Note – this is a 3-part series on How to Write an Effective Cover Letter. I’ll try to keep the tips as clear and as detailed as it can be, so you won’t have a problem implementing the tips.
Sure. What I said may sound like it’s common sense, however, you’ll be amazed at how most freelancers aren’t giving this thought its due respect.
I know this for a fact since I’ve posted several jobs on Upwork myself, and have seen my fair share of cover letters that you can include in the Guinness World Records for the lamest cover letters ever made.
The sad part is, the cover letters are one of the things that can make or break your career as a freelancer. Take the time to create an outstanding cover letter, and you won’t have any problems getting a constant stream of projects. If your cover letters are crappy, however, you’ll end up experiencing a lot of dry spells in your freelancing journey.
And so the question becomes, “How exactly will you create an effective cover letter that can get you more clients?”
I’m glad you asked.
Allow me to share with you 10 tips that will help optimize your cover letters, so you’ll be able to get more clients.
Let’s hop right in.
1. It’s not about you. It’s all about them. Focus on the benefits.
Remember that your prospect clients do not care about who you are, or how many courses you’ve finished when you were in college. The point that they want to ascertain is whether or not you can solve their problems.
It doesn’t matter if you are an engineer, or if you are the president of the United States. If you can’t do the specific job that they’re looking to have done, then you’re not getting hired. Period.
Just like what I always say, the question that you need to address that the other person is always asking is, “What’s in it for me?”
That being said, you need to make sure that your cover letter will address just that.
Instead of talking about who you are and what you’ve accomplished (the features), you need to talk about what kind of value they can get from you (the benefits).
Here’s an example.
Instead of saying, “I am an experienced writer”, you can say, “You can forget about the frustration of experiencing the writer’s block. I’ll take care of that”.
As you can see, the second statement clearly addresses the question, “What’s in it for me?”. While the first one doesn’t address it at all.
Look. I know that there is value in telling your prospect clients about who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Heck, in one of my profiles, I even detailed my experience rather than the benefit that the clients can get from me (I did it because the experience I shared greatly differentiates me from the other writers).
All I’m saying is that you need to focus on telling your prospect clients about how they can benefit from hiring you, instead of focusing too much on who you are.
2. Offer freebies.
You probably haven’t thought of that, have you?
At this point, you’re probably scratching your head while asking yourself why you haven’t been using this strategy, when it seems so obvious.
Trust me. You are not alone.
I’ve only thought of this strategy several years after I’ve been doing my freelancing work.
What I like most about this strategy is it gives your cover letter that extra “oomph!”
It helps differentiate you from the other applicants since they’ll most likely be just talking about who they are and what they’ve done, and how they are a perfect fit for the job.
As you can probably imagine, the whole “freebie strategy” will make you look like you’ve taken things a step further. And you can bet your family jewels that your clients will be able to see just that.
Should you decide to use this strategy, however, I need you to pay heed to what I’m going to say next…
Tailor your freebies to your client’s needs.
Here’s the thing, if your prospect client is looking for web developers since they’re looking to have a website created for their business, it won’t make much sense for you to offer video marketing as a freebie.
That’s quite far off from what they’re needing right now. Sure. They may need it later, but that’s usually like 3 or 4 steps ahead (depending on the kind of plan your clients mapped out of course).
Since your prospect client’s main concern is to have their website developed, you can offer them free plugins, or perhaps free graphics even if they’ll hire you as their web dev.
As you can see, the free plugins and graphics are a bit more direct, or, it is closely related to the web dev task that they want done when compared to pitching video marketing.
3. Keep your first sentence punchy!
Just this once, imagine being the client. You’re scanning the 20th cover letter on file and you’re tired as a mug.
You pretty much know how the drill works, the letter will start with a “Dear sir/ma’am” intro, the applicant will talk about who he/she is, and how he/she is interested in getting considered for the job.
Sigh… “Life is so boring”, you say to yourself.
At this point, you’re just about ready to call it a day.
But then, as you click the 21st cover letter (the last one that you’re planning to review for the day), you don’t see any of the dead-boring intros. In fact, what you saw is a meme of Deadpool holding a cardboard saying “Hire Me! Or else…”
After seeing something like that, won’t you feel intrigued?
Won’t you feel the urge to give this guy’s cover letter a closer look?
If you’re anything like me, or most millennials that are looking to hire another team member, you’d have answered with a resounding “YES!”
I get it. The whole Deadpool meme might not be applicable at times, especially if you’re applying for a huge company. However, I hope you’re not missing the point here. You don’t even need to use a meme, per se. You just need to make sure that your first sentence is SO PUNCHY, that it becomes almost impossible for your prospect clients to ignore it.
I want to tell you that the tips that I shared above flat-out works. I’ve used it (and have still been using it), and other seasoned freelancers are using them as well. However, no matter how effective the tips may be, if you don’t take the time to implement them, you’ll never get any results.
That being said, don’t just read the article and make it a form of mental exercise. That is not what we are trying to do here. Our goal is to help you get more jobs by creating an effective cover letter.
Did you find value in reading the article? If you answered with a “yes”, then please take 3 seconds of your time to share it. Cheers!
* Note – I will be publishing the second (and the last part) of this series on Monday, May 16. Be sure to stay tuned.