How to craft the perfect cover letter to get you that first interview

Writing the perfect cover letter is your first chance (alongside a stellar CV) to impress the hiring manager, and help you to stand out from the crowd. And with so much competition for entry level fashion jobs, as well as more senior roles, it’s important to use your words carefully to get your points across succinctly, and appealingly. After all, a cover letter is pretty much a sales pitch for yourself!

Here’s our top tips…

  1. Present it nicely. A covering letter should be a personal thing, and whilst it’s no longer common practise to handwrite one, you should still stick with classic, easy-to-read fonts. Aim for size 12, and a font like Arial, Times New Roman or Helvetica is always simple to understand
  2. Don’t just regurgitate your CV Whilst jobs in fashion eCommerce in Manchester can require quite technical qualities, it doesn’t mean you should simply repeat your CV in letter format. Try and raise different points, as well as elaborating on key skills and experience, and evaluating how they’ll be relevant to the role you’re applying for.
  3. One size does NOT fit all. We understand writing a cover letter can be time consuming, but sending the same letter time and time again can actually work to your disadvantage. If you’re applying to many similar roles, stick to the same template, but be sure to amend the details and tailor each point carefully. And ALWAYS check you’ve spelt the company name correctly.
  4. Proof read, proof read, proof read! Whilst we’re talking about spelling and grammar, be sure to have a look over your cover letter once completed, and check for any spelling and grammar mistakes. If you have time, leave it for a bit, and look over with fresh eyes, or send the letter over to someone you trust to get their opinion.
  5. Know the company. This is your chance to show the company that you’ve done your research. Did you enjoy a particular campaign they did? Are you a fashion designer in Manchester who is stimulated by an incredible collection? Tell them! We all know everyone likes a compliment, and your passion in the company may even drive a passion for them to you.
  6. Make the job description work for you. Pick out keywords from the JD that you particularly relate to, and work your application around that. This is your moment to prove why you are suitable for the role, so be sure to make it count.
  7. Keep it relevant and brief. The optimum covering letter should be an A4 side, and around 500 words. Keep things to the point to keep the reader engaged, interview stage is where you can go into further detail.
  8. Name the hiring manager. Sources like LinkedIn has made we can engage with some of the most impressive people in the industry, as well as searching for the perfect job role. When writing your cover letter, be sure to name the hiring manager when addressing the letter (and do the necessary research to find it). Even if the name isn’t the exact recipient, the personal touch won’t go unnoticed.
  9. Tell a story. Just like any good essay, you want your covering letter to have a clear start, middle and end point. In the final paragraph do a top line summary of all the previous points you’ve raised, and DON’T bring up anything new. This is your final chance to sell yourself, so do it well!
  10. Avoid cliches. Words like ‘self-motivated’, ‘driven’, and ‘passion’ are overused in covering letters. Fashion jobs in Manchester are often creative roles, so be creative in your language use! Those pops of personality will truly make an impact when it comes to shortlisting.