We’ve come a long way since Adam and Eve, when the first fashion statement was a fig leaf. Today’s fashion industry is complex, globalized and multifaceted, but getting a job in this field still requires an “old-fashioned” fashion cover letter, and that’s what this guide is all about.
The fashion industry today is populated by international celebrities, from top designers to supermodels, as well as ordinary people who cut cloth or blog about fashion. One source, TARGETjobs, lists 28 jobs in the field, but notes that it would be impossible to list every job in the fashion industry.
What we’ll discuss in this guide (reinforced by real cover letter examples):
- The 5 critical components of a cover letter: header, greeting, introduction, body and conclusion
- Best format for a fashion cover letter
- The psychology of writing a persuasive cover letter
- Common mistakes to avoid in your cover letter.
Choosing the best format for a fashion cover letter
The forma” of a fashion cover letter includes all the structural and design elements: the framework, the style, the fonts, the margins, the overall approach to the look and feel. A cover letter should be one page only, a maximum of 400 words, and you need to get all the components right.
The traditional format of a fashion cover letter includes:
- The cover letter header
- The greeting / salutation
- The letter introduction
- The cover letter middle part (body)
- The ending of a cover letter (with a call to action).
Now let’s take a look at each of these in detail (along with some cover letter samples) to see how you can write them better!
Cover letter header
When sending an email, we’re used to putting your name last, but in a cover letter, you need to put it first AND last. Your cover letter header is a section at the top of your letter that should include your name, occupation, address, phone number and email. The header may also include your photo, and perhaps your LinkedIn profile or some other job-relevant link.
The header is an important design element of your cover letter, making it look better at a glance. It may contain a splash of color, innovative use of typography and a creative layout. Below the header, your letter will generally contain nothing but paragraphs in black text, so your header is the only real place to display some of your design chops. (And in fashion, it goes without saying, design is kind of important.)
If you’re a brilliant designer, by all means feel free to design your own cover letter header. But bear in mind that designing a dress and designing a page of text are two different challenges. The safest way to choose a resume header is to use a professional template that’s pre-designed for you.
788 North Fisher Way, New York, NY 10458, United States
Cover letter greeting
When you write a letter to your sister Sue, feel free to open by saying “Hey Sue.” But don’t even think of adopting such a casual style for a cover letter greeting — unless you happen to know the person you’re writing to really well.
“Dear Mr. X” or “Dear Ms. Y” are the traditional and time-honored ways of writing the greeting, also known as the salutation, for any business letter. Don’t overthink this, and go with the safest option unless there’s a good reason not to. And by the way, if you don’t know the name of the person you should be writing to, do what you can to find out, as a cover letter addressed to an actual person will generally get better results.
Below you can find a cover letter sample of the greeting.
Dear Mrs. Samson,
Cover letter introduction
Your first paragraph, the cover letter introduction, should make a compelling opening statement about your qualifications for the job you’re seeking.
Usually this will mean some allusion to your experience, or perhaps your education and training. It should be clear from your introduction what you do, what you’d like to do, and why you’re good at it. Good cover letter examples will use facts from the applicant’s career history along with engaging emotional language for the best results.
Use the kind of language that gets attention — strong and provocative, never weak or flabby. Here’s some cover letter sample writing for the introduction of a fashion cover letter:
My womenswear sourcing career has taken me to twenty countries, three hundred factories, countless design meetings and some truly unforgettable focus groups.
Cover letter middle part (body)
The middle paragraphs of your cover letter, generally known as the body, should contain the meat and potatoes of your pitch. If you don’t have the material to build a winning case here, then you may be doomed.
In fashion as in any field, experience is key. So if you do have experience in this field, lead with that, not just mentioning the places you’ve worked but detailing what you achieved with each employer.
Be as specific as possible, using facts and figures (dollar figures, percentage growth, etc.). Try to use at least one anecdote that tells a short story about some challenge you faced in the past, how you addressed it and the positive result you achieved. Cover letter samples found on the web are often dry and lack impressive facts and achievements. This can be due to the fact that they are designed for thousands of diverse job seekers, but you need to make sure you adapt your application letter to your own story.
You can also use the body of your letter to address any job-relevant education or certifications you hold (if you feel it’s really something to be proud of, remember that space on the page is valuable). And you can take advantage of the body of your letter to address the specific employer you’re writing to about how you believe your contributions could make this company stronger, more profitable and more efficient.
