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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Buyer Cover Letter Example

Buyers do a huge amount of work to ensure that the right products get on the shelves at the right price. A procurement cover letter should detail just how they do it.
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Buyer Cover Letter Example
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Buyers are masters of negotiation. When it comes to negotiating a new role, their opening gambit is their cover letter. While much of their job is about hard numbers, their success can also be ascribed to their relationship-building skills. The optimal commercial value only comes when you understand your negotiation partners.

While a buyer’s resume can cover the factual achievements in their career, a cover letter is about how they go about their work. The intricacies of range selection and the importance of understanding your customer must be at the forefront of any retail buyer cover letter. 

A buyer cover letter should naturally include a lot of figures - cost savings, growth percentages, market share gains, etc. - but don’t let the numbers get in the way of your personality. Use the buyer cover letter to start the conversations that you wish to continue at the interview.

As someone familiar with research, you’ll appreciate our library of cover letter examples, filled with examples from all sorts of professions – take inspiration from unexpected sources. In this writing guide and corresponding buyer cover letter example, we cover:

  • A cover letter format to frame your buyer career
  • Telling the right buyer stories to secure that interview
  • Writing a cover letter with no buying experience
  • Mistakes to avoid when you write the cover letter
Speech cloud with pants, laptop and make-up
Speech cloud with pants, laptop and make-up

Best format for a buyer cover letter

Buyers know the value of not messing with a process that works. The cover letter structure is something that has developed over the years as the best way to communicate a candidate’s value in a one-page format. There is no reason to do anything different. It is your career story that will impress, not how you present it.

Follow the structure below. You can share different aspects of your experience in each section. Include the following:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting/salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)

While you can sprinkle your buyer career stories throughout the cover letter, it is important to start with only the most relevant projects for your potential employer. Show that your market knowledge is relevant and that you have the best possible relationships with your suppliers. No employer will choose to take on a buyer who is new to a market, so start the cover letter with a reassuring sense of mastery.

Analyze the job description to understand the projects that you will be taking on. Change is a part of any buyer’s job, so look at where your market is going and how this particular employer is likely to react to it. Position yourself as someone who can lead the strategy of the buying area to capture market share by getting ahead of the trends rather than following them.

While it might be tempting to repeat the greatest hits of your career in your cover letter, you must trust that the employer will have already seen these in the CV. Go into a little more depth about how you made the breakthrough in a couple of projects. What really got you over the line? What was the magic that unlocked that industry-first deal?

There are plenty of similar nuanced decisions around the cover letter writing process. Our comprehensive cover letter guide explores this in more detail. The buyer cover letter example here may also offer some ideas:

Adaptable cover letter sample

Re: Buyer role

 

Dear Ms. Willingden,

There are few buyers in the hardware market who can rival my breadth of experience with suppliers, track record of tough negotiating, and intense customer focus. While I am devastated that I am forced to find a new role due to the closure of ToolMart after fourteen great years, it is exciting to think about how I could make a fresh start with Handy.

At ToolMart, I managed a buying area of 9,000 SKUs, from negotiating branded tool deals to sourcing own-brand hardware products at eye-watering margins. Many of my Far Eastern suppliers have spare capacity after Tool Mart’s demise, so there are deals to be made. I increased gross margins by 15% across my range and drove promotional participation of power tools to record levels of market share. I now hope to bring that share your way.

One of my biggest achievements was to reduce excess inventory and streamline ranges by 22%, whilst increasing space for project buys. Every good buyer has an appreciation for the performance of store space, and I have several ideas around quick wins for Handy that I would love to discuss at an interview. When you have seen it work once, you know that you can replicate it again. Hardware purchasing habits do not change from store to store.

I take pride in my ability to stay abreast of market trends, utilizing data analysis tools such as Tableau to interpret consumer behavior and predict future demand. We have met many times before at industry conferences – I believe in the power of networking.

I watched your quarterly update with great interest and look forward to the opportunity of meeting to discuss how I might add value. I know that I can hit the ground running.

Sincerely,

 

Chris Dawntry

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Cover letter header

The header of a buyer cover letter should not prove too tricky to get right. Include your full name, email address, and mobile number. This information should be repeated from your resume as you never quite know when a hiring manager might wish to get in touch.

You don’t need to include your full address at this stage – only share it when you get to the job offer. There are potential data protection issues here. The inside address of the employer is also not required – the buyer cover letter will be sent electronically, so this is an outdated convention. Buyers need to be efficient with their work – use that space on the cover letter for something more useful.

Cover letter greeting 

As a buyer, your ability to research the market is central to your job, so researching the name of the hiring manager should not be challenging. A quick search should suffice if their name is not on the job description. A standard “Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Surname” will be fine.

If you need to make a quick call to the employer to check the details, take the opportunity to ask an additional question or two. Receptionists are often happy to talk to potential new hires and you never know who they might have lunch with – be polite.

