How to Address a Cover Letter & Who to Address It To (2022)

Letter writing is a lost art, it’s true, and writing a cover letter is one of the few times in today’s world that we need to rediscover it. Addressing a cover letter is one of the very first things you do, but it’s also one of the trickiest to get right.

How do you address a cover letter with no name or gender? What’s the right cover letter salutation to use? Get the answers to those questions and more. You’ll learn how to set the stage for the rest of your cover letter, demonstrating your professionalism and attention to detail.

As the great philosopher, Plato said ‘The beginning is the most important part of the work’.

Want to write your cover letter fast?Use our cover letter builder. Choose from20+ professional cover letter templatesthat match your CV. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

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How to Address a Cover Letter & Who to Address It To (1)

Sample Cover Letter for a CV—See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here.

Once you’ve written a perfectly addressed cover letter, make sure you create a perfectly written CV. Check out our guides.

  • How to Write a CV [Professional UK Examples]
  • 20+ Job Winning CV Tips and Advice
  • Best CV Format for Job Hunting Success
  • Skills Based CV Format [Complete Guide]
  • CV Layout [5 Professional Examples]
  • How to Write a CV Personal Statement [CV Profile Examples]
  • Key Skills to Put on a CV [Best List of CV Skill Examples]
  • Most Professional CV Fonts
  • How Long Should a CV Be? [Best Page Length]

How to Address a Cover Letter

When addressing a cover letter follow the standard rules of UK business letter formatting. First list your own contact details, right-aligned on the page. Leave a space then write the date, correctly formatted, e.g. 21st February 2020. Then another space, left-align and enter the employer’s contact details.

(Video) Who to Address Your Cover Letter To

Here’s a cover letter address template:

[Your First & Last Names]

[Your Postal Address]

[Your Phone Number]

[Your Email Address]

[Date of Writing]

[Manager’s Name]

[Manager’s Job Title]

(Video) Write an Amazing Cover Letter: 3 Golden Rules (Template included)

[Company’s Name]

[Company’s Postal Address]

So far, so good. Onto your salutation.

You’ve just learned where to start, but when to stop? Get your cover letter length right: How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? [Ideal Length]

Who to Address Your Cover Letter To

To write your cover letter salutation with a name simply write e.g. Dear Harriet. It’s very easy to get right but equally easy to get wrong. The worst thing you can do is fall back on dated, anonymous greetings. And if you mess up your cover letter opening what chance does the rest of your cover letter have?

Look at these two examples:

Addressing a Cover Letter—Salutation

RIGHT

Dear Lucy,

WRONG

To Whom It May Concern

(Video) Who to address a Cover letter (Email version)

By all means, go ahead and use the wrong example. If you want to seem like a minor character in Downton Abbey that is. It’s as old-fashioned and stuffy as an Edwardian Dowager Duchess. Today you should always try to address the cover letter directly to the hiring manager.

Science has proven that seeing your own name has a powerful effect on the brain, so take advantage of that and powerfully activate the recruiter’s attention.

Here’s how you discover who to address a cover letter to:

  • Check out the job advert, you might be lucky enough to find a named email address.
  • But what if the address doesn’t give a full name? Take me as an example. For j.buffett@zety.com you’d Google “J Buffett” and “Zety” to discover my full name. No prizes for getting it right sorry
  • Check LinkedIn. A LinkedIn job posting will often list who posted the advert. Also use LinkedIn to check the company’s page or do a company search.
  • Check the company’s corporate website. If there’s a staff page, chances are it’ll list the manager of each team.
  • As a fallback, phone the receptionist and ask who your cover letter should be sent to.

But what if you still can’t discover who to address your cover letter to?

Don’t stop with the address, make sure the rest of your cover letter is perfectly written too. Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter: Complete Guide

How to Address a Cover Letter With No Name

To address a cover letter without a name you’ll need to use a generic salutation. But never resort to To Whom It May Concernor Dear Sir/Madam. Even without a name you can still create a bit of targeted personalisation. Go for ‘Dear XYZ Team Manager’ or just ‘Dear Hiring Manager’. In fact a survey revealed ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ to be a favourite of employers when you don’t know who you’re sending it to.

Examples of generic salutations:

  • Dear Marketing Team Hiring Manager
  • Dear Head of IT
  • Dear Customer Service Manager
  • Dear Company ABC Recruiter
  • Dear Company XYZ Team
  • To the Sales Department

But even if you do have the name you’ve got to take care.

(Video) The 4 Sentence Cover Letter That Gets You The Job Interview

How to Address a Cover Letter With a Name

Addressing a cover letter with a name requires caution. Speaking from personal experience, people can and do assume your gender and get it wrong. I’ve had people assume my first name is female, only to meet me and get a bit of a surprise. I’ve always taken it with a good sense of humour, but don’t risk causing offence.

If you’re unsure of the person’s gender then you could just state their full name, without any title. For example.

  • Dear Alex Ronson
  • Dear Taylor Lambert

That lets you err on the side of caution and not make assumptions. So that’s gender sorted, what next?

What Title to Use

Even when you’ve got a name and a gender you still need to use the right personal title to address your cover letter. Does the addressee have a Ph.D.? Then you may want to address the letter to ‘Dr. Surname’. There are also academic, military and religious titles to consider. Do some digging online or contact the company directly. The extra care and attention you took to correctly address your cover letter to The Very Reverend A B Smith will be noted!

