Do You Need to Include the Company’s Address (or Yours) on a Cover Letter?
It seems to be common practice to include the company’s address on a cover letter… but do you really need to? Actually, no. Here’s an expert guide on how to write a cover letter without a company address to save valuable space.
By: Katelyn Skye Bennett | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
Why is abbreviated such a long word? Why isn’t phonetic spelled the way it sounds? And why, oh why, is it common practice to include the company’s address in the heading of a cover letter?
Cover letter templates typically show the intended company’s full physical address (sometimes after the applicant’s full physical address), with each address item on a new line. This takes up at least a third of the page before getting to the actual letter.
But why? In a world where cover letters are submitted via email or directly uploaded to online applications, why is this still necessary?
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Here at Let’s Eat, Grandma, we don’t actually believe you need to put the company address on a cover letter anymore. Just like on your resume, your street address doesn’t belong on your cover letter, and neither does your recipient’s. The company’s address is not going to hurt you if you do include it, but there’s really no point since you aren’t sending it by snail mail. It will just take up space, and the formality doesn’t carry any real meaning.
Back in 2012, Forbes wrote about changing formats and the importance of concision in the midst of changing norms about cover letters. They caught the gist of this issue almost a decade ago by pointing out the importance of the content over the format. Your reader cares about what’s in your cover letter, not about an arbitrary formality like telling them where they’re located.
When it comes to your contact information, your phone and email will be listed in your header or perhaps under your signature, so there’s no need to write them out again in a huge block before the body of your letter. The company will know how to reach you. Since we recommend using the same header from your resume for your cover letter, your city location will be listed there too so they can tell if you’re local — that’s the only physical location they’ll need from you.
Still not convinced that you submit your cover letter without the company address, though? Maybe you’re still thinking, “Better safe than sorry.” Fair enough, but let’s break it down a little further:
Pros of listing the company’s address on a cover letter:
If you want to play it super safe, go ahead. They won’t reject you for it.
Cons of listing the company’s address:
—Unnecessary information in our virtual age
You’re likely submitting your application online rather than to their physical address. Have you ever actually mailed a cover letter as a physical letter to a company in the last 20 years? If you have, you won’t need to for your next application; if nothing else, the company may be remote at this point, not operating out of its mailing address as it did in pre-COVID years. Either way, you’re going to be submitting the application electronically, and they know their own location.
Etiquette evolves with time. This aspect of cover letters hasn’t been much discussed in the public realm, unlike the development of applicant tracking systems, but the times have still changed.
Companies may have thought that including their address at the top of a cover letter was a polite formality in times past, but it’s difficult to imagine a recruiter today thinking, “Oh, they didn’t include our address? What an uncultured buffoon! No one with these improper manners will set foot in my establishment!”
—Waste of space compared to the body of the letter
The body is the part that matters, since it’s where you introduce yourself to the employer and elaborate on why you’re a good fit for the job. Your vivid examples and compelling, perhaps transferable skill sets look best within half to three-quarters of a page. Wasting space with the company’s address on multiple lines in your cover letter limits you and gives you less space to express yourself.
Including the company’s address in the cover letter may not be a major turn-off compared to having a sloppy body, using an unprofessional email address, or not including a cover letter at all. But it’s simply unnecessary at best, and a waste of precious space at the worst.
If you do decide to add the company’s address, don’t let it take up more space than it needs. Condense it into one line like so:
As you have your header with your contact information and city, you don’t need to write out your address — or theirs. Write your next cover letter without the company address or yours, and you’ll have so much more room for the stories, values, and personal voice that will actually help you get hired.
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