Resume and Cover Letter Tips, Tricks, and Examples

How to Address a Cover Letter With Examples

Marcie Wilmot

Certified Resume Writer, Career Coach, and Business Owner

It’s easy to get caught up in focusing on your resume – how it looks, what it says, and whether it’s going to land you a job interview. Because there is a big focus on building the perfect resume, job searchers often overlook the importance of a high-quality cover letter. Your cover letter plays a huge role in your first impression. It humanizes you and provides context for your resume.

So, if you’re looking to build a complete application, then continue reading to learn how to address a cover letter (traditional or email), how to find the right person to contact, and what to do if you can’t locate the recipient’s name.

What is Addressing a Cover Letter?

cover letter spelled out on scrabble tiles decorative image

Let’s start with the basics. A cover letter is a one-page document that accompanies a resume in a job application. It generally summarizes one’s professional history and qualifications, expresses enthusiasm about the position, and explains any extenuating circumstances (like employment gaps or industry jumps). 

However, before you go into detail with that information, it is important that you format your letter and greet whoever will be reading it. Ideally, you should address any cover letters you write to the appropriate hiring manager. That way, it’s clear who the letter is intended for. Here’s an example of a good cover letter salutation:

[Hiring Manager]
[Company Address]
[Company City, State *Zip Code*]

Dear [Mr./Mrs. Manager's Name],

Cover Letter Address Example 1 (Resume Genius)

Why Addressing a Cover Letter is Important

While it might not initially seem like a big deal, it’s crucial you take the time to properly address any cover letters you send. Omitting this small detail could result in your letter (and resume) ending up in the discard pile. Think about when someone sends you a letter or email. When it doesn’t include your name at the top, then junk mail comes to mind, right? Right off the bat you’re less inclined to pay attention. You might even throw it away without reading it. It’s exactly the same when it comes to a cover letter. 

Your goal should be to show the hiring manager that you spent time researching to write a well thought-out letter because you really want the job. This will indicate that you’re eager, and they’ll be more apt to pay attention to what you have to offer. After all, they’re searching for someone who’s hungry for the job!

How to Find the Appropriate Person to Contact

It’s not always easy to figure out who’s in charge of hiring. Sometimes the person’s name is listed at the bottom of the job ad, making things simple. Other times this isn’t the case. So, what do you do?

Use the internet and do your research! While it’s not always possible to determine who the hiring manager is, many times you can simply use Google, LinkedIn or the company’s website to find clues. Additionally, if you’re unsure about the person’s gender, it’s acceptable to include their full name on your cover letter, so you don’t make a wrong assumption and offend them.

Keep in mind that you’ll really stand out in a sea of cover letters if yours is addressed to the correct person instead of a generic “hiring manager,” especially if the person in question hasn’t made their information readily available. Your letter (and resume) will garner more attention, initiate a personal connection, and show that you’re smart and tenacious.  

How to Address a Cover Letter Without a Name

There are going to be times when, no matter how much you search, you’re unable to find out who is overseeing the hiring process. Not everyone makes his or her information easy to find online. In some instances, there may even be more than one person handling the hiring process. If this happens, don’t feel discouraged – it’s not your fault.

When you haven’t been able to determine who the hiring manager is for the job you want, it’s best to start your cover letter with a professional yet general salutation. Here are some common examples that you can consider using.

  • To Whom it May Concern
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Sir/Madam

Addressing a Cover Letter When You Have the Hiring Manager’s Name

In those instances when you know who will receive your cover letter and resume, be sure to use their name in your salutation. As mentioned above, doing so will make your letter more meaningful and noticeable to the recipient. As a result, they’ll be more likely to spend more time analyzing your application.

If you know the gender of the hiring manager, consider using either Ms. or Mr. before their last name (ie. Mr. Harris). Avoid using Mrs. since it’s difficult to know, with complete certainty, the marital status of a woman you don’t know personally. On the other hand, Ms. is a safe bet and will be viewed favorably no matter the age or marital status of the woman reading your cover letter. Again, if you’re not sure of the person’s gender, simply use their full name (ie. Dear John Smith).

Sometimes the recipient of your letter might hold a professional title like Professor (Prof.), Doctor (Dr.), Sergeant (Sgt.), Officer, or Reverend (Rev.). If you’re aware of this, put this title in place of Ms. or Mr. at the top of your letter to show respect and knowledge of their professional status. 

How to Address an Email Cover Letter?

How to address a cover letter in email with email background

Based on a large volume JobSearcher‘s posted jobs, it is becoming more common for employers to ask for cover letters via email. When this is the case, you’ll need to focus on the subject line AND the salutation. For one, you should never leave the subject line blank. No subject line could result in your email getting lost, deleted, or thrown into a spam folder. As you write your subject line, be sure to use good grammar and proper punctuation, if needed. It is key to list the job title and your name to specify the purpose of your email because you never know if the hiring manager is running a few job ads at once.

