How to address a cover letter, and why is addressing a cover letter so important? The main reason is - your first impression. Cover letters are usually the first piece of info a recruiter sees, and making them polished, precise, and correct is what makes you stand out.
What is this article really about? We’ll answer questions such as:
Why should you address your cover letter?
How to address one in different situations?
Cover letter address examples.
Tips and tricks on addressing your cover letter.
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Without further ado, let’s dive into it!
Why Should You Address a Cover Letter?
It may seem obvious, when writing a letter to someone, to address them adequately. So why is it so important to stress how to start a cover letter? We’ll use an example to demonstrate. Imagine you’re a hiring manager, and you have around 10 to 20 job seekers to interview. Now try to imagine how you’d feel if any of these mistakes happen:
You don’t even receive a cover letter.
Your position in the cover letter is wrong.
Your name is misspelled.
Your company’s name is entirely different from what they wrote.
It would make you feel the job seeker didn’t give much thought into this or completed even basic research of you and your company before applying for the job. A carefully crafted cover letter for a job has to be addressed ideally, no matter what type of addressing style you choose.
Almost none of the cover letters today are treated as actual letters and sent through the mail. Much more common is sending a cover letter format email which we’ll explore further on.
A proper address has to have a:
Greeting - usually “Hello” or “Dear.”
Name of the recruiter - if you know it.
Recruiter’s position and job title.
Let’s cover the best way to address a cover letter - through email!
If you have a goal of being employed as fast as possible, you need to create a cover letter that will show how you fit into the company and your determination to work there. Getting a custom cover letter written by a professional is a valid strategy. See more cover letter examples on Skillhub. It will help you stand out from the crowd of applicants and increase your chances of getting hired.
Subject of Email Cover Letter
Think of it this way - the subject line of an email is the first piece of writing your employer will see of you, so make sure it stands out. How? Two things - your full name and the position you’re applying for. This is to appease the ATS systems (applicant tracking systems) and to make things a bit easier for the recruiter when sorting out cover letters.
Address the Contact Person in a Cover Letter
This is the important part we’ve been talking about. The next part of your email cover letter for your job is the introduction. The introduction always starts with addressing the person you’re sending this email to. You can choose one of the addressing templates or make one on your own - but make sure to keep it short, professional, and correct. And don’t forget to spellcheck before hitting send!
Format the Salutation
The salutation is opening the topic of your cover letter, and it’s essential to get it right, no matter what. It’s basically the cover letter address format we’ve talked about. Here’s some additional information!
When using one of the templates we’ve provided in the article, it’s important to adjust it to the area you’re in. For example, some may consider it too much to include a job title, while some consider it necessary.
Great Body of Your Cover Letter
This is the most important part of your document, interview, and the letter itself. The body! To deliver it successfully, you need to master these three parts:
Opening paragraph - describe the position you’re applying for and why you’re excited about it.
Middle paragraph(s) - describe your previous experiences and how you benefit from them today.
Closing paragraph - your other works, hobbies, passions, and life experiences.
The closing part of your paragraph is where you end the cover letter after you list passions and experiences. The best conclusion is to connect two perspectives, either your desires with the career you’re applying for or your goals with the company’s goals and the overall impact. Make sure the ending is memorable, cheerful, and meaningful, as it sets the tone for the rest of the cover letter.
Complimentary close and signature are pretty self-explanatory. In this part, you express gratitude for your chance to apply and end with your contact information. For example, you could use phrases like “Thank you for consideration and time. I’m looking forward to learning more details about the position and company.” Then insert your full name, and add any additional information. It could be your full address, phone number, or any media links.
There are many individuals, not just hiring managers, who’d like to read your cover letter. Maybe you’ve written one in the past that wasn’t tailored specifically to a career field. Here are some examples of cover letter recipients:
Careers - Managers, CEOs, Executive Assistants, or Vice Presidents
College - Professors, Associate Professors, or Lecturers
High school - Academic Directors, Admissions Recruiters, or Human Resources Assistants
There are many more examples of who you should address in a cover letter, but always remember to use a suitable greeting.
Below are two real-life examples of cover letters and how they’ve approached addressing the client they’re contacting.
