Top 10 cover letter alternatives for "to whom it may concern"
Hiring managers must feel like hitting the snooze button when reading cover letters that begin with this commonplace salutation, wouldn’t you?
You might even stand to lose points with some employers if you address a recruitment staffer in such a non-personal tone, as the company culture may not warrant it. Instead, you might come across as if you didn’t care or hadn’t adequately researched the organization.
Why not up your chances for getting past go – and maximizing recruiters’ attention on your application – with a less worn-out, overly impersonal, formal and generic greeting? Read on for greeting ideas to consider for a compelling self-introduction that will keep your resume and cover letter from being tossed in to the “no” pile.
1. Get personal. Put in the extra time to contact the human resources department of a prospective employer to retrieve the hiring manager’s full name and title. Addressing this person personally shows diligence, politeness and initiative. If a human resources team won’t divulge this information, peruse your network of contacts on professional networking platforms to identify someone connected to this company who may be able to furnish an appropriate name with contact information.
2. Incorporate the organization. If you are unable to retrieve the contact details for an actual hiring manager, another option is to use the company name in your greeting. For example, writing “Dear X Company Recruiter,” at least demonstrates that your job search is focused.
3. Appeal to Department Heads. If unsuccessful at identifying a specific decision maker’s name, you can also address your note to the head contact for the specific department you’re pursuing. For instance, if you’re seeking a marketing role, you could write, “Dear Marketing Director.”
4. Dear Sir/Madam. While a bit prim and proper, beginning your cover letter with this salutation expresses respect for the recipient reader and beckons attention.
5. Try a hook. To capture a reader’s attention, you might use an impassioned first sentence, which will also demonstrate your excitement about the position you’re applying to. For example, if seeking out a front of house restaurant role, you could start with, “If you’re seeking a take-charge people-person, you need not search any further.” This should stir enough interest for the reader to continue assessing your package.
6. Reference your referral. If you were recommended to apply to a job through a colleague or other contact, you can use your connection in your opener. You might say, “Greetings. At X’s suggestion, I’m contacting you about your Sales Director position opening.”
7. Time of day. If you are submitting your cover letter via email, you can custom-tailor your greeting to correspond to the time of day you click "send." For morning correspondence, simply say, “Good Morning,” while after noon, switch to, “Good Afternoon.”
8. First-name basis. If you know the recipient of your cover letter well, it’s safe to assume that opening with “Dear (first name)” or “Hi (first name)” is acceptable.
9. Go for the group. If you’re addressing your cover note to a hiring committee or group, or individuals within such groups, you may choose to open with, “Hi All," "Dear Team," or "Dear Hiring Committee.” This option is courteous and inclusive of all involved in the decision-making process.
10. Play it safe. If you're unsure whether a hiring manager’s name is male or female, remain gender-neutral by using his or her full name. Instead of, “Dear Ms. Hayes,” for example, stick with, “Dear Bailey Hayes.”