Work in retail sales can be rewarding, with potential advancement to store manager, but the hours aren’t the usual nine-to-five of the business world. If you enjoy working with people and sharing your product knowledge, make sure to emphasize those skills in your cover letter.
Job Responsibilities & Duties
A sales associate is often responsible for assisting the customer from greeting them when they enter the store to processing payment for the sale. In large stores, sales associates should have a thorough knowledge of the layout and where products are located, and in specific sales, such as an electronics store, they need product knowledge. Additional responsibilities include stocking the shelves, taking inventory and pricing items.
Retail store managers or assistant managers often work their way up from the sales floor. Responsibilities include supervision of staff, merchandising and budgeting. They hire, fire and train employees with the end goal of assembling the best possible sales team and are responsible for meeting sales goals and the smooth operation of the store.
Education & Training
A high school diploma or GED is usually the minimum educational requirement for a sales associate. Most retail sales workers are provided with training related to customer service, store policy and how to operate the cash register.
A bachelor’s degree in a business-related field is often required for a store manager position, but not always. Some organizations have their own managerial training programs and others promote from within.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2012:
Retail salespersons made a median hourly wage of $10.15. The lowest 10 percent made less than $8.09. The top 10 percent earned more than $18.73. Depending on the store or department, some sales associates also earn a commission on sales.
Parts salespersons (auto parts) had a higher median hourly wage of $14.21 for the same time period, with the lowest 10 percent making less than $8.96 and the top 10 percent making more than $23.93.
First-line supervisors, including store managers, earned an average annual salary of $40,910.
Even if you don’t have actual retail experience, you probably already have experience interacting with and assisting others that you can mention. If you have specific product knowledge, include that too.
Retail and Customer Service Cover Letter Examples
Set the Right First Impression with a Cover Letter That Gets Noticed
Cover letters are used alongside resumes to apply for a variety of jobs and the retail industry is no exception. Whether you are applying for a managerial position or looking for a part-time seasonal job, it's important to make your cover letter stand out from the competition.
The cover letter is your first impression and it needs to be a good one. You need to let the hiring manager know who you are and why you are the perfect person for the job.
The better your cover letter, the better your chances of getting an interview.
Tips for Writing a Retail Cover Letter
When you are writing a cover letter for a customer service or retail position, take the time to make sure your letter properly displays your best qualities in the area of customer service. Include any past experience and achievements, particularly those that relate specifically to the open position.
Highlight examples of how your background is a good match for the specific requirements noted in the job description. This tells the hiring manager that you understand exactly what they're looking for and you took the time to write a cover letter.
If you do not have prior work experience in retail or customer service, ask yourself if you have any of these soft skills, such as listening skills, necessary for success in this line of work.
For example, the best retail employees often have an upbeat personality, even in the face of frustrated customers.
Even if the job description doesn't specifically note this characteristic, it's certainly something relevant to mention.
How to Use Cover Letter Examples
Review the retail and customer service cover letter examples below for inspiration. Be sure to personalize your letter and explain how your skills correlate to the criteria listed in the job posting.
Here's how to use these customer service cover letters examples:
- Read through the letter that most closely matches the job title you are applying for.
- Take notice of how the letter is structured and what details are included.
- Write your own letter, including details about your own background and reference the job description's requirements.
Retail Management Cover Letter Examples
Perhaps you are ready to move into a managerial position or you found a listing for a store manager position that would be an upgrade from your current position. In either case, your cover letter needs to demonstrate why you are management material, what you can bring to the store, and then you need to back up that amazing resume you worked so hard on.
General Retail Position Cover Letter Examples
Because so many job applications are being submitted online, it's important to stand out from the crowd by submitting a cover letter. Competition for retail positions is tough and a well-crafted cover letter shows your enthusiasm for the position, attention to detail, and allows you to expand upon personal traits that speak to your customer service skills.
Cover Letters When You're Seeking a Promotion
There is always room for advancement in the world of retail. Vying for a promotion is another case in which a cover letter can make a difference. Use these templates when an opportunity presents itself and remind your boss of everything that makes you the right candidate for the job.
How to Format Your Cover Letter
You can use these templates to get a feel for the appropriate cover letter format and layout and then personalize your letter to fit your needs.