A Retail Cover Letter is a document that is usually attached alongside an applicant’s resume that provides additional information on the applicant’s skills and experience in relation to a job they are seeking.
The letter is a crucial part of the applicant’s application as it is their chance to make an excellent first impression on the potential employer.
Analyze the Job Position before Writing a Cover Letter
Before you begin drafting your retail cover letter, review the job description or job ad to find a list of qualifications and skills that the employer is looking for in a suitable candidate. Then, make sure to incorporate the related keywords in your cover letter as well as your resume or CV.
This is beneficial, especially if you are applying online, as most employers now use automated applicant tracking systems to review job application submissions. The automated applicant tracking system is a cloud-based software programmed to rank applications based on the positioning and number of times a keyword is used. Therefore, the more you use the related keywords in your job application materials, the more likely your documents will rank, increasing your chances of getting a job interview.
How to Write a Retail Cover Letter
Whether you are seeking a managerial position in the retail industry or looking for a part-time seasonal job, it is imperative to distinguish your cover letter from the competition to increase your prospects of being hired. Therefore, your retail cover letter should highlight your skills in the industry, relevant experience, education background in the field, or prior accomplishments. The letter should also explain why you are well-suited for the role in question to increase your chances of getting a job interview. Therefore, the retail cover letter for the resume must be thorough and well crafted.
The following is a procedural guide for crafting a professional retail cover letter:
Your retail cover letter should begin with a formal salutation or greeting. Finding the name of the hiring manager or the employer and directly addressing the salutation to the specific addressee makes the difference between the letter seeming personalized and generic. To find the hiring manager’s name and job title, you should consider reviewing the job ad, the company’s website, or social media profiles. A formal salutation such as “Dear Mr. Doe” will work perfectly.
Alternatively, you can transition from the formality in the address line by referring to the addressee using their first name. This is usually acceptable when you are already familiar with the recipient of your letter and have established a relationship with them.
If you are unable to find the recruiter’s name, you can use a more generalized greeting such as “Dear Hiring Manager,” “Dear Recruiting team,” etc.
The introductory paragraph of your retail cover letter should immediately hook the hiring manager and encourage them to read the rest of your letter and review your resume.
To write an excellent opening paragraph, consider the following:
- Briefly introduce yourself to the employer using a few brief sentences, provide your name and describe where you are in your career journey.
- Provide a brief overview of your educational qualifications in relation to the retail job and state your relevant work experience in the retail industry. While writing this section, avoid including too many details as this information is already included in your resume. Moreover, the chances are the employer will review your CV once they are done reading the cover letter.
State your interest in the job posting
Next, begin discussing the role in question. First, briefly state where you heard about the job opening- for example, from a job ad, a friend, or an employee in the organization. Then, mention your impression of the company and state your reason for applying for the specific role. It is essential to conduct background research on the company and find out its mission, vision, goals, objectives, and core values, such that you can mention a few things that you and the company have in common.
You should also review the job ad or job description to discuss the specific requirements and qualifications sought by the employer for the given job position. This demonstrates that you are detail-oriented- a quality that most employers look for in suitable candidates. In addition, it shows that you are passionate about being part of their team.
Highlight your retail sales associate skills
After enthusiastically stating your interest in the specific job, demonstrate to the employer how you are the perfect fit for the job and the team in general. Use this paragraph to describe your acquired retail sales associate and transferrable skills, and state how these skills will help you perform well in the job. Remember only to highlight the skills that are mentioned in the job description so that your application can rank.
The following is a list of key retail sales associate skills employers look for in candidates that you can highlight in your retail cover letter:
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Customer service skills
- Ability to multitask
- Ability to work under pressure
- Adaptability skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Active listening skills
- Product and brand awareness
- Accounting skills
- Point of sale systems
- Language skills
- Sales skills
- Numeracy skills
Emphasize your customer service skills
As a retail sales associate, you have to be empathetic with customers and maintain a positive attitude at all times. You will most likely encounter stressful situations while interacting with the customers. As such, you should emphasize your customer service skills in the cover letter to prove to the employer that you can comfortably handle demanding customers and their grievances and build a loyal customer base, and generate sales.
You can describe a specific instance where you dealt with an agitated customer dissatisfaction case and how you amicably resolved the issue and maintained the customer’s loyalty.
Describe your relevant work experience
In the job posting or ad, the employer is likely to have mentioned the years of experience they are looking for in a suitable candidate. Make sure to include details about your past work experience and only mention work experiences relevant to the given job. Also, include details about what you learned while working in the previous positions and connect them to the job requirements. It is essential that you focus more on your most recent experiences, accomplishments, skills, and qualifications. If possible, verify your claims using quantifiable data.
