If you’re in need of a summer job, part-time work, quick cash or even a new career, there are few better options than waitressing. These positions allow for flexible or evening hours, on-the-job training and plenty of social interaction. If you're looking for a job like this, an outstanding waitress cover letter is a great place to start.
The best waitressing positions can be quite competitive. You’ll need to show off your relevant experience, top skills and shining personality to catch the hiring manager’s attention and make a great first impression.
Luckily, this doesn’t have to be difficult. A great cover letter can put you miles ahead of other candidates and give you an advantage even if you have little to no work experience.
With Resume.io’s arsenal of tools, samples and writing guides, you’ll be able to create an excellent cover letter for any server position with ease. This guide will:
- Explain the unique role of the cover letter in helping you land your dream job
- Offer free samples to use as models
- Explore writing tips for each of the essential cover letter sections
- Highlight the most important skills for first-time job seekers for wait staff positions
Waitress cover letter general info
If you’re applying for your first summer job or if it’s been a while since you changed positions, it’s a good idea to first understand what exactly a great cover letter entails.
A cover letter is a one-page document, roughly 200 to 400 words, that accompanies your resume to expand on your most relevant experience and explain why you’re an excellent candidate for the position.
As you might have noticed, a resume’s structure is rather rigid. While it’s perfect for conveying dates, names and degrees, it doesn’t offer much to show off your communication skills. That’s where your cover letter comes in.
Also known as an application letter, this document allows you to make a personal connection with an employer and highlight your greatest achievements that might have slipped under the radar on your resume. No wonder a cover letter is one of the most requested application materials.
What if the waitress job description doesn't require a cover letter?
Hiring in the food service industry is quite often an informal affair. Some restaurants even skip the online application process common in other industries and favor emailed or physical applications instead.
You’ll likely run into a situation where an application or hiring manager forgets to mention whether a cover letter is necessary. So should you write one?
While other applicants might think this is an easy way to save themselves some time and effort, they are likely just prolonging their job search. A cover letter is one of the best ways to convince a hiring manager they should take a chance on you – especially if you have no previous connection to the restaurant or no previous waitressing experience.
The small time investment in writing a thoughtful cover letter can pay off big-time when you land your dream position. That’s why, unless a job description asks you NOT to, it’s always a good idea to submit a cover letter with every application.
The job search is all about strategy. While there’s no one thing you can do to guarantee success, there are many steps you can take to maximize your chances. Writing a great cover letter is one of them.
That’s because this document allows you to show off what makes you stand apart and convince an employer that you’re the right choice for their restaurant. One of the best ways to do this is with short anecdotes that showcase how you handled challenges on previous jobs.
One of the greatest advantages of waitress positions is that many of the skills can be learned on the job. Even if you have no previous experience, highlighting customer service skills, a personable approach and a strong work ethic can often be enough to catch a hiring manager’s attention.
Before you submit your cover letter, tailor it.
If there’s one tip that can make the difference between a mediocre cover letter and one that leads to a job, it’s this: Make sure to tailor your cover letter to each restaurant you apply to.
Tailoring your cover letter means adjusting it to include the most relevant samples and achievements for each specific position. For example, a fine dining Japanese restaurant might be much more concerned with your attention to detail and presentation than a family-style diner more focused on efficiency and a cheery disposition.
While it might take a few minutes to swap out some of your text, this simple step will pay dividends when the employer notices you’ve taken the time to explain why their restaurant interests you and why you’re the right fit.
Targeting other jobs in the hospitality & catering industry? Check out these other related cover letter samples for more inspiration.
- Hospitality cover letter sample
- Barista cover letter sample
- Restaurant cover letter sample
- Chef cover letter sample
- Cleaning job cover letter sample
- Bartender cover letter sample
- Starbucks cover letter sample
- Server cover letter sample
- Hotel Receptionist cover letter sample
- Travel Agent cover letter sample
- Restaurant Manager cover letter sample
- McDonald's cover letter sample
- Pastry Chef cover letter sample
Waitress application letter format, writing samples
While cover letter content is much more flexible than a resume, that doesn’t make this document completely structureless. In this section, we’ll break down the best cover letter format for most positions and industries.
Here are the key components:
- The cover letter header
- The greeting
- The letter introduction
- The letter body
- The conclusion
- The signature
For more guidance and writing samples, check out our overall guide on cover letters.
Cover letter header
Your cover letter header is one of the best places to grab a hiring manager’s attention and align yourself with the restaurant’s branding. The purpose of this section is twofold. The header’s first job is to identify your document and keep your name, phone number and other contact details right at the restaurant manager’s fingertips.
