I have a confession to make. I hate writing cover letters. Hate them with a passion. It would be so much easier if when applying for a freelance writing job if I could just send in my resume and samples with a note that says, “I can do this job. Please hire me.” Since it doesn’t work that way and prospective clients want to know something about the people who are offering to work for them, here is my take on how to write cover letters.
First Paragraph: Who Are You?
The first paragraph of the cover letter is where you introduce yourself. You tell the prospective client what opportunity you would like to be considered for, what kind of writing you have experience in, and how many years of experience you have.
If you are approaching a prospective client who is not currently advertising for writers, you need to be a bit more creative. You want to write an introduction that will capture their attention, and I will offer some suggestions for that in an upcoming post.
Second Paragraph: What Do You Bring to the Table?
Now, you explain why you are a good fit for this job. You can tell the prospective client about similar projects you have worked on, or explain that you have experience writing about the topic they want to have covered. This is the part of the letter where you explain that you have excellent technical skills (spelling and grammar) and that you take pride in turning in clean copy – on deadline, every time.
Third Paragraph: What is the Next Step?
Before you finish your letter, you want to make sure that the prospective client knows how to contact you, so make sure you include your e-mail address and/or phone number. If you plan to follow up yourself in a week or so, mention this in the letter and make note of the day (and time, if appropriate) that you will be doing so. Tell the reader that you look forward to hearing from them.
I find that breaking down the cover letter into three manageable sections makes them a little easier to write. What strategies do you use for writing your cover letters?