Cover letter introduction

The introduction to a buyer cover letter should get to the heart of their expertise. Mention a project that you worked on with some numbers that will make the hiring manager sit up and take notice. Intrigue them. How can you possibly have done that? What sort of buyer must you be to be able to hit those numbers? You won’t be able to tell the whole story, but you can make them impatient to find out more during an interview.

Choose what you share in the introduction carefully. The hiring manager will be expecting the big guns, so don’t underwhelm them. If you can’t find anything impressive and relevant to talk about, maybe the role isn’t for you. Buying is a process that does not require specific product or industry knowledge, but it certainly helps. If you are not positioning yourself as an industry expert, your chances will diminish significantly.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Ms. Willingden,

There are few buyers in the hardware market who can rival my breadth of experience with suppliers, track record of tough negotiating, and intense customer focus. While I am devastated that I am forced to find a new role due to the closure of ToolMart after fourteen great years, it is exciting to think about how I could make a fresh start with Handy.

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Cover letter middle part (body)

The middle part of a buyer cover letter should explore the detail of your work that they cannot include on a resume that is jam-packed with facts and figures. Talk about the obstacles that you faced in some of your greatest achievements. Go into some detail in terms of how you gained that market share. Offer insight into where you think your market will go over the next couple of years.

The buyer cover letter offers the chance to showcase your industry know-how in a free-form format. What can you say to a hiring manager that will show them that you are one of the leaders in your field? This is a case of show, don’t tell. Let your achievements speak for themselves and offer some insight into how you got there.

Innovation should also feature prominently in the middle part of a buyer cover letter. In a market where margins are tight, how you do things differently can differentiate you from your peers. Of course, you may consider this your “secret sauce,” but getting a hiring manager to wonder how you achieved such stunning success can be a great prelude to a successful interview. Tell them that you understand your recipe for success.

Adaptable cover letter middle part example

At ToolMart, I managed a buying area of 9,000 SKUs, from negotiating branded tool deals to sourcing own-brand hardware products at eye-watering margins. Many of my Far Eastern suppliers have spare capacity after Tool Mart’s demise, so there are deals to be made. I increased gross margins by 15% across my range and drove promotional participation of power tools to record levels of market share. I now hope to bring that share your way.

One of my biggest achievements was to reduce excess inventory and streamline ranges by 22%, whilst increasing space for project buys. Every good buyer has an appreciation for the performance of store space, and I have several ideas around quick wins for Handy that I would love to discuss at an interview. When you have seen it work once, you know that you can replicate it again. Hardware purchasing habits do not change from store to store.

I take pride in my ability to stay abreast of market trends, utilizing data analysis tools such as Tableau to interpret consumer behavior and predict future demand. We have met many times before at industry conferences – I believe in the power of networking.

Copied!
Expert tip

Buyers should be aware of the fact that their application will enter an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) database, so you have to play the game to a certain extent with the keywords that you include. While this software may not exclude you automatically, hiring managers may search the database by keyword, so make sure that you have included enough of them from the job description.

How to close a buyer cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

The conclusion of a buyer cover letter should include one last “wow, how did they do that?” moment. You will likely have far more stories to tell than can fit in a cover letter, so give the impression that you are bursting at the seams. Ending on a limp note may hint that there is not much more to come.

Every buyer is proficient at influencing others, so also make sure that you include a call-to-action in that final paragraph. You are a buyer who will be in demand, so it is natural to state that you are keen to find out more about the role. You know how the impression of exclusivity works, so hint that you won’t be on the job market for long. 

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

I watched your quarterly update with great interest and look forward to the opportunity of meeting to discuss how I might add value. I know that I can hit the ground running.

Sincerely,

 

Chris Dawntry

Copied!

Buyer cover letter with no experience

If you are looking to get into a buyer role, it is difficult to do if you do not have any commercial experience. You may be coming into the role from industry or from a supplier, in which case you should focus on your product knowledge and negotiation experience. Having been on the other side of the table is a useful trait,  but you still need to show that you understand the very different dynamics.

If you are looking to begin in a more junior buyer role, then any kind of administration experience is vital. Show that you are financially savvy and good at data analysis. These skills will set you up for a successful buying career.

Basic mistakes in a buyer application letter (and how to avoid them)

If a buyer makes a mistake in a spreadsheet, it can have massive ramifications. Employers are going to therefore view any mistakes in a cover letter in a negative light. You may not be a natural writer, but make use of all the tools at your disposal to avoid the following errors:

  • Use Grammarly to check your spelling and grammar. Any small mistakes will stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Make sure that you ask a friend to check the tone of the letter. Buyers should be adept communicators – make sure that the letter hits the right notes.
  • Tailor the cover letter for the individual role. Anything that is irrelevant might indicate that you have not sufficiently thought through your application.

Key takeaways

  1. Write about the stories behind your greatest buying achievements.
  2. Showcase your deep industry knowledge.
  3. Share your strategic thinking – where would you take this product category?
  4. Choose a suitable buyer cover letter design with our cover letter templates.
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