How to Address a Cover Letter
Your cover letter is likely the first thing that a job recruiter is going to see when they get your application, so addressing it to the correct person is key. In all situations, whenever possible make sure you know whom to address in your cover letter. Addressing someone by name creates an instant bond, and getting the right name shows that you did your research and that you're detail oriented.
If you're responding to a job posting, look for contact information. If it gives you an email address or a phone number but no name, plug that information into a search engine. See if the email address is linked to a name or a particular position. If that doesn't work, call the organization and ask if there's a person in charge of receiving applications.
If you're not sure, though, don't guess. Addressing your cover letter to the wrong person looks sloppy and amateur. It might be a rotating position, or split among staff. Better to leave off the salutation altogether than to misdirect the whole cover letter.
If you want to keep it general but professional, that's okay. You can play it safe with "Dear Hiring Manager," or "Dear Professional Recruiter." Those are neutral terms that won't score you any points but won't come across as jarring either.
If you're sure you have the correct name, it's best to stick to the standard "Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name." Always use a title and the last name. If all you have is a woman's full name, opt for the neutral "Ms." in lieu of "Miss" or "Mrs." The latter two are presumptuous and can be considered offensive since you don't know the marital status of the woman.
If the contact's name has any of the following abbreviations after their name, address the cover letter as "Dear Dr. Last Name": AuD, DC, DD, DDS, EdD, DMD, DPA, DPM, DPT, DPH, DSN, DVM, GP, GYN, MD, MS, PhD, PharmD, ThD.
If you know that the contact is a professor, you may address the cover letter to "Dear Professor Last Name."
Index of Cover Letter Examples