Greet your future employer professionally with these cover letter salutations

Cover letters – some recruiters love them; some recruiters hate them. Unfortunately, you'll rarely know which type of recruiter you're contacting, so the safest bet is always to send one, just in case. 

The aim of a cover letter is to make the reader want to find out more about you, so in this article, we're looking at starting strong. 

Which are the best cover letter salutations to make a great first impression?

What is a cover letter salutation?

When we say “salutation,” we mean the opening line of the letter where you greet the person you're writing to. For example, when you write to thank your aunt for the jumper she knitted for Christmas, you might use “Dear Aunt Betty” as your salutation. These days, the salutation may refer to the opening of an email as much as to the opening of a handwritten or printed letter. 

While cover letter salutations generally refer to the opening line of your epistle, some people also refer to the sign-off as a salutation as well, so we'll look at that at the end of the article. 

Considerations when choosing cover letter salutations

A cover letter is a formal business document that you use to try to make yourself more memorable. Remember, though, you want to be remembered for the right reasons and not the wrong ones! 

Starting your letter “Yo!” or “Hey” doesn't convey the impression of a competent professional who knows the unspoken rules of office writing etiquette. 

While not everyone is a natural writer, relying instead on personality, speech, and body language, cover letters depend very much on the written word. In fact, a cover letter, along with your resume, is part of your personal sales brochure. You need to choose the right words to sell yourself effectively. 

Stick to these guidelines, and you can't go far wrong.

Keep it formal and professional

Your tone should be aligned with the tone you'd use when speaking to a teacher, religious leader, or grandma, not the tone you'd use with your mates or kid brother. This is the first impression you'll make on your potential employer, so it's important to show that you can communicate professionally, with respect, and in line with workplace norms. 

Personalize wherever possible

Bonus points if you know, or can find out, the name of the person who will be reading the letter. If you can address them by name, you're instantly showing that you've made the effort, done your research, and have taken the time to write a personalized letter rather than firing the same one off to multiple vacancies. 

Always use a salutation

Even if you can't find out the recipient's name, never leave the greeting line blank. It conveys the impression of someone who lacks attention to detail or is just plain lazy. Not a great impression to create on someone you need to impress! 


This doesn't just apply to the cover letter salutation but to the entire document. Punctuation is important as it enables your reader to accurately interpret your meaning. Use capital letters for names and add a comma after the salutation. Get a trusted friend or family member to check over your letter when it's written to help you give it the polish it needs. 

Options for cover letter salutations

Let's take a look at some different salutations you could use on your cover letter. 

Dear Mr Donnelly 

Addressing the hiring manager by name is the ideal option. If it's not given in the job posting or provided by the person connecting you, it's fine to resort to good old Google. You may find their name on the company website or be able to track them down on LinkedIn. It's also perfectly acceptable to contact the company directly and ask them who you should address your application to.

If you're lucky enough to know the name of the hiring manager, you should always use it in the cover letter salutation. Bear these considerations in mind, though: 

  • Double and triple check the spelling – even the most common names sometimes have unconventional spellings 

  • Default to “Mr,” “Mrs,” or “Miss” plus their surname and use the generic “Ms” if you're not sure whether “Mrs” or “Miss” would be most appropriate

  • Reflect the gender-neutral title “Mx” if that's what you find online or on the job advert

Dear Doctor Foster

If the recipient has a professional title, it's recommended you use that instead of “Mr,” “Mrs,” or “Miss.” Examples could include “Dear Professor Dumbledore,” “Dear General Eisenhower,” or “Dear Doctor House.” 

Dear Bob

While the formal “Dear Ms Farrell” is the preferred and most formal option, if you only have the hiring manager's first name, it's perfectly acceptable to use it to open the letter. Again, check the spelling. A slightly less formal salutation here isn't a reason to take a less formal tone throughout the rest of the letter, however. This is a suitable salutation for a job application email, as you can get away with a slightly more relaxed approach in an email.

Dear HR team

If you need a greeting for a cover letter to an unknown recipient, this is a popular option. It's not ideal, but your letter is likely to be forwarded to the right department at least. If you can't find the name of the hiring manager, this is a viable Plan B. 

Dear hiring manager

This is an alternative cover letter greeting when you have no name available. It's better than leaving a blank space, but it's far from warm and personal. Additionally, your letter may not find its way to the right person if the company has different teams hiring for different roles. Try to avoid this unless you've run out of other options.

Dear Sir / Madam

This cover letter salutation is falling out of favor. It's not just impersonal; it doesn't even address a specific team or department. Still, it's better than an overly casual greeting or a blank space. 

