How to Write an Unforgettable Cover Letter
Once you've written your resume, writing the cover letter can feel like more of the same. After all, both the resume and cover letter are supposed to persuade the reader that you're the best person for a particular job. However, the cover letter has its own format and covers less ground than the resume. The cover letter provides the highlights, while the resume adds more comprehensive details.
Here are the steps to follow as you draft your letter.
Address your letter to a specific person
Begin your letter with "Dear" followed by the hiring manager's title and last name, such as, "Dear Ms. Smith." If you don't know the name of the person in charge of hiring, call and ask. Try not to guess the person's gender if it's not clear from the name; you can simply ask whether "Mr." "Ms." or another title is appropriate. Hiring managers read a lot of letters that open with "To whom it may concern," and similar generic greetings, so taking the time to call and check on these details helps you stand out from the crowd.
Summarize your "greatest hits"
State the job you're applying for, then devote a couple of paragraphs to highlighting your achievements. Don't expect to fit in everything on your resume; the cover letter shouldn't be a word-for-word repeat of your work history. Instead, talk about a few of your achievements that you're most proud of or that are directly relevant to the job you're applying for. After reading this account, the hiring manager should feel like they want to learn more about you and your qualifications. Think of your resume as a movie and the cover letter as a trailer that shows some of the best clips, but not the entire story.
Although the cover letter shouldn't chronicle your whole career, it should still have a narrative flow that's easy for a reader to understand. You may want to organize the examples from your experience in either chronological or reverse chronological order so that there's a logical progression to your letter. Finish discussing your first example before moving on to the second, and so on. Don't jump back and forth between writing about different past positions, because that might be difficult for the hiring manager to follow.
Highlight "soft skills"
Keep in mind that hospitality employers are looking for professionals who've mastered interpersonal skills like teamwork, leadership, and the ability to relate to guests from diverse backgrounds. If your cover letter emphasizes technical qualifications or revenue figures, add an example of a time you collaborated with someone, mentored someone, or guided a team.
Show you're right for the job
Read over the job description for the role you're applying for, and search for the three or four main ideas. Then, add a few sentences to your cover letter describing how your experiences relate to those main points in the job description. For example, if you're applying for a concierge position, you could say that your experience as a front desk attendant has prepared you to understand guests' needs and coordinate services for them. The goal is to communicate that you understand what the job entails and that you bring skills that are directly applicable to the work.
Close with a call to action
At the end of the letter, thank the hiring manager for reviewing your application. Then, mention the next step in the process. For example, you could say, "I'm looking forward to talking to you and learning more about the opportunity. Please call me to set up an interview." This shows that you genuinely want the job and intend to follow through with your application. It also demonstrates confidence in your ability to advance to the hiring stage.