If Sports Illustrated is already calling you up about appearing in its next swimsuit edition, you may not really need our help here. But the vast majority of people who work in modeling are not famous supermodels, they don’t work for Victoria’s Secret and they have to find work the old-fashioned way. In addition to a resume and a great portfolio, anyone who aspires to work in this field needs a standout modeling cover letter.
Modeling is a rare profession where you can do your job perfectly well without ever saying a word. So it may not be obvious in a profession where looks are everything, but you’re going to need some language skills to promote yourself as a model. Your first step may be signing on with a modeling agency, and that’s going to require a cover letter too.
This writing guide and the modeling cover letter examples it contains will cover everything you need to know including:
- Best format for a modeling cover letter sample
- The six components of a cover letter and how to write them
- Psychology tips to writing a persuasive cover letter
- Design and layout considerations
- Common mistakes you need to avoid
For even more insights and writing tips, check out our collection of 125+ cover letter examples designed to help job seekers at every stage of their career.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes some interesting insights on modeling careers. It cites models of garments and accessories for fashion shows or retail, photo models for magazines or advertisements, and those who pose for paintings or sculptures.
Not including the self-employed, there were said to be only 2,350 models in the United States in 2020. Their mean annual wage was estimated at $54,050. Yet among top-paying industries for models, annual mean wages ranged from $30,210 for “specialized design services” to $111,330 for “independent artists, writers and performers.”
Best format for a modeling cover letter
Proper format for a model cover letter involves issues of design and layout. First, it’s essential to understand the structure, or the framework on which you build your letter.
In almost all cases, a cover letter sample should consist of one page only, a maximum of 400 words. And there are six elements it needs to contain:
- Cover letter header
Let’s look into what each of these is all about.
Cover letter header: An elegant page-topper
The cover letter header, which used to be called a letterhead, is the attractively designed space at the top of the page that contains your name, occupation, address, phone number and email. You may also choose to include your LinkedIn page or a link to another site that showcases your work, such as your online portfolio.
So the header contains pretty much all the same information that a business card does, and it exists for the same reason: so that people will know how to contact you. But the header also serves an important design function, which is to give your page an attractive, elegant look and feel.
Headers often involve creative use of typography, layout, design and color, whereas the rest of the page typically consists of nothing but black text. In a field like modeling that is so oriented toward beauty and design, an eye-pleasing header is a must.
Unless you happen to be a gifted page designer, the best way to develop a good header is to find a template where it’s already been designed for you. Resume.io offers dozens of free options in its cover letter templates. Find one you like, click on it, and an easy-to-use builder tool will walk you through the steps to making it your own.
Note that your resume will also need a header, and that it should be very similar, if not identical, to your cover letter header, using the same fonts, styles and colors. This makes these two essential job application documents look like a “matching set” that were meant to go together.
Modeling cover letter greeting: Dear Mr. Armani
The cover letter greeting, also known as a salutation, should be simplicity itself – and yet rookie errors abound with this simple element.
A perfect cover letter greeting starts with the word “Dear,” is followed by the word “Mr.” or “Ms.” and ends with the last name of the hiring manager. That’s it! You may prefer a more casual first word like “Greetings” or “Hello,” and these may also be acceptable – but the word “Dear” is never wrong, so that’s your safest option.
The most common problem here is that people applying for jobs don’t know the name of the appropriate person to address. And so they go with the old stand-by “To whom it may concern,” “Dear Sir or Madam” or a similar construction, none of which is optimal.
Do everything in your power to find out the name of the person who processes applications for the job you want. If you can’t find this information online, use the old-fashioned sleuthing device known as the telephone: Just call up the company and ask.
In some cases, the company may prefer not to provide the name of an actual hiring manager. If this is the case, then you will need to get a bit creative in crafting your salutation. “Dear Brooks Agency,” “Greetings Brooks Hiring Team” or the like may be your best option in such a case.
Dear Ms. Wanderley,
Cover letter introduction: A bold entrance
Think of your cover letter introduction, the first paragraph, like the moment you emerge from behind the curtains and stroll onto the catwalk. You want to make a bold, captivating entrance, and you certainly don’t want to fall on your face.
The introduction of your letter should make an intriguing opening case as to why you’re the ideal candidate for the job you’re seeking. Your most persuasive argument may be your years of experience, your recent photo shoot in a fashion magazine or your upcoming graduation from a model training institute.
What the introduction actually says will be different for every candidate, but the aim is the same: to grab the recruiter’s attention and keep that person reading. See how this is done in our modeling cover letter example below.
My agent informed me that your swimwear brand is looking for a male model to work on a number of assignments in various locations over the summer.
Cover letter body: Get the middle right
The body of your cover letter, the central two to four paragraphs, is the heart of your pitch. If you don’t make your case here that you’re the right person for the job, you probably won’t get the job.
This is the place to go into detail on your modeling experience, highlighting your most impressive work and your most high-profile projects. Be specific about what you did at these jobs, using facts and figures if possible, like the budget for an ad campaign you were in, or the number of photo shoots you’ve done in your career.
Try to relate at least one anecdote, a short little story, about a career challenge you once faced and how you overcame it in style. Everyone loves a good story.
If you have a postsecondary degree, especially in a relevant field like fashion design, photography or acting, or if you have formal training in modeling, mention that here as well.
You can also use this space to talk about your aspirations for the future. It’s always a good idea to mention the name of the company to which you’re applying, specifying why you want to work there. At the very least, this demonstrates that you aren’t just mass-mailing the same cover letter to 50 prospective employers. Every cover letter should be targeted to a specific employer, addressing its needs and how you aspire to help meet them.
