When sending your resume to a company, have you ever written a cover letter that begins with this salutation? If so, you're not alone - this is a universal phrase.
However, this is not a good strategy for your letter. People love to see their name in print, even in cover letters. If you want to advance in your job search, do everything in your power to make sure you address your letter to a particular person!
Most people have no idea how to find out the person's name who will receive the cover letter. But it's really very simple. You need to put on your detective hat and conduct research. You will truly impress your audience if you address the cover letter to the right person. Here are some ways you can do this:
1. Call the company and ask the receptionist, "Who's the Director of XXX Department?"
2. Call the company and speak to someone in the Human Resources Department and ask, "Who's the Director of XXX Department?"
3. If you receive automated messages when you call the company, do what you can to connect to ANY department and then ask that person who's the Director. If they don't know, ask them to transfer you to the Marketing or Public Relations Department. Call the company back as many times as you need to.
4. Visit the company's website, many companies have a roster of employees. Use that as a bridge to identify your reader.
5. Use Google, Vault.com, Hoovers.com - if you find the person's name, you need to make sure that person is still employed and still holds the job title.
6. Network with other people. Ask everyone you know, "Who's the Director of XXX Department over at ABC Company?"
This is a very important strategy for you to use. Don't send your resume "To Whom It May Concern" - send it to the right person. They will be very impressed that you took the time to do your research! It could take you 5 minutes or several hours, but the payoff is handsome...especially when no other job seeker is willing to go the extra mile!
JoAnn Nix, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP, CCMC, CPBS