Writing job applications can be intimidating, particularly if you haven’t had to write one in a while, or you really want the gig.
You might already have your CV sorted, but what about the cover letter? How should you set it out, and what do you need to tell a potential employer?
You know you’re a great fit for the job – but how do you show that to the person reading your application? Listen up.
Remember the Basics
No matter what industry you’re in, there are a few simple rules to follow when writing up the perfect cover letter. Firstly, looks do matter in this situation! Make sure you set up your cover letter to look professional and simple, with nothing too over the top – potential employers generally don’t want to see letters with rainbow text or cat pictures placed throughout.
A general rule of thumb is to place your personal details in the top right hand corner: name, email address, phone number and then begin the letter addressed to the manager or company you are applying to. Keep the text black and in a standard font, and try to keep the letter to no more than a page unless otherwise suggested in the application outline.
Do Your Research
It can be daunting to know where to start when you sit down to write a cover letter, which is why doing your research is so important. You may only have the name of the company that you’re applying to, but there’s so much you can discover just by searching for that name. Do a quick Google, see if the venue or company has a Facebook page or other social media, and get a feel for the place.
This will help you establish what kind of person the venue might be looking for: is it a fine dining restaurant, a standard pub, a quirky cafe? Each type of venue will be looking for a person with different skills: for example, a fine dining establishment might be looking for someone who is well-presented with a great knowledge of extensive wine lists. Use your research to formulate your language and discussion within the cover letter.
The cover letter is the part of your job application where you get to be a little cocky. It’s where you show your future boss why you’re great for the job, what skills you can bring to the table, how your past experience drives you, and why you think you would be a good fit for the company. So don’t sell yourself short, and make sure you really back yourself in the contents of your cover letter.
If you’ve been working in hospitality for a while, your resume may be a little lengthy. So, before you go and mention every single restaurant you have worked at or every single skill you’ve picked up, think about which roles you enjoyed most, and why. Those are the positions to focus on: managers will be able to tell if you are genuinely enthusiastic and confident. Make sure you relate your roles elsewhere back to the role on offer, and how your experience will make you a valuable team member.
Skill Sets and Standouts
No matter what type of job you’re applying for, there are a number of skills that are sought after across the hospitality industry.
The ability to communicate positively and effectively is a huge drawcard for potential employers; managers want to know that you will be able to work easily with a team and operate well within a customer service environment.
Being able to work well under pressure and juggle priorities is another: hospitality venues are usually fast-paced environments, and each day or night can hold different pressures.
It’s also a great idea to flaunt anything that might make you stand out from the rest. Have you done any extra training or courses that have enhanced your abilities? Have you worked overseas, or for a prestigious or well-known venue? Have you faced a particularly tricky situation in a venue and solved the problem with finesse? Think about what could make you sound unique in the eyes of a manager or owner, and roll with it.
Edit, Edit, Edit!
You’ve introduced yourself, discussed your background and what you could bring to the company, and discussed what makes you stand out. You’ve signed off politely, and everything is looking good – but you’re not quite done yet!
One of the biggest mistakes that job applicants make is not going through their resumes and cover letters and making sure there aren’t any glaring errors or oddly structured sentences. And, if you’re writing lots of job applications at the same time, make sure you’ve got the right company, manager name and address in there before you send it off – because there’s nothing more embarrassing than looking like you haven’t paid attention to detail.
Okay, we promise, you’re done now. Take one more quick look, make sure you hit save, and then send it on through. Good luck!
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