To Whom It May Concern Cover Letter

One of the important parts of your cover letter will be the salutation — the greeting you use to address the person you’re writing the cover letter to. Some people use the phrase, “To Whom it May Concern” as it might seem like an effective way to address an employer when you don’t necessarily know who’s going to read the cover letter. However, doing so may make you appear as an unprofessional job candidate. On this page, discover the reasons why it’s frowned upon to use “To Whom it May Concern” and see some “to whom it may concern” cover letter examples showing what greeting you should use instead.

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By Donna Wright 3 minute read

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To whom it may concern' cover letter example

Use this cover letter sample below as a base to create your professional cover letter. You can also explore the ResumeHelp cover letter examples page for industry-specific samples.

ACE COLLINS

Albany, OR 97321
555-555-5555
example@example.com

Dec. 20, 2023

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
9805 Boeckman Rd
Wilsonville, OR 97070
555-555-5555
example@example.com

To whom it may concern,

As a marketing student at the University of Oregon, I am thrilled to be applying for Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits internship for an opportunity to work alongside your team of experts to kick-start my career. I believe my training in sales strategies and business operations makes me an ideal candidate for the position.

The experience I offer stems from two retail jobs including a lead retail associate position I filled for over two years at a family-owned store known as Pitney Bowes. I studied and assisted managers directly with leading a sales team of six and assisting with contract generation, experience I know is relevant skills to perform the responsibilities in this internship. Additionally, I played a significant role in introducing new products through advertising and the overall development of the website.

This internship will help me take off into a successful business career, thanks to Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits reputation for being a leading retirement services company with popular savings products for individuals and institutions. Thus, I greatly look forward to receiving valuable training and be a part of social and networking events while providing highly productive and efficient multitasking skills for time-sensitive tasks.

My resume is enclosed for your review as requested. Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.

Sincerely,
Ace Collins

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Why is “To Whom It May Concern” a bad phrase to use on a cover letter?

While “To Whom it May Concern” has traditionally been used as a cover letter greeting in the past,, it’s not the best option when it comes to the modern hiring process. You see, job seekers of today have the online resources to find the specific name to address a cover letter to. Those who skip the research and simply say “To Whom it May Concern” may appear lazy in the hiring manager’s mind, or even worse, give the impression that you’re sending a generic cover letter instead of a letter that’s specifically tailored to the employer. You don’t want hiring managers to see this phrase and stop reading the rest of the cover letter, simple because it appears that you didn’t put a lot of work into it.

So, what are the alternatives to this old-fashioned phrase? Here’s some suggestions that will give you a better, more persuasive cover letter.

Alternate options to the phrase “To Whom It May Concern”

The name of the hiring manager

When addressing a cover letter, your first goal should be to direct the letter to the hiring manager, recruiter or prospective employer’s name.

Key tip: Be sure to use the appropriate title for the person’s name if possible, such as Ms., Mrs., Mr. or Dr. If you’re not sure of the person’s gender, you can always go with the full name, i.e., “Dear Kit Jones”.

The name of the department handling hiring

If you’re unsure of the specific person that will be reading your cover letter, it’s okay to address the letter to the department name. For example: “Dear Product Design Department”.

Key tip: Read the job listing carefully to see which department the job role will be reporting to.

Dear Hiring Manager

In the case where you’re still unsure who to address the cover letter to, you can direct the letter generically to the attention of the hiring manager.

Key tip: Add the name of the department that your position will be part of is how to start a cover letter greeting. It shows the reader exactly which department you’re applying to, i.e., “Dear Accounting Department Hiring Manager”.

Dear Recruiter

If you’ve been referred to an open job role but you don’t recall the recruiter’s name, you can begin your cover letter with a simple “Dear Recruiter” salutation.

Key tip: In many cases, a recruiter will reach out to you, so jot down the recruiter’s name for a potential future cover letter when you’re contacted.

Dear Recruiting Manager

This salutation is just an alternative to the previous recruiter version but by adding the word “manager” shows a bit more respect by assuming that the recruiter you’re contacting is a a manager level.

Key tip: When in doubt, just addressing your cover letter recipient as a “manager” shows an added level of professionalism.

Dear HR Manager

It’s safe to say that most companies have an HR department so if you’re unsure of the specific person you should address, you can always direct the cover letter to the HR manager.

Key tip: If the job posting doesn’t specify the name of the HR manager handling the hiring of the open job role you want, take a look on social media like LinkedIn (or run a Google search to find the HR manager for the company) to find the name.

Dear Recruiting Department

With each company you apply for, the hiring team may have different employees managing different positions. In that case, you can simply address your letter to the recruiting department.

