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How do I address a cover letter when I don’t know the person’s name?

Q:  How do I address a cover letter when I don’t know the person’s name?

A:  I think the phrase To Whom It May Concern is outdated and I feel the same way about Dear Sir or Madam. Definitely do not assume gender and write something like Gentlemen.

You can call the employer, if you know who it is and can’t find the name online, to inquire about the best person to use as an addressee.  You can also ask if that’s a man or a woman, if the name you get is gender neutral (i.e., Lee, Alex, Brook).  Also ask about the spelling (is it Olson or Olsen?  Kathryn or Catherine?).

Alternatively, you can use the person’s title as the addressee (e.g., To the Human Resources Director) or just start the letter or email without one.  The important thing is that you write a good,  error-free message…so don’t start wih the wrong name, a misspelling, or antiquated phrasing.