Don't Make This Mistake When Writing a Cover Letter

By Martin Buckland - Executive Career Management Professional

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Your resume should always be accompanied by a cover letter, even if the job advertisement doesn’t specifically request one. A cover letter is another opportunity to stand out from the other applicants.

One of my pet peeves is reading cover letters addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam”, “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern”. In this digital age, there is no excuse for not uncovering the name of either the hiring manager or better yet, the name of your potential boss.

Why is this important? Taking the time to research a hiring influencer and then addressing your letter to an actual person leaves an impression on the reader of the type of potential employee you may be. You took the time to conduct research, target an individual and transform your letter from reading like a direct mail campaign to a letter customized to the job and employer.

One of the first places I search to uncover a name is LinkedIn. Commence a people search by filling in the following fields:

Keywords: human resources or HR

Company: Insert name of potential employer

Current or Past field: Select “current”

LinkedIn will then populate a list of all human resource profile matches of people currently employed at that company for you to peruse. I like this strategy for another reason – exposure. Every time you look at a person’s profile, they will receive a notification and may reciprocate by reviewng your profile long before your resume lands on their desk (if at all, but that’s another blog about the robots reading your resume ).

Another option is to review the target employers’ website; not only will you uncover information about the company to share in your cover letter, but you may also find the name of an appropriate individual to include in your cover letter.

A third option is to perform a basic Internet search, perhaps with a question such as “Who is the HR Manager at ABC Company?” or “HR+ABC Company”.

The bottom line is this: while not every hiring manager even reads a cover letter, taking the time to personalize your letter may be the deciding factor in advancing your candidacy and earning an interview.

Want to learn more about the other types of cover letters? Read my blog:



Martin Buckland, President of Elite Resumes, is a leading resume writer, career coach and job search strategist with a global clientele. Martin currently holds the following certifications: Certified Professional Branding Strategist, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Job and Career Transition Coach, Certified Job Search Trainer and Co-Pilot Executive Coach. Visit my website at

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