As a job seeker, you act as a marketer while presenting your personal brand in your cover letter. And you want to ensure you do as much as you can to stand out. Which means that when addressing cover letters, it is imperative you address an individual with a personalized greeting.
These days, “To Whom it May Concern,” just won’t cut it.
Easier said than done, right? After all, it could be any of 100 or so recruiters or even the direct hiring manager.
So how do you know to whom you should direct your greeting? And the better question, how do you find that person?
You may not be certain whether you should address your letter to a recruiter or a hiring manager. Remember that smaller companies may only have one recruiter, while at larger companies there could be hundreds; the chance of you choosing the right one is slim. Fortunately, recruiters also specialize. Applying for a marketing position and able to find out the marketing recruiter within HR? That is the perfect person’s name to address in your greeting.
That recruiter will usually see your cover letter. They are often the make-or-break for whether your letter will ever be placed in front of the hiring manager. However, if you’re certain you know who the hiring manager is, there is no harm in choosing this individual’s name. Whether recruiter or hiring manager, try to be as specific as possible. If you can’t find out who the direct hiring manager is but know the name of the department director, that could be your next choice.
Where to Find this Information
With the Internet, there are many great sources of company information you can peruse to find out who works at the company and what his or her role is. A great starting point is LinkedIn. If you search the name of the company and look at how you are connected, you may get lucky in your results with the hiring manager appearing. Otherwise, if you have an idea of a possible name, you can enter that person’s name and the company name in the “search people” bar or use the advanced filters.
Another tactic is the ever-helpful company website that lists the names of the leadership team and sometimes other company employees. You might consider trying to find a press release if your hiring manager is the director of PR or looking in the company blog to see if any employees have authored articles or have been quoted in the news. If all else fails, guess. You will never be penalized for writing the wrong name.
Why Personally Addressing Cover Letters Matters
A small detail can make a large impact. You may wonder why specifying a name is so important anyway? It demonstrates that you put effort into finding out a little more about the company. Which indicates you have a sincere interest in the role and company.
Who Not to Address It To
When addressing cover letters, try to avoid using the common phrase “To Whom it May Concern.” As a rule of thumb, the wrong name is better than no name or entirely excluding a greeting. In the worst-case scenario, choose an executive or the CEO whose names you can usually find on the company website.
Think of your cover letter as a birthday present: it’s the thought that counts.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.