In the world of online communication, often the only information you have about a company is its name and e-mail address. But, if you're applying for a job, you'll need to show the company that you're not only qualified for the position, but that you're also interested and invested in the company -- which may mean seeking out the information you lack. However, if you must write a cover letter and don't have a physical address for the company, you have some options.
Research the company as much as you can to find out the address of the company headquarters or Human Resources department. Visit the company's website and look for the "Contact Us" or "About Us" sections, which often provide physical addresses. If that doesn't bear fruit, visit the Web page for the Department of Revenue or Department of State in your state and perform a business name search. This will often provide information -- including a physical address -- for all companies registered in the state. If you manage to find the company's address in this way, it willv show the type of initiative that your prospective employer is looking for.
Type the specific name of the hiring manager, Human Resources director or other company contact at the top left of the cover letter, justified to the left margin. All the receiver's information will be left-justified at the top left of the paper.
Type the title of the company contact just under the name of the person.
Type the company name just under the company contact's title.
Type any physical address information you may have obtained from your search. If you've only managed to find a city and state for the company, type that on the line just below the company name. If you have a street address, type the street address on one line, and then type the city, state and ZIP code on the line below.
Type the e-mail address of the person or entity receiving the letter on the line just below any city, state and ZIP code you may have, or at the very bottom of the address section if you didn't locate the physical address.
Begin your cover letter by addressing the specific person to which the letter will be sent. Use the person's full name, if you know it. As a fall-back, you can address the letter to "Dear Hiring Manager," or "Dear IT Department Recruiter."
- You should also include your own name, title -- if you have one -- and physical address near the top of the cover letter, justified to the right of the paper. If you're e-mailing your cover letter and resume to your prospective employer, include the documents as an attachment, in the PDF -- or Portable Document Format -- which is compatible with most computers. You can also paste the cover letter into the body of your e-mail, but be sure to also include that attached, printable copy.
About the Author
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
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The "hiring manager" is generally the actual person to whom one will report if hired. You may not have much luck sussing out that person, so you will likely have to address your cover letter to HR. Not only that, the actual hiring manager may simply kick your letter downstairs to HR (who will kick it back up to him/her if your quals are attractive). Yeah, it's stupid.
IMO using "Dear Human Resources" or "Dear XYZ Company" does not stand out. It's really better, again, IMO, to address a cover letter to a person by name, and especially considering the name can be found with little effort.
Look for the name of the director of HR on the company's website. Or search LinkedIn. Or simply call the company and ask the receptionist for the name of the person who receives resumes. Verify the spelling of the person's name and his/her title. Then have at it with your cover letter.
For a large company the actual director of HR may never see your letter. FWIW at least you will know you will have properly directed your letter to a person by name.