples
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
Options for Addressing a Cover Letter
- Letter Without a Contact Person
- Non-Gender-Specific Names
What Title to Use
- Address an Email Cover Letter
- Review a Sample Cover Letter
Before You Send Your Letter
One of the trickiest parts of writing a cover letter comes at the very beginning. Much of the time, you won’t know exactly who will read your letter. How do you address your cover letter when you don’t have the contact person’s name and/or gender ?
First of all, try to find out the name of the contact person. Some employers will think poorly of an applicant who does not take the time to learn the hiring manager’s name. Also, take care not to assume that you know the gender of the recipient based on the name. Many names are gender-neutral, and some hiring managers may identify as a gender other than male or female.
It’s also possible that you’ll do your research and still be unable to figure out to whom you are addressing your letter. In that case, it's better to be safe and use a generic greeting . It's also acceptable to start a letter without a greeting and start with the first paragraph of your letter .
You have a lot of options when addressing your letter. Learn more about the possibilities before you make your choice.
How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Contact Person
There are 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 Sir/Madam (27%)
- To Whom It May Concern (17%)
- Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
- Leave it blank (8%)
Do keep in mind that terms like "To Whom It May Concern" may seem dated, so the best options may be either to use "Dear Hiring Manager" or not to include a greeting at all. Simply start with the first paragraph of your letter.
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 a title that reveals gender:
- Dear Sydney Doe
- Dear Taylor Smith
- Dear Jamie Brown
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.
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.
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 Address an Email Cover Letter
Hiring managers get a lot of emails each day. Make it easy for them to scan your email and follow up by including a clear subject line and a signature with your contact information. It's important to address the email cover letter correctly, including the name of the person hiring for the position if you have a contact, to ensure that your letter gets noticed.
Subject Line of Email Message
Never leave the subject line blank. There is a good chance that if a hiring manager receives an email with no subject line, they’ll delete it without even bothering to open it, or it could end up in their spam mailbox. Instead, write a clear subject indicating your intentions.
List the job you are applying for in the subject line of your email message , so the employer knows what job you are interested in. They may be hiring for multiple positions, and you will want them to identify the position you’re interested in easily.
How to Address the Contact Person
There are a variety of cover letter salutations you can use to address your email message. If you have a contact person at the company, address the letter to Ms. or Mr. Lastname. If you aren’t given a contact person, check to see if you can determine the email recipient's name .
If you can’t find a 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 .
How to Format the 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 the letter.
Body of Email Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, and why the employer should select you for an interview. This is where you'll sell yourself as a candidate. Review the job posting and include examples of your attributes that closely match the ones they are looking for.
When you're sending an email cover letter , it's important to follow the employer's instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume.
Make sure that your email cover letters are as well-written as any other documents you send.
If you have attached your resume, mention this as part of your conclusion. Then finish your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow up. Include a closing, then list your name and your email signature .
Your email signature should include your name, full address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn Profile URL (if you have one) so it is easy for hiring managers to get in touch.
Firstname Lastname Street Address (optional) City, State Zip Code Email Phone LinkedIn
Sample Cover Letter
This is a cover letter example. Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Sample Cover Letter (Text Version)
Mary Garcia 12 Rogers Avenue Townville, New Hampshire 03060 555-555-5555 email@example.com
February 17, 2021
CBI Industries 39 Main Street Townville, New Hampshire 03060
Dear Mr. Lee:
I was excited to see your ad for the operations assistant position in your Townville offices.
I have five years of experience as an operations assistant/associate. In my most recent role at ABC Corp., I fulfilled orders, resolved customer issues, ordered supplies, and prepared reports. In previous roles, I’ve done bookkeeping, data entry, and sales support. Basically, anything your department needs to run smoothly, I can do – and most likely, I already have experience doing it.
My other skills include:
- Strong communication skills, in person, in writing, and on the phone
- Excellent attention to detail and organization skills
- Top-notch customer service
- Experience in the industry and passion for the product
- Adept at all the usual professional software, including Microsoft Office Suite
I’ve included my resume for your review. Please contact me if you have questions or would like to schedule an interview. Thank you for your consideration.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Review Cover Letter Samples: It’s hard to write cover letters from scratch. To make life easier – and to make sure you don’t forget any of those pesky formatting rules —start by reviewing cover letter samples . Sending an email version instead? Look at a few examples of email cover letters to get started.
