Salutation and Greeting

The most important part of a good cover letter format is to set off on the right note.
However, the trickiest part is to get your greetings and/or salutations right when you are not aware whom you are addressing your cover letter to.

A cover letter is a document that candidates need to attach with their resume in order to support the details provided in the resume itself. Thus the purpose of writing a cover letter is to justify the details mentioned in your resume and explain to your future employers how to fit you are for the job and for the company.

On several occasions, while writing a cover letter, it is a blessing to know who you addressee is. Surely you know which company you are sending your job application to. But a company works with several people in several departments.

There is a particular person handling all the recruitment in that office you applied for a job. There are so many ways to start off a good cover letter but there is no straight-jacket formula to this end.

To start with, the most important part of a good cover letter format is to set off on the right note with your greetings and salutations. However, the trickiest part is to get your greetings and/or salutations right when you are not aware whom you are addressing your cover letter to.

What to do if you don’t know who the addressee is?

Well, first of all, don’t lose hope just yet. You may be able to figure out who the human resource manager of that company is with appropriate research. Look into the company website, for there may be a list of high ranking officers with their quotes or articles.

However, there are many companies who do not release the names of their recruiting managers or do not care enough about listing their human resource manager’s name on their websites. In that case, sound like you know them by simply saying something like, “Dear Sir/Madam.”

If you check older cover letter templates you would find greetings options like, “To Whom It May Concern.” But nowadays this one is not so suitable anymore because it sounds like some demand notice and not a covering letter.

Thus, stand out from the crowd of applicants by choosing to address the hiring manager by addressing him/her in a general fashion. The other nonchalant option to be included in your cover letter can be something like, “Dear Human Resource Manager" to add a personal touch to it.

There is the fourth and the last option and it comes with no salutations and greetings. That means you have got to start your paragraphs right after you end writing their address.

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How to steer clear of gender specifications?

Words have a deeper impact on human minds than we realise sometimes and it can be the reason for our downfall if we do not take care of that. While writing a cover letter, it is very important that you remember not to be offensive to anybody at any cost.

If you are not aware of the gender of the person who is going to read your covering letter, simply use the entire name of that person. Make sure you do not use a Sir or a madam in the salutations and be very careful with the body of that cover letter. If you choose not to use a gender-specific greeting at first and letter you address the same person as a sir or a ma’am it simply looks and reads oddly weird.

Now here is the catch! You are most likely to get the gender of the person you are writing with a simple search in the correct place. Go seek out your answer in your LinkedIn account because most people use their photos on their LinkedIn accounts. Put in the name of the person you know and believe to be your addressee on the search box of your LinkedIn profile and voila you have it.

As we mentioned earlier, the company’s website should have a list of important rosters which obviously includes their hiring managers and administrative or departmental heads. If there is no provision on the website for the human resources manager maybe you should try calling the administrative head or the head of the hiring department of the company and seek attention.

If you still feel undecided regarding your cover letter format, consider going through the available cover letter samples on the internet.

How to use Titles?

It may be a fact that you happen to know the person you are writing to. It may also be a fact that you know whether the human resource manager is a man or woman. But that is not enough. It will be better for you to figure out more information about the person.

If the person is holding a doctorate degree, it will be much better if you choose to use “Dr” with the last name of the person concerned. Some examples would be to - use Dr Hoffstader or Dr Patel instead of Mr Hoffstader and Mrs.Patel. There are other titles like ‘Adv’, ‘Sgt’, ‘Prof’ which should be used by any intending applicant while writing a cover letter.

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How to use proper salutations in your Email covering Letter?

Just like a typed cover letter, writing an EMail cover letter is also a noteworthy topic. Recruiters get thousands of EMails on a daily basis and they won’t be giving you more than a few seconds before they reject your application. In order to make an impression stick to the basics.

  • Subject line
  • Email subject lines are the most important because they appear at the top with a bigger font when the recruiters open your mail. Do not forget to write the purpose of your mail i.e., your intention to apply for a job. Be very specific as to which post you are applying for.

  • Addressing
  • The rules are similar to the use of titles and gender of the person if you happen to know these details in the first place. If you do not know the person you are addressing your cover letter, simply choose to ignore any greetings whatsoever!

How to frame your salutation?

While writing a cover letter, you should be able to frame your greetings properly. Make sure to use the correct spacing in between the first paragraph of your covering letter and the salutation.

Leave another space just before your greetings i.e., underneath the address section of your letter.

It should read and look something like this -
“Prof. Patel,
Start off with your first paragraph here”

Written By :
Namratta Sarkar
Career Expert at CV Owl

Your CV or resume is your first impression for any company. With the help of CV Owl, you can get a well-structured CV and your time will be saved. Everything on your CV should be written in a formal manner and in a precise way. You have only 20 seconds to impress your recruiter with your CV, make the best out of it. Visit our series “The HR Talk” where we help you know everything about your job interview from the recruiters.

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