Jobseekers and other business professionals often find themselves in a position where sending a cover letter is an appropriate course of action for applying for a specific position or reaching out to make a new business contact. A common problem arises when you do not have the name of the intended recipient of the letter. A good rule of thumb is to place an anonymous call to the company and ask for the name of the person in charge of hiring. It is always best to send a letter to a specific recipient. However, there are times when such an inquiry yields no results and you are left wondering how to address your cover letter.
For a job, always address a cover letter to "Dear Hiring Manager." This is the best possible solution when you do not have a specific name for the person who is responsible for receiving and analysing job applicants' resumes. This method ensures that your letter will be given to the "hiring manager" or person in charge of making hiring decisions at the company.
Address a cover letter accompanying business documents or records as "To Whom It May Concern." This is appropriate in obligatory settings where information must be conferred as part of an agreement or business relationship. An example of the appropriate usage of this greeting is when you are sending requested information to an insurance company, have a complaint about a utility service, or are writing to correct a discrepancy with your bank or credit card provider.
Address a letter to a group, potential business contact, or a company that you hope to do business with as "Dear Friend" or "Dear Friends." This greeting is especially appropriate when soliciting donations for a charitable event or attempting to attract new partners for a collaborative project. This greeting is not appropriate for employment-related cover letters.