Like a regular cover letter, try your best to decide who will be reading your email and then address it to them specifically. Use Ms. or Mr. followed by their last name, unless they have a professional title (like Dr. or Sgt.). If you don’t know who the email is intended for – despite researching it – then use a general salutation.

Also, pay close attention to how you end your email. Make sure to include your contact information under your name (e.g., your address, email, phone number, and even LinkedIn profile url), so this information is readily available if the hiring manager decides they want to reach out or learn more about you.       

Key Takeaways to Address a Cover Letter

The most important takeaway in addressing a cover letter is that it’s a detail that – while easily overlooked – matters. The goal is to stand out and entice the hiring manager to give you a chance. So, it is important to put in the time and research to properly format and utilize your cover letter to build a personal connection with the recipient(s).

Now that’s easier said than done, right? Well, never worry. Here are some additional, more specific, takeaways that will help you.

  • Conduct Google searches, look at the organization’s website, and/or check LinkedIn to determine the intended recipient of your cover letter.
  • If you can’t figure out who the appropriate contact is, simply use a general salutation like “To Whom it May Concern,” “Dear Sir/Madam,” or “Dear Hiring Manager”.
  • Address your letter to the hiring manager’s full name or, if you know their gender, use Ms. or Mr. before their last name.
  • Do not use Mrs., but do use any appropriate professional titles like Dr., Sgt., or Prof.
  • If your cover letter is an email, don’t leave the subject blank; instead, put the title of the job so it’s easily categorized.
  • Include your contact information underneath your name at the bottom of an email cover letter so the hiring manager can easily reach you and learn more about you. 

What Should You Avoid in Cover Letter Addresses?

More than anything, you’ll want to avoid misspelling the hiring manager’s name when addressing your cover letter. If you do, you’ll risk giving the impression that you make silly mistakes. So, be sure to doublecheck the spelling of their name several times before sending off your cover letter.

In addition, don’t guess when it comes to the gender of the recipient of your letter. If you’re unsure, use their full name in your salutation. Similarly, avoid using Mrs. because marital statuses aren’t always apparent. Ms. is polite and appropriate, whether a woman is married or not.

Samples of How to Address a Cover Letter

See below for an example of how an applicant should address a cover letter.  

You don’t know the name of the hiring manager


[Hiring Team Manager]


[Company Address Line 1]

[Company Address Line 2]

Dear [Hiring Team Manager]


Customer Service Hiring Team Manager

Reveo, Inc.

1644 Mandan Road

Atlanta, GA 14808

Dear Customer Service Hiring Team Manager,

You do know the name of the hiring manager


[Recipient’s Name]

[Job Title]


[Company Address Line 1]

[Company Address Line 2]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],


Angeline Taylor


Taylor & Co.

1129 Maine Street

Chicago, IL 60604

Dear Ms. Taylor OR Dear Angeline Taylor,

The hiring manager has a professional title


[Recipient’s Name]

[Job Title]


[Company Address Line 1]

[Company Address Line 2]

Dear [Recipient’s Name],


Angeline Taylor

Doctor of Nutrition

Nutrition Love

1129 Maine Street

Chicago, IL 60604

Dear Dr. Taylor,

question mark on gray background to represent frequently asked questions on addressing a cover letter

Frequently Asked Questions on Cover Letter Addresses

Read below for the answers to some frequently asked questions about how to address cover letters.

What is the proper way to address a cover letter?

Whenever possible, use the name of the hiring manager in your salutation. Doing so will personalize your cover letter and make it stand out compared to others. If you aren’t able to determine the name of the intended recipient, use a generic greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Sir/Madam”.

What is the best greeting for a cover letter?

It’s best to use the word “Dear” followed by the name of the hiring manager. You can choose to use his or her full name. Alternatively, Mr./Ms. followed by their last name would also be acceptable. Avoid using Mrs. and do include a professional title like Dr. or Sgt. in place of Mr./Mrs. when applicable.

How do you start an introduction for a cover letter?

In the opening paragraph of your cover letter, you should express interest in the position and introduce yourself. Try to catch the attention of the hiring manager by explaining how your skillset and qualities fit the requirements of the job. Additionally, if you were referred to the job by someone who works in the company, it is crucial to mention your reference and your relationship to that reference.


Addressing your cover letter to the correct hiring manager is essential because it shows that you’re detail-oriented, willing to do your due diligence, and committed to getting this specific job. So even though it doesn’t necessarily seem like a big deal, it is! Avoid your cover letter coming across as generic by finding and addressing it to the correct person. Once you’ve found your dream job, the personal connection you create with your cover letter may very well help you land it.

1 Comment

Write A Comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.