By Lilian Wamaitha
You have been juggling with the idea of a new job for a while now and have just found the perfect position.
Deep down you know that you getting this job will change your life. And so you sit down to write the perfect application but immediately hit a dead end.
You want the application to be perfect and you don’t want anything ruining this chance for you.
How do you even start writing a cover letter, after all, the employer wants to see one with your CV?
Do you refer to them as Mr. or Ms., sir or madam? You have searched everywhere but can’t seem to find the hiring manager’s name? What then?
Don’t freak out! Here are the basic rules to addressing your cover letter.
Rule #1: Use the full name salutation
Unless you are very sure that the culture of the company you are applying to is casual, just stick to the hiring manager’s firs and last names accompanied by either a Mr. or Ms. For instance, Ms. Cynthia Wangeci.
That cover letter is the first step you have to making a lasting impression- enough for the hiring manager to want to go through your CV and short list you for the job. So ensure that you show them that you did your company research.
Phrases like “Dear Sir/Madam” and “To Whom It May Concern” are not only outdated but archaic.
They don’t have a personal touch and in most cases if you address your cover letter like that, it only shows that you are no different from the hundred others who applied for that job a majority of whom were not even qualified.
Strive to stand out the best way you can because that is the only way you will get past the application stage.
Rule #2: If you still don’t know the hiring manager’s name, guess
Sometimes you may do all the research, go through the company website, LinkedIn and still not know exactly who the hiring manager is.
All you have are a bunch of executives working in the same company.
In that case, there is no harm addressing that cover letter to one of those executives. Even if they are way up there in the organization’s hierarchy, no one will fault you for addressing your cover letter for instance to the head of the department.
In most cases, it will be a plus and way better than not including a name at all. It goes to show that you did your homework enough to be able to find out the head of department’s name.
Rule #3: Consider being specific
Let’s say you have gone out of your way and have done your research but still nothing. You can’t even find any top executives to address the cover letter to.
In that case, don’t worry. Some companies decide to keep private information on their employees.
In such a situation where you don’t have a name to use, try to be as specific as possible. You can use “Senior Hiring Manager” or “Head of Human Resource” to show that you have written the cover letter with a particular audience in mind already.
With this in mind
You want your cover letter to convey your interest for the position and you can only do this when you get it right in the salutation. As unimportant as it may sound, how you address your cover letter will determine if the recruiter gives you a chance or not.
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