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Don't be shy about tooting your own horn when you apply for a hotel and restaurant management position. Outgoing employees are a prize catch in this business, but because you're in management, remember to acknowledge the efforts and expertise of the people who report to you. Your application letter must illustrate your level of industry knowledge -- through descriptions of qualifications using the right terminology, but not too much jargon -- and excitement about your field.
Your introduction should clearly state the job you're interested in, but it can't be so mundane that it reads like every other cover letter. Avoid being too gimmicky in your opening lines -- you don't want to turn off the reader before she has a chance to read about your qualifications. You could begin your letter with, "In my 15 years' experience in hotel and restaurant management, I've discovered the recipe for success: Delivering quality customer service, increasing market share quarter after quarter and inspiring enthusiasm among employees are key to my team achieving AAA five-diamond ratings for seven consecutive years."
Showcase Your Qualifications
Working in the hospitality or food and beverage industry takes charisma on top of job skills, industry expertise and on-the-ground work experience. You're either interacting directly with hotel guests and restaurant patrons or you're coaching employees on how to deliver quality service. Either way, these three types of qualifications will assist you in managing any hotel or restaurant property. Your second paragraph must tell the recruiter or hiring manager what you do, how you do it and why. Be creative, but not too long, and describe what you love about the field. Managers in the hotel and restaurant business are business-minded and passionate about customer service.
Focus on the Body
Use two paragraphs for your qualifications and achievements. The second paragraph of your letter gives a brief synopsis of your career and expertise. For example, "My 20-year career in the hotel and restaurant business began as a head waiter for a small, fine-dining establishment. After five years of increasing my skill set, knowledge of wines and growing the clientele, I welcomed the opportunity to manage the restaurant front-of-house operations. Leadership development and hospital industry training prepared me for relocation to manage a larger restaurant within the company's new property, which included a 150-room boutique hotel." The third paragraph of your letter should list your accomplishments, using three to five bullets. Any more than that and you'll lose the reader's attention, plus your letter will look more like a shopping list rather than an application letter. Use numerals and tangible measurements to show you understand that your management skills must improve the hotel and restaurant bottom line. For example, you could include, "Increased market share to over 45 percent, for 3 consecutive years; sustained J.D. Power rankings at 825 and above for 2 years in food and beverage, hotel facilities and guest room factors; and awarded 6 employees with employee-of-the-month awards for exceeding hotel sales revenue by 150 percent each quarter."
Your final paragraph should restate your interest in the hotel and restaurant and comment on its success or presence in the industry, which you learned from researching the company. Also, offer the reader a way to contact you. If you're a take-charge kind of applicant, suggest a face-to-face meeting and indicate what day you'll follow up on your application. Always sign your letter with a respectful closing -- such as, "Very truly yours," or "Sincerely" -- and personal signature.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.