A cover letter serves to introduce yourself to prospective massage therapy employers. It mentions the high points of your resume and states the job you wish to apply for. While not every employer may expect a cover letter, including one with your resume makes you appear more professional.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a cover letter is also an opportunity to mention that you have experience in following safety and sanitation protocols for massage therapists—something that normally wouldn’t be mentioned in a resume—but these aren’t normal times we’re living and working in.
Here are some strategies for composing a job-landing cover letter for a massage therapist.
Tip #1: Stand out from the crowd
Louise Fletcher, author of many employment guides and founder of Blue Sky Resumes, advises that you get the employer’s attention with your cover letter by using an opening that will pique their interest about why they would want to hire you.
Then use bullet points to zero in on your skills and accomplishments to further that interest. You want the employer to read your cover letter and think, “Good, this is just the type of person we need working here!”
Your goal is to get a job, and there are other people with the same goal. A good cover letter to go with your resume, compared to the applicant who doesn’t send a cover letter, can seal the deal for you.
Tip #2: Address it to the correct person
If you are responding to an online or newspaper ad, instructions for sending your resume and cover letter will be included.
If you are sending that out “cold,” so to speak, because it’s somewhere you’d like to work, it’s worth making a phone call to the company to find out to whom it should be addressed.
“Ms. Delia Smithwick, Spa Manager,” looks better on the address line than just “Spa Manager.” It also makes it appear that you spent the time and effort to find out the name of the person who will be doing the hiring.
You should check the website of any place you are going to apply. There may be an “Employment Opportunities” link on the site that gives you that information.
Caution: if you are sending out resumes to multiple companies, avoid the mistake of forgetting to change the address headings on your cover letter. You may remember to address the envelope to the correct place, but you may forget to change the actual cover letter.
You don’t want one arriving to the manager of one spa with the name of another manager and a different spa on it. Double check that!
Tip #3: Avoid repeating your resume
Neither the resume nor the cover letter is intended to be a massage therapist bio, but when you put those two things together, you’ll be covering your education and experience, and a few points that give the potential employer a good idea of why you’d like to work there and what value you can bring.
That’s really the bottom line to employers: what value you can bring to their business. In other words, what’s in it for them? Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
If you were voted the “Best Massage Therapist in Town,” “Employee of the Year,” or something similar, include that on your bullet points.
Tip #4: Include extra skills
If you are multilingual, mention that, particularly in a tourist destination or an area that is inhabited by a large ethnic group.
Having a certification in CPR and First Aid is always a plus. If your ambition is to start as a massage therapist and advance up the corporate ladder in a high-end spa such as those in luxury hotels, a resort, or franchise company, include pertinent computer skills such as scheduling, ordering, proficiency in Excel, Quickbooks, etc.
Many people had another job prior to massage school, so don’t overlook those experiences if they were listed on your resume, and how they can be applied to the environment you are currently seeking to work in.
If you’ve just graduated from massage school and are applying for your first job in the field, don’t overlook capitalizing on your previous job experience, even if you think it doesn’t sound impressive to say that you worked as a sales associate in a store or as a waitperson in a restaurant.
People who have experience in retail may be good at selling products—which high-end spas, destination spas, and cruise ship spas offer, and often expect the therapist to sell to the clientele.
People who have foodservice experience have to be good at dealing with the public. Those can be bullet points on your cover letter as well: “Six years of experience in customer service dealing with the public” or “Five years experience in a high-end retail store gave me experience in upselling.”
Some employers love to hire new graduates. Franchises are known for doing it. While the job you land may be a starting point for you, and not where you want to remain for your entire career, a lack in experience can be made up for with a positive attitude and enthusiasm.
Tip #5: Leave out irrelevant information
Avoid including irrelevant information in the cover letter. The employer doesn’t need to know where you were born, what high school you attended, whether you are married, how many children you have, or the other irrelevant details of your personal life.
For example, you don’t need to say you were raised in New York City, unless you include the relevant fact that your aunt owned a successful day spa there until she retired. You worked at the front desk after school and during the summer. You state that you grew up in the spa business, and that’s what spurred you to pursue it as a career.
Tip #6: Proofread, proofread, proofread
You don’t want to send out a cover letter (or resume) that has typos. Check it twice. Then ask someone else to look it over before sending; sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will catch something you didn’t.
Word processing programs have spell checkers and editors that will catch misspelled words, grammar mistakes, mistakes of clarity, and punctuation mistakes.
It’s crucial to remember that a word may be spelled correctly and get past the spellchecker, even when it’s used in the wrong context, such as saying “hear” when you meant “here” or “their” when you meant “there.”
We’ve all, at some point, typed our own phone number or email address incorrectly, and you want the employer to be able to reach you for an interview!
Cover letter format example:
Laura Allen, LMT
Laura Allen is President of Sales & Marketing of CryoDerm. A graduate of Shaw University and The Whole You School of Massage Therapy, Allen has been a licensed massage therapist since 1999 and an Approved Provider of Continuing Education under the NCBTMB since 2000. She has taught classes all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
She is the author of The Educated Heart, Cultural Crossroads of Healthcare and Healing, and numerous other books. Allen resides in North Carolina with her husband, James Clayton, and their two rescue dogs.