Here’s a cover letter example of the middle paragraphs:
Each specialist in the fashion sourcing process has to be an expert not only in their job, but understand the intricacies of the whole process. I was promoted to sourcing manager in the procurement team over a period of six years in which I also took part in assignments in the logistics and design teams. Average cost savings of 9% and sourcing strategies that delivered $2.2m in extra sales can only come about if everyone talks to each other.
I specialise in fast-fashion lines – from skirts and dresses to outerwear and knitwear lines. I perfected the forecasting of my open to buy using a mix of predictive AI and intense collaboration with all major fashion houses. I wasn’t making the trends, but I was definitely only one step behind.
My department gained in market share by 5% points over the two years as sourcing manager, moving into new customer segments as out proportion of online shopping increased. Close work with the marketing department allowed us to get a line to market quicker than any competitor. Whenever a line didn’t sell, we created a post-retail international distribution channel that ensured minimal product shrinkage.
As more than half of your revenue comes from your online operations, the time that I spent heading up an ecommerce project to strengthen links between commercial and online marketing teams will come in useful. We managed to reduce to time to market from 45 days to 42 days and had a higher volume of promotional lines than any competitor.
How to close a fashion cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)
In the closing paragraph of your cover letter, you might want to thank the recruiter for taking the time to review your application. You might provide some sort of summary of what you’ve already said, or introduce a previously unmentioned qualification.
But you also want to include some kind of call to action — something you’d like the hiring manager to do as a result of your letter. This can be as simple as saying that you’re eager to hear back about the possibility of setting up an interview, or reminding the recruiter that you’re always reachable at the contact info you’ve already provided.
The last thing you want is for the recipient of your letter to set it aside and do nothing about it. Plant the thought that you are serious about this job — not just any job — and that you are ready and willing at any time to discuss the contributions that you can make to this enterprise. Below is some cover letter sample writing for the closing part of the application document.
I look forward to sharing my sourcing portfolio and would be happy to take you through the numbers and successes at the interview stage.
The psychology of writing a persuasive cover letter
Always remember that you’re not trying to convince anyone that you deserve a job — you’re trying to convince a hiring manager that your contribution will make the company stronger, more profitable and more efficient. In other words, you’re going to do more for them than they’re going to do for you.
Put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re writing to, and reread your own letter as if you were the hiring manager. Take a close look at your tone — is it arrogant or presumptuous, or does it strike the right notes about the value you will add in helping this company to achieve its goals?
A cover letter must include a certain amount of humble boasting — you have to blow your own horn a bit, because if you don’t, nobody else will. But it should never cross a line into arrogance or claims that you are the “perfect” person for this job.
One question to ask yourself is whether your cover letter makes you sound likable. Nobody wants to hire someone they don’t like. So whatever your experience or skill level, present yourself as an experienced, competent professional, but maintain a tone that never crosses a line into misplaced overconfidence.
Mistakes to avoid in a fashion cover letter
Here are some mistakes you don’t want to make in your fashion cover letter.
- Typos and other writing mistakes. In a one-page letter in which you’re seeking a job, you can’t afford any typos, misspelled words, or errors in grammar, punctuation or capitalization. If English is not your long suit, find an editor to review and revise your letter before you send it.
- Mass mailings. You CAN send the exact same Christmas letter to everyone in your family, but don’t try this with a cover letter. Make each cover letter unique, targeted to a certain job at a certain company, and address how you can help each company you address.
- Irrelevant info. Your space is so limited that you have to make sure you use it appropriately. So avoid discussions of your hobbies or other extraneous info, and focus on providing information that spells out why you’re qualified for this job.
- Poor design. If your letter has an ugly header, an exotic text in an unreadable font size, near-zero margins or other design errors … then why would a fashion company want to hire you?
Review Resume.io’s cover letter templates and you’ll find styles that include “Modern,” “Creative,” “Simple” and “Professional.” In the fashion field, you may want to lean toward “Creative,” though any of these styles might work for you. Look through all the options, find one you like, click on it and make it yours. You’ll be building on a foundation of success.
Our advice remains the same: use our cover letter examples as the basis for your inspiration and use our templates where all the formatting and design issues are already taken care of. All you have to do is write the letter.
Best of luck in your job search!
For additional inspiration, review some related cover letter examples for creative or design-oriented professions: