Whether you want to run a fine-dining restaurant or manage an international hotel, your journey to your dream career in hospitality starts with an exceptional resume and cover letter.
Now is a great time to get into a long-term career in the hospitality industry. With hotels and restaurants reporting shortages of skilled hospitality professionals in Australia and around the world, your chances of fast promotion have never been better.
With the right training, education and experience all presented expertly, you could be getting that senior manager position you’ve been dreaming of much sooner than you think. With these tips for the perfect hospitality resume and cover letter, you’re already on your way to the top job.
4 tips for the perfect hospitality resume
Less is more
The biggest mistake people make when applying for a job is assuming that the more you write on a resume, the better you look. Actually, it’s about clarity and relevance rather than the sheer amount of jobs you’ve worked: think quality over quantity.
- Keep it limited to two pages maximum.
- Only include work experience from within the last five years.
- Only include work experience relevant to the position: if you’re applying for a restaurant manager role, you don’t need to list early career experience working as a busser, for example.
- Keep each work experience listing to just a job title with bullet points outlining a few key responsibilities or achievements, don’t list everything you did.
Design is everything
The layout and design of your resume needs to be eye catching, clean, sophisticated and clear. The document needs to start with your personal information and summary section. This can be a little creative. Keep it toned down, but include one or two eye-catching features, such as your professional photo or a stylish colour-blocked sidebar or summary section like the one used in this excellent hospitality resume sample.
List your work experience, education, skills and training in clearly defined separate sections, each working backwards in time. Bullet points, graphics and gridded layout templates are your friends; use them, instead of just listing dot points down an A4 page.
Write a fantastic summary statement at the top
Your summary needs to encapsulate who you are professionally and where you want to go in just one or two sentences. It needs to reflect ambition and confidence in your role, and it’s a great way of becoming the professional you want to be. For example:
“Jane Smith is a Hotel Manager with over a decade of experience across luxury brands around the world. A passionate innovator, she excels at strategies for improving customer experience and has led progress across every role.”
Check out some more examples of hospitality summary statements here.
Tailor the resume to the position
When you’re applying for lots of hospitality jobs, it may be tempting to just create one uniform resume and send it to every application. That may be fine for an entry level job, but if you’re trying to get the senior career of your dreams it would be a mistake.
The HR staff reading the resume are looking for the right person for the role. No matter how great your resume is, if your experience doesn’t match their position then you’re not going to be a good fit. However, many of us in hospitality work across a variety of roles and areas as we progress in our career, and you could probably take your career in several directions if you choose. Read the job description carefully, and speak to each requirement.
Think of your resume not as concrete, but as a fluid document that you can add and subtract from according to the job description. Or, have several resumes on file, each tailored to a different role, sector or area. Make sure that you alter your summary statement and work experience section to include or exclude information according to the job you’re aiming to get.
4 tips for the perfect hospitality cover letter
Start with a good opener
The opening paragraph of your cover letter is what catches the reader and either draws them in or not, so make sure it’s good. Do some research about the company you’re applying to work at before you do this, and think about how you genuinely gel with their brand. This opener should:
- Introduce you and your current title
- Say specifically why you want the job and what motivates you to work in the industry
- Say something positive about their company and why you want to work for the brand
- Demonstrate passion and ambition
Sell key achievements… don’t copy and paste your resume
In the next section of the letter, list a few of your strengths and key achievements of your career so far that are relevant to the position as short paragraphs. But don’t just copy and paste from your resume; the cover letter has to tell a specific story, and it has to back that story up with evidence. For example:
“I have worked as a Junior Manager at Boutique Hotels Brand for the past four years, overseeing a team of eight staff. During my time there, I oversaw a new check-in process and implemented changes to our customer service approach that led to a 35% increase in positive customer feedback - an achievement I’m personally very proud of. Customer experience has always been my passion, so being able to improve it so dramatically was very satisfying to me. Now, I feel I’m ready to step up into a more senior role, and I believe that this role is perfectly suited to my customer service focus.”
Your aim is to use these paragraphs to communicate the overall feeling that you are the right person for this role, not just writing a list of selling points. So, don’t just reproduce the list of work experience from your resume that the reader can see anyway. You can see some examples here.
Include relevant information that you couldn’t list in your resume
Are there gaps in your resume because you had a child or decided to focus solely on study? Did you move around several times and that’s why you’ve had so many positions in the last few years? Did your last employer go bankrupt and layoff all their workers during the pandemic? Now is your time to explain anything on your resume that might otherwise be perceived as a red flag for potential employers.
Keep it simple, professional, and compelling but succinct
Each word has to be included in your cover letter for a good reason. Proofread and edit your cover letter, and then edit it again. Try and keep a good balance of personal, passionate and professional; tone is very important. You don’t want to be a robot, but you also don’t want to gush or ramble about how you’ve loved hotels since the first time you stayed in one in Paris back in 2004, which had great service although the food was terrible. Check out this example of a hospitality cover letter from Indeed, which presents a good balance of enthusiasm and professionalism.
Thinking of a career in hospitality? You could sprint straight into the top jobs with the right training and education.