Most know of restaurants as a common place for many workers to start their careers. Whether they find work as a server, busser, host, or line cook, these positions are plentiful perfectly suited to entry-level workers.
However, this commonality can translate into stiffer industry competition than many jobseekers expect. With so many new workers vying for entry-level restaurant work, its best to differentiate yourself from the crowd with not only a stellar resume, but a solid cover letter as well.
Why You Should Write an Entry-level Restaurant Cover Letter:
- Nearly half of all job applicants (45 percent) don't write cover letters at all, so writing one will automatically pull you ahead of a large segment of the competition.
- When deciding between two or more comparable applicants, hiring managers and recruiters may look to a cover letter's contents to tip the scales favor of one or the other. So, if you and another applicant went to the same school and have identical work histories, the quality of your cover letters may determine who gets the gig.
- A major soft skill required of restaurant workers is the ability to communicate effectively, and a cover letter is great way to immediately demonstrate one's ability to do this well.
5 Elements of an Entry-level Restaurant Cover Letter
While the use of a cover letter builder is an easy way to ensure you craft an expertly-composed cover letter, it's still important to be familiar with the essential components of an entry-level restaurant cover letter. Make sure yours includes these five critical sections:
- Personalized Greeting: If you know the hiring, it's a good idea to address your cover letter to them specifically. This shows that you're dedicated enough to do your research. For a restaurant cover letter, if can't find out the name of the hiring manager, address it to the establishment's general manager.
- Engaging Opening Paragraph: Let your first paragraph summarize why you're applying to this particular position at this particular restaurant. Think of this as a mission statement that makes clear to the hiring manager why you are intent on working for them.
- Value-based Second Paragraph: Here's where you'll want to draw a direct line between the job's posted requirements and your own qualifications. Deliver the brief pitch that describes you as the most fitting candidate for the position. This section is meant to hook your reader, so don't hold back in selling yourself.
- Body: The bulk of your restaurant cover letter will be found here. Allow yourself to go into detail about your accomplishments, qualifications, and values. Really drive home why you're the best for the job by letting a list of your myriad achievements do the talking. This can be done in a bulleted list or in short paragraphs. Wherever possible, quantify your achievements by using data and metrics to show the impact your work had.
- Compelling, Summarizing Closing Paragraphs(s): Use this last section to show your prospective boss what kind of employee you'll be by thanking them for reading over your application. Indicate your desire to learn more about the job, and express your excitement at the prospect of a potential interview.
Other Tips for Writing an Entry-level Restaurant Cover Letter
Let this section help you to optimize the ways your restaurant cover letter will complement your resume. Below you'll find a list of what not to do, as well as a helpful tip or two that might boost your chances of being hired.
When deciding between two or more comparable applicants, hiring managers and recruiters may look to a cover letter's contents to tip the scales favor of one or the other. So, if you and another applicant went to the same school and have identical work histories, the quality of your cover letters may determine who gets the gig.
In addition to the advice below, remember that the flexibility of this document can allow you to creatively explain things like: gaps in employment, your decision to change careers, or your willingness to relocate for a position. In short, a great restaurant cover letter should both showcase your personality and articulate essential details that might not fit into your resume.
- Don't just regurgitate your resume. Again, cover letters are meant to be a companion to your resume, as opposed to another version of it. Take advantage of this second opportunity to sell yourself by expanding on your qualifications instead of simply repeating what the recruiter or hiring manager already knows.
- Write in first-person. While you always want to leave the word "I" out of your resume, the cover letter demands a first-person perspective. Don't be afraid of sounding self-absorbed here, as making yourself sound incredible is largely the goal.
- Keep it relevant. Despite the comparatively looser structure of a cover letter, you still want to keep its content focused on landing you the job. Leave out demographic and personal details that might trigger biases of those who would hire you. Alternatively, don't be afraid to mention things like any employee referrals you've received, even if those were already brought up in other areas of your application.
- Only be flashy when appropriate. While you want your cover letter to be visually pleasing, steer clear of overly flashy fonts and borders, and never include photos. Match the style of your cover letter to the industry at hand. In other words, when applying to more traditionally conservative employers like law firms or medical practices, you'll want your cover letter to be clean and conservative. For an idea of what you should shoot for, check out some of our available resume templates.
- Don't mention previous pay. It's an understatement to say salaries or wages are an important aspect of the job hunt, but you'll want to leave mention of salary out of your cover letter. As the discussion of such is supposed to be part of the interview process, it can be seen as rude or presumptuous to bring up pay at such an early stage.
- Use a Cover Letter Builder: If you remain stuck in putting together a satisfactory cover letter, or if you just feel like you need a push in the right direction, take advantage of LiveCareer's excellent cover letter builder. Additionally, if you also need help touching up your entry-level restaurant resume, we've got plenty of advice to help you learn how to write a resume, too.