What is the best way to address a cover letter?

By | 2021-05-28T17:40:17-04:00 April 7th, 2015|0 Comments

Dear Donna,

What is the best way to address a cover letter: “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” or something else?

Wants to Send a Cover Letter

Dear Wants to Send a Cover Letter,

Use a traditional business letter format starting with the recipient’s name and title, facility name and address. If you don’t have a specific person’s name, address the letter to “Human Resources Department” or something similar. Don’t forget to include the date.

Use a formal salutation such as “Dear Carol Reynolds” if you have a name. Since a person’s gender is not always obvious by their first name, it is acceptable to use someone’s full name rather than, “Dear Ms. Reynolds.” If you don’t have a person’s name and are replying to an ad that says, “Send to Human Resources Department,” use “Dear Human Resources Professional” or “Dear Nurse Recruiter” as appropriate.

While acceptable, in the absence of a name or title, to use “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam,” those salutations are very impersonal and generic, and a turn off to some. It’s better to be as specific as possible.

Best wishes,



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About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of DonnaCardillo.com. Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

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