The second goal of your header is to create attractive formatting that makes your application stand out. Since this is one of the few places you’ll be able to add color and other design flourishes, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on what type of image those choices present.
The goal of this section: Make your name and essential information easy for a hiring manager to spot, and create attractive formatting that presents an appropriate image.
Align document styles
One of the best things you can do to take your application to the next level is to align the document styles of your resume and cover letter. This simple step helps you to create a “personal brand” – a visual stamp that identifies your materials as belonging to you and helps you stand out in the hiring manager’s mind.
Aligning your document styles doesn’t have to be difficult. Resume.io’s variety of resume and cover letter templates can make this process as easy as a few clicks. Plus, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of styles that help you fit in with the restaurant’s image. For examples, fun colors and a bold header font might work great for a trendy taco spot, while a neutral color palette is likely to be appreciated in fine dining establishments.
Cover letter greeting
Your cover letter greeting is a small but powerful element. This is where you’ll have the best chance of making a personal connection by addressing the letter recipient by name. Make sure to choose the greeting that is most appropriate based on your level of familiarity with the employer. “Dear” followed by the correct salutation and the restaurant owner or hiring manager’s last name works well for most formal situations. You may also opt for “Hi” or “Hello” or even a first name if you already have a relationship with your prospective employer.
The goal of this section: Address the restaurant manager or owner by name to create a personal connection and a polite, respectful tone.
Dear Ms. Overton,
The importance of using actual names in greetings
As a waitress, you’re probably already familiar with the power of names. Remembering customers' names and giving them yours can quickly establish a rapport that keeps diners coming in the door. Not every restaurant has that vibe, but those that do use it as an amazing tool for a positive emotional connection that keeps everyone happy.
In fact, the positive effects of using names have been well-documented by science: studies have shown an actual neurochemical response in the brain to reading or hearing our own names. You can also use this tactic to your advantage in your cover letter. By addressing the restaurant manager or owner by name (usually the last name), you show interest in the position and a willingness to go a step further than other candidates.
If you don’t know who handles hiring for the restaurant and there’s no way to find out, you still have some options. A collective noun is likely your best choice – “Dear (Restaurant Name) Team” or “Hello (Restaurant Name) Family” could work well, depending on the establishment.
Cover letter introduction
Your cover letter introduction is the place to make a statement – as long as it’s a professional one! This is where you’ll want to make a great first impression with a relevant fact, relatable anecdote or exciting personal statement. You’ll want to show off your sparkling personality right from the start, while making sure to address the most important skills for the job. Remember, restaurant managers are busy people – so make your introduction worth their time.
The goal of this section: Introduce yourself in an attention-grabbing way by using a personal statement, relevant fact or interesting anecdote that leads into the body of your letter.
Working as a waitress at my parents’ Italian restaurant during my teenage years taught me how efficiency and attitude combine to create a warm and authentic dining experience.
Cover letter body
Your cover letter body is the biggest section of your document, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. This is where you’ll dive into all your most relevant achievements, personality traits and the qualities that set you apart. To simplify the writing process, you can divide this section into two parts.
In the first, try using the STAR method to describe a Situation you faced in the past, the Task required of you, the Action you took and the ensuing positive Result. Make sure to choose examples that are most relevant for the type of restaurant and work you’ll be doing.
In the second section, you can discuss your top skills and possible contributions to the potential position to allow the employer to envision you in the role.
The goal of this section: Use the STAR method to detail your most interesting and relevant experiences and achievements, and discuss your potential contributions to the restaurant you're targeting.
I quickly understood that by being present for the diners I could sense when someone wanted to make a different menu choice, was unsure about their wine selection or just wanted to have a friendly chat. For some, speed and efficiency were paramount, especially at lunchtime, but others wanted a little more interaction in their dining experience. My Italian heritage gives me a naturally warm disposition, something that I know fits in with your core values.
I am applying for the part-time waitressing role to complement my hospitality studies, but I am most interested in participating in your renowned training program and learning from some of your award-winning leaders. Hospitality is an industry that is best learned in front of customers, and I hope that my passion and drive to improve will be an asset to you.
Thanks to my traditional Italian upbringing, my knowledge of food and wine combinations is unsurpassed, and I may even be able to contribute a little in terms of product knowledge for my colleagues. I am a committed collaborator and know that every employee is part of the “kitchen.” I have been used to working under pressure since I was 14 years old and I always retain a cheerful and calm demeanor, no matter what the situation.
