Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
How should you advise your students to address the recipient of a cover letter to account for gender identification and identity? Is it a good idea for students to address someone as First Name/Last Name? Should a student use Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms. in a cover letter?
NACE Community members recently offered feedback on these questions. While several career services practitioners suggested using First Name/Last Name, several others disagreed, highlighting the lack of consensus on this issue.
According to their recommendations:
- Students should try their best to find the name of the hiring manager and which honorific should be used. A call to the human resources department may answer all questions.
- Another suggestion was to use “Mx” in place of traditional honorifics.
- A letter writer may figure out the correct honorific by researching the hiring manager online. A career services practitioner advised that students search LinkedIn using and direct the letter to someone with a college or university relations title.
- Alternatives to using a name, Dear: Hiring Manager, Hiring Team, Hiring Committee, Selection Committee, Director of College Relations, and others.
- An alternative to using one of the above generic salutations is to use the job title, as in “Re: Mechanical Engineer” or “Re: Staff Accountant.”
What salutation do you advise your students to use? Join the discussion in the NACE Community.