Tough Cover Letter Question: To Whom Should I Send?

cover letterAs a job seeker, you often act as a marketer 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, “Dear Hiring Manager” just won’t cut it.

So when writing your cover letter, it is imperative that you address an individual with a personalized greeting.

Addressing an individual shows you are detail-oriented. It demonstrates that you put effort into finding out a little more about the company. To the employer, this indicates you have a genuine interest in the role and company.

True: this is easier said than done. After all, you can’t guarantee you know the contact in the company who will view your submission. So how do you know to whom you should direct your greeting? And how do you find that person?

Who is The Best Target?

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. If you are applying for a marketing position and are able to find out who the marketing recruiter is, that is the perfect person’s name to address in your greeting. However, if you are 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 best 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. On many sites, companies list the names of the leadership team and key employees. You also 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 won’t be penalized for writing the wrong name!

What Ever Happens Don’t Go Generic

You must avoid using the common phrase “Dear Hiring Manager.” 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.

Just like with a birthday present, when addressing a cover letter… it’s the thought that counts. Address your cover letter to a real person and see if you don’t get better results.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.


Simply Hired



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