Can You Start A Cover Letter With a Dear? (Career Advice)

I’m sure you’ve heard of Dear Hiring Manager, but do you know what to start a cover letter with if there’s no name in the address? Or how to use To whom it may concern? If not then you’re in luck! We’ll cover all these questions and more.

How To Create A Cover Letter For A Job
Crafting a strong cover letter can increase your chances of landing a job interview.
Using a quote or starting with “me” can help grab the attention of potential employers in your cover letter opening.
Properly addressing your cover letter to the hiring manager or department can make a good first impression.
Keep your cover letter concise and tailored to the job you are applying for.
Highlight your unique skills and experiences to make your cover letter stand out from other candidates.

How Do You Write A Cover Letter Should Start?

You must address your cover letter to a specific person, rather than “Dear Sir” or “To Whom It May Concern.” This is because the latter phrase makes it seem like you don’t know who the hiring manager is.

You can find their name on their LinkedIn profile, so make sure to mention that in your letter as well. If they don’t have a LinkedIn profile and there isn’t an obvious way of finding out who they are (e.g., by looking at their website), it may be best not to mention them by name or title at all if possible just write “Dear Hiring Manager” instead.

Think about how many people work at this company: do they have titles like “Chief Executive Officer” or “President”? Do they work in departments like Human Resources or Finance? Find out what those words mean before writing anything down just in case!

Your cover letter can make or break your chances of landing a job interview. Check out our article on the importance of cover letters to ensure your application stands out from the rest.

What Is The Best Way To Start A Cover Letter?

There are a few ways to start a cover letter. You can write Dear or To whom it may concern, depending on your comfort level. You can also use the more formal Dear Hiring Manager or To Whom it May Concern. 

If you’re unsure of who will be reading your application, or if you don’t have any specific information about the hiring manager, try writing the most general version possible (Dear Sir or Madam).

How Do You Formally Address A Cover Letter To An Unknown Recipient?

There are three ways to address a cover letter when you don’t know the hiring manager’s name:

Use the hiring manager’s name and title. This is the simplest option, as it requires no research and gives you more flexibility in case the company has multiple people with similar titles. The downside is that it might be difficult to track down who this individual is if their job title isn’t clearly defined on their LinkedIn profile (e.g., “Director of Operations”).

Use the company name in place of an individual’s name when addressing your letter. This approach can look impersonal, but if you’re trying to land any kind of job with a large corporation, this may be necessary especially if there are hundreds or thousands of employees working there! 

If so, try something like: “Dear Hiring Manager at Acme Corporation,” or even better yet: “All Employees at Acme Corporation.”

Address your cover letter directly to someone specific within a large organization using their first name only (i.e., “Dear Jane.”) This method works especially well for nonprofits where staff members often switch positions every few years or so making it easy enough for them to forget who they’ve worked with before!

How Do I Address A Cover Letter When There Is No Name?

If you don’t know the name of the person in charge of hiring, you can start your cover letter with the Dear Hiring Manager.

If you don’t know who the hiring manager is, but do have a name for someone who works at the company (e.g., Human Resources), use that person’s name instead. 

You could also try using Ms/Mrs./Mr. Last Name because this is a formal way to address people on paper without knowing their rank within an organization or whether they are married or unmarried at all times (although this isn’t always as inclusive as it sounds).

If you’re addressing your letter to an HR representative specifically and not just any random person within the company, then you may want to include some information about why exactly they were selected as someone who might be able to help them with their job search and what kind of connection they already have with the said representative 

via LinkedIn or Facebook pages so that there’s no confusion later down the road when making decisions about which candidates should move forward into the next phases like interviews etc…

Starting a cover letter with a quote can be a great way to grab the attention of potential employers. Learn more about using quotes in your cover letter by reading our guide on starting a cover letter with a quote.

Should Your Greeting On A Cover Letter Say Dear Or Hello?

Dear is a much more formal greeting than Hi or Hello. If you are writing to someone in a business setting, Dear is the way to go.

If you’re writing a cover letter for personal reasons, however, let’s say you’re applying for an internship at your uncle’s company you may want to use Hi or Hello instead. It depends on whether the person reading it will know who you are or not: 

If they do know who you are and would consider themselves friends, then it’s okay if they see how casual and friendly you two already are with each other.

But if they don’t know who wrote the letter (which could happen if multiple people were applying), then using Dear gives them some clues about which level of formality should be used when answering back (for example).

How Do You Greet Someone In An Email Job Application?

The best way to greet someone in an email job application is to use Dear. If you don’t know the name of your contact person (and it’s not obvious), use Sir or Madam instead. 

If you do know them but they have a title like Dr., Professor, etc., then address them by their title and last name only. If you already know their name, personalize your greeting by adding their first name as well: Firstname Lastname!

Do You Need A Heading On A Cover Letter?

When writing a cover letter, it’s important to know what a heading is and why you should use one. What’s the difference between a heading and the rest of your text? Headings are used to organizing your ideas, give credibility to your qualifications, and grab the reader’s attention.

