How to Address a Cover Letter without a Name: 2024 Guide

Stephen Greet
Stephen Greet June 6, 2024
How to Address a Cover Letter without a Name: 2024 Guide

When it comes to job listings, sometimes the name of the hiring manager is mentioned and sometimes it isn’t. It’s completely hit-and-miss.

Despite the unpredictable nature of the whole job application process, we, as applicants, risk losing some crucial brownie points if we don’t address our cover letters perfectly. It feels a little unfair, don’t you think?

But there’s no need to despair. There are both ways to find out that pesky name, and ways to work around it if the search fails. In this article, we’ll show you exactly why names are important, how to find them, and what to do if you can’t find one. We’ll help make sure that your letter stands out—even if you did sneakily use a cover letter generator!

Understanding the Importance of Properly Addressing Your Cover Letter

Understanding the Importance of Properly Addressing Your Cover Letter

First things first, let’s look into why addressing your cover letter correctly is so important in the first place. No one is going to jump through hoops to find a name if they don’t really believe it’s necessary, after all.

Why address matters in cover letters

Job applications are all about being polite and professional, and a big part of that is treating people with respect. The ideal way to do this is to know who you’re talking to and address them appropriately—which means you need to know their name and what they do.

Going the extra mile and addressing the right person is the professional thing to do, and hey, that’s a good first impression to make on your future employer!

Impact of a personalized greeting vs. generic salutations

Aside from showing respect, addressing cover letters correctly is also a great way to signal that you’re a promising candidate who’s put in extra effort. That’s because, for one thing, you clearly haven’t sent out a one-size-fits-all cover letter that’s always the same no matter who you send it to.

Secondly, unless the name is right on the job listing, the reader knows you went out of your way to find it. As you can imagine, that’s far more impactful than just reading “Dear hiring manager.”

At best, that generic greeting doesn’t have any effect at all, and at worst, the recipient might be disappointed that you didn’t do your research—and that’s just a hop and a skip away from the “rejected” pile.

Consequences of improper addressing

In fact, that’s not quite the worst-case scenario. The absolute worst case would be if the name was right there on the job listing, but you still addressed the letter to the “hiring manager.” This would leave the reader thinking that you didn’t read the job description properly and you didn’t write the letter for this specific job.

There are a few other mistakes you could also make, like assuming gender or marital status. If you do find a name, only include the information you find. Some names are unisex or used in different ways in different places, so it’s best to only go by what you know for a fact.

If these mishaps ever happen to you—don’t worry. That’s why you’re here, making sure that they never happen again, and we’re here to help.

Effective Strategies for Addressing Cover Letters without a Name

Effective Strategies for Addressing Cover Letters Without a Name

Before we get into techniques on how to find names, let’s touch on what to do in the case that you can’t find anything whatsoever.

Starting with a generic but professional greeting

Using “hiring manager” isn’t all bad. It’s true that it’s not as good as a name, and there are a lot of other options you should try and find before falling back on it, but if you truly can’t find anything more appropriate, “hiring team,” or “hiring manager” is the way to go.

It doesn’t assume anything about the person, and even if their job title isn’t literally “hiring manager,” it’s still true that they’re managing the hiring for this role, so it’s an appropriate catch-all title for the person you’re writing to.


Although we say it’s okay to do, still treat this as an absolute last resort. Including the name gives your cover letter a major boost!

Research techniques to find the hiring manager’s name

While you can feel free to write “hiring manager” as a placeholder while drafting your letter, never send it without trying to find a better name first. There are a few different places you can look and techniques you can try to find more information but the best place to start is always the job description itself.

Utilizing the job description for clues

Always give the job description a thorough read to check for relevant information. If you’re applying on a company portal or submission interface, there may be information about the hiring team ready for you to browse.

The company website

If the job description doesn’t offer anything useful, the next place to try is the company website. Search the site for links and pages that say “Our Team” or something similar because this is where you’ll find a list of current employees. This is most common for startups, small businesses, and local law firms.

If you don’t have any luck here, then head to the careers page.


Next, you can search LinkedIn to see if you can find the person you’re looking for. Type “(company name) hiring manager” into the search and filter the results by “People” and “Current Company.” If you’re lucky, this will bring up the exact person you’re looking for!

