Writing a retail cover letter? A retail sales associate is a customer service professional who works within a retail store, food supplier, or another retail establishment. Assisting customers with questions about products and services. The retail associate acts as a retail salesperson, customer service representative, and assists with retail sales.
Other retail roles that are commonly found in a retail store are sales associate, cashier, retail manager, retail assistant, and sales assistant. These roles are considered retail positions in the retail industry or retail management, or store management.
Important skills to consider
According to Hubspot, key skills of any retail associate or sales associate include the following. “Communication skills, interpersonal skills, experience with a CRM or POS system, and having a customer-centric mindset. Having a deep knowledge of the product or inventory, genuine enthusiasm for the company and products. And creative problem solving or decision-making skills. And having an empathetic attitude and adaptability skills when tasked with multiple projects or unexpected situations.”
Additionally, Capterra adds the following. Saying any retail worker “listens to their customers. Understands what they need and what they want. And puts themselves in the customer’s shoes to come up with the perfect solution for the customer’s problem.” And aligns with Hubspot’s assessment. That a retail worker has “empathy that leads to active listening skills, which are crucial in being a successful salesperson.”
When writing a retail cover letter for any retail job, it can help to refer to these characteristics, competencies, and skills. For example, as a retail store manager. It may be key to assist in the development of these skills when working with a retail associate. Being able to articulate these objectives to a hiring manager can be impactful for the job application.
When authoring a cover letter for a retail position, it can be useful to use storytelling to communicate skills to a potential employer. This is more useful and more engaging than listing skills in the letter. For example, mentioning organizational skills literally rather than telling a retail experience story alludes to strong organizational skills.
Retail Skills for the Cover Letter
It can be useful to reference desired skills, qualities, traits, and core competencies in the industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides helpful insight into what the industry is seeking from an ideal candidate:
- Customer-service skills. Retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers. They should explain the product options available to customers and make appropriate recommendations.
- Interpersonal skills. A friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers because the job requires almost constant interaction with people.
- Math skills. Retail sales workers must have the ability to calculate price totals, discounts, and change owed to customers.
- Persistence. Attempted sales may not be successful. So, sales workers should not be discouraged easily. They must start each new sales attempt with a positive attitude.
- Selling skills. Retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers. They must clearly and effectively explain the benefits of the merchandise.
Writing a Retail Cover Letter
As a job seeker, it’s important to comprehend that a “perfect cover letter” does not exist. Only a “good cover letter” that is authored specifically for the target company. The way to execute this is to review the job description or job advertisements (sometimes referred to as a “job ad”). And spend time reviewing each qualification and requirement for the retail job title. From there, the job seeker can use previous work experience to refer to workplace stories that display the key skills. Or the competencies of a desirable candidate.
If the retail job title is a sales position or position that requires some sales experience. Then some experience should be referred to that shows merchandising skills. This includes being able to speak about products, services, and specialties. As well as being able to listen to customers and assist them with their problems.
Retail sales workers should have multiple skills and disciplines. This ranges from being able to work with a Point of Sale System (often referred to as a “POS System”) to sales skills. A great cover letter for any retail sales worker refers to the entire retail store experience and ecosystem. Then alludes to the importance of their role.
A retail worker should avoid referring to stories or work experiences that are already discussed in the retail resume. This may be in the career objective of the resume. Or as part of each previous experience listed in the work history portion of the resume. Author unique experiences that will engage the store manager or hiring manager.
Retail Cover Letter Format
(Optional) Professional Website
Dear Mr./Mrs. First Last Name
The first paragraph should greet the reader and suggest an understanding of the job requirements. This should include 2-3 career accomplishments not listed on the resume.
The body paragraph should contain relative retail store experience that aligns with the job description.
Thank the reader for their time. Mention a passion for driving customer satisfaction and a high-quality customer experience. Then suggest a desire to interview for the company as soon as possible.
