Whether you’re looking for a fun summer job or you’re an experienced server ready to take your career to the next level, jobs in the hospitality industry can offer flexible hours, rewarding work and quick cash. An exceptional hospitality cover letter can open the best doors to your future in this attractive and competitive field.
In restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions, employers are looking for candidates with proven communication skills and the ability to work in a team. Since hospitality jobs make great entry-level positions, you may find that competition for these jobs is steep, regardless of the number of positions available. In order to prove you’re the ideal candidate, you’ll need more than a copy-paste application.
That’s where a great hospitality cover letter comes in. Cover letters can help showcase your personality, perspectives and talents, allowing you to expand on how you go the extra mile for customers.
This hospitality cover letter guide guide will:
- Explain the purpose and impact of a thoughtful, well-organised cover letter
- Highlight the best cover letter format to incorporate all essential components
- Explain how to maximise the impact of each cover letter element: header, greeting, intro, body and conclusion
- Offer expert tips on how to land your dream job even with no hospitality experience
- Help you avoid some of the biggest mistakes made by other hospitality job seekers.
But first, if you haven’t already crafted the perfect CV, check out cvapp.nz’s professional CV templates, general CV writing guide, and hospitality CV examples with profession-specific tips to create the perfect CV.
Remember, the cover letter is the ideal companion to a great CV. Together, they work as a powerful duo to get you hired!
What if the hospitality job application doesn't REQUIRE a cover letter?
You may run into a job application that indicates a cover letter is optional, or fails to mention it at all. Many candidates interpret this as an invitation to take the easy way out and submit an application without a cover letter. In doing so, they directly shoot themselves in the foot on their job search. Boo! Why would you willingly forfeit such an easy increase in chances for success, if all you need to do is spend 30 to 40 minutes with our cover letter builder?
Best format for a hospitality cover letter
A strong sense of organisation is especially important for hospitality management candidates who need to demonstrate clear attention to detail and great communication skills on a daily basis. One way to show an employer your sense of efficiency is by structuring a sophisticated cover letter. Luckily, this format works across all hospitality jobs and positions so writing a great cover letter is a skill that will benefit you for years to come.
Here are the key components:
- The cover letter header
- The greeting or cover letter salutation
- The introduction
- The body paragraphs
- The conclusion
- The conclusion and sign-off
For even more writing tips and an in-depth look at each of these sections, check out our universal guide on cover letters.
Cover letter header
A professional-looking header might seem like an add-on to your hospitality cover letter, but a great header is important!
First, the header helps identify your cover letter and keeps your name, phone number and other personal data at the hiring manager’s fingertips. In large companies (like hotel chains) or hectic businesses (like restaurants), applications can go on quite a journey while being reviewed by hiring managers. Your header ensures that no matter who comes across your application, they know who you are and how to contact you.
The second purpose is to create visually appealing and eye-catching formatting. Hiring managers are often bombarded with dozens of boring, generic cover letters. By using a pop of colour or an interesting design element that’s appropriate for the company and position, you can easily make an otherwise plain sheet of paper stand out as polished and professional.
Align document styles!
One way to ensure your application leaves an impact is by aligning the document styles of your cover letter and CV. This can be done using graphic design software, or more simply, with our cvapp.nz online cover letter builder.
By aligning your headers, you can create a “personal brand” – a look and feel that identifies the documents as uniquely yours and helps a hiring manager remember your application.
The goal of the cover letter header: Display necessary contact information by using interesting, attractive formatting.
Cover letter greeting and introduction
Your cover letter greeting doesn’t need to be long, but it should convey the right tone and help you establish a personal connection with the reader. “Dear” followed by the correct salutation and name of the hiring manager works well for most situations. If you already have a relationship with the employer, you may opt for “Hi,” “Hello” or even a first name instead. This works especially well when submitting your cover letter by email.
The importance of names and addressed greetings
Addressing the hiring manager or cover letter recipient by name is one of the most important things you can do to show a hiring manager you are invested in the position and have put effort into your application. This small gesture can go a long way in helping to establish that human connection that shows you appreciate the time they’re taking to review your application.
In fact, there’s even the science to back up this idea. Research has shown that we have a positive neurological response when someone uses our name.
With some employers, however, it may be nearly impossible to determine who exactly will be reading your letter. In medium to large companies, hiring is often done by an entire human resources team. In that case, you have a few options. You may choose to address the most likely reader plus the company hiring team or you might address a few names. If all else fails, “Dear/Tēnā koe (Company Name) Hiring Team” covers most situations.
The goal of the cover letter greeting: Address the letter recipient by name to establish a personal connection, use the most appropriate greeting based on your level of familiarity with the employer.
Cover letter introduction
The realities of today’s competitive job market often find hiring managers receiving dozens of applicants for any single position. That means a strong first paragraph is vital for hooking an employer’s attention and making sure the effort you put into your application doesn’t go to waste!
Luckily an outstanding introduction can come in the form of an exciting anecdote, interesting fact or relevant statistic. There’s more than one way to start a great cover letter, just make sure to keep the energy high without sacrificing your professionalism. In a few sentences, you’ll want to highlight any relevant professional strengths and motivate the reader to want to learn more about you!
The goal of the cover letter introduction: Catch the reader’s attention with an interesting and relevant story, statistic or fact that leads into the body section.
Dear Mr. Patel,
As a keen lover of both high-quality customer service and Indian food, I am writing to express my interest in the server position at Patel & Prakash as advertised on your website. My name is Oliver Anderson, and I am an Auckland native that would love to work at Patel & Prakash. I am excited about the opportunity to join your team, and to contribute to the excellent service that your restaurant is known for. Thank you for considering my application.
