So, you’ve read posts from successful freelancers in WAHP.
You gave it a shot but after 1 month, you got nothing.
2 months, 3 months passed… still nothing!
“What am I doing wrong?”
Well, it could be one of 3 things –your skills, your profile, or your Upwork cover letter (or other platforms).
You'll know that it's the first one (lack of skills) if:
- You're having a hard time creating your profile (basic tech skills)
- You're having difficulty writing your Overview or cover letter (English skills)
- You’re qualified for only a few jobs (marketable online skills)
If this is the case, you’ll need to upgrade your skills by learning online skills. Browse online for free or paid tutorials that can help you improve.
If you have strong skills but you’re not getting hired, your online profile might be the problem. Check out our article on how to make a strong Upwork profile HERE. (While the article is Upwork-focused, the tips can be used in other platforms, too.)
However, if you already have some marketable skills and have created a strong profile, but still, no client is paying attention to you, then your cover letters must be the culprits.
Yes, even those who have 10 years of experience in the most in-demand online field still have a hard time getting noticed because of a lack of Sales Skills.
You see, your cover letter is more than just a letter telling clients that you’re interested in the job. It is a sales letter where you convince them WHY they should hire and spend money on you!
The main problem is that most freelancers don't realize this, and often take their cover letters for granted.
Why your Upwork cover letters are getting ignored:
1.Your writing is weak.
And I don't mean proper grammar and spelling - that's expected.
I'm talking about using fillers or fluff.
They make your cover letter sound messy…AND boring!
Here are some commonly used "weak" words or phrases we've noticed in cover letters:
Remember, brevity is key to smartly written cover letters.
Avoid weak words and break your sentences into shorter paragraphs to enhance readability.
2. You only talk about yourself.
You only have 30 seconds to make a good impression.
If your first sentences don’t captivate potential clients, they’ll skip your entire application and proceed to the next applicant.
So, don't waste your chance by:
- Repeating the information on your profile
They can see your name, job title and skills on your profile. You DON'T need to repeat them. Instead, capture their attention immediately by highlighting your best skills.
- Only talking about yourself
But I thought you told me to highlight my best skills?
Yes, I did - but only those that are relevant to THE job requirements.
Clients do NOT care if you have a Master’s degree in Fine Arts, or 10 years of experience in the food industry, if you’re applying to a data entry job.
You may be highlighting your life's biggest achievements but if they're not what the clients are looking for, then leave them out.
To correct this, emphasize your best skills that are relevant to the job post.
Say, for data entry, include your typing speed, office applications that you're proficient in, or your past data entry works.
If you find another job post that requires a Virtual Assistant, you will need to write ANOTHER cover letter tailored to the needs in that post.
(Yes, this means that you'll be writing multiple cover letters for various job posts).
3. You sound too desperate.
Your cover letter must be strong enough to convince clients that you’re worth their money. NO NEED to beg or plead for a job. Enough said.
4. You don't sound confident.
Confidence shines through anyone who wears it, even if he/she is just sitting quietly in a corner.
The opposite is true, too.
Lack of confidence clouds anyone’s skills, and can easily be detected in cover letters.
When writing a cover letter, be careful with your choice of words. Avoid showing "uncertainty" in your words such as:
“I may be a newbie as a freelancer but …”
(The client doesn't need to know unless he/she asks. Don't highlight this on your own.)
"I have some sort of skills that may also help you sending emails"
("some sort of?"... So, their not REAL skills?)
"I also have some knowledge that may help you...".
("may help ?"... so, you're not sure?)
Trust me, clients can sense self-doubt in cover letters.
If you cannot trust your own skills, how can they trust you to be a part of their business?
If you sound unsure of your skills, how can they believe that you're capable?
You wouldn't pay somebody who has questionable skills, right?
5. You over-promise or exaggerate.
If you think over-promising attracts clients, think again.
Anyone can easily claim that they could do amazing things, and I’m sure clients have seen this a lot.
