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Experts Reveal One Phrase You Should Never Use in Your Cover Letter

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You are now applying for the job you want. After proofreading your resume 10 times, you’ve completed all of the necessary steps to get your resume right. Now it’s time for the hard part: writing your cover letters.

You want to grab the attention of your reader, but not by over-decorating or writing a 10-page essay. How do you start? What is the correct salutation? Are there salutations that should be avoided?

Kelly Piscitelli is the Director of People &. Gallery Media Group’s experience. She has given us some insight. It turns out that there is one greeting that can lower your chances of being noticed among the other applicants. “To Whom it May Concern.”

Piscitelli says that it could be viewed as lazy by some recruiters or hiring managers. “There are days when I look through hundreds of applications. If I find a cover letter addressed directly to me, I am pleasantly surprised. I know the candidate has done their research. They immediately stand out from all the rest from the first impression.”

Although some hiring managers may find this non-specific greeting to be appropriate, it is not the norm. This is especially true if you are applying for a job at a company with easily accessible contact information online. Glassdoor’s career experts say that “To Whom it May Concern” can be used to “communicate apathy” and discourage recruiters. Before you use a phrase that is completely generic, make sure to do your research. Even if it means spending half an hour looking through the company website.

Piscitelli says, “Ensure you carefully read the job posting for clues such as the supervisor’s title.” You can then search the company’s website to find employees with this title, or search LinkedIn for them.

Another smart idea? You can also do some research on LinkedIn and make the most of your connections. She said, “You could also search the LinkedIn page of the company. Are they highlighting the job in their posts? A hiring manager may highlight an open position within their company. Are there any people you know who work for the company you are applying to? You can reach out to them to ask if they can provide you with the name of the recruiter or hiring manager. Better yet, ask them if they can help you arrange an introduction.”

Vicki Salemi, Monster’s career expert, also suggests that calling the company could result (assuming that the application does not say “no calls” on the form). However prepare to speak to someone from the department where you would be working. According to her, “If you speak with a receptionist, they may be able to help you connect to the department, rather than providing you with information. The receptionist might not know the person who is interested in filling the job.” You may be able help yourself if you talk to someone within the department.

What if none of these methods work? Don’t panic. You should not panic. It is possible that the company to which you are applying is private or only has limited information online. They may already know this. If all else fails it’s a good idea to try something generic but still shows you care. Piscitelli states, “If you are unable to locate a specific name I would suggest that you tailor your greetings to the title of the supervisor or to the department where you will be working.”

With the help of experts, we have compiled a list acceptable generic greetings that will make your cover letter stand out (and that don’t say “To Whom It May concern”). For the best options, see below.


  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear [insert department name] Director
  • Dear Recruiter
  • Dear [insert department name] Hiring Team
  • Dear Recruiting Team
  • Dear [insert name of employee to whom you would like to report]
  • Dear Head of [insert department name]
  • Dear Human Resources Manager
  • Dear HR Manager
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