Lastly, when addressing a cover letter to a woman, always use the title ‘Ms’. unless you know with absolute certainty that she prefers ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’. Getting this wrong can, quite rightly, cause offence.

How to Address an Email Cover Letter

The rules above apply if you’re addressing a cover letter and sending it as a stand-alone document. To address an email cover letter, as the body of an email, rather than a file attachment, here’s what you need to do.

  • Write a clear and professional subject line: Hiring managers receive around 118 applications for every job. So make sure they can easily see who you are and what you’re applying for. Simply state your name and the job you’re applying for e.g. ‘Application for Business Analyst Position—Olivia Richards’.
  • Move your contact info: Emails shouldn’t start with contact details. Move them to be in your signature below your complimentary close.
  • Remove the addressee’s contact info and the date: This information isn’t necessary for an email.
  • Do still greet the hiring manager by name: And use the same rules for salutations as in a stand-alone cover letter.

Want to learn even more about cover letter formatting? Find out here: How to Format a Cover Letter [Step-By-Step Guide]

Key Takeaway

Knowing how to address a cover letter is just as important as filling it with job-winning content.

(Video) Writing Cover Letters and Addressing Selection Criteria for Medical Jobs

Here’s what to remember:

  • Write the cover letter address in standard UK business letter format.
  • Always try to discover the name of the hiring manager, but—
  • To address a cover letter without a name, use a variation of, ‘Dear XYZ Team Hiring Manager." Or if the addressee is completely unknown, use ‘Dear Hiring Manager’.
  • Take care with gender and the use of titles.
  • Adapt your format accordingly for an email cover letter.

Thanks for reading. Have you got any concerns you wish to address? But seriously, do use the comments section for any questions or feedback, I’d love to start a discussion.

FAQs

Who should I address my covering letter to? ›

For a cover letter, you should always default to addressing it to the hiring manager for the position you're applying to. Unless you know for sure that the culture of the company is more casual, use the hiring manager's first and last name. You can include a title, such as “Mr.” or “Ms.” (never Mrs. or Miss).

How do you address a cover letter when you don't know who it is to? ›

To address a cover letter without a name, use some variation of, "Dear Software Team Hiring Manager." You can also use, "Dear Hiring Manager" if the addressee really is unknown. Remember that "To Whom It May Concern" is an old-fashioned salutation for cover letters. It also feels very impersonal.

How do you address a letter to a cover letter? ›

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.

Should you address cover letter to whom it may concern? ›

Never start a cover letter with "To Whom It May Concern," a greeting that is widely viewed by hiring managers as outdated and impersonal. If at all possible, address the hiring manager by name. If you can't find out the hiring manager's name, find an alternative that addresses an entire company or department.

Is it OK to use Dear hiring manager? ›

In short, you can use 'Dear Hiring Manager' on a job-related cover letter. This generic salutation is appropriate in most situations and is more professional than beginning your cover letter with 'Hello' or 'Hi There.

Is To Whom It May Concern still acceptable? ›

"To Whom It May Concern" is an outdated, though still sometimes used, letter greeting. Nowadays, there are other, better options for starting a letter. One simple approach is to not include any salutation.

How do you introduce yourself in a cover letter? ›

Yes, you should introduce yourself in a cover letter. Introduce yourself by stating your name, the position you're applying for, and how you found it. For example: My name is Henry Applicant, and I'm applying for the open Account Manager position listed on LinkedIn.

How do you address a cover letter to multiple recipients? ›

One address: When sending a letter to multiple people within the same organization, you may simply list the full names of each recipient on separate lines before including the single address at the bottom of your header.

How do you start a letter without dear? ›

"Dear Sir or Madam" Alternatives
  1. "Hello, [Insert team name]"
  2. "Hello, [Insert company name]"
  3. "Dear, Hiring Manager"
  4. "Dear, [First name]"
  5. "To Whom it May Concern"
  6. "Hello"
  7. "Hi there"
  8. "I hope this email finds you well"
May 7, 2019

Who do I address my cover letter to if there's no contact name? ›

Address the Cover Letter With “Dear Hiring Manager

It is the most common way to address a hiring manager with no name and 40% of hiring managers prefer this salutation over no salutation at all.

What does a candidate ideally write in the first paragraph of the cover letter? ›

When writing the cover letter introduction — or first paragraph — approach it as you would approach any situation where you want to make a solid first impression. It should be clean, exciting, and relevant to the job at hand.

What should you say in a cover letter? ›

When writing a cover letter, you should:
  • introduce yourself.
  • mention the job (or kind of job) you're applying for (or looking for)
  • show that your skills and experience match the skills and experience needed to do the job.
  • encourage the reader to read your resume.
Dec 18, 2018

What's another way to say to whom it may concern? ›

Try these "to whom it may concern" alternatives instead: Dear (hiring manager's name). Dear (recruiting manager's name). Dear Recruiting Department.

Should you address a cover letter to Human Resources Director? ›

To summarize, when in doubt, address your cover letter to the HR director. However, if given a name, address it to that person, as the job description included his or her name for a reason.

How do you address a cover letter to Human Resources? ›

Use a generic salutation, such as Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Recruiting Manager or Dear Human Resources Professional. (Avoid To Whom It May Concern; it is antiquated.)

How do you address a large company in a cover letter? ›

If you have to address a cover letter to a large company, and you don't know the hiring manager's name, you can always address the cover letter to the department you are applying job to. For example: Dear Finance Department. Dear Marketing Team.

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