The Language in Your Cover Letter Matters

As writers, we are very conscious of words and how they are used (or we should be).We know that the words we choose to use in our work matter, but do we give the same care to the language we use when writing a cover letter?

If you are applying for a brick and mortar job, the goal of writing your cover letter should be to get invited to meet with the employer for an interview. When you write a cover letter for a freelance writing gig, your focus is a bit different.

Many clients don’t interview in the traditional sense. They base their hiring decision on the materials that an applicant submits only: your samples, resume and your cover letter. Given that you can’t hold back anything in your application to share during the interview process, since there may never be a formal “interview,” the language that you choose for your cover letter becomes even more important.

You should be using your cover letter as a way to make your case to the client about why he or she should hire you. One way to make yourself appear more attractive as a candidate is to make note of the words the client uses in his or her ad and try to incorporate them into your cover letter. Doing so will indicate to the client that the two of you are speaking the same language.

Using the mirroring technique will help you convince the client that you are the right person to meet their writing needs. It only takes a few moments to go through the ad carefully and make note of the words that jump out at you. As you write your customized cover letter, you can make a point of using them to present yourself in the best possible way to increase your chances of getting the gig.


2 responses
  1. Fleur Avatar

    So true – be careful when emailing cover letters – check and recheck for mistakes – it’s easy to fire off an email and make a silly mistake – but what does that tell your potential employer about your writing skills?

    Some great advice here – thanks!

  2. Jodee Avatar


    Thank you for the kind words. It can be tempting to send in an application quickly because we don’t want to miss out on an opportunity. It does pay to take the time to carefully craft a cover letter and check it for typos before pressing “Send.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.