Most clients have already worked with freelancers who have over-promised but under-delivered, so this doesn't work anymore.
Instead, illustrate situations in the past where you’ve done awesome work and relate it to the job post.
I worked 5 years in a high-profile (IT/Customer Service/Admin,etc) environment wherein I ________________________________________________________________________________.
(enumerate what you've done that makes you an amazing fit for the tasks enumerated in the job post)
6. You use templates.
If you're too lazy to write a personalized cover letter for every job post you apply to, then you are in the wrong field.
Starting your letters with "Dear Sir/Maam" or worse, "To Whom It may Concern", is a big No-NO!
Not only does it sound unnecessarily formal, but it also shows that you were too lazy to click on the job post to get the client’s first name.
It's also a lazy freelancer's way of starting generic cover letters that can be copy-pasted to different job posts.
No wonder your proposals are getting filtered out by high-value clients!
For Western clients, addressing them by their first names makes your proposals sound friendlier and more personalized. (If their first names aren't visible, a simple Hello would suffice.)
Also, make sure that your cover letters are tailored exactly to the skills required in the job post.
Now that we've looked at some common mistakes in cover letters, let's move on and discuss:
How to write effective Upwork cover letters
1. Use your first 30 seconds wisely.
(Highlight your best skills in the first sentence.)
Remember, clients are businessmen. And you know that for businessmen, time means money!
They won’t spend their time reading all 50+ cover letters sent to them, just to hire somebody. They will only skim through applications and choose which one catches their attention.
If they only browse through snippets of cover letters, then make sure that you mention your best skills immediately so that they show up on the preview!
Don’t beat around the bush and mention them in your second paragraph. Give them out straight away!
2. Don’t just tell, illustrate!
"I am very familiar with Excel."
"I have a positive character in duties and tasks. My time management is excellent and I'm organized doing office documents."
"I can guarantee you that I'm the best person for this job given my exceptional skills when it comes to data entry."
Great! Anyone can claim all of those statements.
How should the client believe you?
I have already discussed it under the Over-Promising mistake but I'm highlighting this point here again.
How can we improve the statements above?
Instead of saying that you're very familiar with Excel, SPECIFY the tasks that you can do. Can you create charts, pivot tables, macros, etc?
What makes you excellent in time management? Were you able to finish writing a 2000-word Academic article in 2 hours? Can you transcribe a 1-hour video in 30 minutes?
What makes you say that you’re organized in office documents? And why should the client believe you? Are you knowledgeable in productivity tools such as Trello, etc etc. Specify your skills!
Why can you guarantee that you're the best person for Data Entry? Have you had 10 years of experience? Can you type 100 wpm accurately?
Remember: It's OK to enumerate your strengths. But it's even BETTER when you can back them up with specific examples from your experience.
Don’t just tell, ILLUSTRATE!
3. Highlight the client’s needs all the time. (It's NEVER about you.)
"This job will help me a lot in my freelancing career. I look forward to working with you.”
"I am more than willing to learn as I am always hungry for new knowledge, as long as it could help me succeed in everything I do."
“I worked in an IT field before but decided to stay at home to be with my kids while working online. I am willing to start immediately. You may contact me if you’re interested.”
Okay, guys. This might sound harsh but here's the truth - clients DON'T care about you. They only care about their business.
Therefore, it's useless to say anything about how the job will benefit you. No one is going to hire you because they want to help you with your career, achieve success, or so that you can stay home with your kids.
These are completely irrelevant! What do these have to do with the client's business?
While getting hired online will help you reach some personal goals, clients don't really need to know that in your cover letters.
Focus on how they can benefit from hiring you instead. Are you going to save them time? Are you going to bring them more sales? Are you going to make their workload easier?
Keep talking about these benefits and I'm sure clients will find you irresistible.
4. Use power words.
Remember what I said about not sounding confident? And how clients usually just skim through numerous applications?
Using power words not only boosts your confidence in proposals, but also catches the eyes of busy clients.
