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  1. Career Advice
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  3. Find the right cover letter salutation. With examples and do's and don'ts
Find the right cover letter salutation. With examples and do's and don'ts
Patrick Innerst

Patrick Innerst

Find the right cover letter salutation. With examples and do's and don'ts

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • The importance of a good salutation
  • How to write cover letter salutations with a contact name
  • How to write cover letter salutations without a contact name
  • Key takeaways

The salutation of your cover letter is your chance to grab a recruiter’s attention and make a good impression. In this blog, we explain how to write cover letter salutations with examples of do’s and don’ts.

Your cover letter is one of the most effective tools you have when introducing yourself to potential employers. Unlike a resume, a cover letter allows you to display your personality and describe your credentials in a more natural way. However, not all cover letters are equally effective. 

One of the most important facets of your cover letter is the salutation. This is the part where you address the recruiter, and it’s vital to do it right. A good cover letter greeting can grab the reader’s attention and make a good impression, while a stiff or impolite salutation may prevent recruiters from reading further.

While this may seem daunting, it’s easy to write an excellent salutation with a little bit of preparation. In this blog, we’ll help you out by covering the following topics:

  • The importance of a good salutation

  • How to write a cover letter salutation with a contact name 

  • How to write a cover letter salutation without a contact name

The importance of a good salutation

If your cover letter is the first point of contact between you and the recruiter, the salutation is the tip of the spear. It’s the first thing the recruiter sees on opening the letter and it’s vital to make a good first impression. 

A good cover letter greeting not only shows respect but can also demonstrate your professionalism. It shows that you took some time to tailor your letter which can convey seriousness and a real desire to land the position. 

Professional salutations have changed over the years, and there are some greetings that are now considered outdated or stiff. Because of this, it’s important to review current standards and see what other successful candidates are doing. 

How to write cover letter salutations with a contact name

Finding a contact name is one of the best things you can do when writing a cover letter. This can make your letter much more personal and shows that you took the time to tailor your application before submitting it. 

If at all possible, look for the name of the recruiter or hiring manager on the job listing. In many cases, companies provide the name of the hiring manager along with their email address, making it easier to contact them directly. If the name isn’t included, you can try looking on the company website. You can also use social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to find recruiter names. If you are completely unable to find a name, it’s no problem. You can still write a good salutation for your cover letter. We’ll cover that part below.

How should you start your cover letter greeting? In most cases, it’s best to start with “Dear” followed by the name of your contact. If they have a title like Dr., you should include it as well. When addressing a contact by name, it’s also appropriate to open with “Hello,” “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or “Greetings.” Be sparing with these openings as they may seem overly formal. Make sure to place your salutation on its own line and follow it with a comma.

Try to keep your greeting respectful and somewhat formal. Avoid casual greetings like “Hi,” “Hey,” “Hey There,” or “How are you?” It’s also best to avoid using first names. Here are some examples of what to do and what not to do when addressing a cover letter to a recruiter by name:

  • Dear Janice McPherson,
  • Dear Professor Hamilton,
  • Dear Mr. Singh,
  • Dear Ms. Schultz,
  • Dear Dr. Dawson,
  • Hello Mr. Custozza,
  • Good Morning Dr. Gomez,
  • Greetings Ms. Ferreira,
  • Good afternoon Dr. Frances,
  • Hey There Jim!
  • Hey Nina,
  • Hi Dr. Jones,
  • Hey Ms. Sappherson,
  • Jesse,
  • Mr. Finklestein,
  • How’s it going, Ms. Guerrero?

How to write cover letter salutations without a contact name

In some cases, you might not have a contact name to include in your cover letter greeting. While this isn’t ideal, there are many ways to write a respectful salutation without one. 

Instead of addressing the letter to a recruiter, you can consider addressing it to the HR or recruiting team. You could also address it to the company. There are also several greetings that don’t require any names at all, such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”

As with other salutations, be sure to use a formal mode of address, like “Dear” or “Good morning.” Avoid using greetings like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” as these are stuffy and somewhat outdated. 

It’s important to capitalize all nouns when writing your salutation. This doesn’t just apply to names, it also applies to titles, company names, and department names. Here are seven general salutations for a cover letter that you can use when you don’t have a name: 

  • Dear Hiring Manager,
  • Dear Human Resources Manager,
  • Dear ATL Solutions Recruiting Team,
  • Dear Human Resources Team,
  • Dear Customer Service Team,
  • Dear Marketing Department,
  • Dear FinTech Sales Team,
  • Hey there!
  • Hi!
  • Hey!
  • How are you?
  • Dear Sir or Madam,
  • To whom it may concern,
  • How’s it going?

Key takeaways

  1. A good salutation is essential, as it can help you demonstrate professionalism and get a recruiter’s attention.

  2. If at all possible, find a contact name before you write a salutation for your cover letter.

  3. When writing your salutation, use a formal mode of address like “Dear.”

  4. If you don’t have a contact name, you can address your letter to the hiring manager or to the department you’re applying to.

  5. Avoid informal greetings and outdated salutations like “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To whom it may concern.”

  6. When writing your salutation, be sure to capitalize all nouns, including proper names, company names, department tiles, and individual job titles.

Patrick Innerst

Patrick Innerst

Patrick is a Nashville-based writer and editor who loves a good turn of phrase. He has worked for a variety of clients but has a special interest in career services, travel, and the arts. When not writing, Patrick is an avid musician who enjoys exploring the sights and sounds of Music City.

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