Perhaps you’re looking for a new place with fewer "clopen" shifts or a change to your current landscape; regardless of the catalyst, you know that you’re ready to put yourself out there to move forward along your career path! Assuming you’ve already updated your Culinary Agents’ Profile (click here for help if it needs some work); there is one last – and to some, maybe the toughest – hurdle to get over, the Cover Letter. Here are some pointers to help prevent writer’s block and get you on the road to submitting your best application yet.
Don’t Repeat Your Resume
Your cover letter should describe in more detail the highlights and accomplishments of your previous job experience that you weren’t able to squeeze onto the single page of bullet-points known as your resume. With a cover letter, you have the freedom to use full sentences, telling the story of why and how you’re the perfect candidate for the company and role for which you’re applying.
Keep It Short and Professional
Avoid getting carried away, instead keep it concise. As a best practice, err on the side of brevity, being as succint as possible. Always start with a professional greeting, using the the hiring manager's name to show that your cover letter isn’t a simple “copy-paste” version from your last job application. (If you are not able to find the person's name, try “Dear Senior Hiring Manager” or “Hello Culinary Department Director”.) Then make each sentence count and remember that writing out a few drafts beforehand is all part of the process.
Find Your Focus
The job description will tell you what the hiring manager is looking for and the areas to focus on in your cover letter. Understand the qualities the employer seeks for the role and then provide examples of how you embody them. For example, if a new restaurant is opening from Michelin-Starred executives, perhaps highlight your previous fine dining experience and how you are able to maintain your composure in a high volume atmosphere.
Make It About the Business
Once you have articulated how you are able to fulfill the essential requirements of the job, flesh out your cover letter with how your unique talents will add to the success of the business. Make it clear how you can help make the manager’s day easier to improve your chances of getting a response and the opportunity to meet them in-person, where you can really shine.
Close with Confidence
Now that you’ve grabbed their attention, explaining how your previous experience matches what they are looking for, it’s time to bring it home. Be confident and cordial, and always include your contact information within the closing.
I look forward to hearing from you about this exciting opportunity. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
[First Name Last Name]
Edit, Proofread, Repeat
Spellcheck, give your cover letter to a friend to check over, have your computer read it back to you, or drop the text into an app like Grammarly.com to give your letter a once-over and explore suggested edits on how it can be improved. Then read it again.... and again.
Pro-tip: Use a program like Word or Pages to draft your cover letter so that you can easily make edits, utilize the spellchecking and grammar tools and save the file for future updates.
Submit as a PDF or Plain Text
While not all computers are able to easily open a Microsoft Word Doc (.docx) or a Pages File (.pages), the vast majority are able to read a PDF without any conversion needed. Save both your Cover Letter and Resume as PDFs. If you are submitting your cover letter via an online platform (e.g., CulinaryAgents.com), copy and paste the Cover Letter into the messaging portion of the application, then double check that the formatting is correct before sending!