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How to Address a Cover Letter with No Name

By Steve Burt

______________________________

Before you resort to sending your cover letter with no name in the address, you really should try to find out the name of the person to whom you’re writing your letter if you can. Addressing your cover letter to a real person makes your resume more personal and more effective than addressing it with no name. In addition, if no name is given in the position advertisement, spending some time to research the name of the person to whom you should address your cover letter demonstrates you’re serious about the advertised position and you’re the type of person who pays attention to detail and wants to do things correctly.

Often you can learn the name of the appropriate contact person to whom you should address your cover letter with just a little bit of effort. Some tricks you can try:

  • Check the company’s web site for the name of the hiring manager.
  • Call the company’s telephone number and ask the receptionist for the name of the company’s personnel director.
  • Ask any friends or business associates who may do business with the company if they know the name of the personnel manager.

You’ve Tried But Still Can’t Find Out the Name of a Contact Person

Okay, you’ve exhausted every idea you can think of to find out the name of the person to whom you should address your cover letter and have had no luck. On to Plan B.

Address your letter to “Personnel Manager”, “Human Resources Director”, “Hiring Manager” or some other generic, gender-neutral title. The individual to whom you’re writing may not hold any of these exact titles but at least the folks in the mailroom will know which department (and maybe the exact person) where your letter should be routed.

For the salutation on your letter, resist the temptation to use any of the following:

  • Dear Sir
  • Gentlemen
  • To whom it may concern

And don’t even think of using the horrid greeting, “Dear Sir or Madam”. Instead, just repeat whatever title you used on the inside address.

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