Standard letter format back when people pounded on manual typewriters required both the company’s physical address and your return address at the top of a letter. That made a lot of sense at a time when you couldn’t copy and paste or simply hit reply on an email.
But does it still make sense today to include the company’s address or even your own?
Below we will look at:
- Does my cover letter need the company’s address?
- Does my cover letter need my address?
- What does my cover letter need?
Does my cover letter need the company’s address?
When you use a cover letter template, it may suggest that you include the physical address of the company you are applying to. Does that mean you must type it in? No. If you do add the building site, will it hurt your application? Again, no. It can’t hurt to err on the side of formality.
But let’s look at the reasons not to use the company’s physical address. If it’s a big corporation, it has many addresses and you may be limiting where the HR department thinks you want to work by listing a specific site. You are also introducing a place for an error. For instance, if you include an address that the company no longer uses or is just a warehouse or server location, it looks as though you haven’t done your homework.
Another consideration is the use of the valuable real estate within your letter. Depending on the layout of your cover letter, the address may also be a waste of space you could be using to add that one last sentence that could tip the scales in your favor.
The bottom line: There’s no compelling reason to put the company’s address on your letter. Cover letters without addresses will not be penalized and adding an address introduces room for an unforced error.
Does my cover letter need my address?
You may be wondering, “So, do I put my address on my cover letter?” Listing your address is a bit different from putting the company address on your letter, but not as much as you think. Again, it won’t hurt you to include your full street address in your cover letter, but do you need it and what are the downsides?
The first step is to consider what information it conveys to your reader. Does where you live enhance your prospects? It may if it’s important for you to be able to get to work quickly in case of an emergency and you live nearby. On the other hand, your full street address may hurt your chances if you have a long, congested commute.
Consider whether your neighborhood has a reputation—good or bad—and that where you live may predispose a recruiter to make judgements before even reading your letter. The less extraneous information you provide, the more likely your application package will be judged on its merits alone.
Looking to relocate?
If you live in another city or state and the job is not remote or they are looking for local candidates and you list your address, you will have to explain how you are going to make the job work if you receive an offer.
HR and the ATS
Especially if you have a common name, an address will help distinguish your file from another candidate’s and may be necessary when completing online applications. The Applicant Tracking System can be rigid and refuse to allow you to move to the next screen until you fill in all the address boxes. In that case, whether or not you put your address on your cover letter is simply a matter of space, since HR already knows where you live.
What does my cover letter need?
The most important information you can put on your cover letter (aside from the actual written portion—more on that here) is the best way to reach you to schedule an interview. No one is going to snail mail you an invitation to meet with HR. Definitely include:
- Your full name and title
- Your cell phone number
- A professional sounding email address
- Any social media or portfolio URLs
Note that we did not specify your address. Our advice: list your city and state, but only include your house number and street if it adds to your desirability as a candidate.
- So do you put your address on a cover letter? We vote for erring on the side of less is more.
- Leave it out unless you have a very good reason for putting it in.
- And the only good reason is one that will make you look better in the eyes of those who have the power to grant.