Cover letters -- who to write if no contact?

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Pessex989 in San Antonio, Texas

49 months ago

Hello,

I am wondering if people who have had success with applications in which they have included a cover letter can help me. I am wondering simply because I have received such a variety of suggestions.

Basically, I am wondering if addressing to "Dear Hiring Manager," when no contact is listed actually works. Has anyone heard back after using that? Do I ALWAYS have to have the name of someone on the cover letter? I am wondering also if I look up on places such as LinkedIn and find an individual that I THINK is appropriate, if it is ok to try them even if I wind up being wrong. In other words, is it worse to have no contact listed and use Dear Hiring Manager, or use to address it to a wrong human resources manager in the company.

Thanks again!

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

32 months ago

I wish cover letters would go the way of the telephone booth. I really hate writing them, because to employers it's never good enough. They want you to spend hours researching their company so you can have the fancy schmancy cover letter that gets thrown in the garbage.

I try to keep my cover letter very short because I know people hate reading a lot and people just don't have time.

I like the idea of "Dear ABC company team" to address the person/people looking at resumes. I've never seen that before used. It sounds more personal than hiring manager.

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

32 months ago

I'll be honest with you, Bluetea. 10 years ago I didn't even know a cover letter was required and I was shocked to find out I needed a thank you letter after an interview. I have a good excuse though. 10 years ago I worked in a factory and you just don't need anything more than an application to fill out for that. It's a lot different going into working in an office.

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Bluetea in Texas

32 months ago

designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin said: I'll be honest with you, Bluetea. 10 years ago I didn't even know a cover letter was required and I was shocked to find out I needed a thank you letter after an interview. I have a good excuse though. 10 years ago I worked in a factory and you just don't need anything more than an application to fill out for that. It's a lot different going into working in an office.

I think the technology has made a lot of this obsolete - at least in my industry.

I don't do cover letters and thank you cards/emails/letters are for baby showers. You read this in old library books but I have been hired without this and I can't think of anyone that I know who still does this.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

32 months ago

But if there is a contact name, then I will send my resume over to the contact name.

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vinigrette in Irvine, California

32 months ago

I also think cover letters are obsolete. They may be parsed but not read. When you go to an interview, they always have your resume printed out and sometimes written on, but you never see a print-out of a cover letter.

I have put a summary at the top of my resume which replaces a cover letter. It has a couple of bullets that basically summarize all the stuff below. If the reader is interested in seeing what my "extensive" experience is or how big the "successful launch" was, they can look at the details. I separate it from the main body of the resume with a few keywords that summarize my skill set.

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Hotdiggity in Ajax, Ontario

32 months ago

vinigrette in Irvine, California said:
I have put a summary at the top of my resume which replaces a cover letter. It has a couple of bullets that basically summarize all the stuff below. If the reader is interested in seeing what my "extensive" experience is or how big the "successful launch" was, they can look at the details. I separate it from the main body of the resume with a few keywords that summarize my skill set.

I kinda like this approach because I find I waste too much time writing cover letters explaining how I could fit the position and would rather highlight that in my resume. I think I write cover letters out of tradition.
And you're right, I never see my cover letter at an interview; only my resume.

Have you seen any examples of this style on the net?..

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Bluetea in Texas

32 months ago

Hotdiggity in Ajax, Ontario said: Have you seen any examples of this style on the net?..

Cover letters are obsolete. What you want to do is get rid of that horrible Objective Statement which is woefully out-of-date and replace with a Summary of Qualifications statement.

You will have to make sure that your Summary of Qualifications statement uses some of the same wording regarding skills and abilities as the posting. You literally have to re-write it for each job. I print off the posting to do this. Use the same wording as much as possible.

As a rule, only the top third of your resume gets read anyway. Put the important stuff there.

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Hotdiggity in Ajax, Ontario

32 months ago

My resume is pretty solid.. I got rid of the Objective statement ages ago and replaced it with a Summary.
I figured nobody really cares what I want to achieve in my career; only what I've done and can deliver again.

I just tweaked my summary again yesterday and it gave me shivers.. I'm so obviously awesome, I don't know why they don't call me ! :)

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Bluetea in Texas

32 months ago

Hotdiggity in Ajax, Ontario said: My resume is pretty solid.. I got rid of the Objective statement ages ago and replaced it with a Summary.
I figured nobody really cares what I want to achieve in my career; only what I've done and can deliver again.

