“Do recruiters even read cover letters?”

Some managers say they read every single one. Others say they never read them. Love them or hate them, with recruiting being so subjective, it’s better to have one prepared as you don’t know which manager is reading them. Check out the video below as I debunk the most commonly asked cover letter questions and walk you through a game-changing cover letter trick, or continue reading along.

3 Reasons Cover Letters Exist

You will notice some companies specifically state ‘submit cover letter and resume’ in the job description. Cover letters are helpful to recruiters for 3 reasons:

1. To ensure they weed out the candidates that are spraying their resume to every single job and praying for any interview invitation
2. To learn more about an applicant beyond the resume
3. To study their research and writing skills

Let’s talk a moment about the third point. Put yourself in a recruiter’s shoe and imagine reading hundreds of cover letters that start with the following: “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern”. How refreshing would it be if the letter actually stated your name?

With basic LinkedIn research skills and internet connection, you can be certain to stand out from the pile and impress your reader. Let’s dive in!

4 Steps to Find Out Who You Should Address the Cover Letter to:

1. Sign into LinkedIn and type in the company you want to apply to in the search box at the top. For this example, I’m going to be using Blue Apron because who doesn’t love sustainable food delivered straight to your door? 😉

2. Once you’re at the Company’s page, you will see ‘Recently Posted Jobs’ on the left. Click ‘See all jobs’.

At the time of writing this, they have 223 openings. Yikes! I will use the search functions on the top and left hand side to find the job that I am interested in. In this example, I’m looking for the Customer Experience Specialist – Training position.

When I click on this position, I’m taken to the job posting. I see a button that says ‘Apply on Company Website’ and there isn’t any information on who posted the job. For large companies, this will usually be the case as the company has an enterprise account with LinkedIn. This means, the system scrapes all of the jobs from the company’s career website and automatically posts and unposts jobs.

For smaller companies, they may just pay for one-time manual postings. You will often see who the job was manually posted by. In this case, it’s easy to figure out who to address the cover letter to. The job poster’s name and title are listed, so your research is finished!

If you come across a large company, don’t sweat, here’s what to do next

3. Go back to the Company page and click the ‘See all employees who work here’ link.

This is where your fun investigative research skills come into the picture. You will want to make sure ‘Blue Apron’ is selected in the Current Companies section. Again, since they are a large company with 1,111 search results, I’m going to narrow down the search results. What I want to find is a variety of: Human Resource Managers/Directors, Talent Acquistion Managers/Directors, Recruiters, or even the department head of the position I’m applying for (Customer Experience, in this case). Because this is a large company, I’m going to first start with typing in ‘Director’ into the search results just to see what pops up.

As I scroll through, I noticed there is a Director of Talent. Since I am wanting to address this to the recruiting department, this seems like a good fit. In another search, I searched for the term ‘Recruiter’ currently working at ‘Blue Apron’ and yielded 40 search results. Their recruiting team sure is large! You may need to scroll through some profiles to see if they write the exact positions/departments they recruit for. Many have a ‘Technical Recruiter’ title and unless I’m applying for a technology role, I will likely skip these.

Keep in mind, the larger the company, the more difficult it will be to narrow down on one person. Personally, when I was 1 of 25 recruiters at a Fortune 100 company, I never threw out a cover letter because it was addressed to my colleague instead of me. Recruiters are quite understanding and forgiving if you can’t find the exact person responsible for the requisition. Addressing this to the wrong internal employee is still one thousand times better than addressing it to ‘Dear Hiring Manger’ or ‘To Whom It May Concern’.

4. If you can’t find the hiring manager, the human resources member, or anyone from the recruiting team because the company is small or non-existent on LinkedIn, there is one more thing you can do. Call the main phone number listed for the company and speak to the receptionist. Explain that you are writing a cover letter as you are eager to apply for X position. Ask the receptionist if they can provide a name and title to whom you should make this letter out to.

RELATED: How to Find the Right Person to Follow up With After Submitting A Job Application

Now You Can Draft Your Cover Letter Using This Format

First Last Name
Company Name
Company HQ’s Address 1
Company HQ’s Address 2
Dear Mr./Ms. First Last Name:

Remember, success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. A little legwork upfront can yield a HUGE reward. Good Luck!

P.S. – Check out the free step-by-step cover letter template and tutorial 

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