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Did you know that personalization is the cardinal rule of cover letters? From beginning to end, it should be individually tailored and personalized for each of your target jobs. And yes, this includes your cover letter address. However, can an address on a cover letter really impact your chance of landing an interview? The simple answer is, of course, it can.
When writing a cover letter for your prospective employer, you have two main goals. These are to ensure that it gets delivered to the correct person and makes the right impression. So, in this article, we will guide you on how you can address your cover letter effectively.
Why is it vital to address a cover letter?
A cover letter address is basically the salutation or greeting at the very beginning of your letter. For an obvious reason, it is important primarily because it is the first thing the recipient sees and reads upon opening it. When done right, you are more likely to create a positive first impression on the person reviewing your cover letter. Consequently, allowing you to build a personal connection instantly.
Addressing your cover letter effectively and appropriately demonstrates your genuine interest in the job and the company. It also showcases your initiative, attention to detail, and commitment to professionalism. Hence, you can be perceived as an appealing candidate for spending additional time and effort to find the contact person and personalize your application rather than sending a generic version. This increases your likelihood of being invited for an interview.
To whom should you address your cover letter?
You spend hours perfecting your cover letter, ensuring to highlight the skills and qualifications your target position requires. But then, your salutation says, “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” – this is a careless move! If you do this, it should not come as a big surprise that you never heard anything back from your prospective employer. Because the truth is, hiring managers are sick and tired of reading these templatized and impersonal greetings. It is like you’re telling them, “Whoever is reading my cover letter, I am here for the job.”
One of the most common mistakes candidates make is not addressing the person they are sending their cover letters. Evidently, the recipient would be the hiring personnel of the company or your target department, to be specific. Nonetheless, finding out and including their names in your greeting can give you a competitive edge over other applicants. So, make sure to use every available resource to address your cover letter in the most appropriate manner. Apart from scanning the job post thoroughly, here are some other tips and tricks to find the specific name of the person responsible for hiring:
- Check out the company’s website
- Search on LinkedIn
- Ask your personal and professional network
- Contact your target company/department directly
Even if you already know the contact person’s name, remember to be careful with your tone when addressing them. Unless you’re sure that the culture of your target company is more casual, we suggest using a professional and polite but not too formal salutation for your cover letter. Thus, using “Dear” followed by their first name is the way to go. For instance, you can say, “Dear Jane”.
How to address your cover letter when you do not have the contact person’s name?
In cases that you cannot find the contact person’s name after hours of searching and exhausting all your sources, using a generic yet well-thought-out salutation is your best option. While “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruitment Team” are both acceptable, adding a bit of your personal touch can go a long way to showcasing your commitment to landing the job. This can be done by using information specific to the job opening. What company department is your target position part of? To whom will you be reporting? This way, you can tailor your greeting like the following:
- Dear Software Development Hiring Team
- Dear Customer Service Department Hiring Team
- Dear Finance Department Manager
- Dear Sales & Marketing Director
A personalized cover letter impresses any hiring professional. So, to start off on the right note, make sure to address your cover letter appropriately by being specific as possible – ideally with the contact person’s name. Yes, this can be a time-consuming task, but it’s worth the extra effort. When done right, it can help you get through the first round of the hiring process.