Key tip: To find the right verbiage for the hiring team, take a look at the company website to see if there are teams listed for the Human Resources department.

Dear Hiring Team

In theory, if you’re looking to apply for a job title that is currently being advertised, there will be a “hiring” department. Addressing the cover letter to the “hiring team” is totally acceptable.

Key tip: Directing your letter to the attention of the hiring team shows that you are aware the company is successful and thereby uses a full team of hiring professionals to keep the staff growing.

Dear Recruiting Team

As with a hiring team, recruiting companies typically have many recruiters on staff. When you’re unsure of a specific recruiter’s name, it’s safe to send your letter to the team.

Key tip: Whether you’re sending a cover letter for a specific position or a cold cover letter telling of your interest in working for a specific company, addressing your letter to the team could make you privy to hearing about other open positions.

Even though using a specific person’s name is better than the other generic greeting options above, these wording suggestions are preferable to “To Whom it May Concern.” For more tips on handling the beginning of your letter, check out our tips on the cover letter salutation.

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Tips for finding the right person to address

One reason people use generic phrases like “To Whom it May Concern” is that they just can’t find the name of the person they’re trying to contact—but there are many ways you might be able to find the contact information for the individual who will be handling your application. From the easiest to the most involved method, here’s what you should do:

  1. Check the job description in the ad to find a specific name.
  2. Look through the “About Us” or “Our Team” pages on the company website.
  3. Contact relevant employees through the company’s LinkedIn.
  4. Call the company and ask for the name of the person handling the job opening.

Remember, the person reading your cover letter will recognize whether the letter is addressed specifically to their name or written generically. Do your best to find the hiring manager or recruiter’s name to ensure your letter is viewed as professionally written and read in full.

The big takeaways

  1. Using “To Whom it May Concern” makes your cover letter appear unprofessional and old-fashioned.
  2. The best way to open a cover letter is to address it to an appropriate contact person.
  3. A letter not addressed to a specific person may cause a hiring manager to not read the letter.
  4. An employer will appreciate that you’ve gone to the trouble of finding out the proper person to address.
  5. If you can’t find out the name, use one of the several alternatives to “To Whom It May Concern” on this page.
  6. Look at the company’s website for a management list on the “About Us” or “Our Team” pages to find the appropriate person to address your letter to.
  7. Social media pages like LinkedIn are also ideal places to look up connections from the company who are the right contacts.
  8. If after ample research, you still an’t find a name, call the company and ask.
  9. An alternative to using a specific name is to simply address your letter to the company name or team.
  10. Using cover letter templates in our ResumeHelp Cover Letter Builder will help you place the company name and name of the person you’re addressing the letter to.
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FAQ: “To Whom It May Concern”

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Most human resources professionals would say that “To Whom it May Concern” is an unprofessional way to start your cover letter. It not only will lead hiring managers, recruiters or potential employers to suspect you’re using the same cover letter for every job application, but it will also make your letter look old-fashioned.

If you can, always address your cover letter to the hiring manager by name. This shows that you made the effort to discover the right person hiring for the job you’re applying to. If you simply can’t find the hiring manager’s name, consider addressing your cover letter to the specific department that you’re looking to join. Avoid a cover letter address “to whom it may concern” whenever possible.

The most preferred way to address the recipient of a cover letter is to use their specific name. However, if you’ve tried researching the name and come up empty, use these options and add the appropriate company, department or title:

  • Dear [ABC] Department,
  • Dear [Company name] Team,
  • Dear [Department] Manager,
  • Dear Hiring Manager,

Starting your letter with “dear sir or madam” is as old-fashioned and generic as “To whom it may concern.” In a modern business letter, try to include the name of a specific contact person, not just a general phrase you could attach to any letter. If you really can’t find the name of the person who will handle the cover letter, a much better option is to use one of the salutation options in this article. It is not advised to send a cover letter to whom it may concern as it may be considered rude.

Yes. When you use one of the cover letter templates in the ResumeHelp Cover Letter Builder, you’ll get help with how to list the company name and the name of the person you’re addressing the letter to. This is one of the best ways to use a cover letter builder and it makes your letter look much more professional. If you’re not sure what to say in a cover letter, ResumeHelp provides plenty of cover letter writing guides and tips on site.

If there’s more than one person handling the job applications, you should still stay away from using phrases like “To whom it may concern.” Phrases that address an entire group like “Dear Recruiting Department” and “Dear Hiring Team” will look better on the page. Even when you’re using it as a way to address one person in a group of people, a “to whom it may concern” cover letter comes off as old-fashioned’ you’re better off using one of the group phrases showcased above.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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