Most hiring managers are usually interested in determining whether a candidate has a proven track record of success in landing sales or high customer service ratings. If you have any specific examples that can demonstrate these skills or any skills and experience that can directly benefit the organization, highlight them in your retail cover letter.
However, don’t just use vague words. Instead, show them using quantifiable numbers and percentages. This gives them a sense of what you can contribute to their workflow, proves that you are result-driven, convincing them to hire you.
The retail cover letter’s conclusion is your final chance to impress the hiring manager. It can change the entire tone of your job application. As such, you need to craft a robust and compelling closing statement that entices the hiring manager to schedule a one-on-one interview with you to learn more about you and what you have to offer their organization.
Here are a few valuable tips on how to conclude your retail cover letter effectively:
- Express your enthusiasm for the job by stating what fascinates you most about the specific role.
- Emphasize more on what your potential employer has to gain from hiring you instead of what they can do for you. for instance, connect your accomplishments to the job description to show that you can adapt your skills to benefit their organization.
- Show your gratitude for the opportunity and thank the hiring manager for taking the time to consider your application
- Include a call to action to encourage the hiring manager to reach out to you. Make sure to include reliable contact information, for example, your email or mobile phone number.
End your retail cover letter with an appropriate sign-off, and include your printed name and signature.
Cover Letter Examples
Following are some free downloadable templates for you:
Tips for Writing a Retail Cover Letter
A retail cover letter can make or break your chances of landing a potential job. A well-crafted cover letter can distinguish you from the competition and encourage the recruiter to invite you for an interview.
To write a successful retail cover letter, consider these professional tips:
Include the related keywords
Before you start writing your retail cover letter, consider consulting the job posting or ad to find keywords that you can use to describe your relevant skills and experience. In most cases, the keywords related to a retail sales associate job include words like customer service, customer engagement, brand awareness, upsell, retail sales associate, active listening skills, merchandise, product knowledge, communication skills, numeracy, among others. Be sure to highlight such words in your cover letter to ensure that your application ranks.
Draw from the job listing
Always consult the job description to find a list of skills, qualifications, and experience sought by the employer and highlight all your relevant skills and qualifications tailored to what the employer is looking for. Reference specific duties in the job description and use specific examples to detail how you are well suited to perform these roles.
Promote your hard and soft skills
A retail job usually encompasses various duties, which will typically vary depending on the job. An ideal retail cover letter should therefore highlight the candidate’s expertise in the field as well as their soft skills. Examples of hard skills in retail include basic mathematics and money handling skills, product knowledge, tech literacy, industry expertise, etc.
Suppose you do not possess any relevant industry expertise. In that case, you can include your soft skills, such as active listening, good customer service, communication skills, persuasiveness, among other skills essential for success in the retail industry.
Showcase your competence
Retail workers are usually required to handle sudden increases in-store traffic, deal with customer issues such as complaints, handle difficult customers, among other unexpected events. Therefore, you should use specific examples to describe your ability to handle such high-pressure situations and unexpected events to demonstrate to potential employers that you are a good fit for their organization and the workflow.
Provide quantified achievements
To write a great retail cover letter, mention your previous retail achievements and quantify them using figures, numbers, and percentages. This helps validate your achievement claims, and it gives the employer a sense of what you will do to contribute to their organization’s success.
Use proper cover letter format
While writing your cover letter, set the 1” to 1 ½” margin on each side. Then, choose a font style that makes your work look professional and a font size that is easy to read. You can consider using a font style such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri and a font size that is not less than 10.5 points or no more than 12 points. In addition, the structure of your cover letter should include your contact information as the header of the retail cover letter, date of writing, the recipient’s contact information, and an appropriate greeting.
If you are writing an email retail cover letter, include a clear and defined subject line. While writing the actual contents of the cover letter, use the standard business letter formatting, which comprises an introduction, at least two body paragraphs, and a concluding statement. Your retail cover letter should be about 300-500 words long, hence keep it straightforward and avoid including any irrelevant information. Your cover letter should also encompass an appropriate formal sign-off, preceded with your signature and printed name.
A retail cover letter is an important document that highlights a retail sales associate’s skills, qualifications, and experience in relation to a job they are looking for. To write a successful retail cover letter, applicants should first analyze the job posting to identify any specific skills sought by the employer or any keywords they should include in their cover letter.
The structure of the retail cover letter should include an appropriate greeting, an opening paragraph that serves as a hook for the reader, two to three body paragraphs that expounds the applicant’s relevant skills, competence, and qualifications, and a strong and compelling concluding paragraph that encourages the reader to consider them for an interview.