If not, then you can try searching through the company’s employees manually.

Calling the company

If you don’t find what you’re looking for on LinkedIn, or you end up with multiple options and you’re not sure which to go for—it’s time to try calling the company.

When you call, explain the situation and specify the role you’re applying to. With smaller companies, the person answering the phone might know the answer right away. At a larger company, they might check a few things to see who’s in charge of hiring for the team or department you’re applying to.

When to use departmental or team addresses

There is a chance that, even if you call the company, it won’t be able to give you the exact name you need. In this case, asking for information about the team or department is the next best thing to do.

When companies are searching for a new member for a particular team, it’s very common for the existing team members to get a say in the decision. They might be part of the interview process later on, and they’ll likely see your resume and cover letter beforehand. This makes a greeting like “Dear scripting team” or “Dear editorial team” much more specific and appropriate than just “Dear hiring manager.”

The role of networking in identifying the recipient

When you’re searching on LinkedIn, even if you don’t find the hiring manager, you will likely come across people with job titles that are related to the role you’re applying for. If calling the company front desk doesn’t go well, circle back to LinkedIn and try networking with one of these individuals.

When you ask to connect with someone on LinkedIn, you can include a message about why you want to connect. Explain that you’re applying to work on their team or in their department and that you’re trying to find out who to address your cover letter to. With a bit of luck, you’ll get a useful answer.

Networking is all about give-and-take, so professionals know that doing little favors like this for people is what helps networks grow and provide value in the future. In other words, don’t be afraid to bother people! If they really don’t want to reply, then they won’t.

Addressing a cover letter to a committee or board

As you research the company you’re applying to, you might find that terms like “hiring manager” or “hiring team” don’t feel that relevant. Maybe you’re applying to a charitable organization rather than a company, for example, or maybe you’re applying to a management role in a startup. You won’t be talking to any hiring manager in those situations.

Instead, you might find that “Dear selection committee” or “Dear board of directors” might be a better way to address your cover letter. You’ll need to rely on your own intuition and research to make this decision, but it’s not something you need to worry about most of the time.

What to Avoid When You Don’t Know the Name

What To Avoid When You Don’t Know the Name

As we’ve pointed out, not knowing the name doesn’t have to be the end of the world. However, there are some mistakes you need to avoid if you want to make sure you’re not losing any points.

Common mistakes in addressing cover letters

The first thing you should avoid is going too generic. In other words, definitely do not address your letter like this:

  • “Dear Sir or Madam”

No matter how unlucky you are in your search to find a name, you will definitely find something better than this. Avoid it at all costs!

The other points to be careful of are gender and titles. For instance, if you’re applying to an engineering role and you don’t have a name, you might think about addressing it to a senior role within the department.

But if you choose “Dear Principal Engineer for the R&D department” and the person who reads it is only a staff engineer—well, that might be a bit awkward.

Assumptions about gender are best left alone, too. Always keep things gender-neutral unless you have the LinkedIn profile of your recipient right in front of you and it tells you their title or pronouns.

Why “To whom it may concern” can hurt your chances

You can still find “To whom it may concern” being used in certain situations today, but those situations always have one thing in common: there’s no reasonable way for you to know who the recipient is.

Cover letters, however, are different. You know where you’re applying to, and as there are likely other applicants who are vying for those same dream jobs as you are, most companies don’t appreciate generic statements.

Using “To whom it may concern” hurts your chances precisely because it’s generic.

The pitfalls of skipping the salutation

If you’re having problems finding a name, you might wonder if you can just skip the salutation altogether. The main reason we don’t recommend this is, well, is it really even a letter if you don’t address it to anyone?

It throws off the tone of the entire piece and makes it look like you’re purposefully omitting the usual professional formalities. It also makes your “letter” look very one-sided—you just start talking about yourself without even acknowledging the reader.

Indeed, things can get a bit messy if you try to leave out the greeting, so we recommend always using it!

Real-World Examples of Addressing a Cover Letter without a Name

Real-World Examples of Addressing a Cover Letter Without a Name

Here are some examples of how to address a cover letter without a name, and some points to think about when writing your opening lines.

