As mentioned previously, application letters and cover letters are not the same. A cover letter identifies an item being sent, the person to whom it is being sent, and the reason for its being sent. A cover letter provides a permanent record of the transmittal for both the writer and the reader.
If you are writing to someone who has a doctorate or medical degree, use the abbreviated form: "Dr." However, for other titles, such as professor, judge, rabbi, etc., write out the full title and capitalize it. For example, your salutation in a letter to a judge would be, "Dear Judge Barnard." Or, if your correspondence was with a rabbi, you might write, "Dear Rabbi Williams."