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Right now I am trying to write a cover letter for an IT internship at an energy company but cannot find any information on who is hiring the interns. I have googled for about an hour and could not find anything. How do I address the cover letter?

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Have you tried calling the company's HR department? If you can't find a phone number to their HR department, you could call their main phone number and ask to speak to HR. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Oct 22 '12 at 17:28
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Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/5740/325 –  Monica Cellio Oct 22 '12 at 18:59

4 Answers 4

"To whom it may concern" is always fine.

"To the Hiring Department"

"Dear Sir or Madam" - a bit archaic but legitimate.

It really doesn't matter as long as the cover letter is:

  • correct spelling and grammar

  • describing the job opportunity you are looking for in your own words

  • describing why you are a good fit

  • expressing a general enthusiasm for doing the work

Those are the key points. In cases where you are applying for a position with no personal contact, it can be useful in the text to reference how you found out about the position so they know where you are coming from.

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The Dear Mr Smith, of a cover letter is good if you have it. If you don't you can leave it off (the salutation).

What we look for in cover letters is the following:

  1. Do you know what the business is and what we do?
  2. Grammar mistakes
  3. And the type of work you are interested in doing.

Resumes with cover letters are sorted above 'just' resumes.

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This is a horrible idea. Using a generic solutation is acceptable, using a placeholder name like "Mr/Ms Smith" is not. If you need to address a female, you always assume they are unmarried, and use the Ms, as this describes a married or unmarried women. This allows you to be correct no matter what. –  Ramhound Oct 23 '12 at 11:31

In an on-line world, it's ok not to who to address it to.

As Craig mentions, grammar is very important for any job, including programming.

Beth has the bigger point - it is vital to explain why you are a good fit for the role. The resume and cover letter will get a Yes or No answer to "Should I interview this person?" within 60 seconds. Your cover letter has just seconds to say, "Here's what you want, and here's how I have it" in language that works for both the hiring manager and the HR screener.

So back to your case... You have to show you know what they need from interns, and how you have it. (Base IT skills, passion for the energy industry, long term interest in working in the field, huge respect for their firm, etc.)

Good luck!

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"Dear Sirs"

I was what I was tought at school (UK) was the corect salutation if you do not know that actual name (but this may be country specific)

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