Practice using these power words in cover letters and you'll see the difference:
5. Keep it brief and concise.
Remember that you are writing a cover letter, not your biography.
Don't scare off clients by sending them a 500-word proposal. A maximum of 200 words, broken into 3-4 short paragraphs would be enough.
An ideal cover letter contains complete and clear information in short, readable sentences.
It consists of the following:
- An Introduction
1-2 CAPTIVATING sentences that gives an overview of your skills and experience
- Your Objective and Skills
This may consist 1 or 2 SHORT paragraphs.
State the reason why you’re interested in the post or why the client should hire you. ILLUSTRATE how the client will benefit from your skills/experiences
Remember, it’s NOT about you. ALWAYS highlight the clients’ needs here. Get hints from keywords in their job post.
A simple sentence of optimism (not needy, nor desperate, nor over-promising anything)
“Thank you for your time and consideration. I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.”
Ultimately, there is only one question that your cover letter must answer:
"Why is it a good business decision to hire YOU, and not the other 50 applicants?"
Put yourself in a client's shoes.
Say, you need to hire somebody to do some tasks for your online business.
So, you posted a job online and received more than 50 cover letters. All of the applicants are saying that they're hardworking, disciplined, and very interested to do the job.
How will you pick your winning freelancer? What traits or skills stand out for you?
Ask yourself these questions each time you come across a job listing that you're interested in. Make sure that your answers get reflected in your cover letter.
Marketing your skills to clients may seem daunting for some. But to be successful online, you must start thinking of freelancing as a business and submitting cover letters as business proposals.
If you already have marketable skills but are struggling to get hired online, you might need to enhance your sales skills. Check out our How to Become a Successful Freelancer Course and our Road to P100k/mo Freelancer Masterclass which focus on sales techniques for writing effective cover letters.
*Special thanks to Paolo Barazon for providing a lot of the input used in this article
Cover letter and job letter is most important thing in Freelancing. It plays a big role to become a successful freelancer or upworker. Thousands of freelancers want to know how to write a cover letter.
Today, after very long time and I missed this in my previous articles how to write Upwork cover letter. So far I got 20 + interviews on Upwork and success ratio of my cover letter are 50 to 70 percent. I did more than 12+ jobs and few of them I am still working. I hope my previous articles on freelancing helped you YouTube video how to apply for jobs on upwork.But today I am sharing with you the tips only about Upwork cover letter. I hope it will help you.
Tips are based on my personal experiences.
So, How to write cover letter for jobs on upwork
Before I will share the tips with you let’s look some of my earlier successful cover letters for different jobs.
Note: Do not copy and paste. These are samples and learning sources for you. Learn what you’re missing and what I covered in the job proposals.
Let’s look on my few jobs and cover letter for these jobs on Upwork.
First job on Upwork and cover letter sample for this
Job Title: Directory Site Add Placement
Job description –I am looking for freelancers with the lowest rates. Add writing, including edits to various photos to be included with add, copywriting. Re-writing old adds. Directory site adds placement also.
If you have any Photoshop experience helpful also.
Cover letter example A: My cover letter for this:
I will do it, sir. I am currently running my own local business. My business website is www.klientsolutech.com
I am here to communicate with you about this job. I can also able to do SMM for you if you are interested. I do it for free according to your guidelines.
Have you Photoshop and copywriting experience?
I have great experience of Adobe Photoshop and average experience about copywriting.
After this original message from client
What’s your Skype handle?
I got this job after an interview on Skype.
I missed feedback first time or I don’t know about it that much. But after got hired for another job two months later. I got his feedback.
What you can learn in this above cover letter Example A:
The above cover letter looks below average and it was written 2 years ago. But some points are great in that short summary. And because of this client hired me for the job. And you know it was my first job.
Some learning points:
- Excitement and willingness: In the first sentence, there is excitement and willingness to do this job.
- Strong reference: In 2nd sentence – What I do and where is the proof.
