A very common question among job seekers is "Who do I address a cover letter to?" It seems like an easy question, but whether you get the answer correct could make or break your chances of landing a job. Learning how to address a cover letter is very important to ensure your job application lands in the right hands.
Email has become the favored way to send in a job application for many companies, so learning how to address a cover letter through email is a must. You should try to be specific to make sure that your letter doesn't get shuffled to the wrong department or person. If you use a generic email address, you risk it never being viewed because whoever reads the inbox of that generic address doesn't know who to forward it to. If the job posting you are responding to doesn't have a specific address, then do a search on the Internet or the company's website to find the correct one. The more specific you can get, the greater the chance that your cover letter and documents will get seen by the correct pair of eyes. With proper research, you'll answer that important question, "Who do I address a cover letter to?"
There are some special circumstances where you may not be able to get a specific address. A smaller company may not have a strong Internet presence, or perhaps your search engine research has not returned anything. In these cases, it's fine to go with a more general address as a last resort. For example, if the company has a general human resources address, send your letter there because HR generally handles hiring. If you can't find a specific department address, then send it to the best one you can find, but ensure you write "Attention: Human Resources" or something similar to alert the reader that you need it forwarding to HR. Learning how to address a cover letter in these special circumstances could mean the difference between getting a reply and hearing nothing.
When learning how to address a cover letter, getting the address correct is not enough. You should also take the time to use the proper salutation. For example, "Dear Mr. Jones" is how to address a cover letter going to Roger Jones. Be careful of names where the gender of the person could be in question. If the person's name is Pat Jones, that could stand for Patrick or Patricia. In this case, "Dear Pat Jones" would be a better way to go.
No matter how many emails you send out, learning how to address a cover letter is an essential part of your job search. Be as specific as possible for the best chance of getting called for an interview. No matter how sparkling your credentials are, without the right contact information, you may never get hired.
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