Cover letter conclusion and signature
You’re in the home stretch. All that’s left to do is close out your cover letter in a polite and positive way. A call to action does just that. This sentence expresses your enthusiasm for the position and invites the hiring manager to get in touch. You may also leave your contact information here again.
Then, finish the letter with the appropriate signature. “Best,” “Sincerely” or even “Thank you” can all work well depending on your relationship with the employer.
The goal of this section: Create an effective call to action that encourages a restaurant manager to contact you and close out your letter politely and respectfully.
I would welcome the chance to come and work for a shift or two so that you might be able to see me in action. Talking about being a waitress in an interview is difficult. Letting me show you how I send customers away with a smile on their faces is something else entirely.
Cover letter for waitress job with no experience – writing tips
For waitressing positions, there are a few key qualities you’ll want to convey on your cover letter.
- Positive communication skills: A friendly smile and cheery disposition will ensure a pleasant dining experience and plenty of repeat customers. Show off your personality in the tone of your cover letter or with concrete examples of the way your customer service led to increased tips or better reviews for the restaurant.
- Efficiency: Speedy service keeps everyone happy. The quicker food is delivered, the more customers a restaurant can serve in a day. Your cover letter is a great place to show how you take initiative, accurately remember orders and special requests, and work efficiently to improve both the customer experience and the restaurant’s bottom line.
- Attention to detail: As a waitress, you are the authority on the restaurant and its cuisine. That means understanding menu items and being able to quickly describe the soup du jour. You’ll also need to remember custom orders and pay attention to the needs of each table. Your attention to detail keeps customers satisfied but also keeps the restaurant from losing money in terms of food waste.
- Ability to sell: One of the most nuanced parts of serving is mastering the upsell and encouraging customers to order appetizers, drinks and desserts in addition to their main courses. This increases a restaurant’s earnings and – if you’re a tipped employee – yours as well. If you’re new to serving, you won’t be expected to have mastered this yet, but for those with years of experience, this skill can prove invaluable to a potential employer.
How to land a waitress job with no experience
For those without years of experience, a waiter job can be one of the easiest entry-level positions to snag – if you go after your goal with professionalism and determination.
One of the biggest secrets to writing an effective cover letter for any food service position is to answer this simple question: Why do I want to work in this particular restaurant?
While other industries use teams of recruiters and automated systems to filter through hundreds of applications, hiring in restaurants often involves the owner or manager taking the time to read each individual application. On the other end of your cover letter is a real, live person who is genuinely interested to know why you want to work for them.
The best way to answer this question is to be authentic. Go to the restaurant, try the food and notice the aesthetic, the clientele, the menu. Reflect on how and why you’d fit into the picture. Even if you have no experience as a waiter or waitress, your personality traits and transferable skills are valuable.
While you might have to apply to a few restaurants before you land your dream job, just remember this:
According to the National Restaurant Association: 90 percent of restaurant managers started in entry-level positions, as did 80 percent of restaurant owners. One third of all Americans had their first job in a restaurant.
Waitress cover letter format and common mistakes
- Unrelated experiences: Waitressing often makes for great part-time or entry-level work, but you’ll still need a high-quality resume and cover letter to land these positions. Make sure to focus only on experiences that clearly demonstrate transferable skills. These can be paid or volunteer, but they should be relevant to the job you're seeking.
- Unprofessional formatting: Professional formatting immediately sets your application apart and makes a great first impression. On the other hand, sloppy or crowded page design will turn off employers at a glance. Luckily, online tools from Resume.io can make great layouts a breeze.
- Grammar and spelling mistakes: Typos and poor grammar can discourage a restaurant manager from continuing to read your document. These mistakes are easy to avoid, however. Make sure to use spell-check, and ask a friend to proofread your application before you submit.
- Generic cover letters: There’s a million restaurants in the world, so why are you interested in working in this one? That’s the question your cover letter needs to answer with specific experiences and skills tailored for each restaurant that you apply to. The extra time spent crafting a thoughtful cover letter will pay dividends when it catches the restaurant manager’s attention.
- Unless a job posting or hiring manager specifically asks you NOT to include a cover letter, you should include one to increase your chances of catching a hiring manager’s attention.
- As an entry-level candidate with no work experience, it’s important to keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page by focusing on just a handful of relevant skills.
- The trusted cover letter structure will help you keep your document organized and make the writing process easier.
- Waitresses with no experience should tailor their application letters to address why they want to work at that particular restaurant.
- Good visuals are just as important as good writing. Simple, clean templates work great for waitressing positions.
Let our powerful, easy-to-use cover letter tools help you win your next job. Land that interview in no time at all!