Even in the age of digital communication, you still need a cover letter when you send along your resume for a job. The cover letter introduces you to the company. It also gives you an opportunity to explain your skills and why you think you are a match for the position. The salutation in a cover letter, if done correctly, shows that you are polite and considerate and really interested in the job.
Dear Mr. or Ms.
Unless the person is a doctor or has another title, use "Mr." for men and "Ms." for women. Try to avoid using "Miss" or "Mrs." for women to avoid any offense. Always use the name of the person to whom you should address the cover letter. Knowing the name of the person shows that you have taken the initiative to learn more about the company. Double check the spelling of the person's name before you send off the letter. If the person has a first name that could be the name of a man or a woman, use his or her full name in the salutation, for example "Dear Terry Smith."
Finding the Name
Some job postings include the name of the person to address the cover letter to. If you cannot find the name in the posting or by searching the company's website, contact the company, either by phone or email. You only need to reach a receptionist or administrative assistant to discover the person's name. It's best to always avoid using a generic salutation such as "To Whom It May Concern," "Dear Madam or Sir" or "Dear Hiring Manager."
A cover letter needs to be formal. Use a colon at the end of the salutation to show that you are writing a professional letter. Also use "Dear" instead of any other greeting. A greeting such as "Good Day" or "Hello" is not formal enough for a business letter. Save those salutations for personal emails or letters to people who are not in a position to hire you.
How you close the letter is as important as how you open it. "Sincerely," followed by a few spaces and your full name, is a fool-proof way to close the letter. Sincerely is formal but not too stuffy. Before you type the closing, you may wish to write a sentence thanking the person for her time, such as "Thank you for your consideration." Other appropriate closings include "Kind regards" or "Best wishes." Closings such as "Yours truly" are usually too personal for a professional cover letter.
In closing, I started writing in my husbands cover letters, 'You've tried the rest, now hire the best.' He was not happy when he found out, but on the other hand, it got responses, which is why I did it in the first place.