Example 1: Tech industry

Dear Intel Scripting Team,

I am writing to express my interest in the software engineer position at Intel. With extensive experience in full-stack development and a passion for creating efficient and scalable software solutions, I am eager to contribute to your dynamic scripting team.

  • Tech companies are very team-centric because different groups of people own and work on separate parts of the code base. That’s why knowing the team name can work wonders if you don’t have a specific person to address your letter to.

    To personalize your letter even more, try to add some comments on the company’s culture or recent achievements that you read about during your research. This will make it clear that your letter isn’t just a copy-pasted template. Even an AI cover letter needs to be personalized!

Example 2: Healthcare sector

Dear Cleveland Clinic Cardiology Department,

I am writing to apply for the cardiologist position at the Cleveland Clinic. My extensive background in patient care, coupled with my compassionate approach and dedication to improving patient outcomes, makes me a strong candidate for this role.

  • If you’re applying to a healthcare organization like a hospital, it’s useful to address your cover letter to the correct department.

    Though it must be said, for a place like a hospital, creating connections between employees and patients is very important and it’s very likely that you’ll be able to find relevant names on the website.

    Pro tip: If you use a resume builder, you’ll have lots of time left over to dedicate to researching the recipient’s name.

Example 3: Academic sector

Dear Stanford University Faculty Search Committee,

I am writing to express my interest in the college professor position in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University. With a Ph.D. in computer science and over 10 years of experience in both teaching and research, I am excited about the opportunity to help shape young minds in the world of technology at the best college in the world.

  • Colleges and universities are examples of organizations where “committee” might be a more relevant term than “team.” You can often find out for sure by checking the website. If you’re looking for a position as a lecturer or a researcher, addressing your letter to the faculty search committee is a good bet.

    After you introduce yourself, try to add some comments about the college in question, its achievements, and any of its existing researchers whose work you follow. This will help personalize the letter even if you don’t have a name to address it to.

    You can also name a couple of key job responsibilities from your past teaching roles to indicate that you’ve read the job description.

Example 4: Marketing role

Dear Procter & Gamble Marketing Team,

I am writing to apply for the senior marketing specialist position at Procter & Gamble. My creative approach to developing impactful marketing campaigns and my proven ability to drive brand awareness make me an excellent fit for your marketing team.

  • This one is pretty straightforward—if you’re applying for a job in marketing, you’ll probably be working with the marketing team. Such teams are usually fairly high-profile within a company because they’re in charge of how the whole business presents itself to customers.

    Because of this, you will often find information about them on the company website. Never forget to visit the site and search for some company-specific information before you settle for “Dear marketing team!”

    Once you’ve scanned your resume with a resume checker and proofread your cover letter ten times over, don’t be afraid to add a line or two to take notice of the marketing team’s work. Unlike with many teams within a company, outsiders can actually see the fruits of the marketing team’s labor!

Example 5: Sales role

Dear Adidas Sales Team,

I am writing to express my interest in the customer sales specialist position at Adidas. With a robust track record in exceeding sales targets with sports brands like Nike and New Balance, I am confident in my ability to contribute to your long-standing success.

  • This one is pretty straightforward as well. If you’re applying to a big company that sells lots of different things, there might be product-specific sales teams. Make sure to read the job listing and check the website to find out as much information as you can.

    One way to personalize a sales role cover letter is to talk about the products they sell. Give your impressions based on the research you’ve done, or even mention personal experience if it’s a product that’s also available to individual consumers.

Example 6: Finance sector

Dear Bose Accounting Team,

I am writing to apply for the junior accountant position at Bose. My strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and proficiency in financial software equip me to effectively manage your financial records and contribute to your financial strategy.

  • If you’re applying for a finance role, it’s usually okay to address your cover to the team relevant to your future job—for example, the accounting team. It’s true that the company might have a different or special name for the team officially, but if you can’t find it, “accounting team” is usually totally acceptable.

    To make up for the lack of a name in the greeting, try to come up with something more personal to say about the role after you’ve introduced yourself. Talk about the company you’re applying to and mention things you learned during your research, such as its recent earnings calls or financial projections.

Example 7: Writing role

Dear Bustle Editorial Team,

I am writing to express my interest in the journalist position at Bustle. I’ve been reading Bustle for over 10 years and always admired the way you craft compelling narratives and are not afraid to tackle various topics. I would love to apply my creativity to creating engaging content for your readers for the years to come.

