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Cover Letter Addressed To Hret

To whom do I address my letter?

Summary:

"Writing Your Cover Letter" is a series of short documents that walks you through the creation of a cover letter. Here you can see the information in the "Quick Tips for Cover Letters" and "Preparing to Write a Cover Letter" pages put to use. This page guides you through adapting your experiences to the content in your cover letter and its different sections.

Contributors:Angie Olson, Allen Brizee
Last Edited:

Whenever possible, address your letter to a specific individual, usually the person in charge of interviewing and hiring. Doing so will give you a greater chance of having your application packet read and not filed away automatically.

Here are some ideas on how to get the name of a specific person:

  • Look in the job ad for the contact person.
  • Call the company for more information.
  • Research the company's website for the person in charge of the department you are applying to, or a person in Human Resources.

If you cannot find the name of that person, you may address your letter to a group. For example:

Dear Hiring Professionals:
Dear Selection Committee:

If you find the name, but cannot decipher the gender of the person, you may greet that person using their full name instead of their last name. For example:

Dear Ms. Kincaid: (For Amy Kincaid)
Dear Pat Thompson: (For Pat Thompson)

I&#x;ve read a lot of cover letters throughout my career. When I was a fellowship program manager, I reviewed them in consideration for more than 60 open positions each year. So I saw it all&#x;the good, the bad, and the standout examples that I can still remember.

As a result, I&#x;ve become the go-to friend when people need feedback on their job applications. Based on my own experience putting people in the yes (and no ) pile, I&#x;m able to give these cover letters a quick scan and immediately identify what&#x;ll turn a hiring manager off.

While I can&#x;t give you insight into every person&#x;s head who&#x;ll be reading your materials, I can share with you the feedback that I give my own loved ones.

1. The Basics

First things first, I skim the document for anything that could be disqualifying. That includes typos, a Dear Sir or Madam or To Whom It May Concern salutation, or a vibe so non-specific that it reeks of find-replace. I know it seems harsh, but when a hiring manager sees any one of these things, she reads it as, I didn&#x;t take my time with this, and I don&#x;t really care about working here. So she&#x;s likely to pass.

Another thing I look for in this initial read-through is tone. Even if you&#x;re applying to your dream company, you don&#x;t want to come off like you think someone entertaining your candidacy is the same as him offering you water at the end of a lengthy hike. You don&#x;t need to thank the hiring manager so incredibly much for reading your application&#x;that&#x;s his job. If you align considering your application with the biggest favor ever, you&#x;ll make the other person think it&#x;s because you&#x;re desperate.

So, skip effusive thanks and demonstrate genuine interest by writing a cover letter that connects the dots between your experience and the requirements of the position. Telling the reader what you&#x;ve accomplished and how it directly translates to meeting the company&#x;s needs is always a better use of space than gushing.

2. The Opening Sentence

If your first line reads: I am writing to apply for [job] at [company], I will delete it and suggest a swap every time. (Yes, every single time.) When a hiring manager sees that, she won&#x;t think, How thoughtful of the applicant to remind me what I&#x;m reading! Her reaction will be much closer to, boring, meh, or even next!

Compare it to one of these statements:

I&#x;ve wanted to work in education ever since my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Dorchester, helped me discover a love of reading.

My approach to management is simple: I strive to be the kind of leader I&#x;d want to work for.

In my three years at [prior company], I increased our average quarterly sales by [percentage].

See how these examples make you want to keep reading? That&#x;s half the battle right there. Additionally, it makes you memorable, which&#x;ll help when you&#x;re competing against a sea of applicants.

To try it out for yourself, pick a jumping-off point. It could be something about you or an aspect of the job description that you&#x;re really drawn to. Then, open a blank document and just free-write (translation: write whatever comes to mind) for 10 minutes. Some of the sentences you come up with will sound embarrassing or lame: That&#x;s fine&#x;no one has to see those! Look for the sentence that&#x;s most engaging and see how it reads as the opening line for your cover letter.

3. The Examples

Most often, people send me just their cover letter and resume, so I don&#x;t have the benefit of reviewing the position description. And yet, whenever a letter follows the format of I am skilled at [skill], [skill], [skill], as evidenced by my time at [place]. Or You&#x;re looking for [skill], and I am a talented [skill], I could pretty much re-create it. Surprise: that&#x;s actually not a good thing.

Again, the goal isn&#x;t just to show you&#x;re qualified: It&#x;s to make the case that you&#x;re more qualified than all the other applicants. You want to make clear what distinguishes you, so the hiring manager can see why you&#x;re worth following up with to learn more. And&#x;again&#x;you want to be memorable.

If you write a laundry list, it&#x;ll blend into every other submission formatted the same way. So, just like you went with a unique opener, do the same with your examples. Sure, you might still include lists of skills, but break those up with anecdotes or splashes of personality.

Here&#x;s a real, two-line excerpt from a cover letter I&#x;ve written before:

If I&#x;m in a conference room and the video isn&#x;t working, I&#x;m not the sort to simply call IT and wait. I&#x;ll also (gracefully) crawl under the table, and check that everything is properly plugged in.

A couple lines like this will not only lighten up your letter, but also highlight your soft skills. I got the point across that I&#x;m a take-charge problem solver, without saying, I&#x;m a take-charge problem solver. Plus the (gracefully) shows that I don&#x;t take myself too seriously&#x;even in a job application. If your submission follows the same list-type format all the way through, see if you can&#x;t pepper in an example or anecdote that&#x;ll add some personality.

You want your cover letter to stand out for all the right reasons. So, before you click submit, take a few minutes to make sure you&#x;re putting your best (and most memorable) foot forward.

Related Video: This Is What People Really Think Of Your Resumé


This article originally appeared on The Daily Muse and is reprinted with permission.

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