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Dutchess_III's avatar

What would be the best way to start a cover letter with the following information?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42438points) September 13th, 2015

Applying for a job. Instruction say to submit resume to “Jane, HR Department, CES, 123 Sesame street.”

So do I start with Dear Jane or Dear HR, or To Whom It May Concern?

The “To Whom” doesn’t seem right, because I know who the whom is, but there is no last name.

“Dear Jane,” just sounds too casually familiar.

“Dear HR” sounds dumb because they done told me who to send it to, and it wasn’t the whole HR department.

What do you think?

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10 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It does feel odd for all the reasons given. How about contacting the company and see if they will provide “Jane’s” last name? If questioned about it, explain what you have shared here. There may be a reason behind it.

Pachy's avatar

Did you check the company’s site or do a Google search for her? As the HR Dir she’s sure to be inline somewhere.That usually works for me in situations like this.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That seems a little stalky, @Pachy! I mean, in the letter I specified where I found the ad, and she might ask how I knew her last name and then I’d have to explain that I snuck around until I got it!

You know, I think I will call them @Pied_Pfeffer. In fact, I will call her and ask. Get my foot in the door, anyway.

Pachy's avatar

I don’t agree at all that it’s stalking—just a prospective employer doing due diligence—but a call works too. Good luck.

Buttonstc's avatar

I think it’s more likely that the “Jane” actually stands for “Jane Doe”. It’s a code name so that the letter will automatically be routed to whomever the designated person is to be dealing with resumes at this time.

In a large company, this could likely vary from time to time but leaving the instructions to address it to Jane in HR will ensure that whoever the current person is will get all the resumes.

Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for only providing the first name only.

That’s my impression anyway.

So, I don’t see much problem with using the generic “To whom it may concern:” it follows standard business format and you certainly could not conceivably be faulted for using it.

Besides, they’re far more concerned with the actual substantive contents of your resume rather than the very minor matter of the opening salutation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That is a good thought. But what if it isn’t a code? I just hate this job search stuff. You just don’t know what is going to strike someone as perfect, or what’s going to cause them to just dump it.
The company isn’t that big locally. 150 people or so.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Buttonstc That makes sense. @Dutchess_III, I’d go with that recommendation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think I got it. Actually, the name was Carol, not Jane. I was just trying to hide the identity of a person who probably doesn’t exist….. O-o.

Rather than the formal “Dear,” how does this sound:

To: HR, Attention Carol,




Buttonstc's avatar

I think that’s ok. As I said, they are far more interested in the substantive content of your resume than anything else.

As long as your salutation isn’t something totally outrageous like “Hi there dummies” I doubt anyone will even pay attention to it. As I mentioned, as long as it’s in some type of standard business format, I wouldn’t stress overmuch about the salutation.

Put your energy into the resume itself.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Buttonstc That’s what I hate, hate, hate the most about this. You just have no way on earth of knowing what is going to trip someone’s trigger. It only makes sense that they give the most credence to your resume, but there are idiots in power that do the hiring.

I put lots of energy into my resume. Some folks here can tell you that!

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