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Retail Cover Letter Example

Use this Retail cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Retail positions in 2022. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Retail Cover Letter Example
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Retail cover letter example & writing guide

Many people work in retail on a part-time basis while studying, or as a stop-gap between jobs. For others, retail is their career. The retail sector is extremely variable and your retail cover letter should be tailored to the role you are applying for. You might choose to work in a busy supermarket, you may indulge your love of sports by working in a sports store or a small, quiet coffee shop might be of greater interest to you.

If you are applying for a role in retail, how do you show that you have a passion for the industry and that you will be an asset to the company? With the retail cover letter, you have limited space to get your point across, and therefore, it is important to be concise with the content.

This guide, together with our retail cover letter example, will show you how to write a cover letter that will get you through to the next stage of the recruitment process. These are the topics we will cover:

  • The most effective cover letter format to use for the greatest impact.
  • Ensuring that each paragraph of your cover letter is effective, including the header, greeting, introduction, main body, and conclusion.
  • How to start writing your cover letter, planning and the best approach.
  • The most common mistakes made with cover letters and how to ensure you don’t make them.

When you approach the writing of your retail cover letter, the main thought is that you want it to stand out. You can find plenty more tips in our cover letter examples written for specific job titles – all part of our free resources intended to help job seekers advance in their careers.

Statistical insight

For retail workers, there are plenty of opportunities. Let’s not also forget retailers dealing with online orders, rather than working in-store; an area of retail that is continuing to grow. According to the Office for National Statistics, sales in food retail had grown 105% from March 2020 to 2021 and household goods stores had also enjoyed a 99.7% growth

Best format for a retail cover letter

To ensure you are concise with the content of your retail cover letter, it is vital that you follow a specific format and structure. In doing this, it will keep you on the right track and ensure you don’t end up writing content that isn’t relevant.

You should ensure that your retail cover letter has the following and use this format, together with the cover letter examples to ensure you stick to the point.

  • Header for your cover letter (containing key contact details)
  • Your greeting (how you start your cover letter)
  • Introduction (introducing yourself)
  • Middle section (main body)
  • Summary/conclusion

The key is to ensure that your retail cover letter gives the reader an understanding of your experience within the retail sector, your reasons for being interested in working in it, and how you would deal with the day-to-day challenges. You can look at the cover letter sample in this guide for an example you can edit to create your own.

With this comprehensive cover letter guide, you will find advice on how to create and develop your cover letter, but below, there is more specific information on getting the most out of each paragraph.

Cover letter header

At the top of the cover letter, you should always have your key personal details, including your name, email, telephone number and you may also want to include your LinkedIn handle (especially if you have some good recommendations on your profile.) Some hiring managers will read the cover letter and decide there and then on whether to progress, so make it as easy as possible for them to reach you.

Expert tip

Make sure you state the times you can be reached via phone
If you are stating both your home/office number and your mobile phone number, make sure you provide information on when you can be reached on each. For instance, if you are only available on your mobile phone during the day, you can write “day time number” next to it and “evening number” beside your home/office number.

The last thing you want is to miss a call from the hiring manager, as they may not leave a message and might just move onto the next candidate.

The main purpose of the letter header: Keep it simple but make sure you include key details. Check out the header on our retail cover letter sample for an idea of how to do this.

Cover letter greeting 

Retail workers know the impact of a positive greeting as customer’s come through the door. Customers pay close attention to the way retail workers treat them and you should keep this in mind when writing your cover letter.

First impressions count, and it is important to be respectful with the greeting on your cover letter. It is perfectly acceptable to say ‘hi’ to a customer as they enter the store, but the same does not apply when writing formal correspondence.

Instead, you should address the recipient by writing “Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms. Surname” and be careful with the spelling. Double-check it before you move onto the next stage of the cover letter. The job advert may not have specific details about the recipient, in which case, you can just write “Dear Recruitment Team” or “to whom it may concern.”

