Here at Careers and Employment, we are often asked how to address a cover letter. It’s a seemingly small thing but a correctly addressed (and formatted) letter will make a better first impression. Each cover letter you write should be customised, and that includes addressing your letter to a person and not an organisation. Try to always write to a named individual, whether you are applying for a job or writing a speculative letter.

Many job applications will include the name of the hiring manager to whom you should direct your application. However this is not always the case, especially with online applications for large companies where there may be more than one recruiter looking at applications.

If there is no recruiter’s name supplied and you are required to attach a cover letter and CV, be proactive and contact the company to find out the relevant person. Ensure you have the correct spelling and title – there is nothing more off-putting for an employer than seeing their name misspelled. For speculative applications ask for the relevant recruiter, head of department or HR person. If you are getting the run around and unable to find a name, see the options below.

The address section of your letter should include the following:

Your Details
Your name, address, telephone number and email address.

The Date
The date you are sending out the letter. Write the month in full i.e. 3 March 2015

Employer Details
The name and title of the person, the company and address.

Salutation

  • ‘Dear’ is the usual salutation, followed by their title (Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr) and then the family or surname e.g. Dear Mr Smith
  • If the person is a woman and you do not know their correct title, use Ms. e.g Dear Ms. Jones. You could also use their full name e.g. Dear Sarah Jones
  • If you have personally spoken with or been introduced to the person and first names were used, you may use their first name e.g. Dear Sarah
  • Unable to find a name? Address the letter as: Re: Application for Position Name or Dear Recruitment Team
    Avoid ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’

    Closing

  • If you are not addressing your letter to a specific person you should close it with “Yours faithfully” then your full name
    If your letter is addressed to a specific person then you should close it “Yours sincerely” then your full name
  • For more on cover letters and content click here

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Advice, CVs, Job application

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