To Whom it May Concern,

Guest Blog courtesy of Lauren McAdams of Resume Companion.

If you’ve ever read about how to properly put together a cover letter, you know that most career experts agree that you should never use “To Whom It May Concern” to address someone.

For years, career websites have asserted that using “To Whom It May Concern” is the quickest way to leave a bad first impression and damage your chance of getting an interview offer.

But something doesn’t sound right about the career expert census. Is this simple five-word phrase really as harmful as the experts make it out to be?

To find out the answer, Resume Companion asked over 1,000 hiring managers from all over the United States if coming across “To Whom It May Concern” on a candidate’s cover letter would really impact how they view that candidate.

The results were a shock: over 83 percent of hiring managers polled stated that seeing “To Whom It May Concern” on a cover letter would have little or no impact on their impression of that candidate.

Even more surprising was that hiring managers who are in the prime of their career (between the ages of 30 and 50) cared the least about your cover letter introduction.

In fact, results often differed according to age, gender, or even location. To learn more about what different demographics think of “To Whom It May Concern,” read the full To Whom It May Concern survey and dive into the data here.

We believe jobseekers will be happy to learn that how they address their cover letter isn’t worth stressing over.

Lauren McAdams is a hiring manager, career consultant, and lead writer at Resume Companion. Her career and resume advice has been featured on sites like Forbes, Huffington Post, TechRepublic, Harvard Business Review, and Ladders.