The writing style of a cover letter will differ depending on different scenarios.
October 17, 2013
One size does NOT fit all when it comes to cover letters. The purpose of the cover letter is still the same -- to get someone to read your resume and call you for an interview – but the type of document will change depending on different scenarios. There is an enormous difference between the approach in the cover letter for a job seeker with a personal connection and the more formal cover letter applying to a posted job where the document will be read by the HR department or a recruiter.
Certain elements are standard to all cover letters, says recruiter Peter Shrive of Cambridge Management Planning:
According to Shrive, a comment like “I’ve sold 50,000 bottles of wine in my 10-year career as a wine steward” or “I increased wine sales by 20% in my last position” will make an HR person take notice of your cover letter and want to know more about you. Then you should state clearly how your hospitality career aligns with the position being offered.
“Be sure to refer specifically to how you know this person,” Shrive advises. “Don’t assume they’ll remember who you are.”
Let’s say you’ve met someone who works at a hotel where you’re applying for a front desk clerk position, and that person has agreed to act as an introduction. State up front in your letter: “George Johnson, a manager at your hotel, mentioned me to you last week, and you agreed to meet with me next Tuesday.” The personal connection cover letter always requires a specific reminder of who you are and what the connection is. Never assume your prospective employer knows who you are without jogging his or her memory.
This cover letter, designed to be read by recruiters and HR departments, is a much more formal document, stating up front the job posting information, including number and the specifics of the posting. For instance…Job Listing #218, Hotel Front Desk Clerk for a small facility, responsible for greeting and signing in guests. Job requires customer service skills and organizational abilities.
From there, an effective cover letter will state how your skills match the criteria in the job posting, such as: “As front of the house manager at Red Rooster Restaurant, I was responsible for greeting and seating guests as well as handling the reservations for lunch and dinner.”
The personal touch is making a comeback, especially in Europe, where it’s not uncommon for job seekers to send in handwritten cover letters, sometimes accompanied by photos. In an increasingly electronic era, what could be more original than the old-fashioned approach where everything old is new again?
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Related Hospitality Career Articles:
• Cover Letter Boot Camp: What You Need to Prepare for the Writing Process
• Cracking the HR Code: Pack Your Resume with Keywords that Recruiters Notice
• 5 Golden Rules of Job Reference Etiquette