I just tweaked my summary again yesterday and it gave me shivers.. I'm so obviously awesome, I don't know why they don't call me ! :)

The resume is going the way of the typewriter and the stegosaurus. Many companies, in my industry, don't even accept them anymore. Its all online now and these HRIS systems are pretty sophisticated now.

Even if there is a spot where you can cut and paste your resume, I doubt if anybody reads it unless the online app deems you worthy of further consideration.

Where resumes are still in vogue are with smaller, less tech savvy companies.

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Gary in Kingston, Ontario

30 months ago

designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin said: That's the article I was looking at when I made my above post. I just said it in my own words.

There's a second paragraph to that says "The worst-case scenario is that your letter will begin "Dear Hiring Manager for [name of position]:" It's not the best approach, BUT IF YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT FIND A NAME, this salutation does at least provide some specificity."

This is what I thought the original poster was asking.

I know with recruiters they don't like to tell you who the company is because they don't want you going there in person instead. Otherwise the recruiter doesn't get anything out of it.

Occasionally you run across a blind ad. Then there you go, Dear Hiring Manager. I would imagine all the resumes to a blind ad would say that, because who are you going to call?

GHOSTBUSTERS!

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Bill in Kansas City, Missouri

30 months ago

The last 3 interviews I've been on, the person had a copy of my online application and not my resume. I haven't written a cover letter in years, the days of cover letters are long gone and the resume is not far behind.

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jenab in Austin, Texas

30 months ago

If you're submitting a resume cold through an online source, don't worry about a cover letter unless they do offer one; it's a way to circumvent the ATS.

But if you're sending it in cold, your best bet is to find someone to do an informational interview with there, and network your way into making a connection with a live person. And that's where your research on Hoovers, LinkedIn, the company website and AtoZ can really pay off.

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Bluetea in Texas

30 months ago

Bill in Kansas City, Missouri said: The last 3 interviews I've been on, the person had a copy of my online application and not my resume. I haven't written a cover letter in years, the days of cover letters are long gone and the resume is not far behind.

I agree 100%. I can't remember the last time I wrote a cover letter.

As for the resume, you can go into any library and off their discarded book shelf, buy a "Killer Resume" book for a buck now. The resume is going the way of the typewriter.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

30 months ago

I write cover letters all the time, but these are for small or mid-sized outfits. Large corporations will always use the online application. I don't bother with them anymore because I don't stand a chance having a gap in employment. Any employer utilizing Taleo is an instant turn and run for the hills as far as I'm concerned.

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Bluetea in Texas

30 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: I write cover letters all the time, but these are for small or mid-sized outfits. Large corporations will always use the online application. I don't bother with them anymore because I don't stand a chance having a gap in employment. Any employer utilizing Taleo is an instant turn and run for the hills as far as I'm concerned.

I agree. I back out when I see the Taleo logo. I am just wasting my time.

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Joe Gagill in Loch Sheldrake, New York

30 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: I agree. I back out when I see the Taleo logo. I am just wasting my time.

Does that pick up gaps in a resume?

Also, besides Taleo what other ones are there just so i can be aware?

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Bluetea in Texas

30 months ago

Joe Gagill in Loch Sheldrake, New York said: Does that pick up gaps in a resume?

Also, besides Taleo what other ones are there just so i can be aware?

Taleo is designed for companies that receive hundreds of applications for a single position. It can take 1,000 apps and spew out the "Ten Best" in seconds. It is only then that a "human" reads anything.

Kenexa, Ceridian and a few others are also brand name HRIS systems but they are not quite as brutal as Taleo. IMO, You have to have lived a perfect life to make it through Taleo.

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Chia in Folsom, California

30 months ago

I think an employer should be responsible to provide a small amount of information at least who to address a cover letter to with an address. I have tried researching with no luck. I have however, used the "Dear Hiring Manager" and have received feed back so I guess that's one good approach. Now, when you have no address along with no contact person this sucks! Scratching my head once again to recreate the tons I have already created. =|

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Chia in Folsom, California

30 months ago

I think employers should provide a small amount of information at least: who and where to, when requesting a cover letter. Looking and applying for work is a job of it's own then along having to wreck your brain researching who should I be address the cover letter to and where. =|

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Jude L in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

30 months ago

If the contact name is available, use it. Or else, Dear Hiring Manager should work fine i think.

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Bluetea in Texas

30 months ago

Jude L in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: If the contact name is available, use it. Or else, Dear Hiring Manager should work fine i think.

