Employer's Preference If You Don't Know to Whom to Address Cover Letter? 'Dear Hiring Manager'


Asked how to address cover letters if candidates don’t know whom to send letters (and resumes) to, 38.1 percent of employers surveyed for the 2010 Orange County Resume Survey* said they prefer “Dear Hiring Manager.” It’s always best, of course, to find out to whom to send the letter, but employers have made it increasingly difficult for job-seekers to obtain this information because they expect to be inundated with applications and don’t want to be similarly bombarded with phone calls asking the name of the hiring manager. We’ve always advised the salutation “Dear Hiring Manager for [name of targeted position]:”, which aligns with the survey results. Surprisingly, the salutation “To Whom It May Concern,” which we’ve always advised against, received support from 26.1 percent of surveyed employers. Similarly, “Dear Sir/Madam,” another one we’ve advised against, was the preference of almost 18 percent of respondents; 8.3 percent advised leaving the salutation blank; and 9.5 percent suggested “Dear Human Resource Director.”

*The 2010 Orange County Resume Survey by The Center for Career and Life Development, Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, CA, Eric Hilden, Career Placement Officer, was distributed by email to 2,000+ employer contacts in Orange County and shared online employer contacts in Orange County and shared online via social-networking sites including Linkedin.com and Twitter.