How to Write a Great Cover Letter

For Everyone | 11 November 2018

A stand-out cover letter can set you apart from the competition and give the hiring manager an insight into you that your CV can’t make room for. Here’s our list of top tips to make yours tip top…

Tailor it. Write about how your experience, style or strengths fit the business you’re applying to join. If you don’t already know the business well, pay one of their cafes a visit. Who knows, you might even find the place a conducive environment to start writing. If you can’t visit a cafe, visit their website and social media channels instead.

Whatever you do, at least get the business name right. We’ve read too many cover letters in which the applicant has accidentally left the name of another business in the body of the letter or misspelled the business name. It results in an immediate move to the ‘No Pile’ – don’t do it.

Keep it short and succinct, half a page is enough. Do this by avoiding the obvious and the clichés, focus on what makes you exceptional.

Talk about your strengths: what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at doing and what you do often. If you’re applying for a more senior position, talk about results too – whether that be achieving great staff retention, making an inordinately high number of quality coffees per day, or demonstrating an increase in sales – talk the language of the hiring manager.

If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager (and a quick Google search isn’t helping), don’t write “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sirs”. Instead, opt for “Dear [business name]” or just dive right into the body of the letter instead.

Keep your tone and approach professional, but don’t be afraid to use a little informality. Most coffee shops will be looking for a friendly new hire and your cover letter is a great opportunity to demonstrate that.

Don’t send/upload your cover letter as a word document. Save it as a pdf with a relevant file name. It takes 15 seconds and immediately professionalises your letter (removing the risk of formatting going askew and the spelling and grammar check lines).

Spell and grammar check it. If this isn’t your forte, then ask a pal to look over it.

Still looking for tips?

We followed up by asking a few hiring managers in the UK cafe scene for their quick fire dos and don’ts when it comes to cover letters:


  • Make sure you mention the business by name and what attracted you specifically to this role - even better if you’ve been to the cafe in question!
  • Address what the job description is asking for - specifically mention the responsibilities outlined
  • Highlight what you can do for the business, spend less time writing about what you want
  • Use a friendly tone - this can help demonstrate you’ll be a good cultural fit for a cafe environment
  • Be concise, proof read, spell check and punctuate properly
  • Keep your letter formatting simple and legible; excessive formatting can be a 👎
  • Send your letter (and CV) as a PDF, not a Word Doc file


  • Get the company name wrong…
  • Get the company name wrong… (yep, it does happen, so we put this in twice)
  • Rewrite your CV as a life-story
  • Attach a pouting selfie; it’s irrelevant to your experience
  • Waffle or write too much; hiring managers won’t spend long on your letter so keep it concise
  • Rush it. An extra hour on double checking and proofreading could make all the difference, and an hour is not likely to lose you the opportunity…
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