6 Tips On How To Address Your Cover Letter

By Maddie Lloyd
Oct. 6, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

After days, weeks, heck, maybe even months of job searching, you’ve finally found your dream job. Now it’s time to write a cover letter so good that you’ll land an interview, and get the job.

But wait! You haven’t even gotten started yet, and you’ve already hit a roadblock. How do you even go about starting the thing? Do you use Mr. or Ms.? Señor or Mademoiselle? Your majesty? Who in great gravy are you even talking to?

Addressing a cover letter can be tricky, but before you go into a tailspin of panic — just sit back, relax, and keep reading to figure out exactly how to address your soon-to-be award-winning cover letter.

Key Takeaways:

  • Use a formal full name greeting and use professional titles such as “Mr.”, “Ms.” and “Dr.” whenever applicable.

  • If you do not know the name of who you are addressing, use a generic greeting.

  • Remain gender neutral if you have their name, you never want to assume their gender just because they have a typical man or woman name.

  • To find the recruiters name read the job listing, check the company website, or even contact the company.

6 Tips On How To Address Your Cover Letter

6 Tips on How To Address Your Cover Letter

  1. Use a formal full name greeting. Whenever possible, use the hiring manager’s first and last name, including the titles “Mr.” “Ms.” whenever applicable. The hiring manager is most likely the person who’s going to be looking at your cover letter, so it’s a good idea to address it directly to them.

    It is better to address women without the Mrs. title. The Mrs. title implies that the woman is married and since that information is not easy to come by, keep it safe and address the woman as Ms. Don’t ever use “Miss,” as it is seen as infantilizing.


    • Dear Ms. Carter

    • Dear Mr. Jones

    • Dear Ms. O’Riley

  2. Use a generic greeting. Sometimes, even after stalking a company’s website and all of their social media platforms, you just can’t figure out the name behind the mysterious “Hiring Manager” title.

    Even if you find yourself in this position, you should still try to be specific in your greeting. You have a few options here.

    You could go with the simple yet effective “Dear Hiring Manager,” or opt for one of its more specific alternatives like:

    • Dear [company name] Recruiter

    • Dear [position title] Hiring Team

    • Dear [position title] Hiring Manager

    • Dear [department name] Team

    • Dear [title of person you’d report to]

    Just make sure that your cover letter shows that you put effort into addressing someone in particular, and you’ll be good to go.

  3. Remain gender neutral. A lot of names aren’t gender-specific, and it’s probably not a good idea to try to make an assumption in this scenario.

    With ambiguous names like Taylor, Cameron, North, West, East, Apple, Banana (you get the idea), you have a few options for how to approach the situation. You could…

    • Include both first and last names in your greeting, without any title


      • Dear Alex Jones

      • Dear Jamie Stark

      • Dear Taylor Smith

    • Search company websites or LinkedIn accounts to try to find a photograph or more details about the hiring manager to determine their gender

    Again, if you’re not sure about the gender or sex of the person you’re addressing your cover letter to, do not make assumptions. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot by offending Mr. Banana.

  4. Using professional titles. Even if you are confident about the gender of the person you’re writing to in your cover letter, it’s important to use a proper title to address them.

    If the person you’re writing to is a doctor or has a Ph.D., you’ll want to address them as “Dr. Banana” rather than “Mr./Ms. Banana.”


    • Dear Principal Day

    • Dear Dr. Grey

    • Dear Dr. Shepard

    • Dear Lt. Saraceno

  5. Greetings and salutations. There’s a variety of salutations you can use when addressing your letter. If you’re creative, you’ve basically got an indispensable amount of greetings you could use. One could almost say the cover letter is your oyster.

    Greetings like “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” are generic and impersonal. Plus, they make you sound like you’re about a hundred years old. Greetings like “Hello,” “Hi,” or “What’s Up?” are best left for personal or email correspondences.

    The most important part of your salutation is including a name or job title. Your cover letter could be the first impression you make on an employer, so you want to show them that you did your company research and know who you’re writing to.

  6. Formatting Your Cover Letter Salutation Once you know who you’re addressing, what title they prefer, or just a specific job title — it’s time to put that all together into your actual cover letter. Once you’ve got it all together, it should look something like this:

    Dear Apple Banana,

    First paragraph of letter

    And just like that — you successfully addressed your cover letter. Congratulations!

How to write a cover letter

How to Find the Hiring Managers Name

Here are ways to find the hiring manager’s name:

  1. Read the job listing. This is the obvious place to start. Look for the name of the hiring manager or try to suss out a name based on the email address given. For example, if the email address is john.smith@company.com, addressing your cover letter to John Smith is a pretty safe bet.

  2. Check the company website. Go to the company’s “About Us” or “Company Directory” page. From there, navigate to the department you’re applying to and see if you can glean any information on who the relevant hiring manager is for you.

  3. Check LinkedIn. If you go on LinkedIn and search for “[company name] + recruiter,” you’ll probably turn up something. Even if you don’t find the exact person you’re looking for, you can reach out to someone at the company who could point you in the right direction or answer your question.

  4. Contact the company. If all else fails, you can simply call the company up and ask the administrative assistant the name of the hiring manager for the position you’re applying for.

Final Thoughts

Cover letter greetings are often the first opportunity you get to make an impression on an employer, so it’s important that you make that impression a good one.

Small mistakes like cover letter blunders can instantly have an impact on your chances of getting an interview, so it’s essential that you put your best foot forward right at the beginning and show that you took the time to research who you’re addressing your cover letter to.

Now that you know how to address a cover letter, it’s time for you to address your employers and let them know you’re the best person for the job!

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Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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