When To Use To “Whom It May Concern” in a Cover Letter

When To Use To “Whom It May Concern” in a Cover Letter

Should you use “To Whom It May Concern” in your cover letter when you don’t have a contact person? For years, some career experts have said that opening your cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern” is a good way to sabotage your chances of getting a call or email from a potential employer.

Yet job seekers still use this cover letter introduction. Is it really as bad as some career advice blogs make it out to be? 

It Doesn’t Matter to Most Hiring Managers

To determine whether it’s actually an acceptable practice to start your cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern,” Resume Companion conducted a survey of over 1,000 U.S. hiring managers. Each respondent was asked how much a generic opener like this actually matters when it comes to how they judge a candidate for a job.

The results were overwhelmingly conclusive — 83% of hiring managers stated that seeing “To Whom It May Concern” on a candidate’s application would have little or no impact on how they judged that candidate. This goes against the claim made by some online career experts that job seekers must personalize their cover letter, or risk harming their interview prospects.

Of course, it’s always better to find a person’s name if you can. But if you can’t, it’s fine to use “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager,” or you can simply start your letter or email with the first pargraph.

What Hiring Managers Really Think

To see the full breakdown of what hiring managers actually think of “To Whom It May Concern,” take a look at Resume Companion’s To Whom It May Concern survey, which features a full summary of the data, categorized by age, location, and gender.

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  • June 4, 2022