Check out the body section from our modeling cover letter example below.
I have travelled to 30+ countries for various shoots, most for fast fashion labels and in particular summer collections and beachwear. My pictures have been featured in all major fashion magazines and websites and Vogue voted me into their top 100 male models of the year. I have received multiple awards from the swimwear industry, a selection of which I have enclosed in my industry portfolio.
My background in swimming and water sports lends an authenticity and energetic attitude on set and I feel comfortable out in the sea on jet skis, water craft or even on a surf board. I have a category one lifeguard qualification and was the face of the national “swim safe” campaign last summer.
I know that you said that television work would be a bonus, so I hope that my showreel of 8 commercials may be of interest. I have worked with leading directors from the sportswear industry as well as swimwear and I possess the sporting background that many of them are looking for. There is nothing worse than a swimwear model who cannot swim.
Previous clients have praised me for my work ethic, and I am known for my perfectionism in terms of getting the perfect shot. If a drop of water is in the wrong place, we go again.
Cover letter conclusion: Exit in style
The final paragraph, your cover letter conclusion, should wrap up on a confident note, perhaps recapping a bit, perhaps thanking the recipient for taking the time to consider your application.
But the conclusion should also contain a call to action, planting the thought that the recipient of your letter should do something about it. You might say that you’re looking forward to a reply, and that you’re always reachable at the contact info you’ve provided. You might say you’d be delighted to arrange an interview, whether in person or remotely, or even just to have an informal chat on the phone. You might offer to provide additional photos or videos that showcase your work.
The last thing you want is for your correspondent to set your letter aside and forget about it. So without being arrogant or presumptuous, convey the thought somehow that a reply would be greatly appreciated.
You can find the conclusion from our modeling cover letter example below.
I would welcome the chance to meet you and your team. I have long been an admirer of your brand, love what your creative team have done previously and would value the opportunity of helping you reach a wider audience.
Cover letter sign-off and signature
Close with a simple “Sincerely,” “Yours truly,” “All my best,” “Thanks so much” or an equivalent phrase, followed by a space, and then type your name below that.
Although cover letters printed on paper mostly belong to a bygone era, they are sometimes still useful today, whether for sending by snail mail or for delivering in person. If you do need a printed cover letter, leave space above your typed name to sign it. Even in electronic correspondence, you can opt to include a digital signature (a scanned version of your actual signature), but this is not considered necessary. See a reference in our cover letter example.
Psychology tips for writing a persuasive cover letter
“But enough about me,” an aspiring model once said at a job interview. “What do YOU think about me?”
The psychology of writing a winning cover letter actually involves the opposite approach, which is putting yourself in the shoes of the person receiving it. Always remember that you are not trying to convince anyone that you deserve a job. You are trying to convince job recruiters that you can help them with their needs, not yours.
The goal of a cover letter is to establish a personal connection with a hiring manager, one that will lead to an interview and hopefully to a job. So while a cover letter is formal business correspondence, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also be personal.
The hiring manager is a human being, not a robot, so you should write like a human being as well. Avoid stock phrases, cliches and HR-speak, and write like a warm, friendly, interesting person that the recruiter would want to get to know.
It’s important to come off as likable. Nobody wants to hire someone they don’t like. As you write, rewrite and re-rewrite your letter, be sure you’re striking the right tone – confident but never overconfident, capable but never arrogant.
Common modeling cover letter mistakes to avoid
Models sometimes become briefly famous for the wrong reasons, like doing a faceplant on the runway or stepping on their dress and accidentally ripping it. Mistakes happen, but when crafting a cover letter you have plenty of time to make sure none of these happen to you:
- Typos and other writing errors. How many misspellings, grammatical errors or other mistakes are considered permissible in a one-page cover letter? Precisely none. If writing is not your long suit, find an expert to review and revise your letter before you send it.
- Cliches, lazy language and “fluff.” Cliches are legion in cover letters, partly because so many people rely on other people’s cover letters to figure out what to say. Do not open your letter by saying, “I am writing to….” or “Please consider this letter my application for….” Do not say you are a “results-oriented” “team player” who “thinks outside the box.” Use fresh, original language that you thought of all by yourself. And avoid “fluff,” which is language that sounds fancy but ultimately says nothing.
- Mass mailings. Every cover letter should be unique, tailored to a specific employer, so resist the temptation to write a “one and done” cover letter and send it to all your prospects.
- Irrelevant info. You have precious little space in a one-page letter, so make sure every word furthers your aim of convincing the employer that you would make an excellent hire. Don’t get chatty about hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with your career.
- Bad formatting. Modeling is a profession that relies on beauty, grace and elegance, and your cover letter should reflect your sensibilities for all of the above. A poorly formatted letter that looks bad at a glance can sink your chances before the recipient reads the first word.
- Models seeking work or representation by a talent agency need a strong resume, an impressive portfolio and an excellent cover letter.
- A modeling cover letter sample should follow a standard structure that contains the six key elements that every cover letter needs.
- Looks matter, in modeling as in few other professions, so your cover letter must be attractively formatted and designed.
- Try to get inside the head of the person you’re writing to and write the letter that person would want to receive.
- Avoid typos, cliches, mass-produced letters and irrelevant info.
- For best results, check out our modeling cover letter sample for formatting tips and a visual reference.
For more information, Resume.io offers a wealth of other cover letter resources. For additional inspiration, take a look at some related cover letter examples and writing guides:
We hope to see you soon on the cover of Vogue!