How to address a cover letter | with examples

The way you start your cover letter counts.

It’s the first thing a hiring manager sees when they open your application so you need to make them excited to peek into your CV.

In our guide, we’ll show you the ropes on how to address your cover letter, and even teach you how to find the recruiter or hiring manager’s name for maximum impact.

 

 

Address the hiring manager or recruiter directly

How to address a cover letter

 

Address the hiring manager or recruiter by name to start building a rapport with them.

Something simple like, “Hi Lucy” will do the trick.

According to recent research, simply seeing your own name can trigger a strong response in the brain.
So, be sure to do this, to captivate the recruiter’s attention.

 

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How to find the recruiter or hiring manager’s name

You may be wondering, “How do I figure out their name?”

There are several ways to find out the name of the person handling the job opening, which we’ll look at below.

 

Job advert

Recruiter's name in job advert

 

When you’re reading a job advert, you’ll sometimes find the name and email address of the person you need to get in touch with directly in the ad.

Look out for the section that says “For enquiries” or “Contact person”.

For example, the advert might say something like:

“For more info, please contact Susan Wright at susan-wright@email.com.”

Usually, this person manages that job vacancy.

If you see this information, it’s your lucky day – job adverts are the simplest way to find the correct name.

 

Company website

Recruiter's name on website

 

If you can’t find the recruiter’s name on the job advert, and you’re applying for a job directly via a company, check out their website.

Keep an eye out for a “Who We Are”, “About Us” or “Our Team” section.

Here, you’ll usually be able to find the info about the people who work there, including the head of the department or hiring team connected to the position you’re applying for.

Look at the people’s profiles to get the one that fits your job’s department.

If you have trouble finding it directly, use the search bar on the company’s website and type in “Head of [Department Name]” or “HR Manager”.

You could also run a Google search for “[Company name] + team” for a quick way of finding an About Page for a particular team or department.

 

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find a hiring manager or recruiter because millions of them are registered on the platform.

Firstly, ascertain the company that posted the position and the team it’s connected with from the information provided in the job advert.

When you know the department and organisation, head over to LinkedIn. Here, you can use the search bar to look for the company name, department or job title associated with the job opening.

Let’s say you’re applying for a marketing vacancy at Tesco. You can search for “Marketing Manager” in the search bar like this:

 

Recruiter's name on LinkedIn

 

Once the search results appear, click the “People” filter button to narrow down your findings further so that you’re only seeing people (and not companies or groups).

 

LinkedIn people filter

 

Then make sure you choose your target company under “Current Company” – this ensures you only view people who are current employees.

You will need to type the name of the company into the text box like this:

 

LinkedIn current company filter

 

Click on the name of the company you typed in. In this case, it’s “Tesco.”

Then hit the blue “Show results” button.

 

LinkedIn show results button

 

And examine the profiles that come up.

 

LinkedIn profiles

 

You’ll be able to find the person handling the job applications by looking for titles such as “recruitment manager” or “team leader”.

And once you view their profiles you may even be able to get hold of their phone number or email address.

 

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Contact info

Here is how you can find a person’s email address via the contact details, if they have entered them.

Click on their profile then seek out the “Contact info” section.

This sits under their profile picture and headline.

 

LinkedIn contact info

 

If the user has made their contact info visible, you’ll see it here.

 

LinkedIn user email address

 

 

About section

Often, you can locate additional contact info, such as email addresses, in the “About” or “Summary” section of their profile.

To do this, scroll down to the user’s “About” section.

If the user has decided to include their email address, you’ll see it here.

 

LinkedIn about section

 

If you can’t find an email, you can contact them directly through LinkedIn.

Here’s how you’d do this:

  • Send a connection request – Send the person a connection request and a message. When they accept your request, you’ll be able to write an accompanying message.
  • Use InMail – If this specific individual isn’t in your network, use the LinkedIn InMail. This is a premium feature which lets you send messages to LinkedIn members outside of your network – it’s useful but do. Of course, there is a fee to use this feature but it’s a useful tool.

 

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What if you can’t find a name?

Addressing cover letter if you can't find a name

 

Don’t panic if you can’t find the name of the individual you’re trying to address. This will happen a lot during your job search.

In such cases, it’s absolutely fine to begin with a friendly “Hi.”

But don’t use expressions like “Dear Sir or Madam” – this sounds extremely outdated and aloof.

If you use the word “Hi”, this ensures your cover letter is more amicable and modern, even when you’re unsure of the person’s name.

This is a courteous and simple way to start if you have difficulty locating the specific hiring manager’s name.

 

 

How to write a cover letter email subject line

Cover letter email subject line

 

A recruiter’s inbox gets flooded with applications, so when you write your cover letter email, your initial goal is to entice them to read your email.

You must catch their attention with a compelling subject line and give a captivating reason for them to click on your message.

Avoid using generic subject lines, such as:

  • “Check This Out” – Subject lines like this sound spammy, and hiring managers may ignore it.
  • “Important” – Recruiters won’t know why your email is important – they might deem it clickbait.
  • “CV Attached” – This subject line doesn’t offer any context or engage the recruiter in any way at all.
  • “Hire Me” – This comes across as too blunt and provides no context.
  • “I Need a Job” – This sounds too direct and may sound a little too desperate.
  • “Looking for Work” – While you’re being upfront, this isn’t an engaging subject line.

Instead of including any of these generic subject lines, you must promote your selling points right off the bat.

For instance, use subject lines that highlight your skills and expertise in a concise, screen-friendly title.

Determine your main strengths as an applicant and invent a way to integrate them into your subject line.

You could say something like:

  • “Veteran Graphic Designer with a Portfolio of Projects”
  • “Registered Nurse with Intensive Care Unit Expertise”
  • “Committed Secondary School Teacher with 10 Years’ Classroom Expertise”
  • “Certified IT Professional with Experience in Network Security”

These subject lines are effective because they communicate key information and value to hiring managers clearly and concisely. Each tells the recruiter about your qualifications and expertise and is tailored to the specific job or field.

A recruiter is more likely to open an email from someone who can potentially meet their requirements.

A quick tip: Remember, subject lines have a limited amount of space – you’ll probably only be able to squeeze in between 30 and 35 characters.

 

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How not to address a cover letter

When you’re addressing your cover letter, some things simply aren’t worth including. These old-fashioned or overly formal ways of starting a cover letter can make a negative first impression.

So, avoid the below phrases in your cover letter greeting:

  • “Dear Sir or Madam” – This is far too old-fashioned and doesn’t show much effort. It’s also fairly impersonal.
  • “What’s up, [Department Name]?” – This is excessively informal and will probably give hiring managers the wrong impression about you. It also doesn’t address the specific person.

Steer clear of these unimpressive ways to address your cover letter and plump for a more personal, engaging approach, like “Hi James” or “Hello Sarah”. Don’t forget, you need to get the perfect balance of friendliness and professionalism.