Who To Address a Cover Letter to (With Templates and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 17, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you're applying for a job, preparing a compelling, properly addressed cover letter to accompany your resume is essential to impress the hiring manager. A cover letter highlights your most outstanding skills and accomplishments and invites the recruiter to read your resume to know more about your qualifications. When writing a strong cover letter, it's important to learn who to address it to. In this article, we explain who to address your cover letter to, discuss how to find the hiring manager's name, and share tips, templates, and examples to help you address your cover letter correctly.

Who to address a cover letter to

Knowing who to address your cover letter to is important because it allows you to personalize your application. Here are several ways to professionally address your cover letter:

Using the hiring manager's name

The most recommended way of addressing your cover letter is using the hiring manager's actual name. Using the recipient's name shows you took time to research them and the company rather than using a more generic greeting. Use the hiring manager's first and last name in the salutation.

For instance, if the hiring manager's name is Martin Ostwald, you can address them as Dear Martin Ostwald, Hello Martin Oswald. If the company culture is more casual than formal, you can use the hiring manager's first name. If the hiring manager has a professional title such as Dr. or Professor, you can include the title in the salutation.

Related: How To Write Salutations (With Examples)

Using professional alternatives to the name

If you don't know the name of the hiring manager, you can still find a professional way of addressing your cover letter. Using professional alternatives shows that you've read the job posting and tailored your greeting to the hiring company. The best way is to address the cover letter to the respective department you're seeking to enter. Here are a few examples of addressing your cover letter when you can't find the actual name of the hiring manager:

  • Dear Head of Marketing

  • Hello Chief Technology Officer

  • Dear Accounting Manager

  • Hello Customer Service Excellence Group

Using hiring manager

When you can't find the name or establish the hiring department, you can go with the simple salutation of Dear Hiring Manager. This greeting is professional and isn't likely to diminish the appeal of your cover letter. It's also a gender-neutral salutation when you don't know the hiring manager's correct pronoun.

Using sir or madam

Dear Sir or Madam is another way of addressing your cover letter. While this is a more old-fashioned way of addressing cover letters, it's a respectful approach when the other alternatives aren't working for you. It's also appropriate when you aren't sure of the hiring manager's correct pronoun.

Related: 12 Tips for Crafting a Great Cover Letter

How to find a hiring manager's name for your cover letter

Using the hiring manager's name is the best way to address your cover letter. Here are some steps you can take to discover their name:

1. Review the job posting

Read the job posting to see if the hiring manager's name is indicated. Review the sending instructions to see if the hiring manager's name or email address is provided. This information is usually at the end of the posting. For example, you may find instructions to send your application to martinostwald@email.com, which implies that Martin Ostwald is the right recipient for your cover letter.

2. Check the company's website

Visit the company's website to discover the right addressee. Sections of the website, such as the About Us, Contact Us, or Careers pages, might contain useful information about the key decision-makers in the company. For instance, if you're applying for a sales job, you might find the sales manager's name, which enables you to personalize your cover letter.

3. Contact the company

If the hiring manager's name is missing from the website and job posting, you can go a step further and contact the company. You can call the human resources department or the front desk. State the job you're applying for and that you want to get the correct recipient for your application. Alternatively, you can email the company if there is still time to send your application, as it might take longer to get a reply.

4. Check with your network

Ask in your network whether anyone knows someone working in the company or the same industry. They may provide crucial leads that yield the hiring manager's name or give you tips on how to stand out in your application. Someone in your network can even refer you directly to the hiring manager.

5. Use search engines and social media platforms

Most companies have an online presence, such as a website or social media accounts. Use search engines and professional social media platforms to research the company, department, and hiring manager's name. Be specific in your search and crosscheck your findings, as some companies may share a name depending on their location.

Related: 11 Skills To Include in Your Cover Letter

Tips to address your cover letter

Here are tips to help you address your letter professionally and to the right person:

Research the company

Before deciding on the person to address the cover letter to, it's advisable to conduct some background research on the company. Find out whether the company's culture is casual or more formal. Knowing this information helps you tailor your cover letter to reflect the company culture. Additionally, different companies use different titles for similar positions. Doing some research can also reveal the actual titles for the heads of the department you are applying to, which you can use to show the hiring manager how interested you are in the position.

Related: How To Write a Cold Call Cover Letter (With Tips and Sample)

Be as specific as possible

Even after doing lengthy research on a company, some information may still not be available. This is particularly common with private companies because their information is often not subject to public scrutiny. Regardless, it's advisable to be as specific as possible about who you're addressing the cover letter to. Read the job description to find out some key phrases, such as to whom the successful candidate would report. Being specific allows you to write your letter to the right audience.

Avoid generic salutations

Your cover letter is the initial point of contact with your prospective employer. It's advisable to start on the right note by avoiding generic greetings that may make your cover letter seem impersonal and overly formal. These include salutations like To Whom it May Concern. Using such greetings shows the hiring manager you didn't research the role or the company.

Take note of gender bias

When the gender of the hiring manager is unknown, ensure you leave gender-specific prefixes out of your salutation. You can do this by not writing any prefix before the hiring manager's name. Using titles such as Dr. or Professor to address recipients with those titles may also save you the problem of having to identify the recipients' correct pronoun. You can also look at the hiring manager's social media profile or company website to avoid applying the wrong gender connotation to the hiring manager.

Related: Unconscious Bias in the Workplace (And How to Avoid It)

Don't address the recruiter

When a company is hiring job candidates using a recruiter, address the letter to the company rather than to the recruiter. The recruiter might be the first person to review your letter, but it's advisable to focus on the hiring company and address your cover letter appropriately. The recruiter is an agent of the company and not the actual employer.

Email your cover letter

When sending your cover letter by email, use the correct address on the subject line. In the email subject line, write your name and the position you are applying for. For instance, when applying for an English teaching position, your email subject line could read as follows:

  • Application - English Teacher - Martin Ostwald

  • Martin Ostwald - English Teacher Job Application

Be specific to enable your application to get to the appropriate department. Ensure you understand the application instructions and follow them accordingly so that your application gets to the intended reviewer.

Proofread your cover letter

Before sending your application, proofread your cover letter, including the salutation. Note names that have multiple spellings and never presume you've got the right spelling, even if the name is common. Misspelling the recipient's name might send the wrong message to the hiring manager, which may affect your application.

Related:

  • 4 Types of Business Letter Formats (With Templates)

  • 11 Steps on How To Email a Cover Letter (With Example)

  • What To Include in Your Address on a Resume (With Tips)

Cover letter address templates

Here are some cover letter address templates to guide you when writing your own:

  • Dear [First and last name],

  • Dear [Mr. or Ms. first and last name],

  • Dear [Mr. or Ms. last name],

  • Dear [Title first and last name],

  • Dear [Department name],

  • Dear [Job title],

Cover letter address examples

Here are some examples of cover letter addresses you can use in your application:

  • Dear John Stones,

  • Dear Ms. Lai,

  • Dear Mr. Stones,

  • Dear Professor Nesbitt,

  • Dear Dr. Kelly,

  • Dear Marketing Department,

  • Dear Head of Marketing,

  • Dear Human Resources Manager,

  • Dear Hiring Manager,

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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