Typed Name or handwritten signature
Retail Cover Letter Example
Below is a sample retail cover letter. Use this sample cover letter as a guide to writing an effective cover letter.
Retail Sales Associate
May 1st, 2020
Dear Beth —
I’m writing to express my interest in the retail associate position. I’ve had previous retail experience and can tell you that there are three keys to creating a successful retail store experience concerning this position. The first is the ability to empathize with our customers. This is the practice of displaying key listening skills and generating ideas that can help them. The second is thinking creatively and assisting customers with all types of problems that display high-quality customer service and authentic customer experience. Lastly, the ability to coordinate care across the retail store.
One experience that comes to mind is my previous job at Tile and Floor. Our sales associates would work closely to coordinate domain expertise. And that way, when a customer came in with a specific need, we could not only assist them. But ensure that they felt like they were speaking with a specialist. This kept our experience organized and tailored to the customer.
I look forward to speaking with you about this position and having the opportunity to perform a job interview with the company. I have attached my resume and a few other documents that allude to my retail background.
Retail Manager Cover Letter Example
Below is a retail manager cover letter sample.
May 1st, 2013
Dear Mr. Johnson —
Being a retail manager is similar to being an assistant coach. There are so many functions of the business that have administrative tasks associated with them. And without someone there to address those needs, it can hinder the company’s overall performance.
That’s why as a retail manager I have:
- Assisted with the hiring process and training process of more than 100 employees.
- And assisted in analyzing all performance reports and understanding sales trends.
- Lastly, assisted with the communication to board members, executive leaders, and lead directors.
- Tracked all retail store metrics including overall sales, merchandising, and promotions.
I look forward to interviewing with you. And if there is any information that you’d like to see that I didn’t include in my application. Then please feel free to contact me. And I will return that to you as soon as possible. And if there are letters of recommendation that you’d like to see. Which I did not include. Please request them, and I can supply more than five.
Retail Cover Letter Tips
Below are guidelines to follow when writing a retail cover letter.
Consider the employer
Most employers have a wealth of information about the company values and company culture in their careers portal or “about us” page. Read through the company website to gain useful information on what each employee should value from their work. And what characteristics create an all-star employee. Use this as a way to position the cover letter and target the writing to the employer.
Mention key retail skills
Communication skills, verbal communication skills, coordination, point of sale system experience, and other retail skills apply to the hiring manager. References to accomplishments or experiences in previous jobs that utilize these skills can be useful for hiring managers. It can assist in helping the hiring manager better comprehend core competencies and characteristics that align with the job opening.
Follow the job description
The job description or job advertisement commonly includes insights into the position’s requirements and what an ideal candidate looks like. Use the cover letter to speak to those qualities and tell stories of previous work experiences that are defining characteristics of the ideal candidate.
Strategize the first paragraph
The first paragraph of the cover letter should leave the employer or hiring manager feeling impressed. Using previous work experiences or defining experiences that make the candidate “unique” can be a great way to do this. If the job candidate has any career accomplishments, the first paragraph will be the place to reference them. By doing this, it encourages the hiring manager to read the resume of the retail associate and potentially offer the candidate a job interview.
Have questions in the second paragraph
Being inquisitive with the cover letter can leave the manager feeling as though they’ve been “spoken with” in the letter. Doing this encourages the manager to reach out to the candidate and inform them of the candidate’s questions. It’s a way of building a bridge between the candidate and the employer. Use questions like, “I’m curious what initiatives the retail store has in mind for the holiday season.”
Address the reader by name
Addressing the cover letter’s recipient by name will always be more effective than using a generic greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager,” for example. Find the hiring manager’s name on the job description (job advertisement). Or through LinkedIn. Or by asking the store manager who is hiring for the position in advance of writing the cover letter.
Retail Cover Letter Template
Download this retail cover letter template in Word format. Can be imported as a Google Doc. Instant download. No email required.
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