Addressing Your Cover Letters: Do You Come Across as 19th Century?
We all know that when submitting your executive resume and cover letter for an executive position opening, it is important if at all possible to address it to a specific, named person within the company. If you are responding to a blind, recruiter-posted opening (the company with the position is not revealed), you will want to address a specific person within the recruiting firm that has the assignment.
Oftentimes a job posting will not include a name, so it is necessary to do some research. Ways in which you can ferret out a contact name include:
Google the company for third party information or articles about them
Visit their corporate website
Call the company during business hours and just ask who is in charge of the department you would be working with
Call the company after business hours to see what you can glean from their automated voice mail system
Search LinkedIn and leverage your contacts there to get a name
Consult sites and databases that specialize in company information (e.g., CareerBeam, GlassDoor, Vault, Hoovers, etc.)
But what can you do if accessing all of those resources does not yield a person to whom you can address your submission?
In this case, you will have to use a generic salutation. Possible choices would be “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Executive.” Other acceptable greetings are “Good Morning” or perhaps “Good Day”–especially appropriate if you hail from Australia ;-). If you want to brand yourself as stilted and “nineteenth century,” address your letter “Dear Sir or Madam” or even worse, “To Whom It May Concern”!