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To Whom it May Concern


Imagine you’re a senior person at a company and you’re looking for the right person to work for you. You’ve been looking at resumes all day long, and you’re tired and looking for some inspiration. You open yet another email, hoping for “the one”, and it’s addressed to: To Whom it May Concern.

As someone who’s done a lot of hiring and advises a lot of Gen Y’s on how to get hired, I would never hire someone who sent me a note addressed, essentially, to nobody. It is a sign of laziness when someone who’s applying for a job doesn’t take a few minutes to identify the name of the prospective employer.

This just came up because I’m helping a friend who’s a CEO of a non-profit identify good candidates for a marketing manager job. Without mentioning her name, I put notices up on my various social networks, indicating that she heads the company and its name.

One of the responses I received was addressed to “To Whom it May Concern”.

And by the way, “Dear Sir/Madam” won’t cut it either.

There are many ways to get a name, and they may involve some cunning and chutzpah, but probably not a lot. My suggestion is this: Leave no stone unturned, it is worth your time to get that name. Because otherwise, your perfectly good resume will get filed under “G”, and you will never know why.

This entry was posted in For Advisors to Individuals & Families, For Mid-Career Professionals, For Millennials, For Parents, Gen Y Careers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to To Whom it May Concern

  1. Glad you wrote this. I think a ton of people (myself included) would probably write, “to whom it may concern” if they were not given the company or the individual’s name.

  2. Allison says:

    First of all, I know you and you would never do that. Maybe your very young self, but not you now at age 30. The thing is, it doesn’t take that much sleuthing to get a name, so it looks lazy if you don’t do it!

  3. Jake P says:

    Sage advice. The same principles apply for freelancers who apply to “blind” ads in online circumstances. Usually, with a little sleuthing, you can figure out more information than is immediately evident.

  4. Pingback: Writing the Dreaded Cover Letter: It’s Not About You | The Savvy Intern by YouTern

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