How to properly address a Cover Letter

Sending a cover letter with each resume or job application you have for a potential position is a way to introduce yourself and explain why you are the right candidate for any employer. When you are writing a cover letter, properly addressing the potential reviewer of your resume and letter is essential in order to capture their attention while appearing professional. Knowing how to properly address a cover letter can lead to potential job opportunities or cause you to get overlooked for a candidate who has taken more time with each cover letter he or she has prepared.

Review the job posting thoroughly

Addressing a Cover Letter Before you choose the method you want to use when addressing an individual within a cover letter, review the job posting thoroughly to ensure there is not a specific name already included that you should send all cover letters and resumes to when you are ready to apply for a position.

Many job postings include specific contact information based on the type of work you are interested in, so it is important to reread your posting even after you have formatted your cover letter and resume to ensure you are properly addressing the right professional.

Research the company prior to sending a Cover Letter and Resume

It is also important to research the company you plan to work for in order to identify any additional professionals you should be addressing your cover letter to, depending on the job you are seeking to get and whether there are specific departments available within the company.

How to properly address someone in a Cover Letter

Using a full name of the individual who will be reviewing your cover letter is highly recommended, as this shows you have taken the time to personally research the company itself and that you take your application seriously. Starting the letter off with "Dear [hiring manager's name]" is one of the best ways to capture the reader's attention, as long as you have fully researched who will be reading your cover letter.

If you are submitting your cover letter to a specific department, knowing the department head's full name can also be used after "Dear". When cover letters are sent to the managers of a company, using "Dear [manager's full name]" is ideal. When you are unable to find the name of a professional who will be reviewing your cover letter and you have even called the company itself to inquire about this information, there is an alternative. You can address "Dear Human Resource Manager", or "Dear Hiring Manager" when you are unable to find a professional to address your cover letter to with a specific company.

What to avoid when addressing a Cover Letter

In most cases, it is possible to find specific names of professional individuals who cover letters should be addressed to, so using vague and generic terms is not always acceptable. Avoid leaving the addressing section of a cover letter blank or using "To Whom it May Concern", as this is generic and may be overlooked by hiring managers and employers. Using "Dear Madam" or "Dear Sir" along with guessing the name of the recipient who will be reviewing your cover letter and resume is also not recommended, as this can appear unprofessional and too bland or boring.

Do not simply guess the name of the person who will be reading your cover letter. Take the time to research the company in-depth or call ahead of time to ensure you do not make the simple mistake of addressing the letter incorrectly, which can lead to an entire dismissal of your resume and the skills you have.

Properly addressing a cover letter is a way to boost your professional appeal and reputation while also speaking directly to the individual who is reviewing your application. The more thorough each cover letter is that you submit, the easier it is to land jobs that you truly want to obtain.