The cover letter is directly addressed to the recruiting manager and hence the salutation you choose to include is important. There are a variety of ways in which you can address your prospective hiring manager which we will discuss about.
Addressing by Name
The most preferred salutations in business correspondences are those that use the name of the recipient(s) directly. Therefore, when sending out a job application, make every effort to find out the name of the recruiter.
How to find the Name of the Recruiter
If you are applying for job listings advertised on various job sites, you can find the name of the HR Manager/Executive who posted the job opening. However, some companies prefer to not reveal the name of the hiring manager probably because there is not one person but a team of recruiting staff involved. In such cases, you can look up the name of the HR Manager on the company website. If this is also not available, it is not a bad idea to call up the administrative section of the company and ask them for the name of the manager. Using the person’s Last Name is the common practice in official emails. However, Full Name is also acceptable.
What Title to use
Once you’ve found out the recruiting manager’s name, the next step is to determine what title to use for addressing. If you know that the person holds an academic title like Dr. or Prof., use this title. Otherwise, use gender-specific titles like Mr., Ms. etc. if you are sure of the person’s gender. If you are unsure of this, it is better to not include a title at all.
How to Greet the person
Next is about what greeting to use. At all cost, avoid using casual greetings like ‘Hey there’ and ‘Hi’. There are many times recruiters get job applications that start with a ‘Hi’ salutation. Trust me, this is extremely unprofessional and is one of the worst first impressions. ‘Dear’ is the universally accepted and practiced greeting to start business emails.
Some of the recommended salutation formats are:
- Dear Mr. Brown
- Dear Ms. Smith
- Dear Dr. Chapman
- Dear Prof. Benjamin
- Dear Aby Alfred
As much as addressing using the name of the recruiter is advised, it is also possible that some companies do not publicize their recruiter information. This is possibly because they anticipate a large number of applications and hence do not want to entertain personal emails or phone calls inquiring about the opening. If all your efforts to identify the name of the hiring manager fail, the only thing left to do is to use a generic salutation. Two of the generic salutations used in official emails are:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- To Whom It May Concern
Since we are talking about cover letters in job applications, it is best not to use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ as this is usually seen in business intimation letters, notifications, circulars, prospecting letters etc. ‘Dear Sir’ and ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ is best recommended for a generic salutation in the current situation.
Read in detail about cover letter writing tips and samples here.
Download cover letter examples for any field of interest here.