Cover letter body paragraphs
Now you’re ready to dive into the biggest section of your hospitality cover letter, which allows you to expand on your most impressive achievements and milestones. In order to simplify the writing process while still keeping your letter organised, you may choose to divide this section into two subsections.
In the first, you can use the STAR method to highlight relevant contributions in previous positions. Simply describe a Situation, the Task, your Action and the positive Result it created. Make sure to choose only the most relevant examples based on the tasks of your new position.
In the second paragraph, you can discuss the skills you bring and your potential contributions to this position. The advertised job description is a great place to look for insight into which tasks and skills are most important to mention in your cover letter.
No matter where you work in hospitality, there are a few key qualities you’ll want to convey in the middle of your cover letter.
- Communication: It comes as no surprise that good communication skills are the backbone of any job in hospitality. Every position in this service industry requires you to interact with customers and other staff.
- Teamwork: In restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions, no one works alone. Being able to work efficiently and positively on a team is extremely important. Examples of leadership or good collaborative experiences can make for persuasive anecdotes in your cover letter.
- Customer service: How you resolve problems, fix mistakes and treat the clients that make the business run will ultimately determine your success in the hospitality industry. Make sure to highlight examples where you went above and beyond to offer excellent guest service and customer satisfaction.
- Flexibility: Hotels, restaurants and all leisure businesses need staff who can reliably work weekends, nights and even early mornings. Scheduling ease might just make the difference.
The goal of the cover letter body: Use the STAR method to highlight previous successes, and suggest potential contributions to your new workplace.
As a student currently pursuing my Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of Auckland, I am seeking a part-time position that will allow me to gain valuable work experience while accommodating my academic commitments. I have always been drawn to the fast-paced and dynamic nature of the hospitality industry, and working as a server would provide me with the perfect platform to refine my customer service skills and further develop my passion for hospitality.
During my previous work experience in customer-facing roles, I have demonstrated exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to provide outstanding service to a diverse range of customers. I strongly believe that my friendly demeanour, coupled with my fluency in English and proficiency in Te Reo Māori, will enable me to effectively communicate and connect with customers from varying cultural backgrounds.
I am committed to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for guests, ensuring that their dining experience is both enjoyable and memorable. Furthermore, I am a quick learner and thrive in fast-paced environments. I understand the importance of working efficiently as part of a team, especially during peak hours, to ensure that the restaurant operates smoothly. I am confident that my strong work ethic, attention to detail, and ability to multitask will make me a valuable addition to the Patel & Prakash team.
How to conclude a hospitality cover letter
Now that you’ve made the best case for your employment, it’s time to conclude your hospitality cover letter professionally and respectfully. The best way to do this is with a call to action. This sentence expresses your enthusiasm for the position and invites the hiring manager to contact you. Don't hesitate to be hopeful with your concluding thoughts - you want the position, after all.
Then, end your letter with the appropriate signature. “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” “Ngā mihi,” and “Thank you for your consideration” can all work well.
The goal of the cover letter conclusion: Create an effective call to action that encourages a hiring manager to get in touch, and use the appropriate signature to end your letter.
I would welcome the opportunity to further discuss how my skills and passion for hospitality could contribute to Patel & Prakash's continued success. I have attached my CV for your review. I look forward to the possibility of joining your team and contributing to creating memorable dining experiences for your valued customers.
How to land a hospitality job with little or no experience
Jobs in hotels, restaurants and amusement parks make great part time summer gigs and first work experiences because they rely heavily on the soft skills you probably already possess. Employers in these industries know that motivated candidates can quickly learn how to perform the daily tasks – but there are some skills that are harder to teach.
Your cover letter is a great place to convince an employer that you’re the right choice, even if you don't have much customer service or hospitality experience. Instead, try focusing on the qualities that will make you a great employee and team player. Show an employer that you’re motivated to stick around, pay attention and learn the ropes.
You can also benefit from highlighting transferable skills. These can come from after-school activities, leadership roles and even volunteer positions. A positive attitude, teachable spirit and commitment to a job well done are often all you need to get started in entry-level hospitality jobs.
Avoiding basic mistakes in a hospitality cover letter
Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls candidates in the hospitality industry often run into.
- Generic cover letters: Submitting the same general cover letter to each hospitality position may seem like the easiest option, but it likely won’t land you a job. You need to show a recruiter why you’re invested in their company and why you have the right skills for their position.
- Poor formatting: Don’t let sloppy formatting take away from your professional writing. Use our online cvapp.nz builder to make sure you have the right balance of white space to text, with font and colour choices that are appropriate for the company’s tone.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes: Too many typos and grammatical errors can make your entire letter unreadable. With our in-built spell-checker, we make it easy to create memorable professional documents!
- Failure to highlight customer service skills: At the end of the day, managers are looking for candidates who understand their business and have the skills to succeed. Be sure to highlight the most relevant experiences that show how you can use your hospitality skill set to make a difference.
- A cover letter is an essential part of a great application. Don’t skip this step unless a job posting specifically asks you NOT to submit one.
- Tailoring your cover letter with the skills and experiences most relevant to each individual hospitality position is one of the most important things you can do to increase your chances of landing a job. Be sure to read the job description and incorporate keywords where possible!
- Follow the tried-and-true cover letter structure examples we’ve listed in this guide to keep your document organised and professional.
- If you don’t have much hospitality experience, use your cover letter to highlight important soft skills like teachability, reliability and a positive attitude.
- Formatting is an essential part of a professional cover letter. Choose your theme with care. With the cvapp.nz online builder, we make it easier than ever to create professional documents in alignment with your personal brand.
With cvapp.nz you can create a perfect cover letter in no time at all. Turn your cover letter into a powerful tool that increases your chances of getting hired!