Retail Recruitment Guide to what a good cover letter is and why anyone applying for a retail job needs one
Welcome to the first of two articles looking at the art of writing a good cover letter. In our second article we’ll be looking at the details of what you should (and shouldn’t) include in a cover letter. Here, in our first article, we’ll establish what exactly a cover letter is and why it’s important to have one when applying for retail jobs or fashion jobs.
What exactly is a cover letter?
In its simplest form, a cover letter is a document that you send out with your CV. A well written cover letter is the perfect way to set yourself apart from the other candidates and help sell your application, not to mention convince a recruiter you’re the right person for the role. Although you may have tailored your CV to the retail role you’re applying for, a cover letter should always be job specific and it should highlight those areas you think would make you right for the role.
Why you should have one
It would be great if a CV on its own were enough to secure the interest of a recruiter, but sending a CV in without any cover letter can easily go against you. A good CV summarising your skills, abilities and accomplishments will spell out what you can do but it won’t really demonstrate who you are. A good cover letter should provide an employer with information about you that they wouldn’t necessarily get just from looking at your CV on its own. It’s an opportunity for you to present yourself as an individual and not just another candidate. It should demonstrate how you stand out from the crowd and showcase why you’re the perfect candidate for the role.
A cover letter can also be an opportunity to pre-empt and explain away any concerns a prospective employer might have about your ability to do the retail job they are recruiting for. A cover letter can be used to explain a gap in employment for example. If you’re looking to change career, it can be a chance to describe why you think your skills (which might not traditionally be on the list of desirable qualities for this role) are applicable and why you should be considered for the job.
A retail job seeker who sends in a CV without a cover letter is essentially telling an employer that they’re happy doing just the bare minimum and I’m sure you’ll agree that’s not the sort of first impression you want to make!
By writing a solid cover letter, even when not asked for one, you’re taking that extra step as a retail job seeker and reinforcing that you’re not only enthusiastic about the retail opportunity but you’re also motivated to do what it takes to get in the door for that face to face meeting.
When not to have one
Having waxed lyrical about why you should always include a cover letter with your retail application, we have to point out the one and only time we would recommend NOT sending one. This would be if a company specifically asks you not to send one. Remember, it always pays to ensure you follow the instructions given by any potential recruitment employer.
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