How To Write A Killer Cover Letter For The Fashion Industry
You have spent hours scrolling through fashion industry job listing and are ready to apply to one (or several). Don’t forget to write that ever important cover letter! This is your one opportunity to tell the hiring manager something special about yourself they can’t get from your résumé. So make it count! In this article, I am going to show you how to write a KILLER cover letter that will get opened.
We couldn’t cover every possible angle of crafting a fashion career job hunt in just one post! This article is part of a 7 part Fashionable Job Hunt Series. If you want to learn how you can build a successful career in the fashion industry check out the other articles that are part of this series at the bottom of the page. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook group called PickGlass Fashionable Careers. See you there!
What Happens After You Submit Your Application?
Do you know what happens after you apply for an online job portal? Almost all fashion companies require a candidate to apply online today via a job form. Consider that most fashion companies post the same job listing on multiple job boards, and therefore get hundreds if not thousands of applicants in a short period of time.
The candidate fills out all the necessary information online, attaches a résumé, cover letter, and possibly examples of their work and hits “send.” Then what? Your carefully crafted form gets filed digitally. The hiring manager or human resources person will later “sort” through the applicants using a keyword search. The hiring manager or human resources person usually doesn’t have time to sift through that many applications. So, they get a computer to do it. Your résumé is likely going to be filtered and scrubbed for keywords by a computer. So, your cover letter could be your one chance to catch someone’s eye and have them read your résumé anyway.
What Not To Say In A Cover Letter
It can be hard to figure out how to start off your cover letter. What I do know is that this is precious time and space that you shouldn’t waste with redundancy or useless knowledge. Here are a few tips for not getting your cover letter thrown in the trash.
To Whom To May Concern
First, don’t start off on the wrong foot by using the generic “To Whom It May Concern” intro. This shows the hiring manager how little you care about the job because you didn’t even bother to find out who you are sending it to. Many job listings will mention the hiring manager or human resources person’s name. You can also do a LinkedIn search and find a couple of names of people who work in the HR dept of the company you are applying. Take the time!
My Name Is…
Give the reader some credit. You have sent your cover letter either via email (which your name is likely in your email address and at the bottom in your signature) or the online job portal along with the rest of your application. They know who you are! Don’t waste this precious space being redundant or boring. This is your time to shine!
I Am Writing To Express My Interest In Position…
Ok. You are right. Human resources people receive a lot of cover letters about different job openings. I can understand your desire to want to be clear WHICH job you are applying for. But also consider that your cover letter needs to stand out immediately. Use your first few sentences to say something that will get the readers attention. After you tell your story and talk about a special skill you have, then you can say how this skill set would make you the perfect candidate for position XYZ.
RECRUITER CONTACT LIST
RECRUITER CONTACT LIST
7 Steps To A Killer Cover Letter
Now that you know what NOT to do. Let’s talk about what you should say to make it a KILLER cover letter. Let’s first talk about the basic format of your cover letter.
You are most likely going to be sending your cover letter via email. So think of your email cover letter the same way a writer creates a news article. They attempt to grab the readers attention with a great headline. This is equivalent to your subject line in your email. You can write your name and the job you are applying for. Or you could go for a more flashy headline that will cause the reader to want to open your email. Try something like, “Any Smith’s Design Super Power”.
Something also to consider is that the hiring manager may need to find this email again. So including your name or something memorable will help them recall your email quickly.
2. Employers Contact Info
In the top left-hand corner, it is common to include the name and mailing address of the company you are applying to. This is most appropriate to include on a formal, hard copy cover letter submitted through snail mail or by hand. If you are sending a job application by email or through an employer’s online application system, it is not as necessary to include this contact information.
As I mentioned above, it is always nice to address a person by name. Take the time to find out who the human resources person is or who the hiring manager will be before sending your cover letter. Nothing says lazy like a generic salutation.
4. First Paragraph
I believe in a simple formula: Story + Skills = Killer Cover Letter
Use the first few sentences of your cover letter to grab the readers attention again. This is where you are going to write your “story” to entice the hiring manager to read further. Studies show that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.
5. Second Paragraph
Adding to the above, your second paragraph is where you include your special skills or accomplishments. What do you have to offer the company?
6. Third Paragraph
Here is where you show that you have done your research about the position and/ or the company and how you can contribute directly to their needs.
7. Fourth Paragraph
This is your closing. Suggest next steps by requesting an interview or phone call. Tell them how they can reach you. And give any additional links to view examples of your work if necessary.
How To Tell Your Story In A Compelling Way
What do I mean by a story? Well, you are trying to show your more human side to the hiring manager. Your goal is to express why you are the perfect candidate and what you can do for them. Your story is really about what makes you a unique candidate. The first paragraph needs to grab the readers attention. Tell a quick story that showcases your personality or interest.
You can tell your story in several different ways. One way is to start by sharing your passion for the company or the industry. Try an intro that expresses why you are so excited to work with their team.
Another way to tell your story is to say why you love this company. Many companies, especially small ones or startups, like to hire people who already live and breath their brand. Start with some heartfelt, genuine flattery.
Finally, a story about one of your recent accomplishments is a great way to stand out. The truth is that for any given job you will be competing against several job applicants that likely have similar skills and experience. Highlighting special skill or accomplishment can help make you memorable.
Bring Something To The Table
The second paragraph is the next part of the magic formula where you add your skills or accomplishments. I am not talking about reiterating your résumé here. I mean, what special skills can YOU bring to this position that can help the company. What can YOU do for THEM?
Companies would prefer to hire someone who can immediately jump in and start working with little to no training. They also like hiring someone with a special skill set that their current team is lacking. Think about what experience you have that can add to the mix. Always bring it back to the company and what you can do to help them.
Fashionable Job Hunt Series
If you, or someone you know, want to learn how to properly get started looking for a job in the fashion industry you can read the entire series here. Learn how to plan your job hunt and make the right first impression.
- 5 Signs You Should Leave Your Job
- How To Start Your Fashion Job Search
- How To Work With A Fashion Recruiter
- Interview With Amy Cole
- Top 5 Ways To Make Your Fashion Resume Pop
- Top 10 Side Hustles For Fashion Industry Professionals
- How To Write A Killer Cover Letter That Gets Opened