Applying for an Internship
The applicant started with the date of the application, followed by the full name of the recruiter and their job title, Human Resources Manager. Then the name of the business or the firm has been stated with its exact address. After that, the proper form of addressing has taken place. The person writing chose the most basic and well-known form of “Dear [Employer’s name]” format - and you can't really go wrong with it.
It’s professional, straight to the point, and correct structurally and grammatically. This is the format used for professional applications, as well as more relaxed ones.
Don't forget to add your resume
Applying for a Digital Marketing position
Again, starting with the name to make it stand out, followed by an address, date of the application, and the applicant’s email address. After the contact info, the name of the company is introduced, followed by the introductory address.
The person applying used the undetermined form of addressing with the “Dear [Team or Department]” format. This one is clever, as it can be used for almost any cover letter or application involving the hiring team. It’s also a great way to start if you don’t know the recruiter’s name or contact info.
How to Address Cover Letter to HR
A cover letter to the Human Resources department is similar to any other! You can use generalized addressing formats we’ve listed, like “Dear [Job Title]” or “Greetings” and “Hello.” However, if you want to seem more prepared, you can use the title of their HR position.
The best approach to handling HR and similar cover letter topics is addressing the person, not by their marital status or gender - it’s by their name. But what if you don’t know the name of your potential employer?
How to Address a Cover Letter With No Name
Although this may seem like a big problem, in reality, it’s really not. Contacting the specific role in the company or the correct person is what matters the most. Why? Because you want your cover letter to land in the correct mailbox!
The name of your potential recruiter is important. A solid piece of advice would be to try and find out what their name is, possibly through their website or social media. If it seems like they’re not on the grid, don’t worry. Just use one of the generalized forms of addressing!
Address Cover Letter With Name and an Academic or Professional Title
Now you have the whole package! Before you craft a skillful addressing intro, make sure to check and cross-reference these names and titles to make sure they’re a hundred percent correct. That’s vital because your cover letter body can be almost perfect, but if you misspelled the names of the recruiter or the company, the impression you leave is a lousy one.
An example of an intro with a recruiter’s name and their professional title could go something like:
Dear Hiring Manager Smith,
Dear HR Manager Brown.
How to Address Hiring Manager in Cover Letter Without a Name
To quickly go over this, simply use the generalized introduction format or add the job title. For example:
Dear Hiring Manager
Dear Sir or Madam
To Whom It May Concern
Dear [Company Name] Recruiter
Dear Human Resources Manager
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to know the exact name of your potential recruiter. Most of them will be glad you included it, but it’s definitely not necessary to do so!
Address a Cover Letter for a Non-Gender-Specific Name
There are a few options when you’re contacting a hiring manager, but you’re not aware of their gender. Insisting on what you believe their gender might be can only come off as rude and unpleasant. Instead, try these tips:
Include their full name if you know it, for example, Dear John Smith.
Use their title, for example, Dear Dr. Johnson. You can also use the titles Prof., Sgt., and Rev.
If you can’t find another way, completely omit the name, and use generalized forms. No harm done!
Additional Tips for Cover Letter Address
We’ve covered almost every aspect of writing the addressing part of your application! One more rule to consider is to follow the guidelines you specifically received from the hiring firm. If those guidelines demand a different approach to the first paragraph, or cover letter writing in general, make sure to follow those!
And, of course, the tip that’s the most important is proofreading. Even though it wasn’t your intention, you can come off as rude or unprofessional. So make sure to check it thoroughly!
Key Points On How to Address a Cover Letter
Now we’ve covered everything - from names to lack thereof, job titles, professions, and address types. To increase your chances of getting hired or landing an interview, make sure to follow these steps to create a cover letter for a job application worth reading!
Here are the tips for addressing hiring managers the right way:
Use one of the standard forms. In other words, try to stay within the lines of formal greetings.
If you know their name, include it after an introduction with, for example, “Dear.”
If you don’t know their name, use a generalized approach, for example, “Dear [Team or Department].”
If you know their gender, include it before their name and after “Dear” or a similar word.
If you don’t know their gender, omit it completely, and use their full name or job title.
Proofread it and make sure it’s correct in its entirety.
With these six easy steps, your cover letter intro will be correct, memorable, and captivating!