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When writing your cover letter, there are a number of factors to consider if you want to make sure it complements your CV and is perfect for the job you are applying for. The stress of a job search often leads people to forget that the small details, like the salutation on a cover letter, can have a big impact. So, what is a ‘“Dear Hiring Manager” salutation, and is it the best choice for your cover letter?
The “Dear Hiring Manager” salutation has a lot in common with using “To Whom It May Concern” in your cover letter — it’s a salutation you use when you don’t know the name of the person who will be reading your cover letter and CV. While this greeting is perfectly acceptable in some cases, it’s not always the best way to start your cover letter.
When applying for a job, especially a non-entry-level, prestigious or competitive position, it is good practice to do your due diligence and find the name of the hiring manager. Here’s when you should use the “Dear Hiring Manager” salutation:
1. If you truly can’t find the name of the hiring manager If you check the company website and job description but cannot find the hiring manager’s name anywhere, this salutation may be acceptable.
2. If the hiring manager is actually a team If the company has multiple hiring managers or a team of recruiters and you don’t know which will be reading your CV, you can also use this greeting as a general address when applying for a job posting.
3. If the hiring manager has a gender-neutral name If you find the hiring manager’s name, but they have a gender-neutral name and no indication on their profile as to their gender, you can opt for “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern” to avoid an embarrassing miscommunication. Do not address them by their first name, as this is too informal for a first impression. You can also consider listing their full name in the salutation (e.g., “Dear Sam Smith”).
4. You are instructed to address the letter to the “Hiring Manager” In certain cases, you may be directed by the job application to address your cover letter to the “Hiring Manager,” in which case using such a salutation is fine. If you’re having a lot of trouble finding the name of the hiring manager or the best way to address them, you can always check the company’s LinkedIn page as a last resort. If this proves unsuccessful and you want to avoid using “Dear Hiring Manager” as a salutation, there are other options you can consider.
If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name or you can’t figure out whether “Dear Mr.” or “Dear Ms.” would be more appropriate as a salutation, there are a range of gender-neutral, widely acceptable options you can choose from. While the way you choose to address a recruiter in your cover letter may not make or break your job application, it is good career advice in general to choose your words wisely in every situation. These are the most common non-specific salutations used in cover letters:
While it is acceptable to use a generic salutation, doing so can impact your chances of getting an interview, especially if it turns out their name was on the company website somewhere. You can mitigate this by taking care to personalise your main cover letter text. You can do this in a number of ways, including:
These simple tips can help you mitigate any negative impressions recruiters get from your choosing a generic greeting for your cover letter.
If you use the salutation “Dear Hiring Manager,” you may be less likely to get an interview unless the majority of candidates have used this salutation. If you are unable to find the hiring manager’s name anywhere, it is far better to opt for this than an informal or unprofessional salutation (never start with a simple “Hi,” for example).
You are most likely to find the full name of any hiring manager on their profile. This can generally be found on a company website on the “our team” page (or the equivalent). If you can’t find their name, you can always call the company and ask for the hiring manager’s name. This extra effort may even work in your favor.
If you are concerned about how to write the body of your cover letter, you can find helpful articles and guidelines on CVHelp’s blog in the cover letter writing section.
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