Customize Your Cover Letter: Why personalize your cover letter every time you apply for a job? Because even similar job titles have different requirements. The goal of a cover letter is to show the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for this particular job. Customizing your cover letter will help you emphasize your skills and experience and how they fit with the job requirements .
Spell-Check Names: 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.
Carefully Proofread Your Letter: Whether you're sending an email or uploading or attaching a printable cover letter, it's important to make sure that your cover letter and resume are written as well as any other business correspondence. If you can, have a friend proofread before you hit send, to pick up any typos or grammatical errors.
Saddleback College. " Your Resume is Your 1st Interview ," Page 14. Accessed Feb. 17, 2021.
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5 Ways To Find The Name Of The Person To Address Your Cover Letter To
Written by Gemma Paech, Ph.D.
I would spend hours trying to write the perfect cover letter .
Making sure to highlight my transferable skills .
Addressing all the criteria and using the exact wording, as outlined in the job posting.
Writing and rewriting to make sure it included all the relevant information in a concise manner.
And then, I would address my cover letter, “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam”.
What an absolute waste of time.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I never heard anything back.
I may as well have been sending a spam email to the hiring manager or recruiter.
Hiring managers get hundreds of emails and applications for any given job posting.
To a hiring manager, receiving an application that is not addressed to them is similar to getting spam emails.
I know that whenever I get an email or letter that is not specifically addressed to me, it usually gets sent straight to the trash folder.
So, it’s not surprising that the hiring manager is unlikely to read a cover letter or application that is not addressed to them.
If the sender cannot be bothered to find out who to address the letter to, why should the receiver read it or respond?
If a computer program can be designed to determine who to address an email to, surely someone with a PhD can do the same?
There was no excuse for my laziness when writing a cover letter.
Now, I make sure I never send a letter that is not addressed to a specific person.
While it can be hard, it is not impossible.
It just takes a little bit of problem-solving.
Since taking this approach, I have had a more positive response rate to my applications, and have even managed to get a few interviews.
If I was still addressing my cover letters, “To Whom It May Concern”, I would probably still be waiting for a response.
Why You Must Personally Address A Cover Letter
With more and more applications being posted on sites such as LinkedIn and indeed.com, there is a tendency for PhDs to complete an application without including a cover letter.
Often, PhDs use the excuse that there wasn’t a place to include it.
So many PhDs think that a cover letter is not important.
However, cover letters still hold a high level of importance in the job application process.
As pointed out in Science, 40% of human resources employees read cover letters regularly, while 60% read them on occasion and think they can be very useful.
While it may not be explicitly stated that you must include a cover letter with an online application, it is still a good idea, and will only improve your application.
A personalized cover letter will allow you to highlight your strengths and accomplishments.
Cover letters provide detail that you wouldn’t always be able to include in a resume .
It also gives you the chance to make a strong argument for why you are the best candidate for the position.
Cover letters can reveal work ethic and attention to detail.
One executive told Business Insider that she only receives a cover letter from 40% of job applicants and that only a quarter of those cover letters are tailored to the job description.
This makes it easy to weed out the lazy job applicants.
A concise but detailed cover letter shows the reader that you have a good understanding of what the job entails.
A well-written cover letter also demonstrates your passion and dedication for the position, and highlights your ability to communicate.
The cover letter is an important step for PhDs to prove that they have more value to offer than other candidates.
5 Ways To Determine Who To Address Your Cover Letter To
You may be tempted to address a cover letter, “To Whom It May Concern”.
But, this tactic will get you nowhere.
Writing a generic cover letter is a waste of time.
You must address your cover letter to the appropriate person.
Networking and getting a job referral will make this an easy task.
But in other situations, it can be hard to determine to whom you should address a cover letter.
Here are 5 ways to figure out who you should address your cover letter to…
1. Call the company.
Picking up the phone and calling the company is the number one way to find out the name of the hiring manager.
It can be easy to rely so much on technology, that we avoid or forget about using the phone.
Make a small effort, pick up the phone, and call the human resources department.
This is a very quick and easy way to determine who to address the cover letter to.
When talking with the HR department, mention the specific job posting, and the job post number if it has one.
This will help the human resources department know whose name to give you.
State who you are and that you are calling about the available position.
Indicate that you would like to confirm who the hiring manager is, and who you should address your cover letter to.
There may be a rare case when the person who you speak with is hesitant to give you this information.
Assure them that you just want their name so that you can address the cover letter appropriately.
