If you are writing another cover letter, “To Whom It May Concern” may feel a little tired. Well, that is because it is. Here are several ways to spruce up the letter and show you are putting in more effort than your average job seeker is.
Try these instead:
Dear [hiring manager’s name]. With a little digging online, you can probably get a sense of whom the position reports to. Will the executive be the first person to open the cover letter in the applicant tracking system? Not exactly. Will it look like you did your homework? You bet.
Dear [recruiting manager’s name]. Again, with some online research, you can find out who is opening each résumé and cover letter in the system. Although calling the company may not always do the trick, you might as well try. Ask to be connected to the experienced hire recruiting team or someone in talent acquisition. Be honest: Say you want to personalize your cover letter and aim to connect with the professional managing that specific job requisition. At that point, you can also ask for the company’s formula for employees’ email addresses.
Dear Recruiting Department. If you hit some dead ends during your research, save this precious time for networking and go generic instead. Therefore, while the content matters most, even saying “recruiting department” will show a nice touch. They will not have time to wonder why you did not call the department to get a specific name, but they will see you went an extra step that goes a long way.
Dear [name of the department you are pursuing]. If you are pursuing a position in marketing, you cannot go wrong by addressing your letter, “Dear Marketing Department.” Even a small step like this will be noticed positively. In addition, your cover letter will likely reflect your marketing skills and experiences, thereby tying in the greeting nicely. The first course of action would be to find the name of the director who’s doing the actual hiring as mentioned above, but when all else fails, address it to the department.
Dear [name of referral]. Your networking has been paying off! If your neighbour or friend from Toastmasters or yoga offers to forward your résumé internally, then use his or her name in the letter. The email will definitely be read, because a referral has influence and stands apart from the thousands of generic résumés in the system. If the string of emails is separated but the cover letter and résumé are reattached elsewhere, at least you are referencing the referral in the letter and your introduction mentions it as such, too.