Where possible, use the name of the contact in your greeting, as this is a much more personable approach, which will help you to build an instant rapport with the hiring manager.

The main purpose of the greeting / salutation: Get your cover letter off on the right footing by using a greeting that is personal to the hiring manager. Check the cover letter sample below for an example you can alert to suit you.

Adaptable cover letter example for a greeting

Dear Mr Bellington…

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Cover letter introduction

Before you delve straight into the main part of your retail cover letter, it is a good idea to give the reader a bit of an introduction to you. Therefore, the structure is important as it leads the reader through your story in an orderly manner.

What can you say to the hiring manager to instantly get them to sit up and take notice? How can you sum up your most relevant experience or accomplishments in a sentence or two? The first couple of sentences really need to make as much of an impact as possible, otherwise, why would the reader want to continue reading?

The introduction should provide information on your most relevant retail experience and show the reader that you are familiar with the challenges of working in this setting. Working in retail is challenging, you are on your feet all day, and often dealing with challenging customers. You want to leave the hiring manager in no doubt that you understand this. If you need help, remember to use our cover letter samples throughout this guide.

The main purpose of the cover letter intro: What is the most important element of your retail experience that you want to get across? How do you ensure you make an impact straight away?

Adaptable cover letter example for an introduction

With 5 years’ experience of working as a Retail Assistant within a busy sports store, I understand the importance of delivering an excellent service to customers, and to ensure the store is kept clean, tidy and organised. I always strive to develop my product knowledge to enhance the level of service I can deliver to customers.

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Cover letter middle part (body)

The middle part, or body, of your retail cover letter is where you can highlight the most important aspects of your career history and you should also aim to quantify these where applicable. Although it is a good idea to be personable in your cover letter, you should also ensure you are professional. Entice the reader, make them feel like they would be a fool not to take you forward to the next stage. No one wants to hire someone that doesn’t have much to say for themselves – especially in a customer-centred role like retail.

The main aspect of working in retail is that you can deliver exceptional service, that you are willing to learn about the products and that you can deal with difficult situations. Quantifiable data is not a prerequisite for this type of role, unless it is one that has sales targets, such as working in a mobile phone company. Nevertheless, if you can support any examples with data, this will be even more impactful.

It is vital that you can work well with others, as well as working without too much guidance. Retail workers are people centred, but as managers are usually working behind the scenes, they are expected to be able to work autonomously.

Give the reader a good feeling for your ability to deliver a great service, get on well with others, but also ensure they understand that you are a reliable person that will get on with the task in hand, without having to keep asking for assistance.

The main purpose of the body of your cover letter: what would a typical day in retail consist of for you, how do you deal with the challenges it can present? The cover letter sample below should provide some inspiration for writing your own.

Adaptable cover letter example for a middle paragraph

Although my main aim is to deliver an exceptional level of customer service to every customer that walks through the door, I never miss the opportunity to up-sell. In my experience, when you build an instant rapport with the customer, they are more likely to leave a positive review, and consider buying further products.

 I believe that it is important to support colleagues and work well within a team, but also focus on my own individual role within the company, and how I can support the company goals.

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

Confidence is key when working in retail, as you are dealing with a range of customers daily. This also means dealing with those who may not be as nice as you might like or will even be quite challenging. In the conclusion of your cover letter, you can reaffirm your interest in the role, while also leaving the reader without any doubt that you are confident in your own abilities.

A good way to end your cover letter is to leave a lasting impression and encourage the hiring manager to take you forward to the next stage. The conclusion only needs to be a couple of sentences, but it will take them nicely to your resume.

Feel free to also mention that you are excited about the prospect of exploring the role, and your experience, in more detail. Don’t just assume that you will be taken to the next stage though. The decision is ultimately the hiring managers to make.

Your conclusion should remind the hiring manager of why you are the right candidate for the role, but it should always be professional. Our cover letter sample should give you a good idea of what to write for the conclusion of your own cover letter.

The main purpose of the conclusion: Why should the hiring manager take you through to the interview stage? Remind them one last time and use our cover letter sample below to help.

