Salutation for Cover Letter?


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Adrianne writes: I am in the preliminary stages of a job search and I found your article on researching a company to be very useful. I also understand that cover letters should be specific. But to avoid writing “dear sir/madam,” I wonder what one can do if the company’s human resources department does not want to divulge the name of who is assessing the applicants?
The Career Doctor responds: We always advise addressing a cover letter to a specific, named individual. The bad news is that technology trends make it even harder for job-seekers to track down the names of hiring managers. The good news is that when you do, you will certainly have an edge over other job-seekers. One of the biggest complaints I hear from job-seekers is the ever-increasing difficulty in reaching or following-up with a hiring manager. So, what’s the best way around HR folks, screening assistants, voicemail, or vague email addresses? Having someone inside the company who can get you the information — this is the real power of networking. A lot of job-seekers have a misconception that networking is all about asking people for jobs — and it’s not. Networking is about sharing information — about people, companies, and, yes, job leads. A strong network will provide you with plenty of information and resources to help your job search. And having this information will give you the inside edge in the job hunt. Another misconception about networking is that you are using people, but the whole idea behind networking is one of reciprocation; someone helps you now and you’ll help that person in the future. So, get your network out there helping you! And if you must use a salutation, I prefer “Dear hiring manager,” or “Dear hiring manager for [fill-in-the-blank] position.