How NOT to address a cover letter

As we've already said, there are some greetings that are just too informal to use as cover letter salutations. There are others, however, that tread a very fine line. We'd advise avoiding these openings, as they're either too colloquial or too stuffy. 

To whom it may concern

We're not in the 19th century anymore. Trim your whiskers and relegate this stuffy greeting to history, it's too impersonal even for the most uptight offices. 


Using “dear” on its own, with no name or further greeting attached, gives the wrong vibe. It sounds like a combination of your old aunt, someone unfamiliar with the English language, and someone who's forgotten to fill in a blank on their template. Literally, anything is better than nothing after the word “dear.”

Hi, hello, hi there!

While these cover letter salutations certainly aren't stuffy or over-formal, they fall too far in the other direction. They're friendly and casual but too much for an initial introduction. Save these for the interview. 

Expert tip: Read this article to find out more about cover letter mistakes to avoid: 10 of the Worst Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid 

Cover letter closing salutations

How you end is just as important as how you begin. After all, you want to end on a high! Before you come to an abrupt end, you'll want to do both of these things: 

  • Thank the reader for their time and consideration 

  • Add a call to action, for example, directing them to look at your resume or give you a call

Cover letter salutations to close 

You've started strong and used the body of the email to convince the hiring manager that you're the ideal candidate for the role. Now, it's time to choose your sign-off. 

Yours sincerely, yours truly

These two phrases should be your go-to sign-offs for a formal business letter. If you've started your letter with the recipient's name, choose sincerely; otherwise, choose truly. 

Best regards, kind regards, regards

These are all acceptable closing phrases but better suited to an email than a full letter. They veer towards the casual and aren't generally considered the best letter-writing etiquette. 


This is a polite way of signing off a letter, although not especially conventional or formal. While it's better than no closing at all, it would be wiser to choose a more formal option. 

How NOT to sign off a cover letter 

Just as there are ways not to start a cover letter, there are ways not to sign off. 


Well, it's polite but way too informal. “Thank you” would be better, but a line within the body of the letter saying that you appreciate the time they take to consider your application would be best. 


Just no. You're not taking leave of a friend you've just dropped in on; you're addressing your potential future employer. A more formal and respectful tone is needed. 

However you choose to end your cover letter, remember to finish with your name – and leave space above to sign it if you intend to print it out.

Cover letter examples

Below you'll find two cover letter examples with strong salutations, one a traditional letter and one an email, that you can use for inspiration. 

Traditional cover letter example

Dear Ms Searle, 

Re: Sales Manager vacancy 

Having seen your advertisement for a Sales Manager on LinkedIn, I would like to outline my professional experience and strong track record. I believe I can make a very significant contribution to Acme Corp.

In addition to extensive experience in a sales environment, I also have a commitment to delivering exceptional customer service and a proven ability to meet targets. As you will see from my enclosed resume, I am a natural people person, communicating effectively with a diverse range of people and demonstrating excellent negotiation and influencing skills. My leadership abilities mean that I am able to successfully engage and motivate teams – my current team has surpassed its Q1 targets by 23%. 

I am driven, ambitious, and keen to progress my career in a growing and innovative business such as Acme Corp. I am confident that my strong work ethic, combined with my sales results and integrity, will enable me to play a key role in your success. 

Please do not hesitate to call me at 555-555-5555 so we can arrange an interview to discuss my application in greater depth. I appreciate your consideration. 

Yours sincerely,

Jane Doe

Email cover letter example 

Dear Liz, 

Re: Assistant Security Manager vacancy (ref: 12345)

Having read your advertisement for an Assistant Security Manager with interest, I am writing to outline my extensive professional experience. I believe that I possess the talents necessary to make a positive contribution to your hotel.    

I have a comprehensive understanding of security and a commitment to exceptional service. As a Police Officer, I led teams of up to 6 personnel, overseeing security patrols and managing performance. Colleagues would recommend me for my ability to build and motivate teams to achieve exceptionally high standards and positive outcomes. 

As a manager, I take pride in providing training and development opportunities across the team to improve individual skill levels and ensure the achievement of organizational objectives.

The position at Acme Hotel is particularly appealing to me as I believe it will make the best possible use of my security and leadership skills whilst providing opportunities for further development. 

Please do not hesitate to call me at 555-555-5555 so we can arrange an interview to discuss my application in greater depth. I appreciate your consideration of my application and look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards, 

John Doe

Choose the right cover letter salutations to set the right tone

As you can see, there are several options for opening and closing a cover letter. Make sure you choose one that is professional, has the right amount of formality, and shows you understand corporate communication. 

At TopResume, we create impactful resumes that land jobs. If you need help with your cover letter, we can do that, too! Why not contact us for a strong start on your journey towards a new career? 

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