How to Write a Retail Cover Letter for a Sales Associate Job
by Kristin Vegh
Your retail cover letter offers you the chance to make a great and lasting impression when applying for a retail job. It indicates to a hiring manager how well you can communicate your point, and if you have the experience necessary to succeed in the role.
We'll show you how to create a cover letter for a retail sales associate position that stands out from the pack.
Tips on how to write retail cover letters
No matter what position you're applying to, always follow cover letter best practices. Be sure to choose the correct cover letter layout for a specific job. It's critical to create a customized cover letter and resume for each position, as the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that sort and scan resumes and cover letters zero in on keywords. Luckily, job postings give clues to these triggers, which are often the skills and traits listed explicitly (and sometimes, repeatedly) in the ad.
Think you'll need help crafting a top-notch cover letter? Consider putting a cover letter template to use, and start off with a lot of the writing and organization already complete.
On any given day, a hiring manager might read dozens of retail cover letters. It's crucial to make sure yours commands their attention. The best retail cover letters communicate your enthusiasm for the position to which you're applying. If you're a frequent customer of this retailer, that's a great talking point. State how excited you are to work at a company you know and appreciate. It adds a personal touch and indicates you understand the brand.
Whether retail is your ultimate career goal, express your excitement as a prospective employee through your cover letter. If you're writing a retail cover letter with no experience in your work history, explain how eager you are to start at their retail outlet. If you're already employed or have a more in-depth resume, get them fired up about your skills as a retail sales associate.
Keep it brief
When composing your retail cover letter, you might be tempted to describe your experience at length. It's natural to want to impress, and not leave anything out. But know this: A one-page cover letter is a must. Map your key relevant skills and accomplishments to the job at hand in three or four succinct paragraphs. Anything longer than a one-page cover letter and you'll risk having your entire application tossed into a wastebasket.
You want to ensure the retail hiring manager can see exactly why you're the perfect fit for this position. Focus your retail cover letter on the experience most relevant to the position to which you're applying (this can't be emphasized enough), as well as your transferable skills.
Don't undersell yourself
Your retail cover letter is not a place to be modest. While you shouldn't brag, and should never embellish your work history, don't understate your skills. Your accomplishments in previous positions are valuable and deserve to be recognized.
Even if you've never worked in a supervisory position, you've likely shown leadership skills in the job or volunteer role. Has a manager or lead employee ever asked you to assist in training a new hire? Have you been asked to close the store when the manager was away? Demonstrating your leadership skills and other valuable qualities in your one or two body paragraphs can bring your retail cover letter to life.