Application letters and cover letters. Many people believe that application letters and cover letters are essentially the same. For purposes of this handout, though, these kinds of letters are different. The letter of application is a sales letter in which you market your skills, abilities, and knowledge. A cover letter, on the other hand, is primarily a document of transmittal. It identifies an item being sent, the person to whom it is being sent, and the reason for its being sent, and provides a permanent record of the transmittal for both the writer and the reader.
However, before using a general salutation (or leaving off a salutation), try to find out the name of the person you are contacting. If you are applying or inquiring about a job and the hiring manager’s name is not included on the job listing, you might look up the title of the employer or hiring manager on the company website. If there is a contact number, you might also call and ask an administrative assistant for the name of the hiring manager. If you are sending a different type of letter, you can still look up the person’s name on the company website, or speak to an administrative assistant or contact at the company for the name of the person you are trying to reach.