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
The "hiring manager" is generally the actual person to whom one will report if hired. You may not have much luck sussing out that person, so you will likely have to address your cover letter to HR. Not only that, the actual hiring manager may simply kick your letter downstairs to HR (who will kick it back up to him/her if your quals are attractive). Yeah, it's stupid.
IMO using "Dear Human Resources" or "Dear XYZ Company" does not stand out. It's really better, again, IMO, to address a cover letter to a person by name, and especially considering the name can be found with little effort.
Look for the name of the director of HR on the company's website. Or search LinkedIn. Or simply call the company and ask the receptionist for the name of the person who receives resumes. Verify the spelling of the person's name and his/her title. Then have at it with your cover letter.
For a large company the actual director of HR may never see your letter. FWIW at least you will know you will have properly directed your letter to a person by name.