- Available for discussion about the project – in 3rd
- Extra benefits of hiring me: in 4th / 5th
- Proof related to job: Sample of my work (attached WinRAR file and screenshots of my past works.
Related: 14 Tips to get your first client on Upwork
Cover letter sample B for 2nd Job
Job Title: Logo/visual branding creation. See the job description in picture below
Cover letter for this job:
Do you need, engineering inspiring logo? I saw this post couple day ago. I applied for the job. But may my points are not correct.
I can do this work for you as you want. I take a time to do the things that inspire your products, services to clients. Your provided links of websites are ok, as you saw these all are related to each other as compare to the design. No doubt, this is the choice, I am thinking this is the font based logo; The font is most important part of this job. As I am looking right now.
If you need the different version of similar samples.
I can provide you today 3-4 samples.
Looking forward, Thank You
Things to learn:
The level of English language is very poor in my cover letter. But I managed to get this job.
- I asked the question in the first sentence.
- In the second paragraph first sentence: willingness to do this job in any condition.
- Imagination and getting the idea for the logo and sharing in the same time with the client.
- The winning point in this cover letter: I can provide you today 3-4 samples.
The example B cover letter has many mistakes. But client posted this job many times and I applied in that time but not hired by the client as I mentioned in the cover letter and the other completed work from other freelancers are not satisfactory for client.
So, the client hired me to test in low price and what I got at the end 5 Star feedback’s and $3 dollar.
Dollars are not important when it was my 2nd job on Upwork but five stars feedback recognition is very important especially for new freelancers.
My cover letter sample C
Job: MY COMPUTER IS RUNNING SLOW,
Job description and cover letter see in the pic below.
In sample C: The job title and job description very short and clear. So, I did the same when I replied to this job. Clear and state forward reply. And I got the job.
Cover letter sample D
See the below picture for job description
My cover letter for this job
Hi, the slowness of your site is depending on many things. Such as:
1) As you mentioned timeout it is because you’re uploading or accessing more than 25 MB hosting limit in your hosting plan.
2) The images in your site are not dimensioned properly.
4) Plugin conflicts
5) Unused CSS
6) Domain name is conflicting
7) Spam comments and high volume of storage.
What I can do for you!
1) Fist I will check it in GTMatrix and Google page speed or analytics account
2) I will check plugins that are conflicting.
3) I will fix this if it is slow to open or server timed out. There are all above 7 reasons for slowness but might be there are other reasons too. I ensure you that I will speed up your site from B grade to A Grade or more. I am ready for further discussion little more details about the problem.
After this, I got the job and done the work successfully. And the client was given 5-star feedback and money.
So, I think you noticed few important things that you can do next time when you will write a cover letter. There are many other examples also but I am not able to collect the details of my past works. But these samples are enough.
Official article on cover letter by Upwork: How to Write a Cover Letter
Now it’s time that I will explain and give you few tips to write Up work cover letter.
1. Connect your knowledge & skills to the client’s problem and desires.
In your cover letter always write what is most important that clients want to know. If client writing in the job description that I want to speed up my site to 95% or A grade then you should mention the solution or skills you have to do this job successfully.
And to do this you need to quickly analyse and collect main points from the job description. A client is a customer and we are sellers. Our Upwork profile is like a shop and clients want to buy the solution.
If you’re not highlighting the skills, solutions then who will hire you? No one, if you don’t have the skills and not mentioning in the cover letter then client move on next freelancer. We are in the market on Upwork. Our profile is our shop.
The client is our customer. Our products are our skills. So, I think you should understand this.
Why do this? Because trust is important in both end. Always apply for the jobs related to your skills in which job description look trustworthy and interesting. And clients are looking for same trust and solution in your cover letter.
2. Show the confidence on your skills
If you have knowledge and skills then why do you fear? Clients are human being they are not robots. They know and they have enough experience to hire the best freelancer for their projects. Always show the confidence that you can do it. E.g. I will speed up your site. I did such things for other sites too.
