How to write a compelling retail cover letter

Retail professionals fulfill a wide range of positions in the retail industry, from cashiers and merchandisers to store managers. Working in retail requires a good mix of technical and interpersonal skills that give you the ability to provide excellent customer service while maintaining great organization.

In this guide, we teach you everything you need to know about writing a cover letter as a retail professional. Continue reading to learn how to:

  • Craft the best header and headline for your retail cover letter
  • Make the information in your cover letter personalized
  • Create a compelling introduction that grabs an employer’s attention
  • Showcase your professionalism in retail with skills and accomplishments
  • Encourage the employer to contact you in your retail cover letter conclusion

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1. Craft the best header and headline for your retail cover letter

Writing an effective retail cover letter starts with giving it a pleasant visual flow.

Adding a cover letter header and cover letter headline to your document is the best way to do this. These elements provide the employer with key pieces of information that help to give an overview of who you are and what your cover letter is about.

Starting with your header, this element should contain:

  • Your name and professional title
  • Your professional contact information (phone number, email address, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • The name of the company or employer you are applying to
  • The address of the company or employer

Here is an example of a well-formatted retail cover letter header

John Doe, Retail Professional
(123) 456-7890 | johndoe@email.com | linkedin.com/in/john-doe

To: Sales Associates United
1234 Street Address
Casper, WY 82601

As far as where to place your header, it should be located in the top left corner of the page. Your personal information should be in a slightly larger font than the employer’s information to help it stand out.

A few spaces below this information and centered on the page is your cover letter headline. This is a short title or introductory statement that lets the employer know what the main point or purpose of your letter is. In this headline, you should include:

  • A relevant keyword, such as the name of the position
  • A memorable number or trigger word that catches the employer’s eye
  • A strong adjective or verb to showcase your professional vale
  • A personalized statement that lets the employer know the letter is specifically for them

Here is an example of an excellent retail cover letter headline

My 3-Step Approach to Successful Sales in Retail & How I Will Apply these Skills at Your Company

Trigger Word/Number: 3-Step Approach
Keyword: Sales, Retail
Adjective/Verb: Successful, Apply
Personalized Statement: Your Company

2. Make the information in your retail cover letter personalized

Speaking of personalization, this is one of the most important factors to consider when writing a cover letter. The term personalization (when used to describe a cover letter) means that all of the content found within the letter is tailored to be highly relevant to the employer.

Tailoring a cover letter in this way requires you to do some professional digging to uncover key facts about the employer and their business.

This may include:

  • The company values
  • An employee motto or pledge
  • Specific staff members (especially those responsible for reviewing applications)

As part of this personalization process, you should create a personalized greeting that addresses a specific person by name, such as the hiring manager or company CEO.

Here are 3 examples of personalized cover letter greetings

  • Dear Hiring Manager Jane Smith,
  • Dear Ms. Jane Smith,
  • Dear CEO Jack Parker,

3. Create a compelling retail cover letter introduction

The introduction to your cover letter is the first paragraph an employer will read after they have reviewed your header and headline. If your headline is effectively written, the employer should already be highly interested in what you have to say.

In turn, your introduction needs to be equally compelling to not only grab the employer’s attention but keep them interested enough to read on.

A compelling cover letter introduction will often include:

  • A short summary of your professional history in retail
  • Key specializations that make you a strong candidate for the position
  • A mutual acquaintance (when possible) — a mutual acquaintance can include a professional associate of the employer, a current or former employee, your professional mentor, or anyone else with professional ties to the employer

Here is an example of a compelling introduction from a retail cover letter

Dear Hiring Manager Jane Smith,

I am a dedicated retail professional with 5+ years of experience working as a sales associate and merchandiser. After recently becoming acquainted with Mr. Hank Josephs, a recruiter who works closely with your company, Mr. Josephs recommended I apply to your company. Given your company’s need for a talented visual display designer, I believe my specialized experience with managing product displays makes me the perfect candidate for the position.

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4. Showcase your professionalism in retail with skills and accomplishments

With your introduction out of the way, the employer should now know exactly who you are and why you are applying to their business.

Now, your next key step is to highlight all the qualifications that make you the top candidate for the job. This should include your most impressive skills and accomplishments within retail to show the employer that you bring real value to the table as a future employee.

As you describe your skills and accomplishments, keep your sentences concise and highly relevant. The employer should be able to easily skim through this information to gather the most important points.

Here are 6 retail skills to describe in a cover letter

  • Exemplary customer service
  • Inventory management
  • Money handling and payment processes
  • Organizing merchandise and product displays
  • Assisting in-store customers
  • Promoting new products

Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in a retail cover letter

In my previous retail position at [Former Employer], I was highly regarded as one of the top sales associates thanks to my exceptional customer service and positive attitude. Over the two years that I worked at this company, I received a perfect 5-star rating from customers. Additionally, I applied my leadership skills to mentor other sales associates in providing excellent customer service, leading the store’s overall rating to rise from 3.6 stars to 4.5 stars on Google.

5. Craft an effective retail cover letter conclusion

The last, but arguably most important, step to writing your retail cover letter is to create a persuasive closing statement.

You have one main goal with your conclusion — to convince the employer to contact you.

Keeping this in mind, some of the most important information to include in your conclusion is the best days and times to reach you, when you hope to hear back from the employer, and when you plan to follow up regarding your application.

Your goal is not to be overly pushy. Instead, you want to showcase your enthusiasm one last time, persuading the employer to get in touch with you quickly.

Here is an example of a great retail cover letter conclusion

I am beyond grateful to be considered for this position and look forward to hearing from you within the next week. To best reach me, please call me at (123) 456-7890 on any day during the hours of 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. I plan to reach back out via email next Tuesday if I have not heard back from you or your team about this opportunity.

With Appreciation,

[Applicant Name]

If you have ever wondered how a cover letter differs from a resume, this article will tell you everything about the key differences between the two.

Published on Sept. 27, 2022

Julia is a professional writer, translator and graphic designer. She holds degrees in translation and interpretation, and has international work experience from a number of different countries in Europe as well as China and Panama. Julia formerly taught academic writing and as a graphic designer contributed to outlets such as The Business of Business. She has a passion for lifelong learning and good coffee.

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