5 biggest cover letter mistakes
If you think of a cover letter as an elevator pitch in writing, you’ve got roughly thirty seconds to capture a hiring manager’s attention, introduce yourself and your key attributes and hook this gatekeeper on the value you can bring to his or her organization. This is no place for careless mistakes, as a well-crafted document can help to greenlight an interview, while a poorly drafted communication can shut you out on the spot.
To help you stay in the game within the competitive hospitality job market, read on for top mistakes to avoid, so you can pull off a winning cover letter that will help get you in an employer’s door.
1. Sloppiness will sink you. At any career stage, there’s no excuse for grammatical and spelling errors. While computer spellcheck features are helpful, don’t rely on them. Proof your letter yourself and have one or two other competent friends or business associates lend a fresh pair of eyes over your copy to catch any unnecessary, easy-to-fix mistakes.
2. Cookie cutters are for the kitchen. In the hospitality industry, employers value customer service above all, so if you’re applying to jobs outside of this sector too, you’ll need to create separate CV’s for positions you’re applying to. Employers want to trust that you’ve researched their organization and are applying to them for specific reasons over others. Decision makers don’t want a generic pitch. Take time to do your homework on the firm, its reputation and the position you’re seeking.
3. Don’t repeat your resume. Replicating or recapping your resume highlights is a waste of time for whomever is reviewing your application. Cover letters are valuable opportunities to tell more of your story – and one that relates to your interest in an employer. Use it as a tool to elaborate on your unique qualifications, skills, and achievements and how and why such experience will integrate well with a company’s values and mission.
4. Avoid a shifty impression. If you’re applying to a job outside of your core competencies, or which breaks from your career history, relay and play up transferrable skills. For example, if you’re a concierge and are seeking a job in food and beverage, focus on your customer service and communication strengths. If you speak another language, or boast other prized abilities in this sector, this is the place to convey them.
5. Don’t fail to own the part. If you’re seeking to move up to a higher role or management spot, you need to convey your potential and aptitude for challenges that come with the turf. If you’re ready to notch up the ladder, use your CV to showoff the traits and experience that justify such a move. For example, have you hired, fired or mentored anyone on the job? Succinctly explain why your method for each scenario adds to the company’s bottom line.