Well, I have only written 2 or 3 cover letters in the past 10 years since most companies don't seem to want them anymore but I use to say "Dear Sir/Madam:

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ameliacatz in Lawrenceburg, Indiana

27 months ago

Taleo - an employer I am applying to online uses Taleo but has space for both a resume and cover letter upload plus other pertinent info as well. Are you saying that no one sees the other info you have uploaded if your online profile doesn't match? I did go through my resume and reword to match some of their wording. What about if you have contacts in the company and supply references in the uploads? Does Taleo find those? Or should I just submit the info and then go through my contacts to hopefully get by foot in the door that way? thins have changed so much since I last looked for a job!

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jenab in Austin, Texas

27 months ago

ameliacatz in Lawrenceburg, Indiana said: Taleo - an employer I am applying to online uses Taleo but has space for both a resume and cover letter upload plus other pertinent info

The recruiter/HR rep won't actually see your resume. They won't actually see your profile unless your resume/profile hits a minimum match level as a 'top candidate.' If you have any way of avoiding Taleo as your primary means of contact, do so (it's always better to have a personal connection anyway, but Taleo's HRIS makes it especially hard).

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

27 months ago

The "hiring manager" is generally the actual person to whom one will report if hired. You may not have much luck sussing out that person, so you will likely have to address your cover letter to HR. Not only that, the actual hiring manager may simply kick your letter downstairs to HR (who will kick it back up to him/her if your quals are attractive). Yeah, it's stupid.

IMO using "Dear Human Resources" or "Dear XYZ Company" does not stand out. It's really better, again, IMO, to address a cover letter to a person by name, and especially considering the name can be found with little effort.

Look for the name of the director of HR on the company's website. Or search LinkedIn. Or simply call the company and ask the receptionist for the name of the person who receives resumes. Verify the spelling of the person's name and his/her title. Then have at it with your cover letter.

For a large company the actual direcor of HR may never see your letter. FWIW at least you will know you will have properly directed your letter to a person by name.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

27 months ago

The "hiring manager" is generally the actual person to whom one will report if hired. You may not have much luck sussing out that person, so you will likely have to address your cover letter to HR. Not only that, the actual hiring manager may simply kick your letter downstairs to HR (who will kick it back up to him/her if your quals are attractive). Yeah, it's stupid.

IMO using "Dear Human Resources" or "Dear XYZ Company" does not stand out. It's really better, again, IMO, to address a cover letter to a person by name, and especially considering the name can be found with little effort.

Look for the name of the director of HR on the company's website. Or search LinkedIn. Or simply call the company and ask the receptionist for the name of the person who receives resumes. Verify the spelling of the person's name and his/her title. Then have at it with your cover letter.

For a large company the actual director of HR may never see your letter. FWIW at least you will know you will have properly directed your letter to a person by name.

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John in Las Cruces, New Mexico

26 months ago

Jon in New York, New York said: Seriously, the entire recruiting process is for the lack of a better word: retarded. The recruiters don't understand what the position entails, so they turn away qualified candidates based on the most mundane and useless requirements, which are often impossible to meet. Examples:

1) Asking for 5 years experience in using A when A has only been around for 5 years.
2) Asking for cover letters and then not reading them.
3) Asking standardized questions which contribute no insight if you preform the duties of the job well (what is your greatest strength, weakness, etc...)
4) Recommending or even hiring someone without telling the dept. manager about it or even though they expressed that they didn't want that candidate. The reverse occurs as well: the dept. manager wants to hire a candidate, but HR doesn't like the person (personal reasons, not due to negative factors), so they don't get hired.

All of the above, btw are based on real life experiences of either myself or people I know. The amount of money that can be saved by streamlining the process and stopping candidates and hiring mangers to jump through pointless hoops would go a long way to acquire more qualified people, and save time and money in the process.

You're so right on point. We're using technology for everything except in the hiring process. It's slowly getting there, but we're using the methods or processes that have been used since the '50's. Why don't we use Skype for interviewing; use Dropbox or icloud to have recruiters or HR's go look at our resumes; use video cover letters or view our past white papers and video essays from YouTube.

We keep using the same old "tired" methods of trying to find tech savvy people and expect better results. Albert Einstein is smiling...

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Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

26 months ago

The whole job seeking process is totally INSANE.

What a friggin miserable experience for one to have to go thru.

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John in Las Cruces, New Mexico

26 months ago

I smile and shake my head when I read "most" of the postings. The hiring companies basically want a 30 year old tech savvy person, with an MBA with 15 years experience in a certain area, has global experience and contacts and can rub elbows with the top C level managers within the Fortune 500. They offer very high hourly rates or salaries but to find that one candidate will be impossible and they know that.

