The Question You Need to Answer in Your Cover Letter

I work for clients who I have never actually met, and while it did seem a little strange at the beginning, it’s all good.

When you are contacting a prospective client for a gig where you will be working off site and it’s not practical for you to meet with them in person, the hiring process is a little different than if you were looking for work in the brick and mortar world. In that scenario, the accepted practice is for the employer/client to invite candidates they are interested in hiring to come for an interview.

During this process, the candidate and the employer have the opportunity to get to know each other a little better. The employer/client asks a series of questions to find out what kind of worker they are getting if they decided to make an offer of employment to the candidate.

A lot of the time, clients hiring freelance writers skip the interview step. When you submit your cover letter, resume and samples to a prospective client, it may be your one shot to make your case that you are the person who can give them what they are looking for. Your cover letter can be used to answer the question that the client is asking when they review your materials: “What am I getting if I choose to work with this freelancer?”

I admit that my earlier cover letters were pretty basic. I would explain why I was writing and offer some information about my experience. The last paragraph would invite the client to get in touch to discuss the gig further. Guess what? I didn’t hear back from prospective clients all that often. Some of the lack of response can be attributed to the number of applications that the client would have to go through, I’m sure, but I’ve had a much better response rate since I’ve shared a bit more information about my approach to my work.

Now I try to give a prospective client an idea of who I am as a person and a writer. That cover letter may be the only chance I will have to let the client see whether I am someone who they think they can work with. By sharing the qualities that I can bring to the table, they have more information to make that decision.

Do you share information about your approach to your work when you apply for a freelance writing gig?


  1. Victoria says

    Can a cover letter be too long? Sometimes I write cover letters that are very detailed and I often wonder if they are too lengthy?

  2. says

    @ Victoria: I would say that your cover letter shouldn’t read like an epic novel. If you are writing something that is longer than one page, you should edit it down.


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