  • Writers nearly always work with editorial teams, so this is a good guess to make even if you can’t find much information. Of course, if you’re applying to a publication, you can check the name of the lead editor on the website and even find their name on the publication itself.

    Not every writing job is about newspapers and magazines, though. If you’re applying to be a copywriter or content writer, “Dear Content Team” could also work. Spice up your opening by talking about the company you’re applying to and, if they do publish written work, read some and comment on it.

    Here’s a resume tip (and cover letter, too) for all the writers out there: recruiters expect to see a great researcher, so dig deep before you settle for “Dear Editorial Team.”

Example 8: Project manager role

Dear Unity XR Development Team,

I am writing to apply for the project manager position at Unity. My extensive experience in leading cross-functional teams and managing complex projects to successful completion makes me an ideal candidate to drive your project initiatives.

  • When you work as a project manager, you’re tied to a certain project team and help them deliver on their goals. You should know what project you’re applying to manage, so addressing your cover letter to the relevant team is a good way to go.

    Try to learn as much as you can about the project so you can make your knowledge clear early on in the letter. Mention similar tasks you’ve taken on in the past so the team can quickly see that you have value to offer!

Example 9: Design role

Dear Activision Blizzard UX Team,

I am writing to express my interest in the UX designer position at Activision Blizzard. With a strong background in user-centered design and a passion for creating intuitive and engaging user experiences, I am eager to bring my expertise to Activision Blizzard’s outstanding portfolio of games.

  • This example is specific to a UX design role, but you can adapt it to any kind of design; take graphic design, for example. Designing anything is very team-oriented so it’s important to get along with the people you’re working with. That makes it particularly appropriate to address your cover letter directly to the design team.

    You will usually be able to find some of the design team’s output by researching the company, so try to include this in your letter to keep things personalized. Check to see whether they might have an Instagram or other forms of social media, too.

Example 10: Customer service industry

Dear Amazon Customer Service Team,

I am writing to apply for the customer service representative position at Amazon. I’m a passionate extrovert who loves to help people resolve their problems. With a long track record of customer-facing jobs over the past 10 years, I am ready to bring excellent customer service to Amazon.

  • If you’re applying to a small store, you can also try “Dear Store Manager.” Applying for a customer service role is one of the times when finding a name might be difficult. A small store might not even have a website, and big brands probably won’t have branch managers listed anywhere for you to find.

    Still, that’s okay because you can just address your letter to a job title, team, or department that seems relevant. Personalize your letter with some comments about the store and why you want to work there, so you can create a letter that doesn’t just feel like a template.

Address a Cover Letter without a Name FAQs

Address a Cover Letter Without a Name FAQs
How can I find out who to address my cover letter to?

There are a ton of different ways to find out who to address your cover letter to. Read the job description for clues, check the company website, search for employees on LinkedIn, and even call the front desk if all else fails. It’s really important that you get the name, so try your best!

Is it acceptable to use ‘Dear Hiring Manager’?

“Dear hiring manager” is acceptable, but only as a last resort. There are other options that are better, like the name of a person, a department, or a team. The more specific your address is, the better. Of course, if you really can’t find anything, it will work just fine.

What should I do if there is no response from the company to my inquiry about the name?

Email might not be the best way to reach out in this case, precisely because companies can take days to respond. Instead, you should call the front desk of the branch or office you’d be working at and ask whoever answers the phone. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll get a name, but you will have tried everything possible!

Can I address the cover letter to the team or department?

Yes, if you can’t find the name of a person, the name of a team or a department is the next best thing. It still shows that you did some research and thought about who would read your letter, which is all people want to see.

What are some alternatives to ‘To Whom It May Concern’?

The best alternative is “Dear Hiring Manager.” It’s more professional and modern than “To whom it may concern,” and it’s a little more specific. If you don’t know a name or a team and you’re choosing between these two general greetings—always choose “Dear hiring manager!”

Is it necessary to include a salutation in a cover letter?

Yes! Without a salutation, a letter isn’t really a letter. It’s disrespectful to not acknowledge the reader before you start talking about yourself, and it really just makes your whole cover letter look a bit off. Including “Dear hiring manager” is much better than writing no greeting at all.