Retail recruitment guide to what you should and shouldn't include in your cover letter for retail and fashion jobs
In our previous article we looked at what a cover letter is and the importance of having one when applying for retail and fashion jobs. In this, our second article on cover letters, we’ll be looking at what you should (and shouldn’t) include in your letter.
1. Don’t just rehash your CV
A cover letter gives you the chance to use full sentences—instead of bullet points—so use them to expand upon your CV and explain why you’re the perfect fit for the company.
2. Show what you’re capable of
Make sure that you show retail and fashion recruiters what you can do for them. It’s a good idea to determine the key requirements and priorities for the job and make it instantly clear to the reader that you can deliver the goods on these key things. You could even create a section within the letter that begins "Here’s what, specifically, I can deliver in this role" before setting out your strengths in a few of the priority requirements for the job.
3. Don’t over focus on your education
If you’re a new graduate you might be tempted to over-focus on your educational achievements. Try and focus on your work experience as this is what retail and fashion recruiters will be most interested in. Remember that this can be volunteer or internship experience too.
4. Don’t apologize for skills you don’t have
Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses with phrases such as “Despite my limited experience with sales,” try to focus instead on the skills you do have.
5. If relevant, tell a story
Try and bring a personal touch to why you want to work for this retail company. Do/did you really enjoy their adverts? Are you a massive fan of their products? Do you have fond memories of shopping in their stores when you were a child? All this is good stuff but just remember to keep the stories short and to the point!
6. Use testimonials
If you have great feedback from old co-workers, bosses, or clients, don’t be afraid to use it! You can either place the testimonial quote within the body of the cover letter, along with the person's name and phone number in brackets, or you could include a copy of one of your testimonial letters along with your CV.
7. Don’t be too formal
If your language is overly formal it might make you come across as a bit insincere and even robotic, rather than the friendly, approachable, and fantastic-to-work-with person you really are.
8....But don’t be too gushing
It might be tempting to use language like “absolutely thrilled for the opportunity” or “very excitedly applying!” but try to stay away from the slightly over the top adverbs and just write like a normal person.
9. Avoid the clichés
Don’t ever describe yourself as a “team player” or a “people person.” Obviously these qualities are desirable but what you need to do is show them off with descriptive statements like "I’m a good communicator with experience of bringing together different departments to develop a cohesive strategy." It might be a lot longer but it’s also stronger.
10. Keep it short and sweet
Keep your cover letter to one page at the most. Whilst we don’t advocate just writing one or two sentences, less is definitely more here!
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