How to Address a Cover Letter (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 August 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The way you address your cover letter can help you make a positive first impression on a hiring manager. Since it's the very first part of the letter that the hiring manager will read, it's helpful to know how to address your cover letter. In this article, we show you how to address a cover letter with a template and example.

Why is addressing a cover letter important?

The way you address your cover letter sets the tone for the rest of your application. Since many hiring managers read cover letters first, it's the very first impression that they'll have of you as a candidate. Using the right titles, salutations and headers can show that you are a professional candidate who is eager to move forward in the hiring process.

Addressing your cover letter to a certain person or group ensures the right people read it. If you address it to a specific person, you may be able to get it in front of the employee who makes the hiring decisions more quickly.

Who do you address a cover letter to?

You should address your cover letter to the person making the hiring decision. In small businesses, this may be the company's owner. When applying for work at a medium to large business, it may be the hiring manager or department head. The branch or area manager may be the best contact for a multinational organisation.

Refer to the person by name, if possible, when addressing your cover letter. This will make your cover letter feel more personal and build a rapport with your recipient. It also shows you took the time to research the company, which can make you seem like a candidate who is driven to move forward in the hiring process.

Adding titles when addressing a cover letter

It is acceptable to use a title and the recipient's surname when addressing a cover letter. You could write “Dear Mr Nelson” instead of “Dear Chris Nelson.” You might do this if you do not know your recipient's first name. Call females Ms, unless you know they prefer Miss or Mrs. Unlike Miss or Mrs, Ms does not denote a woman's marital status. Mr is appropriate for all men, regardless of their marital status.

Use any academic or professional titles over Mr or Ms when addressing your cover letter. Writing the recipient's title and surname or a title and full name shows respect. You can write the title in full or use an accepted abbreviation. If your recipient has one of the following titles, make sure to include it:

  • Doctor or Dr

  • Professor or Prof

  • Sergeant or Sgt

  • Reverend or Rev

For example, you would write 'Dear Dr Procter' or 'Dear Reverend Alex Green.'

How to find the recipient's name

If you don't already know who to address the cover letter to, you can take a few steps to find the right name. Making this effort will help to create a personal bond with your recipient. The following research tips can help you:

  1. Read the job posting carefully. The post may list the recipient's name or include it as part of a contact email address. Some job postings list the recruiter's name instead of the person hiring. An online search will confirm if the listed person works for the hiring business or a recruiter.

  2. Visit the company's website. Look for the appropriate recipient on the site's 'Meet Our Team,' 'Company Directory' or 'About Us' pages.

  3. Visit the company's social media pages. Check social media accounts for stories about the relevant contact person. Some professional social networks also list company contacts.

  4. Conduct an online search. A targeted search can also help you learn who to address your cover letter to. Type the hiring company's name and a position title, such as hiring manager, into a search bar. For example, you could search 'Red Bad Industries Hiring Manager,' which could give you the right results. Hopefully, the name you need is among the top search results.

  5. Ask friends and professional contacts. Friends and professional contacts may know who to address your cover letter to. Phone knowledgeable people or send emails or instant messages to them. Your contact may give you the results you need.

  6. Contact the hiring company. Phone or email the company and explain you are applying for a job. Then ask who makes the hiring decisions, noting you want to address your cover letter correctly. If you are calling the company, confirm spelling to make sure your cover letter is error-free.

Addressing a cover letter without a name

If you can't find the hiring manager's name, you have a few options that will still make a good impression. Here are some examples:

  • Dear Hiring Manager

  • Dear Hiring Team

  • Dear [Department Name]

  • Dear [Department] Team

It's helpful to be as specific as possible. If you know more than one person will review your cover letter, use 'Hiring Team.' If you know the specific department you're applying to, you can use that. For example, 'Dear Accounting Team.'

Since it's possible to be more specific, try to avoid using 'To Whom It May Concern' or 'Dear Sir or Madam.' These salutations are outdated and could make your cover letter seem too formal.

Cover letter address template

Here's a template you can use when starting your cover letter:

[Your name]
[Your mailing address]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]

[Today's date]

[Recipient's name]
[Professional title]
[Business name]
[Mailing address]

Dear [Name],

Cover letter address example

Here's an example of how to address a cover letter:

Josephine Marti
7543 Burgandy Ave
Sydney, NSW, 2000
(02) 9875 3432

10 April 2020

Chris Nelson
Hiring Manager
Allied Construction
356 Smith St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Dear Chris Nelson,

Addressing electronic cover letters

In most cases, you'll likely send your application via email or the company's application platform. Electronic cover letters usually have a different format that you should follow since it's typically easier to find your information in other parts of your application. Instead of adding a full header with your name and contact information, the date and the recipient's information, you can start with the salutation.

If you plan to email your cover letter, it's important to use a strong subject line that stands out in the hiring manager's inbox. Include your name and the position title that you're applying for. For example, 'Maxine Flores — Office Coordinator Position.' This simple subject line makes it clear that you're applying for a certain position. You can include more details in the body of your email.

If you intend to add your cover letter as the body of your email, make sure your email signature includes the details you would normally add in your header, like your contact information and city and state. As an attachment, your cover letter should have a succinct file name, such as 'Maxine-Flores-Cover-Letter.pdf.' It's acceptable to add a full header if your cover letter is an attachment, but you can also leave out this information.

Tips for addressing a cover letter

Carefully addressing your cover letter can encourage your recipient to support your application. Follow these tips to address your cover letter:

  • Confirm spelling. Check the correct spelling with company representatives or online materials. Having the right spelling is a professional courtesy that hiring managers will appreciate. It also demonstrates your attention to detail, which is a highly valued quality.

  • Confirm the contact person. Sometimes it can be unclear if the contact person is correct. You may not know if the person listed on a job post is a recruiter or hiring manager. Perhaps the contact's name is from an old social media post, and you do not know if they still work for the company. If you have any doubts, simply call the hiring company to confirm the details.

  • Proofread your address. Since you need to change your cover letter address for each application you send in, you need to proofread it every time. Ensure you have the correct company name, address and date. This step makes sure your cover letter looks professional.

  • Use the right font and format. For paper cover letters, make sure you use 2.5-cm margins. You should also use the same font for your address as the rest of your cover letter. Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri are all good font choices. Use single spacing for your header to reduce extra space that can take up extra space.

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