A fashion cover letter is the accompanying document that goes with your resume. It is a MUST.
There’s no question of whether you can hand in your resume without your cover letter. In fact, the cover letter is the first thing a human employer will look at before your resume.
But before we get into how to write your own, why don’t we start by looking at a…
Below is an example cover letter that I wrote for a fashion resume in response to a job from the bridal store A&Bé. Let’s go through it together so you can understand how and why I did it this way.
Before we get into actually writing a cover letter, there are a few points we should go over.
Following them will make your fashion cover letter more effective. Omitting them will mean creating a document that will do no good to your chances of getting an interview.
Which brings me to the first point…
It may be a surprise, since so much more emphasis is put on the resume, but a cover letter is actually read before the resume. So quite contrary to what may be said about using an out-of-this-world resume template in order to stand out, this is actually the job of the cover letter.
Especially where human beings are concerned.
I like to explain it like this.
A resume is like a basic profile that outlines your general information namley your education, past experience (or the lack thereof) etc.
Your cover letter is (literally) your 15-seconds-of-fame for you to say something that will make your candidacy truly memorable.
And yes, it is in the form of an actual letter. As in Dear Anna Wintour..
Apart from a basic structure that we can follow, you’ll also want to…
Now let’s get into the…
Your fashion cover letter will consist of the following parts. Namely…
These sections will form your basic cover letter layout or structure as shown in the image above.
Also note, your fashion cover letter should be formatted to look like it belongs with the corresponding resume. Making use of a similar header style and colouring for example. Mose templates will take care of that, so we can focus on the content of our documents.
Now let’s learn how to complete each part.
Your cover letter heading consists of…
Your contact information will probably form the most obvious part of the formatting that you pulled from the resume.
Then will follow the date, probably of the day that the cover letter and resume are being sent.
Then the receiver’s contact information. Just like with your resume, this may all seem like very basic information. But it will also be your challenge.
Did you take the time to use the specified address? Or go the extra mile to clarify to which address job applications should be sent?
Small but significant details like that are tell-tale signs of whether or not a candidate is as detail oriented as they might claim.
Your cover letter salutation is the line that goes Dear…
In theory you would want to use the name of the person who is in charge of hiring. This is much more personal. Sometimes, usually in smaller companies, this person may include their name in the job ad.
For larger companies, it’s usually a wild goose chase trying to find that person. It’s worth the effort, if it yield’s anything. But I wouldn’t wait on any responses for too long - while others hand in their resumes.
Dear Hiring Manager: is the new favourite.
Dear Human Resources Manager: is not as good as this person may likely be managing the department, not necessarily screening new hires.
To Whom It May Concern: is so out of date, it doesn’t know what the pandemic is. Avoid that one.
This is where you actually start your cover letter. And I’ll stray from some of the more common advice I‘ve heard from other resume writers.
Ideally, you’d want to strike up some kind of connection to this company. That is to say, if you have been networking and such, you would have heard about this job from so-and-so.
Say for example you were at a job fair. Or a company representative made a presentation at your school and mentioned internship positions.
Your best way to start your cover letter would be like…
Yes. It’s all about name dropping. That’s why it’s more effective to have a targeted job search rather than applying to every position under the sun.
Career Coach’s Notes: This is the point where I would tell you that no matter how “desperate you are for a job” you’ll get much better results by slowing down, taking a breath and being more deliberate about your job search. Being able to claim a connection to a company means you’re doing more than searching Indeed for jobs. It also means your networking is working. Details like that set you apart from other candidates.
In the event that you cannot make such a connection, we’ll have to settle for the next best thing.
Open your cover letter by informing the reader of how you found out about their job opening. It’s not as strong as having a personal connection to the company. But it will let them know which of their marketing streams are working. Which they’ll appreciate.
So, what does that look like?
But you’re opening statement isn’t quite done!
Now you need to add a line in there that shows you’ve done your research about this company. This’ll usually take the form of some statement of flattery of some sort…
But here is another tip I’ve picked up.
Tip: In some job ads, they leave specific instructions for the applicant to follow. For example, Tell us why you want to work for this company. Or Complete this sample assignment. Since those specific instructions where left, you’d like to make a statement that alludes to completing those instructions.
By now, you’ve set up your letter pretty well. Now we get to the core of things. In the body of the cover letter, you want to be very direct about why you are a good fit for this role.
To do this, I like to pull from the skills section of the resume and take 3 skills – two technical and one transferable. I take these 3 skills and turn them into bullet points that showcase you understand the majour demands of this role and that you are up to the challenge.
So this is what the body of my cover letter would sound like…
A few points to remember here:
At this point, the employer should be itching to hire you. So, make it easy for them with a Call To Action, presenting their next steps.
Politely mention how you look forward to hearing from them by a certain time. Mind that you will let them call you, not the other way around. But the invisible deadline will silently let them know you’re not waiting by the phone for them.
Then leave active links to your contact details and/or portfolio.
And your cover letter is done! Sign off with a…
In the next line type your name as it appears on your resume.
Tip: I like to have a branded signature by including my job title in the third line.
And now a few words on what not to do on your cover letter.
Screening resumes & cover letters is commonplace in hiring today. This is why it can’t hurt to include keywords in your fashion cover letter.
However, I would keep in mind that the cover letter is more for the sake of a human being. So I wouldn’t jump through linguistic hoops for the sake of optimization.
The best sections to optimize your fashion cover letter are…
Your resume and cover letter go hand in hand. It’s a common misconception that the resume carries more weight.
As a result many job seekers hand in their resumes without a cover letter. This single detail of including a fashion cover letter could set you apart from the majority of candidates.