For example Dear Mr. Smith:

I am writing this letter in response to your job posting at ABC Corporation for the Marketing Manager-to-be position. My degree from UC Berkeley has equipped me with extensive knowledge about marketing strategies that will allow me…

Can You Start A Cover Letter With Dear Hiring Manager?

As with introductions, the salutation should be appropriate for the recipient. For example, you should use Dear Sir or Madam if you’re writing to an unknown person who’s older than you and whom you don’t know well. If you’re applying for a job at an ad agency and the hiring manager is a woman called Jane, then it’s better to use Dear Ms. 

Smith instead of Dear Hiring Manager. If your job application letter is addressed “Dear Sir/Madam,” don’t start your cover letter with “Hi” or “Hello.” 

You also shouldn’t start it with Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms., which would sound overly formal unless both parties are very familiar with each other or there are some other reasons why this formality is necessary (for example, if one person holds a higher status than another).

Are you struggling to find the right words to start your cover letter? Consider using ‘me’ as an alternative to ‘Dear’ in your opening line. Check out our article on starting a cover letter with ‘me’ for more tips on crafting an attention-grabbing opening.

Should You Still Use Dear In A Cover Letter?

Dear is the most commonly used salutation in business letters, but that doesn’t mean you should use it every time.

If you’re writing to an individual, then dear is a safe bet. But if you’re addressing your letter to a company or organization, there are two other options: “To Whom It May Concern” and “Dear Sir or Madam.”

If you don’t know who exactly to address your letter to (for example, in the case of resumes), then Dear Sir or Madam is a good default choice.

Using contractions in your cover letter can help create a more conversational tone, but it’s important to use them appropriately. Learn more about using contractions in your cover letter by reading our guide on using contractions in a cover letter for best practices.

Is It Ok To Use To Whom It May Concern In A Cover Letter?

The short answer is no.

You should never use “To whom it may concern” as the opening of a cover letter. Why? Because it’s lazy and unprofessional, and people who care about their jobs will see right through you. There are two key reasons why:

The vast majority of the time that someone finds themselves in this situation, it means that they don’t know who will be reading their cover letter (and thus don’t know what name to address). This makes addressing your letter to “whom” seems like an obvious cop-out, even if it is true! 

A better solution: If you can’t find out who your hiring manager or contact person is for this job (and most companies will either have this information on their website or provide it upon request), 

Then just address the letter directly to them by name or ask someone at the company where they would send such information if they had any idea who might read your submission (they’ll probably appreciate your attempt at being respectful).

The second reason why addressing your cover letter to “whom” makes you look bad: It implies that there isn’t even one specific person responsible for reviewing these materials instead all decisions are made collectively by a group of people whose names aren’t disclosed anywhere on the company’s website or other official publications. 

Or maybe there’s just not one clear leader making decisions about new hires; maybe everyone does! Either way: No thanks you want readers to take seriously when applying for jobs where management matters more than ever before.*

Transitioning to a new career can be daunting, but a well-crafted cover letter can help bridge the gap between your past experience and your new career goals. Check out our guide on writing a cover letter when changing fields to learn more about how to showcase your transferable skills and stand out from other candidates.


Once you’ve figured out all the details about your cover letter, it’s time to start writing! This is one of the most important parts of your job application, so don’t rush through it. 

Take some time to think about what kind of an impression you want to make and how best to communicate that impression through your words and tone. We hope these tips have helped you find an approach that works for both yourself and the job posting in question and we wish you luck in finding that perfect fit!

Further Reading

Indeed: How to Write a Cover Letter: A comprehensive guide on crafting a cover letter that showcases your skills and experience to potential employers.

Novoresume: How to Address a Cover Letter: A step-by-step guide on how to properly address your cover letter to increase your chances of getting noticed by hiring managers.

Zety: How to Address a Cover Letter: A guide on the different ways to address a cover letter, including tips on how to find the name of the hiring manager and when to use generic salutations.


What should be included in a cover letter?

A cover letter should include an introduction, a brief summary of your skills and experience, and a closing statement. It should also be tailored to the job you are applying for and highlight how your skills and experience align with the requirements of the position.

How long should a cover letter be?

A cover letter should be one page or less, with around three to four paragraphs. It should be concise and to the point, while still providing enough information to showcase your qualifications for the job.

How do you address a cover letter if you don’t know the hiring manager’s name?

If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager, you can address the cover letter to the department or use a generic salutation such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

Should you include your salary requirements in a cover letter?

It’s not necessary to include your salary requirements in a cover letter, as it’s best to discuss salary during the interview process. If the job posting specifically requests salary requirements, you can include a range or state that it’s negotiable.

How can I make my cover letter stand out?

To make your cover letter stand out, focus on showcasing your unique skills and experiences that make you a good fit for the job. Use specific examples and avoid using generic language or copying and pasting from your resume. Additionally, try to find a personal connection to the company or the job posting and highlight it in your cover letter.