Be sure to check the spelling of the name.
Some names can be spelt very differently from how they are pronounced.
The call should be short. You do not want to take up too much time from the person you are calling.
At the end of the call, remember to thank them for their assistance and their time.
Calling is the best and most reliable way to find out whom to address your cover letter.
2. Network with people who work at the company you want to work for.
Before a job you want becomes available, you should identify a few target companies and begin networking with people who work for those companies.
This way, you have a network to call on and ask for a job referral, when a job you want becomes available.
So, if you have been networking effectively , there is a good chance that you will have been referred for the position.
In these instances, you should be able to ask the person who referred you who you should address the cover letter to.
If you don’t already know someone at the company, do a LinkedIn search to see if you have any secondary connections.
In these situations, it is rude to simply ask someone you don’t know to give you information, and it is unlikely that you will get a reply .
Instead, you need to add some value to the conversation before asking for something.
Start out by mentioning the person you have in common and how you know them, and build your professional relationship from there.
This method does take some time, since you need to create a relationship before you can ask for a favor, which is why it is so important to already have a strong network in place.
3. Read the job posting thoroughly.
Unfortunately, a lot of PhDs only skim a job advertisement without carefully reading all the details.
Not reading the job posting thoroughly will set you up for failure.
You will miss vital information about the job description, and you may also miss the contact details of the job poster.
Contact details, such as a name or email, can be hidden at the very end of the posting.
You may find that there is an email, but no actual name.
Most staff email addresses include the person’s name or parts of their name.
A simple search of the first part of the email and the company should give you an indication of who you need to address the cover letter to.
Other information that is usually included in the description, is the person who created the job posting.
This is particularly true for LinkedIn job postings.
If the job posting you have is from another website, look to see if it has also been posted on LinkedIn.
Many companies will post ads across different job search engines to increase their exposure.
If they have created a posting on LinkedIn, there should be a name and profile of the person who posted it.
Be sure to look at their profile first, to make sure they are actually the appropriate person to address a cover letter to.
This can also be a good way to introduce yourself and network with individuals from the company.
4. Find out who your boss or manager would be.
Job postings usually include details about who you would be reporting to in that position.
The job advertisement may say something like, “the successful candidate will report to the director of medical affairs”.
This is your cue to look up who the director of medical affairs is at the company.
There is a good chance that the person you will be reporting to is the same person who you should address the cover letter to.
Do a LinkedIn search of employees at the company who hold that job title.
If the company is especially large, there may be more than one individual with this position title.
You can do some additional research by looking at their profiles to see each person’s area of expertise.
By using your excellent problem-solving skills , you should be able to determine the name of the person who you will be reporting to.
5. Do an online search.
Search online for the company and title of the position you are interested in.
This will show you if the position has been posted somewhere else on the Internet.
Postings on different websites can differ slightly, even if the advertisement is for the same position.
One posting could mention who you would be reporting to, while another may not.
In addition to third-party sites, look on the company website.
Many companies, especially large ones, have a dedicated jobs page.
The job description on the company’s own page can include more detail about who to contact, as well as more information about the position’s description.
More often than not, job postings do not include the name of the person who you should address your cover letter to. And, you may be tempted to address your cover letter, “To Whom It May Concern”. This will set you up to fail. Take the initiative to find out whose name you should put on your cover letter. Always call the company first if you are not sure who to address the cover letter to, and if that doesn’t work, you can try other tactics such as networking, reading the job posting more thoroughly, finding out who your supervisor would be, and searching online. When you do find out who you should address your cover letter to, you will present as a much stronger candidate and will be more likely to succeed in getting an interview.
If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.
Hi, I'm Isaiah Hankel, PhD
I am CEO of Cheeky Scientist, the world's premier career training platform for PhDs. If you want free insights on resumes, LinkedIn, interviewing, careers and more, just enter your details below.
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ABOUT GEMMA PAECH, PH.D.
Gemma has a PhD in Social Sciences specializing in sleep and circadian rhythms with a background in genetics and immunology. She is currently transitioning from academia into industry. She has experience in communicating science to lay audiences and believes in sharing scientific knowledge with the public. She is passionate about educating the public about the importance of sleep and the effects of sleep loss and disruption on general health and wellbeing to increase quality of life and work productivity. She is also committed to mentoring students across all demographics, helping them reach their full potential.
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Industry Resume Guide for PhDs
Isaiah hankel, phd.
Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.