{flickr photo by mr-numb}
{flickr photo by mr-numb}

Every freelance writer is skilled at something. Maybe you’re a social media whiz or a marketing pro  (If so, email me.). Or you’re just savvy with your “born-this-way” natural writing abilities. Bravo! We should all celebrate what we’re good at.

As for me, I think I’ve got a hankering for getting or at least almost getting jobs. Call it years of experience from being a job hopper, but it’s how I was able to get a job as a PI and a RA and graduate with a MFT.

It’s the type of learn-on-the-job info that’s helped me get responses like these:

“You were one of over a hundred applicants for this position.”

“It’s between you and another writer.”

“You got the job!”

All welcome responses writers want to receive especially the last one.

Want to know how I did it? Read on…

1. Remember you’re emailing a real person. This may seem like a given. But surprisingly, it’s not. I’ve also been on the other side of the coin reading applications. Some people think that saying you can do the job are enough to make you want to hire them. But it’s not. If you’re applying for a writing position, write like it. Write you’re a real person writing to another real life person. You don’t have to write like you’re emailing your best friend (in most cases, you shouldn’t). But there is a difference between being professional and personable versus being unprofessional and personal. Which comes to number 2.

2. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential client. You need to think about who your client is, what they are looking for, what would float their boat. And deliver it in a paragraph or so. They want someone who is flexible, motivated, writes in a casual style? Use your letter as your first writing sample to them. Be the one to show, not just tell them what you can do.

3. Remember what your last client loved about you. We’re not always good at knowing our strengths. But if you can remember what your last happy client said about you, you’ll have a good idea. Use this in your letter to express your strengths and how you can use it to help their company succeed.

4. Check all their boxes. When I’m looking to hire someone, I’m looking for certain things, experience being one of them. Yet, I don’t always have a ton of time to read every application thoroughly so I skim through them for years of experience, work-related experience and anything else related to what’s important to me. If you can deliver exactly what the client is looking for by explaining how you’ve spent 10 years in the business, you’ll have already beaten out much of your competition. Which comes to my last tip.

5. Make it easy for them to hire you. A lot of clients who hire me say they were impressed with the amount of work I’ve done and my versatility. I think it’s because I put it all out there and I mentioned it at the very beginning. Because I know that most clients dread searching for the right candidate among hundreds of applications, I try to make my cover letter stand out from the very first sentence and I’ll leave my contact information so that they can get back to me quick. I don’t waste any time going on about my education or my desire to write for them. Those go in there only if it’s relevant and if it is, only at the bottom of my letter. I know I’m going to need to grab the client from the beginning so I’ll hit them with all the reasons why I’m qualified. And if they need more? Here’s my number and contact info.

That’s what has worked for me. How about you? Got any great strategies you’d like to share?


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