Your sites have such problems etc. explain in examples.
For example, I am explaining and sharing my experiences to you how to write the cover letter in this article. I know I am not perfect but I am sharing and writing this article. Why do I need to fear? Because of that I am not master because there are so many writers or experienced freelancers. There are always masters in everything. But you have to be with your voice and words. Be confident in your cover letter that you’re the best candidate for this job. And prove it in the cover letter that you’re the best candidate.
3. Be creative and different than other freelancers
Why copy others cover letter? Why you’re asking other people to write your cover letter? Why you’re searching for best job proposal example. Why? If it’s learning then good but if you’re copying and pasting then it will not good for long term. Clients know everything. They already spent lots of time How to hire the right candidate.
The solution is creativity and confidence. I write my cover letter very differently. I start writing my cover letter like I am talking to live person sitting in front of me. For example: “Good morning client or sir or madam.” It is my first line or sentence. Write your cover letter like you’re interacting live with the person. Feel the pain of client or desire and please write the cover letter in your own words and sentences.
Helpful: Get a job by including these important things in your resume
4. Provide samples and reference
No problem if you don’t have past experiences. But you have to do it. How? If you’re social media marketer, then share the links of Facebook pages or other social media proof of your skills.
If you’re content writer then provide the link to your own website or blog. If you’re logo designer then attach samples of design practices. Everything is possible.
Related: How to get work experience after degree for high paying jobs?
5. Do experiments with the words and sentences in the cover letter.
Write the cover letter for one kind of jobs differently. For example: try to write 3 cover letter differently for 3 logo design job descriptions. Don’t repeat the last one. Change the flow of sentences and words. Try to explain solutions in ascending and descending orders. Read every sentence in the job description and write similar words and sentences in the cover letter with the solution for that sentence.
6. Represent yourself as a complete solution for the client.
Represent yourself that you’re complete solution. Share and write everything that you know related to the job. Mention every small detail that will be helpful to complete this job successfully.
7. Be honest and explain what you know or don’t know.
Honesty is the most important thing that helps us to do online jobs or works. For example, we believe on Google. Why? Because Google provides top best 10 results for our search query. And Google explained this Why? How? they do it. You have to do the same.
You have to example in your cover letter: How you’re going to do this job successfully? Why you applied for this job? What kind of tools you’re going to use to do this? Why do I believe you? What benefits will I get after hiring you? Are you right candidate if yes then how? Such things and questions are really important to answers no matter client is asking or not, they are looking for answers to such questions while they are reading your cover letter. And you should write some points in your cover letter.
8. Do not promise too much
Don’t over promise. For example, if you’re writing that you can setup website and install WordPress and theme in 1 hour then it’s ok. But if you’re telling that you can setup 4 websites in 1 hour then its sound doubts, it’s not ok.
Another example if a client wants 3 samples of logos in next 48 hours then you can write that I will provide you 5 samples in next 24 hours.
Then it’s ok because 3 to 5 is in the same range. But if a client wants 3 in next 48 hours you’re telling that I will create 10 logos in next 12 hours then it’s is not looking good. If the hunger is for 3 chapattis, then I am not going to buy or eat 7 chapatis. No matter it is free or paid. I am only interested in 3.
So, first find out the clients hunger. After when you know that it is for chapatti, pizza or bread then serve it with love.
Other important things to remember
- Don’t copy paste cover letter
- Always try to write short sentences and try to represent your skills in unique styles.
- Improve your English language. Related: Creative tips to learn the English language without any paid course
- Give the answers to all asked questions.
- Apply for the jobs in which you’re confident.
- Believe in yourself and work hard on your skills. Be a master in your field. Related: 10 Personal Development Goals That Will Make You Successful
If you want to learn cover letter writing tips in Hindi from me then watch this video here on YouTube.
Hope I answered all the questions about the Upwork cover letter. If I missed something then please comment below I will reply and update this post with your suggestions.
Best of Wishes!
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