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Trying to get a Retail Clothing Position - How is my Cover Letter?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to get started in a position as a sales associate at a mid to high range menswear store in Toronto. I have virtually no retail experience, except for a job at a candy store, so I am probably going to look to start at a place like Club Monaco or Banana Republic and hopefully work my way up from there.


Below is my cover letter. Since I have no experience, I am really trying to grab someone's attention, just so I can get my foot in the door. Please let me know what you think and what changes I should make?




Dear Hiring Manager,

I am a clothes horse. I can’t really pinpoint when it happened, but sometime over the past two years I became intensely interested in clothing and style. I love everything that is timeless, elegant and unique about men’s fashion. I am not applying for this position looking for a job. I am following a passion and quite possibly beginning a career.

My profound interest in clothing and fashion has lead me to become quite knowledgeable on the subject. Through books by style luminaries such as Alan Flusser, I’ve gained a very strong knowledge base in men’s style.

I’m familiar with construction methods, styles and materials. I can tell you anything from how to hand wash a cashmere sweater to how to recognize hand-stitching on a garment to the width of tie that will work best for you (relying on build and lapel width rather than seasonal trends). Furthermore, I have developed a very good eye for fit, which I believe I could use to help potential customers find the items that will help them look their best.

I do admit that my one weakness is that I do not have retail experience. I do, however, have some sales, as well as cash and key-holder experience. I also have a great deal of experience working in fine dining restaurants, an occupation which shares many similarities with that of a sales associate. I know how to up-sell and I am comfortable engaging with patrons in a polite and friendly way. I know the proper way to conduct myself in front of customers and am able to use my wine and food knowledge to make helpful recommendations. I believe I could do the same using my knowledge of men’s clothing and style.

I am just looking for a start, and can guarantee you that I will make an excellent and likely long-term addition to your sales team.

Sincerely,

GucciKid
post #2 of 19
what are you like 12? Don't shitty retail jobs have ridiculous turnover and hire anyone who seems pretty interested?

Go work at some retail chain for a bit and then start applying elsewhere. They won't expect anything at the gap.
post #3 of 19
i work at a high end retail store in toronto, and they generally dont care how much you know about fashion, but why youre good for the position. i didnt read your whole letter but from what i did noticed youre focusing too much on fashion and less on why youd be good at the position.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Where do you work?

Hmm, but wouldn't that be why I would be good for the position? Because I know a lot about clothing and style?

I guess I could write that I'm friendly, outgoing, organized, hardworking etc. but I figure that is probably what every resume is going to say.

And no, I am not 12, and I am not 40 either, so I figure having a job where I can dress how I like to, talk about clothes, and make a bit of money while I go to school/pursue other things is not a bad option.
post #5 of 19
I'm gonna break it down for you, in red

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am a clothes horse. I can't really pinpoint when it happened, but sometime over the past two years I became intensely interested in clothing and style. I love everything that is timeless, elegant and unique about men's fashion. I am not applying for this position looking for a job. I am following a passion and quite possibly beginning a career.


They don't care about your feelings, and it shows a pretty bad memory if you can't remember a specific important turning point in your life in the last 2 years. Either use a very concrete, applicable example or drop the diary entry


My profound interest in clothing and fashion has lead me to become quite knowledgeable on the subject. Through books by style luminaries such as Alan Flusser, I've gained a very strong knowledge base in men's style.


I am 90% sure that the floor manager of a BR has no idea who Alan Flusser is.


I'm familiar with construction methods, styles and materials. I can tell you anything from how to hand wash a cashmere sweater to how to recognize hand-stitching on a garment to the width of tie that will work best for you (relying on build and lapel width rather than seasonal trends). Furthermore, I have developed a very good eye for fit, which I believe I could use to help potential customers find the items that will help them look their best.

I do admit that my one weakness is that I do not have retail experience. I do, however, have some sales, as well as cash and key-holder experience. I also have a great deal of experience working in fine dining restaurants, an occupation which shares many similarities with that of a sales associate. I know how to up-sell and I am comfortable engaging with patrons in a polite and friendly way. I know the proper way to conduct myself in front of customers and am able to use my wine and food knowledge to make helpful recommendations. I believe I could do the same using my knowledge of men's clothing and style.

Don't talk about your weakness, talk about your strengths. Make your fine dining restaurant work experience sound exactly like a commissioned sales position and show concrete examples of how you kicked ass at it and how you know it is applicable to clothing sales

I am just looking for a start, and can guarantee you that I will make an excellent and likely long-term addition to your sales team.


