Don't let an impersonal cover letter drag a great resume down.
When it comes to writing cover letters, the rule of thumb is to customize the greeting whenever possible. But what do you do when the hiring manager isn't listed in the job post? Do you accept defeat and opt for a generic “To Whom It May Concern” or "Dear Hiring Manager," or is there another option?
Amanda Augustine, TopResume's career advice expert, says you shouldn't settle for an impersonal opener. With a little extra effort and some online sleuthing, you may be able to get your cover-letter greeting right. She recently shared her advice on how to address a cover letter properly with Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz. Below are some of her suggestions.
Carefully re-read the job description
There might be a name or email address lurking at the bottom of the posting. Run a Ctrl + F or Command + F search for the @ symbol to quickly uncover email addresses hiding within the job post.
Use the provided email address to search for a name
Oftentimes, job postings will provide an email address for applicants but no name. If that's the case, take a closer look at the email. Most corporate email addresses include some combination of the recruiter or hiring manager's first initial and last name or their first name (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). Run a Google search with this information, “a augustine” plus the company and see what comes up.
Search for the individual who created the listing
If the job appears on LinkedIn, it was most likely posted by the recruiter or hiring manager. Look to see if the job post is connected to a specific individual and, if so, address your cover letter greeting to him or her.
Look for information about who the position reports to
If the posting says that the position would report to the director of marketing, but doesn't give that person's name, run an advanced search on LinkedIn for current directors of marketing at the company. If that comes up short, try a Google search.
If you've done your homework and are still unable to find a name, what's next? Don't let your frustration give you an excuse to slap any old salutation onto your cover letter. Amanda suggests using “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruiter.” While these salutations won't earn you brownie points, they also won't sabotage your application. We've detailed how to address a cover letter, but click on the following link to see Amanda's list of the worst ways to address a cover letter.
When push comes to shove, ask yourself how you'd want someone to address a letter to you. That's how you'll want to address your cover letter greeting to the hiring manager.
Cover letters are tough, and resumes aren't easy either. Get objective feedback on yours with a free resume critique from TopResume.
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