A good cover letter is your selling point to a potential employer or client. A research conducted about by the University of Princeton Psychologists Alexander Todorov and Janine Willis found out that people are able to form their first impressions of anything within a fraction of a second. This may sound very discouraging for those looking for jobs and are hoping to impress their interviewers and hopefully secure that position. If you are working in freelance platform, then also this cover letter can be beneficial for you to impress your clients.
But it gets worse, these impressions, once created are rarely changed regardless of what someone does afterward. Some effort can be made in overcoming this tendency, but it may involve people having to correct themselves constantly. And you can be sure that nobody likes correcting themselves. The less time people have to make decisions, the more likely it is that they will tend to with gut feeling rather than fact.
What this essentially means is that you have a very limited window of opportunity in which to impress whoever you are addressing yourself to, with almost no chance of getting a re-evaluation once the first impression has already been formed. And this is the reason why it’s always recommended to ensure your cover letter is at its very best.
If you desire that your job request stands out from the rest and attracts the attention of a potential client or employer, you need to understand what goes into presenting your best weapon; The cover letter.
But what makes a particular cover letter great?
For you to find out exactly what a prospective employer is looking for in your cover letter, try to imagine for once that you are that particular client. Put their shoes on your feet and try to imagine what you may want in someone you want to hire for a given task. This will give you an idea of how to fashion your cover letter appropriately
To understand what a potential client might look for in your introduction, try to put yourself in their shoes and make it easy for them to find the details that will be most helpful when it comes to making a decision. Here are the things you need to do so as to create a good first impression on your clients.
Customize your cover letter to fit the job you are applying for.
You need to do a careful balancing act when tailoring your cover letter to fit a specific job description. On the one hand, you need to make it as specific as possible. On the other hand, if you send our numerous applications on a single day it might be quite tricky to customize each individually. So the best option is to find a middle ground between the two.
You may decide to settle for designing a template that can apply to all your proposals. The first and last paragraphs can essentially be the same in all the cover letters. You only need to change the middle section that requires details about your qualification for the project in question. Using such a template you can then a try as much as possible to:
State the skills and experience you have that fit the project’s requirements
Include samples of the similar projects you have successfully tackled before
Provide information on any research conducted about the client and the specific needs discovered that you can solve.
It is important to know how to answer a client’s questions that accompany the job description. Sometimes clients seem to ask questions that have no bearing whatsoever on the job at hand. But the importance of such questions must not be overlooked. It may be a way of screening the applicants to find out which one takes the job more seriously. You may, for instance, find yourself having to answer questions regarding your favorite color or movie, make a joke or even provide some such information. Make sure that you answer these questions appropriately because they may end up carrying more weight in the interview than the cover letter itself.
When you are working on your cover letter, always strive to achieve the following two objectives:
Demonstrate why you are the best candidate for that project
Show the client what specific benefits they should expect from working with you on the project.
Perhaps you might be tempted to frame the proposals in terms of how the job will benefit you, like saying how you have always hoped to earn freelance money and how your dream is finally coming to fulfillment. If such a temptation comes, please don’t give in to it.
Even though such expectations exist in your mind, they should not be what the client is presented with. Remember the client is looking for someone talented enough to handle their project and solve their problem for them. And they are quite willing to pay for it. So you may understand their reluctance to hire you if make the job all about meeting your expectations and fulfilling your dreams. Instead, find a way of framing such statements such that the client can clearly see that they are the ones to benefit from the particular partnership.
Have a checklist of the things to include in your cover letter
After writing down the bulk of your cover letter, you will need to go through it again as you edit it appropriately. Here is a sample checklist of the things you need to work on so that you don’t present a cover letter that will disgust, rather than attract clients.
Ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors
All your sentences should be complete and make perfect sense
Check the spellings of the company or even the client’s name to ensure that it is correct
Make use of the proper salutation. In case you don’t have the name of the client, a simple Sir/Madam will do.
List the skills and experiences that are in line with the job description
Ensure that you have answered any client’s questions appropriately
Format the letter well so that it is easy to read.
Include necessary support documents such as samples or references as requested. The documents should be in their proper format.
If you want to come across as intelligent and thoughtful, then a little effort will help in this case. Try to dig up some information about the client that will help you use a personal approach when addressing them, perhaps it could their name or some information about the company. This is sure to guarantee you access to them because they can see that you are serious about the project.