Don't take a begging stance "I am just looking for a chance, please". explain why they would be dumb not to hire you, make it sound obvious


Sincerely,
post #6 of 19
And don't tell them how you're going to use your employee discount to buy stuff and flip on SF. Trust me, they don't like it.
post #7 of 19
I don't think you'll need a resume and cover letter for a sales position. Aren't they going to just have you fill out an App.?
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GucciKid View Post
Where do you work?

Hmm, but wouldn't that be why I would be good for the position? Because I know a lot about clothing and style?

I guess I could write that I'm friendly, outgoing, organized, hardworking etc. but I figure that is probably what every resume is going to say.

And no, I am not 12, and I am not 40 either, so I figure having a job where I can dress how I like to, talk about clothes, and make a bit of money while I go to school/pursue other things is not a bad option.

no everyone writes how they love fashion. noone in the store your working at knows shit about any real fashion. they want to know youll come in on time and be able to work hard.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Great advice Tarmac, I will definitely make some changes based on those recommendations.

Thanks!
post #10 of 19
Don't focus on your fashion knowledge if you want to get into high end retail in Canada. High end retail in Canada is not "fashion" it is menswear so managers do not care for your fashion knowledge but rather your ability to sell. In my experience those with fashion knowledge cannot survive in the industry because the majority of customers coming in are put off by unnecessary information by self-proclaimed fashion experts. Focus on showing that you will be a successful sales person by highlighting qualities the exemplify an extrovert personality along with a willingness to learn.
post #11 of 19
Tarmac's right on the money. When you write your cover letter, every sentence should be focused on what you can do for the recipient and not what the recipient can do for you. Also, short and to the point is better. Assume the recipient will spend approximately one minute on your enclosures. If he spends more than that, he is either interested, a really good guy, or doesn't have enough to do.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarmac View Post


I am 90% sure that the floor manager of a BR has no idea who Alan Flusser is.


99.99% sure.

I suspect that the BR manager wants someone who will show up on time, not leave before the racks and stacks are tidied up and the backroom areas are neat, and who will have the proper attitude and demeanor to give BR customers the type of assistance the chain wants.

I suspect that BR is probably a fine way to get a start in the field, but that you're (over) selling yourself the wrong way. If anything, the mgr might read it as someone who will want to leave for Nordstrom or some other higher-end place asap.

Just appear to be a dependable worker.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdldore View Post
Tarmac's right on the money. When you write your cover letter, every sentence should be focused on what you can do for the recipient and not what the recipient can do for you. Also, short and to the point is better. Assume the recipient will spend approximately one minute on your enclosures. If he spends more than that, he is either interested, a really good guy, or doesn't have enough to do.
Jdllore is right on the money. Focus on "what is in it for them. Your note is all about "I". A huge turnoff for many hiring managers.

You can highlight your passion for clothes. But do it in a way that the retailer sees something in it for them. Like...."My passion for clothes will help customers get excited and energetic about buying clothes in your store". You can wordsmith that but help the Retailer see what is in it for them by hiring you.

What is needed for the Retailer you want to work for. great customer service, hard worker, getting along with other employees, responsibilty, smarts to help them make money. You don't have to highlight that you don't have retail experience. They will get that on the resume. But do bring how you have successfully delivered the qualities above in other jobs or responsibilties. A lot of jobs have to display those qualities above. Highlight how you have done that.

good luck
post #14 of 19
Gucci Kid, Your writing style is easy to read and caught my attention and that is very important. Your cover letter is so good that you may have a small problem of being over qualified. I know that chains like Macys used to have training programs and if you were hired into them you were moved around and got lots of experience. you probably would need a degree - do you have one and in what area? So be yourself and have fun. Don't worry you will get a job and then you will get a better job and then you need to decide whether to climb the corporate ladder or open your own business. If you need to start at a low end store that is fine. Just go for it and don't look back. Very few people have a passion for what they do and those that do tend to always do well. Good luck and let us know how you do.
post #15 of 19
As with everything, you need to better understand what your customer (in this case, the hiring manager) wants: They want you to sell. Convince them you can do that, and do it better (meaning $s) and you'll get the job. That's not to say that your interest and/or knowledge of fashion isn't relevant or important, but it is only to the extent that it helps you sell. If it doesn't, then why would they care? Rework your letter to pitch the notion that you can help them grow their business and use your fashion "expertise" (and whatever other skills are relevant) to buttress that argument. End of story.
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