Cover Letter Salutation Examples
Get Formatting and Punctuation Tips
What is a cover letter salutation? A salutation is the greeting you include at the beginning of a cover letter written to apply for a job. In your salutation, you will set the tone for your letter, which should be professional and appropriate. Avoid casual salutations (“Hey There” or “Hi” or “Hello”) in your job search correspondence.
How to Write a Cover Letter Salutation
When you're writing a cover letter or sending an email message to apply for a job, it's important to include an appropriate salutation at the beginning of the cover letter or message.
Standard business correspondence formatting requires that, after providing your own contact information and the date of your letter, you then write down your contact person’s name, the company’s name, and the company’s address.
The formal salutation / greeting comes next: “Dear [Contact Person’s name].” If you have a contact person for your letter, be sure to include their personal title and name in the salutation (i.e. "Dear Mr. Franklin"). If you are unsure of the reader's gender, simply state their full name and avoid the personal title (i.e. "Dear Jamie Smith"). Leave one blank line after the salutation.
You should always make every effort to find a contact name to use in your letter. It leaves a good impression on the hiring manager if you have taken the time to use their name, especially if you needed to work a little to find it.
If this information was not provided in the job announcement and you cannot find it on the company’s web site, then it is a good idea to call the company, ask to be forwarded to their Human Resources department (if they have one), explain that you will be applying for a job there, and ask for the name of their hiring manager.
When you can't find a contact person or if you are unsure of who will be reading your cover letter, you can use a generic salutation (i.e. “Dear Hiring Manager”).
When You Have a Contact Person
The following is a list of letter salutation examples that are appropriate for cover letters and other employment-related correspondence when you have the name of a contact.
Dear Mr. Jones
Dear Ms. Brown
Dear Riley Doe
Dear Dr. Haven
Dear Professor Lawrence
Follow the salutation with a colon or comma, and then start the first paragraph of your letter on the following line. For example:
Dear Mr. Smith:
First paragraph of letter.
When You Don't Have a Contact Person
Many companies don't list a contact person when they post jobs, because they have a team of hiring staff who sort through cover letters and resumes before passing them to the hiring manager for the appropriate department.
They prefer to leave the hiring manager anonymous until he or she contacts you for an interview.
An organization may also not want to disclose who the hiring manger is to avoid emails and phone calls from applicants, particularly if they anticipate receiving a large number of applications from potential job candidates. So, don't worry if you can't find someone to address your letter to. It will be forwarded to the correct department and recipient.
If you don't have a contact person at the company, either leave off the salutation from your cover letter and start with the first paragraph of your letter or, better yet, use a general salutation. When using a general salutation, capitalize the nouns.
Examples of General Salutations
Follow the salutation with a colon or comma before beginning your first paragraph on the following line. For example:
Dear XYZ Enterprises Recruiter,
First paragraph of letter.
In his wonderful collection of correspondence, Letters of Note, editor Shaun Usher includes one from Robert Pirosh, a New York copywriter.
Pirosh wanted a job as a screenwriter and in an attempt to secure such a post he composed what Usher describes as:
One of the greatest, most effective cover letters ever to be written.
Usher tells us that Pirosh’s letter got him three interviews, “one of which led to his job as a junior writer at MGM”.
Though letter writing is surely a lot less common now than in the past, writing across other genres continues to permeate contemporary professional, educational and personal lives. And it is certainly still the case that many companies will request a cover letter with a job application.
But despite the fact that so many of us write, type, text or tweet – (sometimes incessantly) every day – few of us may feel that we write well. And fewer still would consider ourselves “writers”.
If you are confronted with a writing task, and you find yourself bamboozled or blocked, you need to draw on ideas, principles and strategies that can assist. And with this in mind, here are seven top writing tips below.
Writers who are mindful of these seven tips should find that their writing is more effective and the writing process more enjoyable. And who knows it may even help you secure that dream job.
1. Know your purpose
You need to know what it is you want to say and the effect you want your writing to have. You will, for example, write differently if you are applying for a job than if you are thanking your great aunt.
When writing to secure an interview or to get shortlisted, you need to have at least two important purposes in mind. The first is to address the topic – this will mean including the necessary content of an effective cover letter. Second, you should aim to convince the readers than you are the person that they most want to recruit.
2. Name and know your audience
Every audience, you dear reader included, brings expectations to a piece of text. The text works when expectations are met, or better still, exceeded. Similarly, writing fails when the reader is disappointed or worse yet, offended by the writing.
Know your audience, and if you’re writing to get a job, work out what it is that your potential employer wants – then seek to exceed their expectations.
3. Identify the genre
Different forms of writing have different rules and conventions. They may use different language and look differently on the page or on the screen. You need to know what is typical of a genre to be able to write well in that form or style.
A formal cover letter as part of a job application will look and sound very different to a text from a pal after a night out. Do some research and find out what good models of the genre look and sound like.
It is very rare that the polished work which professional writers produce has not been drafted, redrafted and revised through several iterations. You should do the same.
5. Read it aloud
When we work with writers we always ask them to read aloud so that they can hear what they actually wrote and not what they thought they wrote. Often they stop themselves, mid-sentence, and say, “you know, that’s not what I meant to say”, at which point they start to reformulate their thinking and the articulation of their ideas.
6. Share with someone
Assuming you are writing for a reader (this may not always be the case) then it is a good idea to try out that writing on a willing volunteer before you submit a final draft. Ask your reader for a response and some feedback.
If you’re lucky, they might even help you to formulate new ideas or ways of wording. The writing process then becomes a shared one – which can be both interesting and enthusing.
7. Pause before you publish
These days, potentially any writing you give away, send out, or post online could go viral. If you aren’t content to see it on the front of a national newspaper should you really tweet it?
It can often feel risky to go public with your ideas – even as professional writers we feel that too. But the rewards can be extraordinary and the thrill of it all, exhilarating. So be courageous in your writing. Write authentically and with passion, but do make sure you give it a final once over before you hit the submit button.