Many job-seekers are stumped when it comes to writing a cover letter. Often, when we ask a job candidate if they have a cover letter to include with their resume, they have a few questions for us.
The first question they typically ask is: Do I really need to submit a cover letter with my job application? Can't I just skip it? We covered the answer to this question thoroughly in our "Do I Really Need a Cover Letter?" blog.
Often, the next question is: What content should I include in my cover letter? This was addressed in our "3 Must-Have Items For Your Cover Letter" blog.
Today we will address a third question we often hear: Who do I address the cover letter to?
Attempt to Address the Cover Letter to the Hiring Manager
The best answer is to find out who will be receiving and reading your resume. If you can get the name of this individual, you'll want to address the cover letter directly to them. Taking the time to try to figure out who that is is worthwhile.
If you have any contacts within the company, reach out and ask. If you have a phone number for the company, call and inquire. Connect with the company via LinkedIn and see if you can determine who is receiving resumes. Review the company website to see if they list contacts. Taking some time to seek out the name of the actual person is worth it and may pay off by elevating you compared to the candidates that didn't put forth that same effort.
When addressing the cover letter to the hiring manager, be formal. Use Ms. or Mr. and their full first and last name. A cover letter is a business letter and therefore a formal salutation is appropriate.
What If You Can't Find a Name?
Let's say you are applying to a big company like Amazon.com. You don't know anyone that already works there and you can't find a way to actually reach out to someone in the hiring department (no phone number or email address listed). You will be applying via their online process which doesn't provide you any information (and likely is an Applicant Tracking System). How do you address your cover letter in this case?
Revision Resume suggests you personalize it as much as possible. Do you know which department you are applying to? If you are applying to the sales department, you could address the cover letter to the Sales Department Hiring Manager or the Sales Department Team.
Avoid Generic Salutations
In years past it was acceptable to address a cover letter to "To Whom It May Concern." In 2021, this is considered outdated and may negatively impact your application. It is impersonal and shows you didn't bother to attempt to research the company at all. The lack of effort shows and brings into question how important this job opportunity is to you. Always avoid using generic salutations when writing your cover letter.
Need assistance in crafting a cover letter that will help you stand out and elevate your job application above other candidates? Contact us at Revision Resume.
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Additional cover letter information can be found here.