Writing a killer cover letter for your proposal
One of the main factors to land a job on any freelancing platform is the cover letter sent with your job proposal/application.
In a nutshell, the cover letter needs to be professional, honest, NOT a copied template, and straight to the point.
It doesn’t have to be within a certain range, matter fact there is no specific range of length, I’ve landed multiple jobs before with one single line cover letter (with a professional greeting on top of it for sure), and in some other cases I had to go in depth resulting in long one.
Start with professional and friendly greeting:
In case I know the name and the gender of the client, I would definitely start with greetings like :
Or sometimes I go like:
In case I already know their profession as well, I mostly add a title to the name like “Dr.”, or “Prof.”.
For the new (first time) clients, I’d go with a title first before the name, most of my clients tend to be called directly without a title, matter fact some of them consider titles so bothering, but there is no fixed rule for that.
Sometimes I deal with clients outside my main usual countries that I typically work with, so it gets so confusing to guess the gender from the name, so I stick to a greeting without titles.
You won’t be able to know the client name in all cases, a lot of the jobs I had on Upwork I didn’t know the client’s name, so I had to with greetings like:
Dear Hiring Manager
Whatever you write in your cover letter, make sure it’s never a casual greeting, so avoid greetings like:
What’s up, Sara?
Totally avoid that!
Get straight to the point:
The client expects you to send a proposal that can tell directly why you should be on top of the other applicants list.
You shouldn’t write a very long cover letter, the client never expects you to send a whole novel in it.
So you need to get straight to the reasons why did you apply to that specific job and why should the client consider you.
For instance, If I were an Editor In Chief applying for a related job:
I’m interested in becoming the manager of your blog as I’ve been working as an Editor in Chief for the past 5 years.
The client mostly won’t have enough time to read a long cover letter just to get the points of your strengths, and the information needed to the take a decision.
In some cases you will be forced to write a longer cover letter just to answer the client’s questions and pointing out the main features of your offering, that’s typically fine as in those cases the client will be expecting it.
Showcase your skills and relative past samples:
Always mention your skills especially what’s related to the client’s posted job.
In any given posted job you will find a specific needs of skills, that’s where you need to showcase your skills and how you can use them to fulfill this needs.
For instance, if I were a Graphic Designer and applying for an eCommerce website design job:
I’ve noticed on your website sellingproducts.com that your eCommerce campaigns rely on your website landing page instead of the product pages, I can redesign those pages as well along with the website to ensure the highest conversion rate.
Here are my latest design and Ux jobs done for eCommerce websites:
In that example, you have to dig deeper to fetch more information out of the client’s website to tailor the cover letter.
The more problems you can solve with a set of skills you have, the more you will get the client to choose you.
Your past work experience along with past client review is a killer formula to land more jobs, make sure you always use them whenever possible in your cover letter.
Always highlight your strengths and skills related to the posted job, along with relative delivered projects.
For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, if the client needs a design of a landing page, then it’s best to showcase your skills by designing pages with a Ux that converts.
Always talk to the client in terms of his business, don’t go so techie on it, that might scare the client away.
Although, you might wanna go a bit technical into the area of your expertise to showcase your muscles, but don’t go so far with it.
If you have relative studies or degrees to the job, then you would definitely mention it and also explain how it can help to deliver the project successfully.
Don’t use copied templates and read the instructions first:
Don’t just use a “Copy & Paste” template cover letter, it’s easy for the client to identify it.
Matter fact, don’t even read others cover letter or even care about it much, each project and each different client needs are always different.
You can only read other’s cover letters that worked on some projects, just to learn others style and mistakes if possible.
If you don’t pay attention to what you send to the client, what impression you think it will leave? How would the client trust on working on his/her project that didn’t even care to tailor a cover letter for?
Also, pay attention to the instructions that the client might level for your to fill the cover letter, sometimes they ask you to add a specific word or sentence at the top of it to prove that you have actually read his project’s details.
Sometimes they also ask you send relative examples of your work, or just send your latest work along with the cover letter.
Encourage the client to the next step to contact you and close the sale:
Take it to the next step in the hiring process and ask the client to contact you, keep in mind that in platforms like Upwork it violates their terms if you ask the client to contact you outside the platform.
Ask the clients if they need an introductory call before hiring too.
Also, mention your current availability and how many hours you will be ready to work on the project weekly.
Mentioning when can you start the project can be useful as well, sometimes you will the clients in a rush to get their project done.
Apply on urgent projects only if you 100% sure you will be able to deliver on it and use that as leverage as well.
Start with professional and yet friendly greetings.
Never use a copied template and read the client’s instructions very well.
Showcase your skills and mention how you can use it to fulfill the client’s needs.
If you have a degree related to the client’s project, then you need to mention it as well.
Your past work examples and past clients testimonial are crucial for the client to take a decision to hire you, make sure you always use them when possible.