How To Write a Cover Letter for Retail: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A well-written cover letter can make all the difference when applying for a job in the retail industry. A cover letter is your chance to explain why you would be a good fit for the job while listing your skills, experience and desire to work for that company. Knowing how to write a cover letter for retail can help you get a job in this industry. In this article, we discuss how to write a retail cover letter, with a step-by-step guide plus real examples.

How to write a cover letter for retail

A cover letter introduces you to your potential employer. The goal of your cover letter is to persuade the reader that you'd be a good member of their team. Below we share a guide on how to structure your retail cover letter:

1. Include a greeting

You can begin your cover letter with a formal salutation or greeting. You can address the letter directly to the hiring manager. To find their name, check the job listing, the company's website or their social media. If you cannot find their name, then a simple “Dear Hiring Manager” is fine.

2. Compose an introduction

The next step is to introduce yourself. Provide your full name and what you are currently doing. For example, “My name is Steve Smith, and I am a Commerce student at ABC University” or “My name is Jane Doe and I've been working in retail for the past 3 years”. After this, you can provide a brief background of your education and work history.

3. Describe why you are interested in the job

After the introductions you can begin discussing the job and why you want it. You can do some research on the company beforehand so that you can mention your shared goals. You can talk about how you found the job listing, why you chose to apply and your impression of the company.

4. Explain why they should hire you

This section is all about selling yourself. You have already expressed why you want to work at the company, so now you can write about how you can benefit the company. You can discuss your skills that are relevant to the job, as well as any previous work experience. Even if you have not had specific retail experience, you can talk about how roles in other jobs would help. For example, working as a receptionist has taught you the importance of customer service.

5. Write a conclusion

Your cover letter can end with a sentence expressing your gratitude to the hiring manager for their time. You can also confirm your interest in the job and mention a timeframe in which you'll follow up. You can end with a formal salutation, your full name and your contact details.

Retail cover letter examples

Below we share three examples of retail cover letters:

Example one

Dear Hiring Manager,

My name is Steve Smith, and I am in my final year of Commerce at ABC University. I saw your advertisement for a sales assistant on a poster at my campus. I believe I would be a great asset to your team at Unique Recycled Sneakers. I am an avid collector of sneakers and have extensive knowledge of both vintage and modern shoes. I'm enthusiastic about the positive environmental impacts of recycling shoes.

My qualifications include:

  • High school graduate with 79 ATAR score

  • 2 years of hospitality experience at my local café

  • Extensive knowledge of sneakers

  • Exceptional attention to detail

My hospitality work has taught me the importance of customer service and time management. It has taught me to be organised and flexible when it comes to assigning shifts. With these skills plus my passion for sneakers, I think I'd be a great fit.

If possible, I would love to demonstrate my skills in person. I would like to learn more about the store and the specific duties involved in this job. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Steve Smith
1 John St, Apple VIC, 3123
0411 123 456

Example two

Dear Mr. Hay,

My name is Jane Doe, and I've been working in retail for the past 3 years. I saw your job listing for an assistant store manager on Facebook. I am very interested in the job; I believe I possess all the necessary skills and qualifications for this role.

Over the past 3 years, I have worked as a full-time sales assistant at Dresses 101. This experience has taught me the importance of strong customer service. The key to building customer relationships is being honest and relatable. Through this technique, I have built up a list of returning customers. I am now looking to expand my skills with a managerial role.

During my time at Dresses 101, I learnt the ins and outs of the retail industry. I learnt selling techniques, visual merchandising, how to count stock and how to operate a POS system. I learnt about the importance of KPI's and was the company's top national seller 3 months in a row.

I would like to speak to you about the assistant store manager position in person. I will call your office this Friday if I have not heard back before then. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jane Smith
0422 345 678

Example three

Dear Mrs. Hall,

My name is Katherine Bell, and I am interested in the summer casual role at Heavenly Accessories. As a long time shopper and lover of your store, I was so excited to see the job listing. I have just graduated high school with an ATAR of 81. I am currently looking for a summer role before beginning university next year. I am hopeful this role can carry on throughout my studies.

Since I was a child, I have been a fan of accessories, creating jewellery in my spare time. I believe this passion would translate into this role. I am confident, organised and observant. I have always worked well as part of a team as well as being self-motivated. I am a fast learner and believe I would prove to be an asset to your store.

I would love to demonstrate my suitability for the role in person. Thank you for taking the time to read my application, I look forward to hearing from you.

Katherine Bell
0433 891 112

Retail cover letter tips

Creating a good cover letter can set you apart from other candidates. Below we share a few key tips to help you:

  • Use keywords. read the job description thoroughly and highlight keywords. These are words you may see written multiple times or listed as desirable qualities. Reference specific times you have demonstrated these qualities.

  • Describe both hard and soft skills. retail jobs require a range of skills. Hard skills are your measurable abilities such as reading, writing and mathematics. Soft skills are traits that make you a good employee such as communication, organisation and attentiveness.

  • Show your competence. don't be afraid to sell yourself, this is what a cover letter is for. List specific examples of times when you have gone above and beyond for a customer or worked well under pressure. Showcase what abilities make you a good fit for the company.

Frequently asked questions

Below you'll find a list we have compiled of the most commonly asked questions about retail cover letters:

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is an introduction of yourself which is attached to your resume. It describes your skills, experience and why you are suitable for the job. A well-written cover letter can be the difference between you or another applicant getting the job.

Should I write a cover letter for a retail job?

Yes, it's advisable to always include a cover letter unless the job listing says otherwise. Cover letters are your chance to demonstrate why you would be a valuable team member of the company. It is a chance to get a little personal, something your resume does not allow.

What can I include in a cover letter for a retail job?

A retail cover letter can showcase the abilities you possess which would make you thrive in a retail environment. It can discuss any previous retail experience you have or relevant experience to the role. Many hiring managers rely on cover letters to gauge a candidates personality, attention to detail and written communication skills.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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