Adaptable cover letter example for a conclusion

To me, exceptional customer service should begin the minute the customer enters the store and ongoing thereafter. I feel that working in retail is about ensuring the customer has a great experience and wants to come back time and again. I believe that being able to work independently and part of a wider team is essential in ensuring the company goals are achieved.

As a keen tennis player, working in sports is what I am passionate about. I welcome the opportunity to discuss the above in more detail

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Writing psychology: how to show you have a strong work ethic

Think about your retail cover letter as a story – with a start, middle and an ending. You want to provide the reader with a short snippet into your previous experience, while ensuring the information you provide is relevant and impactful. It should be personal, with a clear and concise structure.

These are some goals you should look to achieve with your retail cover letter, to help you get selected for interview:

  • Be confident in your abilities – show the reader that you are confident and able to deal with challenges that may come your way.
  • Show the reader the kind of service you would deliver to the customer, and how you would ensure they would return to the store.
  • Leave the hiring manager with no doubt that you can get on with others but work well on your own.
  • Highlight your enthusiasm for learning and building your product knowledge.

The customers that walk into a store and buy the products are what makes or breaks a business. Without customers, you have no business. Therefore, retail workers are at the true heart of the business. If you can show that you take pride in delivering an excellent service, that you are committed to helping the company build a positive brand, and that you are focused on upselling and supporting the company goals, you will prove that you are a candidate not to be missed . The hiring manager does not want to hire someone who is not going to maximise profits. Even when you buy a coffee, the retail assistant will try to (subtly) upsell by asking if you want an extra shot of espresso, or a cake with your coffee. These are often not noticeable, but they are part of the role for anyone working in retail.

This is what you want to achieve with your application. You want them to be assured that they can leave you to your own devices, but that you will do your utmost to deliver the best possible service, and to upsell products where possible. Consumers are much more likely to buy an “extra” if you are personable and nice to them.

Expert tip

Make sure the hiring manager knows that you will go the extra mile
Retail stores are not just looking for someone that does the bare minimum in the role, even if it is just a stop gap while you’re at university. They want to be sure that you will go the extra mile both for the customer, and for the business. The content of your cover letter needs to be able to reflect this, but succinctly, which can be a challenge. Our cover letter sample offers you insight into the best length for a cover letter, ususally 200-400 words.

Common mistakes in a retail application letter (and how to avoid them)

Even though you are working with customers and most of your communication will be verbal, it is important that your librarian cover letter reflects the standard of professionalism you will deliver.

Librarians are expected to be organised and accurate in their dealings, so how you set out and present your cover letter will leave a lasting impression.

  1. Perfect spelling. There is no underestimating the importance of accurate spelling in your cover letter. It is not about your intellect, but about your attention to detail and your desire to be professional. There is no excuse these days for bad spelling. Spell checks are designed to help us, and not checking, suggests you have not put much time and effort into your application.
  2. Relevant information. Remember your resume will follow, so you don’t need to go into too much detail in your cover letter. Keep it short, snappy and relevant. Pick out the key points.
  3. Be personable. Let some of your personality shine through. For instance, in the previous cover letter example, we talked about the candidate’s ‘love of sports.’ You can use your personality to inform the reader of why you particularly want to work in that sector of retail. For instance, ‘you are a big coffee drinker,’ or ‘you always keep up with fashion trends.’ Whatever it may be, try to make it a bit more personable than your resume.
  4. Don’t forget about good design. You may have noticed that the formatting on our cover letter sample was professional and attractive. Even when applying for a part-time retail job, your presentation counts for a lot. A free cover letter template can help you create a great layout in just a few clicks.

Key takeaways

  1. What does a job in retail look like to you? How do you deal with customers when they arrive at the store?
  2. Show the hiring manager that you are committed to delivering an exceptional service and that you are commercially aware.
  3. Ensure the hiring manager leaves the cover letter with complete confidence that you are professional and able to work well without too much guidance.
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