As a freelancer, finding new clients and gigs might just be the most difficult and time-consuming task. Of course, your connections and networking skills matter a lot for this, but your resume does too.
Nevertheless, there is something that many freelancers either underestimate or forget about. Your cover letter could be the component that would ultimately determine whether you get a job or not. Hence, here’s how to write a cover letter for a freelance job.
#1 Understand Cover Letters
It goes without saying that you absolutely need a cover letter as a freelancer. But why exactly is this? Here are just some reasons to use a cover letter to get a freelance job:
It shows your professionalism. You understand that a resume and portfolio are not always enough to show who you are as a person and why someone would want to hire you which is why you are including a cover letter.
It shows your motivation and expertise. By explaining why you applied for a specific job, you show your potential employer that you truly do know the topic and want to complete the project because you are actually interested in it.
It is often a requirement in job listings. In many cases, attaching a cover letter is optional, but there are some gigs that will require you to attach a cover letter to be able to apply.
It can be a letter you use to reach out to potential clients on your own. A cover letter isn’t necessarily used to apply for job listings. You can also use it to contact people you think might be interested in your services (e.g. small business owners).
#2 Showcase Your Personality
As explained above, a cover letter can help you show your personality. Your resume lists hard facts about your education, experience, expertise, and skills. But what about who you are as a person? That’s something your cover letter can show if you write it with the intention of showcasing your personality.
For instance, if you are a writer who often inserts humor in their content, you can show that in your cover letter by using humor there. On the other hand, if you prefer to be very serious and professional in all your communication with the client, you can show that through your cover letter as well.
#3 Include Relevant Keywords
You’ve probably heard of the way resumes are often assessed. Instead of a person viewing the resume, the document is first analyzed by a program that detects relevant keywords. If there are no such keywords, then the HR manager won’t even bother to look at the resume. While this isn’t the case for cover letters, you should still try to include relevant keywords.
Even as humans, we detect these keywords on a subconscious level. When your potential employer will be reading your cover letter, they will notice these keywords. They will be sending a signal to the reader that you have the right traits, skills, experience, etc. that the employer is looking for.
#4 Show Off Your Skillset
Speaking of your skills, your cover letter can also be used to show off your skillset. Even though you have already listed your skills in your resume, the skills you show in your cover letter are primarily soft skills that can’t be verified in any other way. Hard skills are supported by your experience and education, but soft skills are intangible.
That’s why your cover letter is where you can show off your soft skills. Things like trust, organization, motivation, and flexibility are all important for being a successful freelancer – and employers know this. Your wording also matters because it can help you show that you know how to communicate effectively.
#5 Display Your Own Value
In your resume, you can list some of the achievements you are most proud of. Your portfolio can show your skills. But to truly support the fact that you are a valuable asset to your potential employer, you need to utilize your cover letter. This is where you can display your own value.
Highlight the achievement you are most proud of that you mentioned on your resume. Explain your long-term goals and ambitions for your career. Show that you are motivated and want to grow and improve over time. That’s when the letter’s reader will want to pay for writing, graphic design, or other services you have to offer.
#6 Establish a Personal Connection
Because your resume only lists hard facts, you don’t actually appear as a person to your potential employer. You are just one of the many options they have to choose from. On the other hand, if you are able to establish a personal connection with them, they will be more likely to choose you over other applicants.
This is why many HR managers recommend that you customize your cover letters based on who you are sending them to. Research a little about the person who will likely be reading your letter and use the information you find to establish a connection with them.
#7 Format Your Letter Correctly
Formatting might not be your number one priority, but it’s actually important for your cover letter to be treated seriously. If the reader sees that your letter looks awkward, they might not even bother to read it. Even if they do read it, they will still keep in mind that the letter was not formatted or formatted in a strange way which could signal that you aren’t professional.
To format your cover letter correctly, think about it as a standard email. Begin with a proper greeting and break up the body of the letter into paragraphs. End correctly and add your name, title (e.g. Freelance Writer), and contact information.
#8 Add a Call to Action at the End
Speaking of the way you end your letter, it’s worth adding a call to action at the very end of it. A call to action that urges the reader to get back to you will remind them that you are waiting for their reply. The most common way to end your letter is something along the lines of, “Thank you for your time. I am looking forward to your reply.”
You can also add, “Please, do write back.” If you want to have a more straightforward CTA. Don’t forget to add “Best regards” or “All the best” and your name at the very end. As noted above, you should also add your title and contact information under your name.
#9 Proofread and Edit Your Letter
Once your letter is ready, you will need to proofread it carefully and edit any parts that need to be corrected. It’s a good idea to proofread your letter multiple times with different goals in mind. First, check whether it is coherent and includes all the points you wanted to include. Second, check that there are no linguistic errors such as grammar or punctuation mistakes.
You can even let someone else read your cover letter to double-check that it. A freelancer you know, a friend, or a family member can all help you with this. They could notice mistakes that you didn’t see. Once you are certain that the letter is all right, you can send it with your resume and portfolio to potential employers. If you need to, alter the letter to fit job listings better or maybe even write other versions for different types of jobs you apply to.
To summarize, writing a cover letter is just as important as creating your resume, so don’t underestimate it. Use the tips in this article to help you write your own cover letter and get more clients and gigs with its help.