How to Write a Cover Letter for Freelance Writing Jobs


No matter how busy you are as a freelance writer, you should never get so comfortable that you forget to market yourself to potential new clients. Projects can finish earlier than the client anticipated for a number of reasons, a once-promising gig may become delayed, or you may decide that you no longer wish to continue accepting assignments from a particular client. If you are going to be sending out freelance writing resumes, you will need to know how to write an effective cover letter for freelance writing jobs.

Applying for Freelance Writing Gigs is a Numbers Game

There are a couple of ways you can look at the idea of looking for freelance writing gigs as being a numbers game. The first one is that by casting a wide net out and applying for a lot of gigs, sending out plenty of pitches, making cold calls, the more times you ask current and former clients for referrals to other people who may need a writer and doing the work to attract new business, you increase your chances of getting hired. This is definitely true – the more opportunities you create for yourself, the better chance you have of getting hired.

Another way to look at applying for gigs as being a numbers game is that you can probably count on a fair number of applicants not addressing what the client is looking for when they are responding to an ad. For this reason, their application won’t make it to the short list.

If you want to make it to the short list more often and increase your chances of getting hired, you’ll need to focus on what the client really wants when looking for a writer when you prepare your cover letter. You won’t be able to get away with sending a generic “Please find attached….” note, but taking some extra time to prepare a custom letter for each potential client is worth the effort if it will help you land more gigs.


How to Write a Cover Letter for Freelance Writing Jobs

1. Read the Ad Carefully.

When you read the ad through the first time, something about it caught your eye and made you want to apply for the gig. Go over it a second and third time to make sure you are still as enthusiastic before you respond.

Don’t necessarily be put off if the ad is vague or ill-worded. Some clients find it challenging to write ads looking for people to help them or put their needs into words. At most, you are going to explore the possibility of working together. You can always decline an offer if it’s not something that you feel will be a good fit later on.

2. Address the Points on the Client’s List of Qualifications

In most ads, the client will have a list of qualifications that he is looking for in a writer. For example, someone who is hiring a content writer will likely place an ad looking for a person who is familiar with SEO, may specify a certain number of years of experience and ask about the number of 400-500 word articles that a writer can produce per week.

In your cover letter, you will want to make sure that you answer each one of those questions. You’ll also want to let the client know where you saw the ad (list name of website and the date) or if you were told about the gig by a colleague or another client.

3. Read Between the Lines and Talk About Client Needs not Mentioned in the Ad

There will be other client needs that are not mentioned in the ad and if you want to stand out from the other candidates you can step up and talk about them in your cover letter. Using the same example of a client who needs a content writer, you would want to include the following points in your cover letter:

whether you are comfortable conducting your own research for article topics
if you feel comfortable working with a mix of long and and short-tail keywords
whether you are used to self-editing your work

4. Keep the Focus on the Client

Even though the cover letter will be accompanying your resume and you want to entice the client to learn more about you, be careful about your use of the word “I” in the cover letter. Your goal should be to show the client how hiring you for the gig will benefit “him.”

It may help to think of yourself having a conversation with the client in which you are saying, “If you hire me for the gig, you will be getting a writer who can do [fill in the blank] for you” or “As an experienced/enthusiastic freelance writer, I can bring {X} to the table which will help you achieve [Y].” This is not the wording you will be using in your cover letter – just the tone you will be using.

5. Always Thank the Client for Considering You

Before you end your letter, always thank the potential client for having considered you. Tell him how to reach you, even though your contact information is on your resume. Being polite and respectful is always the right way to conduct yourself and you may be considered for a different gig or have your information kept on file for future opportunities if this one doesn’t pan out.

Want to know more about cover letters for freelance writers? Here are some online resources to check out:
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Freelance Position
Cover Letters for Freelancers
Your Guide to Writing an Eye-Catching Cover Letter


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One response
  1. Paul Avatar

    Great article Jodee! This information will help so many people. I see it all the time how clients struggle with the ads. Some of them even write as little as two lines, such that you are not sure what they are looking for. Trying to look at it from their perspective always helps.

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