7 Cover Letter Mistakes To Avoid When Applying Via Email
Get your resume read by avoiding seven email cover letter mistakes.
By Angela Rose for Hcareers.com
Email is now the predominant form of business communication in nearly every industry—including hospitality. In fact, according to The Radicati Group, a technology market research organization, companies around the globe send and receive more than 100 billion emails every day. With online application methods increasing in popularity, it’s safe to assume that some of these inbound messages contain the resumes of hotel and restaurant job seekers. If you want recruiters and hiring managers to take the time to review yours, you’d be wise to ensure you’re not making any of these common email cover letter mistakes.
1. Wasting the email subject line.
A well crafted subject line encourages a recruiter to read the rest of your email rather than delete it without a second thought. Whether you’re applying for a front desk supervisor, executive chef, or bartender job, never leave the subject line blank or merely enter the position number. Instead, create a captivating sentence that is specific to the opportunity at hand. For example, “Formally trained cook seeks pastry chef position with Renaissance Hotel by Marriott.”
2. Attaching your cover letter to the email.
Hotel and restaurant recruiters and hiring managers are busy. The fewer attachments they have to open, the more likely it is that they’ll review your resume. Make it easy for them to determine the benefits you can bring to their organization by including your cover letter as the body of the email.
3. Addressing your cover letter generically.
Never open your cover letter with, “Dear Food and Beverage Director,” “To Whom it May Concern,” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Instead, show the hiring manager that you value the hospitality job opportunity enough to track down his or her name. This is often as simple as calling the hotel or restaurant asking who is in charge of hiring for the position.
4. Providing irrelevant information.
Your cover letter should be brief—no more than three to four short paragraphs at most—and relate directly to the hotel or restaurant’s needs. Don’t waste space detailing skills or experiences that are unrelated to the position for which you are applying. For example, if you are submitting a resume for a housekeeper job, don’t write about the summer you spent improving your knife skills at a soup kitchen.
5. Excluding requested information.
Read the job posting carefully and make note of the details the recruiter or hiring manager has requested. This may include where you completed your education, your hours of availability, or even your salary requirements. Work these items into your cover letter. Failure to follow application instructions when competing for a hospitality job is as damaging to your chances as emailing a cover letter rife with typographical and grammatical errors.
6. Getting creative with formatting.
If you want to make sure your cover letter arrives appearing exactly as you intended it, it’s best to avoid creative formatting and stick to plain text with lines no more than 40 characters long. Choose common fonts (Arial, Courier, Helvetica, or Times New Roman) and avoid wild colors and unusual punctuation. Never include emoticons or abbreviations usually found in text messages.
7. Failing to include key words.
These days, many hotels and restaurants—both large and small—are using applicant-tracking software to screen job seekers. Because you can’t tell from a job posting whether the employer you’re considering is one of them, including skill-oriented keywords in your email cover letter is generally a safe bet. You can pull them from the published job description. For example, if the restaurant floor manager posting states, “Previous upscale restaurant management experience and working knowledge of Open Table and Micros,” you might want to work in “upscale,” “restaurant management,” “Open Table,” and “Micros.”
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About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends, and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.
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