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If I do know the name of the person in HR that handles the cover letters, should I address that name? Related to: Should you address a specific person in your cover letter at all cost?

If I know that the letter will also go to someone else, and if I would be given a letter that addressed someone else than me, I would feel weird. I am not a hiring agent, so I do not know how the back-office operates, but should the addressing be a general one just because not only one person will read it?

EDIT: The name of the hiring manager is not specified, but I happen to know it.

  • "... if I would be given a letter that addressed someone else than me, I would feel weird." How do you feel when you get a "To Whom It May Concern" letter? I can only speak for myself, and I'm not involved in hiring, but when I get those sorts of letters they almost always go straight into the recycling bin. – GreenMatt Mar 15 '17 at 16:40
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Absolutely include it if you know it. Anything that makes your application less generic than the next person's is to your benefit in a competitive job market. The difference between getting an interview and not can come down to very fuzzy details when you have several candidate who have similar qualifications. Adding in a neutral to positive detail that makes your application memorable will occasionally be to your benefit and never to your detriment.

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I would say that the question is not whether you know the name of the person handling the cover letters, but rather if you are sending your application to a specific person (if the contact information provided in the offer is that of a specific person, and not jobs@company.com). In that case, yes, address the letter to them. (As you would address the e-mail containing your application to them directly, right?)

In all other circumstances, it doesn't matter. What you should research and mention in your letter, is the company (and the team/service, if it's a big company), why you would like to work there and be a great addition to the team. Mention the company/team by name and name specific examples that prove you took the time to address your letter to them, and that it's not a template sent to a hundred other HR services. The name of the person has no importance whatsoever, and as you said, the letter is bound to be read by several recruiters and team member. They know the application is going around, and they will not care if the name on the top is theirs or someone else's or a generic greeting. What they will care about is the content. As for the name, do whatever you are comfortable with!

  • "that of a specific person, and not jobs@company.com" - well, I have seen plenty of offers saying something like "Send applications to Mr. Doe by the address jobs@company.com ." Indeed, the letter should be addressed to Mr. Doe then. – O. R. Mapper Mar 15 '17 at 15:45

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