Cover letters: are they really that valuable? From executives to job search sites to small business owners, the answer is a resounding “yes!” A cover letter is just as important—if not more important than a resume. Cover letters allow you to show your personality and flare and act as an introduction to your resume. Don’t let yours be a deal-breaker. Here are 5 things we've learnt from reading over 10,000 cover letters:
#1 Grammar, Spelling, and Content
This may go without saying but you should be triple-checking your cover letter to make sure there are no grammar or spelling mistakes, including typos. Your cover letter is a direct representation of yourself, and if it contains grammatical errors this suggests that you’re sloppy and careless. A poorly written cover letter almost guarantees that it will end up in the bin. Don’t let it be a false representation of yourself!
Your cover letter should highlight that you’ve researched the company, should include relevant experience, and should complement your social media presence. Make sure you’ve considered the specifics of the company you’re applying to and pick and choose your skills that match what they’re looking for. Before submitting your cover letter, do a scan of all your social media channels and make sure that you’re sharing the best version of yourself. This means no potentially controversial or inappropriate posts and comments. If you’re not sure, it should probably be taken down.
#2 Addressing the Correct Person
Be specific. Opening your cover letter with a “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” makes it seem like you didn’t put any effort into your application package. Not sure who to address? Google the company you’re applying to work for and seek out the hiring or HR manager.
#3 Relevant Experience and Skills
Make sure that your listed experiences mirror the job description. Again, you want to be specific and show your potential employer that you’ve done your research. Use examples and keep in mind that the goal is to set you apart from the other applicants. Don’t stress about having a long list of skills; it’s better to have an honest representation of yourself rather than over-selling skills and experiences that might not be your strongest.
Aside from highlighting your skills and qualifications, your aim should be proving the hiring manager that you’re worth contacting to learn more. Include relevant skills and experiences only. For example, you probably don’t need to include that babysitting gig from 5 years ago when applying for a bartending position. Above all else, you want to be remembered positively.
Cover letters allow you to expand on your accomplishments listed in your resume. Ensure that you have chosen your achievements deliberately. Consider each skill and experience you have listed. How does it translate into the job you are seeking? Does it showcase your personal experience?
Think all your hospitality cover letters are the same? Think again. You should have multiple versions of cover letters and each one should be catered to each specific job and each specific company you are applying to.
#5 Keep it Short and Sweet
Like a resume, employers often skim over cover letters. Rather than writing a novel, hone in on your strongest skills to catch the hiring manager’s attention without boring them. Make your cover letter personal, specific, and accurate. Think quality over quantity.
Articles published by us are intended to inspire 100,000 people to join the hospitality industry before 2020. We produce content to support professional growth opportunities while providing hospitality operators valuable guidance and solutions to help lead their venues through the skills challenges expected across the hospitality and events industries both in Australia and abroad. Ask us how you can help the industry achieve this target.