Much like a well-stocked store shelf, a well-written retail cover letter can catch the eye, spark the imagination, and give the potential employer everything they want. Yet, instead of groceries and necessities, you want to add valuable skills and experiences to your cover letter.
But let’s be honest: while all that sounds simple in theory, it can get a bit messy in practice. If you’ve never worked on a document of this type, you might end up feeling like a retail apprentice in the middle of a busy sales floor.
Fortunately, you already know how to effectively juggle a lot of inventory and customer demands while maintaining a composed exterior. You’re going to apply those same principles while writing your retail cover letter. All you need on top of that is a bit of guidance, which is where this article comes into play. Let’s get started!
Try to find out the name of the hiring manager to add to your cover letter and create a personalized experience for them.
Start your letter with a couple of impactful achievements and finish it with a call to action for optimal chances of success.
You should write a new cover letter for each new job to make sure that it’s perfectly tailored to the position and that it matches your resume.
How to Format a Retail Cover Letter
If you don’t know how to start writing your retail cover letter, then you’re in the right spot. Before you start typing, you should have a general idea of the format you should use. That way, you’ll know what sections to include and in what order to arrange them before sending the document to a hiring manager.
Fortunately, there’s an established format that you can follow, and it goes like this:
Retail Cover Letter Format Guidelines
Your contact information
The date of writing
Hiring manager’s contact information
A formal greeting
A catchy first paragraph that acts as an elevator pitch
The body of the letter with your relevant skills and achievements
A final paragraph with a call to action
A formal closing
Your name with your signature (an electronic signature is optional in a soft copy of your cover letter)
In addition to having a proper structure, your retail cover letter also needs to be visually pleasing. However, that doesn’t mean you should go wild with colors and graphics. What you want is a clean and professional layout that’s easy to read.
Here are some guidelines that will help you achieve that:
Cover Letter Layout Guidelines
A cover letter should be a brief and concise document, not longer than one page.
Pick a proven, professional, and easy-to-read font like Arial or Times New Roman.
Set the font size to 10–12 pt with 1.0 line spacing and 1-inch margins.
How to Write a Retail Cover Letter
With the basics out of the way, let’s dive deeper into the subject and examine how to properly write each section of your retail cover letter. We prepared a visual template that can help you follow along:
#1. Add Contact Information in the Header
There’s not much to say about the contact information section of your retail cover letter. You just put the following details in the document’s header:
Your mailing address is optional, and you should include it if you’re applying for a job abroad or when a potential employer asks for it.
Then, you should include the recipient’s details along with the date of writing. One crucial thing to keep in mind here is that you should find out the recipient’s real name. By doing research to find out the name of the hiring manager, you’ll create a personalized experience for them and build rapport from the start.
Let’s see all that in an example:
Retail Sales Assistant
1251 Monroe Avenue
Tampa, FL 33610
4181 Frederick Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
#2. Greet the Hiring Manager
When greeting the hiring manager, you want to be professional yet cordial. For instance, “To whom it may concern” might sound appropriate in a business setting, but it looks too cold and indifferent in reality.
On the other hand, “Dear” followed by the recipient’s name is a perfect way to greet the person reading your cover letter. Even if you don’t manage to find out the name of the hiring manager, you can still address them by their title instead, and it will sound good.
Here’s an example:
Dear Ms. Roberts
Good Example #2
Dear Hiring Manager
#3. Emphasize Your Achievements in the Introduction
Remember how we talked about an elevator pitch-style opener for your retail cover letter? You can achieve that by including one or two highly impressive work-related accomplishments in the first paragraph. That’s important because hiring managers often skim through cover letters until one captures their attention.
Let’s see that in an example:
I am excited to apply for the position of retail sales assistant at ABC Superstore, as advertised on your website. Having worked as a customer service representative for 3 years, achieving a customer satisfaction rating of 97%, I am confident that my transferable skills and enthusiasm make me a strong candidate for this role.
#4. Elaborate on Why You’re the Right Fit
A secret recipe for success when writing a cover letter is to tailor it to the position that you’re applying for. Potential employers aren’t interested in every skill you possess or every accomplishment; they want to see how you’ll perform at the specific job. That’s why you shouldn’t just copy and paste your retail cover letter every time you apply for a new position.
Instead, carefully read the job description and research the company to find out which abilities and achievements you’re expected to add to your retail cover letter. After all, a fashion retail cover letter and a cover letter for a retail assistant will likely be vastly different.
Even when you’re writing a retail cover letter with no experience, you can include transferable skills and relevant past experiences that can portray you as a strong candidate for the job. Here’s an example:
I have been in the customer service and hospitality industries for the past 5 years. My refined active listening and problem-solving skills allowed me to provide customers with tailored solutions. By using that approach while working as a customer service representative at Abbott Solutions’, I increased their customer loyalty score by 15%.
#5. Add a Call to Action
So, we have our elevator pitch and a compelling body copy. Now all that’s left is to include a call to action, and we have a strong retail cover letter. There’s no need to overthink this part. You can use the final paragraph of your document to thank the hiring manager for their attention and invite them to contact you for further discussion.
Here’s an example:
Thank you for considering my application. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss how my achievements and experiences align with the requirements of this role. I look forward to the possibility of an interview.
#6. Write a Formal Closing
There are several ways to formally close your retail cover letter, similar to the way you opened it, including:
Formal Closing Examples
#7. Proofread the Cover Letter
After you finish writing your cover letter, you should carefully proofread it to correct any potential mistakes. Even a single typo can draw the wrong kind of attention and portray you as a careless or disinterested candidate.
Furthermore, while proofreading your cover letter, you might spot areas for improvement. That can include cutting some parts that aren’t necessary or expanding on certain bits that you feel are more important.
Finally, you can also use this opportunity to ensure that you’ve tailored your cover letter to the job ad and matched it with your resume.
Retail Cover Letter Example
Let’s check out a sample cover letter for a retail sales assistant with no experience:
Retail Cover Letter Writing Tips
Before you press “send” and submit your cover letter, check out if these tips can help you make it even better:
A short cover letter for your retail job is much better than no cover letter. Unless a job description specifically asks you not to submit a cover letter, submitting one will increase your chances of landing an interview. That way, you get to show more of your retail skills and achievements while displaying drive and diligence.
Another way to grab the hiring manager’s attention is to add a postscript at the bottom of your cover letter. If they have skimmed through your cover letter, having an impactful achievement in the postscript might convince them to go back and read it more carefully.
A surefire way to vastly increase the impact your retail cover letter has on hiring managers is to quantify your achievements. By including exact numbers, statistics, and percentages next to the results obtained, you add measurable value to your accomplishments. This turns questionable claims of competence into proof of skills.
In addition to elaborating on why you’re the right fit for the job, you can emphasize how the company is the right fit for you as well. You can do that by mentioning something specific about the company that resonates with you. It shows a strong interest in their organization and can help set you apart from the competition.
As we reach the checkout counter with our retail cover letter, let’s take a moment to reflect on all the lessons learned today. Crafting a solid cover letter is not just about showcasing your talent but also evoking positive feelings from employers. Remember, they have likely been in the trenches just like you, and they know the importance of a lasting impression.
In the vast landscape of job applications, your cover letter can be the beacon of authenticity amidst a sea of generic documents, bland phrases, and copy-paste templates. After all, the skills honed on the shop floor—flexibility, problem-solving, and communication—have all prepared you for this moment. Happy job-hunting!