How to Address an Email Cover Letter
Hiring managers get a lot of emails each day. Make it easy for them to scan your email and follow-up by including a clear subject line and a signature with your contact information. It's important to address the email cover letter correctly, including the name of the person hiring for the position if you have a contact, to ensure that your letter gets noticed.
When you're sending an email, it's important to make sure that your cover letter and resume are written as well as any other business correspondence.
If you can, have a friend proofread before you hit send, to pick up any typos or grammatical errors.
How to Address an Email Cover Letter
When you are applying for jobs, you will often need to send your cover letter by email. Read the directions in the job posting carefully, and include the required materials in the requested format. Make sure you pay careful attention to what they ask for, when. Hiring managers have specific practices to follow regarding how they evaluate candidates.
Don’t get yourself knocked out of contention by not including something like a cover letter with your application materials if they ask for one. Here are tips on how to address an email cover letter, including what to do when you don't have the name of a contact, or if you have a contact's name, but are uncertain of person's gender.
Subject Line of Email Message
Never leave the subject line blank. There is a good chance that if a hiring manager receives an email with no subject line, they’ll delete it without even bothering to open it.
Instead, write a clear subject indicating your intentions.
List the job you are applying for in the subject line of your email message, so the employer knows what job you are interested in as well. They may be hiring for multiple positions, and you will want them to identify the position you’re interested in easily.
Addressing the Contact Person
There are a variety of cover letter salutations you can use to address your email message. If you have a contact person at the company, address the letter to Ms. or Mr. Lastname. If you aren’t given a contact person, check to see if you can determine the email recipient's name.
If you can’t find a contact person at the company, you can either leave off the salutation from your cover letter and start with the first paragraph of your letter or use a general salutation.
Employers who responded to a recent employer survey conducted by Saddleback College preferred:
- Dear Hiring Manager (27%)
- To Whom It May Concern (17%)
- Dear Sir/Madam (17%)
- Dear Human Resources Director (6%)
- Leave it blank (8%)
Follow the salutation with a colon or comma, and then on the next line start the first paragraph of your letter.
How to Address a Cover Letter for a Non-Gender Specific Name
If you do have a name but aren't sure of the person's gender, an option is to include both the first name and the last name in your salutation:
- Dear Sydney Smith
- Dear Taylor Dolan
If possible, it’s a good idea to check LinkedIn, other career networking sites, and the company website to see if you can determine the gender of the contact.
As always, the extra effort is worth it to make your cover letter stand out among the many that the hiring manager will see.
Body of Email Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, and why the employer should select you for an interview. This is where you'll sell yourself as a candidate. Review the job posting and include examples of your attributes that closely match the ones they are looking for. When you're sending an email cover letter, it's important to follow the employer's instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume. Make sure that your email cover letters are written as well as any other correspondence you send.
If you have attached your resume, mention it as part of your conclusion. Then finish your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position.
Include information on how you will follow-up.
Include a closing, then list your name and your email signature.
Your email signature should include your name, full address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn Profile URL (if you have one) so it is easy for hiring managers to get in touch.
City, State, Zip
Cover Letter Salutation Examples
Get Formatting and Punctuation Tips
What is a cover letter salutation? A salutation is the greeting you include at the beginning of a cover letter written to apply for a job. In your salutation, you will set the tone for your letter, which should be professional and appropriate. Avoid casual salutations (“Hey There” or “Hi” or “Hello”) in your job search correspondence.
How to Write a Cover Letter Salutation
When you're writing a cover letter or sending an email message to apply for a job, it's important to include an appropriate salutation at the beginning of the cover letter or message.
Standard business correspondence formatting requires that, after providing your own contact information and the date of your letter, you then write down your contact person’s name, the company’s name, and the company’s address.
The formal salutation / greeting comes next: “Dear [Contact Person’s name].” If you have a contact person for your letter, be sure to include their personal title and name in the salutation (i.e. "Dear Mr. Franklin"). If you are unsure of the reader's gender, simply state their full name and avoid the personal title (i.e. "Dear Jamie Smith"). Leave one blank line after the salutation.
You should always make every effort to find a contact name to use in your letter. It leaves a good impression on the hiring manager if you have taken the time to use their name, especially if you needed to work a little to find it.
If this information was not provided in the job announcement and you cannot find it on the company’s web site, then it is a good idea to call the company, ask to be forwarded to their Human Resources department (if they have one), explain that you will be applying for a job there, and ask for the name of their hiring manager.
When you can't find a contact person or if you are unsure of who will be reading your cover letter, you can use a generic salutation (i.e. “Dear Hiring Manager”).
When You Have a Contact Person
The following is a list of letter salutation examples that are appropriate for cover letters and other employment-related correspondence when you have the name of a contact.
Dear Mr. Jones
Dear Ms. Brown
Dear Riley Doe
Dear Dr. Haven
Dear Professor Lawrence
Follow the salutation with a colon or comma, and then start the first paragraph of your letter on the following line. For example:
Dear Mr. Smith:
First paragraph of letter.
When You Don't Have a Contact Person
Many companies don't list a contact person when they post jobs, because they have a team of hiring staff who sort through cover letters and resumes before passing them to the hiring manager for the appropriate department.
They prefer to leave the hiring manager anonymous until he or she contacts you for an interview.
An organization may also not want to disclose who the hiring manger is to avoid emails and phone calls from applicants, particularly if they anticipate receiving a large number of applications from potential job candidates. So, don't worry if you can't find someone to address your letter to. It will be forwarded to the correct department and recipient.
If you don't have a contact person at the company, either leave off the salutation from your cover letter and start with the first paragraph of your letter or, better yet, use a general salutation. When using a general salutation, capitalize the nouns.
Examples of General Salutations
Follow the salutation with a colon or comma before beginning your first paragraph on the following line. For example:
Dear XYZ Enterprises Recruiter,
First paragraph of letter.