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How to Address a Letter to a Potential Job

by Molly Thompson

You've identified the prospective employer that interests you, and now you must track down a specific name, title and full mailing address for the appropriate department head or hiring official. It may take some digging, as companies do not always make this information readily available. If you know anyone who works at the company, ask her for the contact information. If not, use online, print and other resources to ferret out the details you need. Job search experts frown on the old "To whom it may concern" cover letter. If you couldn't be bothered to even find out the hiring officer's name, the recipient of your letter may question how much effort you will put into your work day-to-day.

Study the website of the company to which you're sending your cover letter and resume. Try to identify the most senior person within the section of the company that interests you. If you can't find a senior hiring official's name, look for a point of contact in the human resources department.

Call the main administrative number at the company if you can't find the information you need on the website. Politely request the full name and title of the person in charge of hiring for the company.

Format your cover letter as a standard business letter. In the address block, use the full name, title and company name and address for the recipient: Mr. John Smith Chief, Engineering Department ABC Company 123 Main Street, Suite 456 City, State 12345

Use a formal salutation that includes the individual's name, followed by a colon. For example, write "Dear Mr. Smith:" or "Dear Dr. Jones:".

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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