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.
By Donna Cardillo, RN, MA
Having a well-written resume can go a long way toward getting you that job interview, but that’s only half the story. You also need a compelling cover letter. (See Resume Writing Do’s and Don’ts.)
Always use a cover letter when sending a resume. If you’re faxing a resume, fax a cover letter, too. Your cover letter is your opportunity to provide a short narrative about yourself and let a bit of your personality come through. Here are six ways to make the best impression with your letter.
1. Your cover letter must be word processed, not hand written. It should be printed on the same stationery as your resume for the most professional presentation. Be sure to include a heading on your stationery that includes your name and address centered at the top of the page.
2. Use a traditional business letter format that starts with the recipient’s name and title, facility name, and address. If you don’t have a specific person’s name, address the letter to “Human Resources Department” or something similar. Don’t forget to include the date.
3. Use a formal salutation such as “Dear Mr. Rogers” or “Dear Ms. Reynolds.” Ms. is the universal form of address for a woman. If you don’t have a person’s name and are replying to an ad that simply says “Send to Human Resources Department,” address the letter with “Dear Human Resources Professional” or “Dear Nurse Recruiter” as appropriate. Some prefer to use “Dear Sir/Madam.” Be sure to use both genders so as not to offend anyone; never use “To whom it may concern.”
4. Your opening paragraph should immediately state what position you’re applying for or are interested in. If you’re responding to a classified ad, you should also state the name and date of the publication in which the ad appeared. If you’re writing because of a referral, state what you’re interested in and who referred you. For example: “Karen Allen in accounting suggested I contact you about opportunities in the occupational health department” or “I’m applying for the utilization review coordinator position advertised in the Sunday Star Ledger on January 16, 2000.”
Say something complimentary about the company, its product or service, or the person you’re writing to, if you can. For example: “Health East has an excellent reputation in the community and I would like to be a part of your team.”
5. The second paragraph should briefly state what skills and experience you would bring to the position. This is where you customize. In other words, rather than repeat what’s in your resume, highlight the specific experience pertinent to this job. You also might mention some additional experiences or special classes you attended that are pertinent to the job but not mentioned in your resume. Some examples would be staff development sessions attended or volunteer work. Remember to be brief.
6. End the letter on an upbeat note, such as “I look forward to hearing from you so we can discuss our mutual interests.” Add your phone number and the best time to reach you. End the letter with “Sincerely” or a similar closing. Type your name several lines down, and then sign the cover letter.
Use an assertive, confident tone throughout. Rather than say “I hope you’ll find my experience to be appropriate” say something such as, “I’m confident that my experience and personality will allow me to contribute significantly to your department.”
Don’t use stilted language such as “Enclosed please find my resume for your review.” Rather, write the way you speak: “I’m enthusiastically applying for a position as an occupational health nurse.”
A persuasive cover letter that enhances and supports your resume can help you get your foot in the door for that all-important interview. The two can be a powerful pair.
Reprinted with permission from Nurses.com (www.nurses.com).
Copyright by Verticalnet, Inc., Horsham, PA., 215-315-3247.
All rights reserved.