Cover Letter Salutation Examples

Options for Cover Letter Salutations, Format and Punctuation

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What is a Cover Letter Salutation?

A salutation is the greeting you include at the beginning of a cover letter written to apply for a job. In your salutation, you will set the tone for your letter, which should be professional and appropriate. Avoid casual salutations (“Hey There” or “Hi” or “Hello”) in your job search correspondence.

How to Write a Cover Letter Salutation

When you're writing a cover letter or sending an email message to apply for a job, it's important to include an appropriate salutation at the beginning of the cover letter or message.

Standard business correspondence formatting requires that, after providing your own contact information and the date of your letter, you then write down your contact person’s name, the company’s name, and the company’s address. The formal salutation / greeting comes next: “Dear [Contact Person’s name].”

If you have a contact person for your letter, be sure to include their personal title and name in the salutation (i.e. "Dear Mr. Franklin").

If you are unsure of the reader's gender, simply state their full name and avoid the personal title (i.e. "Dear Jamie Smith"). Leave one blank line after the salutation.

You should always make every effort to find a contact name to use in your letter. It leaves a good impression on the hiring manager if you have taken the time to use their name, especially if you needed to work a little to find it. If this information was not provided in the job announcement and you cannot find it on the company’s web site, then it is a good idea to call the company, ask to be forwarded to their Human Resources department (if they have one), explain that you will be applying for a job there, and ask for the name of their hiring manager.

When you can't find a contact person or if you are unsure of who will be reading your cover letter, you can use a generic salutation (i.e. “Dear Hiring Manager”).

Cover Letter Salutation Examples

When You Have a Contact Person
The following is a list of letter salutation examples that are appropriate for cover letters and other employment-related correspondence when you have the name of a contact.

  • Dear Mr. Jones

  • Dear Ms. Brown

  • Dear Riley Doe

  • Dear Dr. Haven

  • Dear Professor Lawrence

Punctuation
Follow the salutation with a colon or comma, and then start the first paragraph of your letter on the following line. For example:

Dear Mr. Smith:

First paragraph of letter.

When You Don't Have a Contact Person
Many companies don't list a contact person when they post jobs, because they have a team of hiring staff who sort through cover letters and resumes before passing them to the hiring manager for the appropriate department.

They prefer to leave the hiring manager anonymous until he or she contacts you for an interview.

An organization may also not want to disclose who the hiring manger is to avoid emails and phone calls from applicants, particularly if they anticipate receiving a large number of applications from potential job candidates. So, don't worry if you can't find someone to address your letter to. It will be forwarded to the correct department and recipient.

If you don't have a contact person at the company, either leave off the salutation from your cover letter and start with the first paragraph of your letter or, better yet, use a general salutation.

When using a general salutation, capitalize the nouns.

Examples of general salutations:

  • Dear Hiring Manager

Punctuation
Follow the salutation with a colon or comma before beginning your first paragraph on the following line. For example:

Dear XYZ Enterprises Recruiter,

First paragraph of letter.

How to Write a Cover Letter
Do you need more tips about how to write a cover letter? Read on to learn more about what to include in your cover letter, how to write a cover letter, cover letter format, targeted cover letters, the use of bullets in cover letters, and cover letter samples and examples.

Suggested Reading: Top 10 Cover Letter Writing Tips | Sample Cover Letters | Cover Letter Closings

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