I feel for the "middle" men and women in this old game called recruiting. I've managed IT Recruiters before and they're slaves to their clients who are dreaming of finding the perfect candidate and want a 110% fit; at the lowest possible rate.

In the meantime, we might as well invoke the same process as in today's dating environment. Let's call it SPEED RECRUITING. You go to job fairs and you get to sit in front of an HR person for 2 minutes and tell them why you're the best. Why they should pick you. At the end of the day, all of the HR people select their dates, I mean candidates, and all is well in the world. I think it would work. It's better than what is happening now. Both sides are frustrated and no one is being hired and no one is getting any work done.

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Bluetea in Texas

26 months ago

John in Las Cruces, New Mexico said: I smile and shake my head when I read "most" of the postings. The hiring companies basically want a 30 year old tech savvy person, with an MBA with 15 years experience in a certain area, has global experience and contacts and can rub elbows with the top C level managers within the Fortune 500. They offer very high hourly rates or salaries but to find that one candidate will be impossible and they know that.

I feel for the "middle" men and women in this old game called recruiting. I've managed IT Recruiters before and they're slaves to their clients who are dreaming of finding the perfect candidate and want a 110% fit; at the lowest possible rate.

In the meantime, we might as well invoke the same process as in today's dating environment. Let's call it SPEED RECRUITING. You go to job fairs and you get to sit in front of an HR person for 2 minutes and tell them why you're the best. Why they should pick you. At the end of the day, all of the HR people select their dates, I mean candidates, and all is well in the world. I think it would work. It's better than what is happening now. Both sides are frustrated and no one is being hired and no one is getting any work done.

I just read that some people are now putting QR codes on their resumes? Please. What we need are more jobs and fewer gimmicks.

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DC in Ecuador

23 months ago

So how about using "Dear Manager of Recruitment," rather than "Dear Hiring Manager" as I am addressing the recruiter rather than the actually hiring manager? Any thoughts.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

23 months ago

Try to find out the manager of recruiting's name and use it instead of using "Dear Manager of Recruiting."

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DC in Ecuador

23 months ago

I agree, I will try harder to find that name.

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ToBoeingOrNotToBoeing in Seattle, Washington

23 months ago

Hotdiggity in Ajax, Ontario said:
I just tweaked my summary again yesterday and it gave me shivers.. I'm so obviously awesome, I don't know why they don't call me ! :)

Every time I tweak mine, I feel the same way!

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James in Minneapolis, Minnesota

21 months ago

In my experience, a cover letter is absolutely unnecessary and often a liability. Recruiters just don't like them anymore. A follow-up email, phone call, or LinkedIn message letting them know it was a pleasure meeting with the recruiter, however, is definitely a plus, and may make the difference between you and an equally-qualified candidate. I swear by the follow-up communication. But only once. Multiple follow-ups are annoying. You want the recruiter to know your name because you're charming and driven, not because you're annoying.

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James Jenneman in Minneapolis, Minnesota

21 months ago

Oh! And to the original point of this posting: Dear hiring manager works in a pinch, but really, find out the recruiter's name. If you're in the same city, you can find someone you know who knows someone who works at the company. Build up your LinkedIn contact list.

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Cheshire in Mississauga, Ontario

21 months ago

'Dear Hiring Manager' has worked for me and landed me many interviews.

If you want to find out the name, LinkedIn is a great tool to find this type of information.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

21 months ago

You should not be shilling your blog on this forum in violation of forum rules, Mr. HR Uncovered.

Alternatively, what's stopping you from writing your advice on this forum?

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

21 months ago

HR Uncovered in Seattle, Washington said: I don't think providing a thoughtful counterpoint is "shilling."
Posting links to websites and other contact information and advertising websites violate forum rules.
HR Uncovered in Seattle, Washington said: I also don't consider it necessary to retype advice that is easily accessed by including a simple link.
Ever hear of "cut and paste"? Cutting and pasting would obviate most, if not all, retyping. As a resume writer, surely you would be familiar.

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koki in South Africa

3 months ago

Ive applied for so many vacancies n 4 of dm replied n dey al want cover letters n de problem is i cnt rememba which company is which so how do i write abt dey r company nt remembering which 1 is it?plz help or is it possible if i write a cover letter without having to mention de anythn abt de company cs m scared i myt write wrn msg to de wrn company plz help out

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