When applying for a job, first impressions greatly influence how companies view you as a potential candidate. Although this is a subtle aspect of the cover letter, how you greet the hiring manager can significantly impact how your content is perceived. Throughout this guide, we’ll evaluate different salutations you can use to open your cover letter and why it’s important to perform research on the organization before sending out your job application.

Avoid a Vague or Impersonal Salutation

Using a cold or impersonal salutation might give off the impression that you didn’t bother to conduct any research on the company before applying. For example, using “To Whom it May Concern” can potentially set the wrong tone for your cover letter. These are very subtle aspects that you might not normally think about, but they can make a major difference in how the hiring manager receives your content.

Use a Professional Greeting

You should start your cover letter with a personalized salutation, but you should avoid appearing unprofessional. Avoid using greetings such as “Hello,” “Hi,” or “Hey There,” as this may be a red flag to prospective employers. Although you may be trying to create a more casual or lighter tone, using an unprofessional salutation is much more likely to have an adverse effect on your candidacy. Instead, you should always begin your cover letter with “Dear,” followed by either the hiring manager’s title or name.

Use the Hiring Manager’s Name

If you can research the hiring manager’s name, you should use this in your salutation. Although this won’t always be possible, researching the name of the person reviewing your application will show prospective employers that you have a genuine interest in the role. It’ll also show that you’ve taken the time to learn about the company before sending out your resume and cover letter. If the hiring manager has a professional title, such as “Dr.” or “Prof.,” you can consider adding these.

Be Conscious of Gender Identity

One thing that’s very important here is to be careful about assuming gender identities. Certain names can be ambivalent, and assuming the wrong gender can harm your job application. Inclusion is important for the large majority of companies, and it’s important to be conscious of these nuances in your salutation. If you aren’t sure, you should omit “Mr.” or “Ms.” from the salutation. You should also avoid using “Mrs.” in almost every circumstance, as this could unintentionally be offensive to the hiring manager.

Use the Hiring Manager’s Title

If you cannot find the hiring manager’s name, you can still personalize your cover letter by researching their title at the company. “Dear Hiring Manager” is fine if you can’t find this information. However, being able to say “Dear Senior IT Director” or “Dear Sales Manager” is better, as it shows that you care enough about the job opportunity to perform independent research on the organization. While these details are small, these subtle touches often make the difference in whether or not you stand out from other applicants during the hiring process.

Cover Letter Salutation Examples

Now that we’ve covered the core aspects of cover letter salutations, we’ll provide some examples to help you craft a strong opener for your document. It’s important to understand that unlike the resume, which you should keep objective, third-person, and impersonal at all times, the cover letter uses “I” statements. This allows you to showcase other aspects of who you are as a candidate, so you’ll want to capture the appropriate tone while remaining professional. Below, you’ll find some examples of cover letter salutations to enhance your next job application:

  • Example #1
  • Example #2
  • Example #3

Mina Sayed
Supervisor | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Windermere Rd., Seattle, WA 12345

January 1, 2022

Matthew Johnson
Senior Operations Director
Cadence Transportation Services
(987) 654-3210
[email protected]

Dear Mr. Johnson,

As an operations manager with 10 years of experience, I’ve developed an expertise in identifying continuous improvement opportunities for large organizations. During my time with the Seattle Transport Company, I optimized route planning and labor capacity to improve on-time delivery to over 95%. I believe my fleet management experience would be valuable to your organization in the operations manager position.

Aliya Jackson 
Registered Nurse | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 12345

January 1, 2021

Pat Martin
Senior Nurse Manager
San Diego Hospital
(987) 654-3210
[email protected]

Dear Pat Martin,

As a Registered Nurse with five years of experience, I have a strong background in medical triage and patient-centered care. During my time with Palo Alto Hospital, I provided medical care in a facility with a 1:6 patient ratio while maintaining satisfaction ratings of 93% on monthly surveys. I am confident that my communication and leadership skills would make me a valuable asset to your team in the RN position at San Diego Hospital. 

Jasmine Brown
Sales Supervisor | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Carpenter Street, Philadelphia PA, 1234

January 1, 2021

Ms. Cynthia Roberts
Director of Sales
San Diego Hospital
(987) 654-3210
[email protected]

Dear Ms. Cynthia Roberts,

With over eight years of experience as a sales supervisor, I’ve cultivated a proven track record of success driving account growth within the technology industry. During my time with Ascendence Technologies, I managed a team of 30+ account executives and sales representatives generating over $2M in annual sales. I also built a unique training program centered on strategic selling and consultative sales, which helped my team to achieve 160% of the yearly quota in 2021. I believe my sales expertise and team management capabilities would allow me to flourish in the sales manager position with your company.

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Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).