You’ve always been told that you shouldn’t write, “To Whom It May Concern,” on your cover letter. But what should you do when you don’t have the name of the hiring manager?
Related: 11 Tips For Creating Compelling Cover Letters
Here’s today’s Q&A quick tip.
First, Track Down The Name
Obviously, it’s ideal to use the hiring manager’s name in the letter. So, the first thing you should do is try to track down the hiring manager’s name online (i.e. the company website, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).
You can also call up the company directly to ask for the name. Simply call up the company and say, “Hi, my name is ____ and I’m applying for a position at your company. Would it be possible for me to get the name of the hiring manager so I can address him or her in my cover letter?”
If All Fails, Use ‘Dear Hiring Team’
If the hiring manager’s name is nowhere to be found and the company is unwilling to give you his or her name, you should use “Dear Hiring Team” in your cover letter salutation.
By addressing your cover letter to the hiring team, you increase your chances of getting it in front of the right pair of eyes.
Why Can’t You Use Someone Else’s Name?
But what if you know the name of someone else (not involved with hiring) who works at the company? Can you just address it to them instead?
“That person may not be the person that’s hiring, and they could easily throw [your cover letter] in the trash,” said J.T. O’Donnell in a recent episode of Career Q&A. “You don’t know if they’re going to forward it to the right person or not. You DO NOT want to risk that.”
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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You can send your resume to several people at a company if you don't know the name of the interviewer. This increases the possibility of your resume reaching the right person. Your cover letter should contain the names of all the recipients, if you can find this information, so that each person knows to whom you have sent a copy. Except for the multiple names, the general format of this letter is the same as for regular cover letters addressed to one person. Tell the recipients the position for which you're applying, where you learned of it and why you believe you qualify.
Identifying Key Players
You can use several resources to discover the name of the people responsible for the hiring process if the job ad does not include that specific information. For instance, you could call the company to ask for the name of the interviewer. If you don't get a name, visit a professional networking website and search for human resources personnel at the company or look for this information on the company's website. A current employee can also provide this information if you know someone who works there.
Personalizing the Salutation
Address the letter to one person only, even if you are sending letters to multiple people in the company. This should be the person most responsible for hiring. The recipient's address block includes this person's name, title, company name and company address. Address the person in your salutation. You could type the person's full name if you are not sure of gender. For instance, type "Dear Terry Smith" instead of "Dear Mr. Smith." If the company entrusts hiring decisions to a committee, use a salutation such as "Dear Selection Committee" instead. You can also use this when you don't know to whom to send the letter.
Including Additional Names
Conclude the body of your letter with your signature. Two spaces beneath your name, type "cc:" and follow with the names and titles of the other recipients of your letter. For example, write "cc: Ms. Williams, Human Resources Generalist." Place each additional name on a separate line.
Mailing Your Letter
Your letter might contain multiple names but send a copy to each person named. Address an envelope to each recipient and enclose a copy of your cover letter and your resume. Before you place each letter in an envelope, place a small check mark in front of the name of the person to whom you are sending it. Do this for the names on the "cc" list only.
Emailing the Recipients
You can also submit your cover letter and resume by email, which is faster and more convenient. Follow the same format as the paper copy and address the letter to the person responsible for hiring in the opening salutation. Place a "cc:" at the end of the letter with the names of the other parties. Also place their email addresses in the "cc" line of your email to copy the message to them.
About the Author
Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.
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