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Contractor to Clients: May I ask a favor?

Hello, Gentle Client,

I'm brand new here at ODesk, just getting my feet wet and applying for a few jobs. I've noticed that many of you don't include a contact name in your postings, which means I must use the generic "Dear Hiring Manager" in my cover letter.

It's so impersonal. Even rude. Please give us a name. Any name. It doesn't have to be your name. It might even be your dog's name. I'd rather address my cover letter to "Spike" than to "Hiring Manager." I'd like to at least sort of feel like I'm talking to a person. Although I might feel a bit intimidated talking to a person named "Spike."

But it's still better than Hiring Manager.

Thank you for your time. It's great to be here!

Take care,


Vote Result

Score: 8.2, Votes: 5
Well Yes Absolutely

I'm still confused whether to sign off yours sincerely (sounds phoney these days)kind regards (why be kind about being ignored 90% of the time) or just Richard Farrell which I'm told is abrupt.

Tough one

Richard, I usually default to the somewhat impersonal but always acceptable "Sincerely." It's a good catch-all.

i use no salutation, nor a

i use no salutation, nor a closing signing. Just go right to the point of the letter.

Some clients may care, as this was a topic sometime ago on forum.

Just think most don't care or even don't even notice.

Me too. I'll have a look at

Me too. I'll have a look at their history and see if the name is within feedback. That shows I did a little homework first. If not, I'm very to the point and mostly comical about it.

Dear, whatever...

safd j ikkjhkjh



// Is seriously overused and very common by people using cut/paste cover letter. it;s actually a turn-off for me when viewing apps myself

Yep, like that client that

Yep, like that client that was posting last year.

The one that stated a contractor better address her as 'something?'.

Think maybe she ran off.

those ones

are always good for a giggle.

I felt slightly,

not very, sorry for the one that clearly hadn't thought through their demands for deference. There was an unfortunate double meaning to the term of address that person wanted, which fitted rather too well with their niche.

I hate this

Dave Duggins wrote:
"Dear Hiring Manager"

Jacqueline Pittenger wrote:

In general, there's no need to use any sort of salutation or title. Jump right into your cover letter without wasting a line on "Dear Sir" or "To whom it may concern" - that stuff was invented to make sure the right person was reading the letter and that's not an issue here. As an added bonus, skipping the salutation means more of the real content of your letter will have room to show in the client's short preview in the applicant list.

For message/chat/call greetings it's not hard to be polite in a gender neutral way. "Hello, pleased to meet you." or something like "Good afternoon, thank you for taking the time to speak with me." would do nicely.

At the end of my first interview message or near the beginning of an interview chat/call I would usually use, "How would you prefer me to address you? You can call me Jacqui."

I don't use any, unless I know the name.

Hey You...

Sometimes, it's so tempting to write a one liner, like:

" Hey You! You've got a need, I've got the skills. "

You can see the client's name in the right side bar of a job post when you get this invite and sometimes, you don't. When I'm in the mood, I would Google their names and check out their Linkedin profiles before I accept or decline a project. Smile

Hahah! This is funny.

Hahah! This is funny. Laughing out loud

<3 Skrillex


Well, I think the situation is quite unbalanced...

i.e. : clients know your name or at least your first name (which sometimes appears to be detrimental due to certain prejudices one may have against certain groups, independently of one's origins: here we are speaking about something universally shared), quite often if not most of the time, as a contractor you have no idea about the client ID, thus you find yourself in an unequal position. Not that I have any kind of prejudice, but I can't ignore that the opposite isn't always true.

So honestly, I think it's unfair for contractors: either everybody is subject to the same rules regarding this ID matter, or use of screen names should be allowed for contractors.

duplicate, sorry...have to

duplicate, sorry...have to solve this issue.

Dave, here's another tip to

Dave, here's another tip to get over the lack of name: Look at the feedback received by the client for past hires. In many cases, you'll find a name there. It not only solves the salutation issue, it earns you extra points for being detail oriented Smile

If the client is new or you can't find a name to use in the work history, you could go with a simple Hello/Hi. Getting right down to business also makes sense as you can use the ever important first couple of lines to grab the client's attention.

Hope this helps!

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...

I used to have exactly the

I used to have exactly the same problem and I used various things like: Hi, Hello, Dear Sir, etc. Then I just started to skip all the pleasantries and get down right to the business. And client responses increased. I'm guessing that because the client only sees first two or three lines of your cover letter and if they are filled with "Dear Sir/Madam/whoever. Allow me to present my self ...", they don't see anything useful.
I always try to write cover letter in such a way that the first three lines contain the most important questions or something specific about their specific job, so they know that I have read everything and/or do some basic research.

Also, in cover letter, I very rarely write Regards, Kind Regards, etc, but I do start using both greetings when we start to talk, so my next message to the same client already contains "Hi [his/hers name]." and "(Best) Regards, [my name]".