The cover letter is one of the most important parts of your Upwork profile. It’s also one of the hardest parts to get right. A lot of people think that a cover letter should be an opportunity to tell the client all about yourself, but this isn’t always the best approach.
In fact, if you’re applying for web development jobs on Upwork (or any other remote work platform), it’s best to use your cover letter primarily as a way to show off your skills and experience so that clients know why hiring you would be a smart move for them.
In this article I’ll share some tips for creating winning Upwork cover letters for web developers like yourself!
Tell A Story About Yourself
There are a lot of ways to tell the story of who you are and what you’ve done, but here’s my favorite way:
- Start by talking about your most recent experience.
- Then, talk about how that experience led to something else (and then another thing after that).
- Finish with a summary of everything you’ve done along the way and why it makes you great for this job!
Have One Killer Project, And Put It Front And Center
Having one killer project is the best way to cover letter success.
The project should be relevant to the job you are applying for. If you’re not sure what kind of work the company offers, look at their website or read through their profiles on Upwork (or both). If they have a bunch of web development contracts listed, this means that they’re hiring freelance developers on a regular basis. So make sure your most recent work will appeal to them!
The project should be an example of your skills and abilities as a developer in general, as well as evidence that you can do what they need done specifically.
For example, if someone’s looking for someone who knows how to use WordPress and JQuery Mobile frameworks together in order create custom mobile apps then they probably don’t want an outdated website built with older technology from ten years ago like Flash or HTML 4 instead…which means showing off something like that would only hurt rather than help your chances here.
You must also be able to talk about it! If someone asks about one of these projects during an interview later on down then there needs
Use Upwork’s Auto-Filled Content As A Starting Point
Upwork has a great auto-filled content function, so use it as a starting point! When you’re creating your cover letter, just take the time to read through what Upwork has filled in for you and see how it aligns with the job posting.
Pay attention to the key points highlighted by their system—these are usually things that are important for landing an interview.
Then, go ahead and edit it until it reflects who you are as a person and what sets you apart from other applicants. Don’t be afraid to change or add new information or phrases here and there if they seem like they will help sell yourself more effectively than what was originally written by Upwork.*
Don’t ignore the auto-filled content completely though just because something is written into your cover letter doesn’t mean it won’t have an effect on whether or not hiring managers look at your profile page!
They might think something sounds interesting enough to click on even if they don’t know why yet…
Don’t Be Afraid To Show Off Your Personality
- Be confident.
- Be yourself.
- Tell a story about yourself and your career, in your own words. Try to be specific and tell us what you’ve done rather than simply telling us what your skills are or listing things that you know how to do.
Use a personal example of how you used one of your skills in the past, if possible (e.g., “I once created an app for internal use that streamlined our workflow by 20%,” or “When I worked at Digital Marketing Firm X, one of my projects was an ecommerce website for vegan boots.”)
This can help demonstrate that you’ve actually done this type of work before and show off some personality at the same time!
Be Specific About The Technology You Know
When listing your skills and experience, be as specific as possible. Instead of just saying that you know HTML5, explain how you’ve used it to create a website. Include examples of links or screenshots from your sites that demonstrate your abilities in each area.
This will help show prospective clients that you’re capable of doing what they need done without having to ask for more information about how qualified you are for the job (which saves time for both parties).
Be Helpful, Not Just Self-Promotional, In The Cover Letter
Your cover letter is your first chance to show that you’re the right person for the job. It’s not just a place to tell clients about yourself and what you can do; it’s also an opportunity to demonstrate that you understand their needs and can help them solve problems.
In your cover letter, provide information that the client needs to know: what type of projects they have posted, how many hours of work are required, where they are located (if relevant), etc., as well as any other details they may find useful in understanding why hiring you would be beneficial. Be helpful!
When discussing yourself, don’t be afraid to show off your personality—you want potential clients knowing more than just facts about who we are and what we’ve done before coming on board with us; so let them know how awesomely geeky/nerdy/funny/whatever else about us makes us tick!
Give Details Of Your Experience That Are Relevant, But Don’t Bore With The Details
Make sure that your cover letter is focused on the job you’re applying for.
Don’t use the same cover letter to apply for every position. It’s important to tailor each one, not only to demonstrate that you have the skills of a web developer but also because employers will quickly discount applications that don’t show them what they need right now.
Don’t give too much detail about past projects or technologies used. Listing every line of code written in your career is not going to do anything except bore hiring managers and give them an idea of how long it would take you to learn something new if they hired you (which isn’t likely).
Explain Why You’re An Expert And What Makes You Unique In Your Cover Letter.
You may be an expert at what you do, but that doesn’t mean your skills are going to automatically be noticed by potential clients. When writing your cover letter, it’s important to explain why you’re an expert and what makes you unique.
Show off your knowledge of the industry. If possible, include examples of how you’ve helped clients in the past. Do this by relating a personal experience or anecdote about a time when you helped someone solve their problem with your expertise.
If there is any knowledge that isn’t obvious from reading through your profile (e.g., “I’m an expert web developer who has worked with major brands”), now is the time to share it!
Proofread, Proofread, And Proofread Again
Proofreading—it’s a must. A common mistake that many new writers make is to rush through their work, perhaps believing that there isn’t much to proofread in a short document like this.
But if you want your cover letter to make an impact on hiring managers, it needs to be error-free and free of typos. It might seem like a lot of work for such a small piece of writing, but it’s worth it!
After you have done all your research (see our last section) and written the first draft of your cover letter, let it sit for at least a day or two so that you can see it with fresh eyes when you return to edit and revise.
Read through each sentence one by one; look out for spelling errors or typos in grammar; check whether any words sound awkward or unnatural when read out loud; ensure that every word has been used correctly (there’s no need for “their” instead).
If possible, ask someone else such as mum/dad/sister/brother/parent etc., who will not get tired looking over the same thing repeatedly until they find something wrong with it all together – no matter how long we take!
Write Each Cover Letter For The Specific Job Posting
A cover letter is a critical part of your application, but there’s no need to stress about it. A well-crafted cover letter can do wonders for your chances of landing an interview—and the best way to make sure that happens is by writing one tailored to the specific job posting you’re applying for.
A good rule of thumb is to read through each posting and identify the skills you’d use in fulfilling the requirements listed by employers. The more specific you are, the better chance you’ll have at getting noticed by hiring managers who are looking for those talents (and not just any old developer).
Be Conscious Of Client Attention Span When Writing Your Cover Letter
When writing your cover letter, be conscious of client attention span. Clients are busy people, and they expect you to get right to the point. If you can’t get your message across in a few sentences, it’s probably not worth mentioning at all.
Clients also want to know that they can trust you with their business and investment (and reputation).
For example, if a client is looking for someone who is passionate about web development, don’t just say “I am passionate.” Instead show them how: How long have you been doing this? Have there been other projects where this came into play? What was it like working on those sites?
When answering questions about yourself in an Upwork cover letter make sure that everything makes sense when read aloud or spoken out loud.
Your goal here should be clarity first over style or cleverness if someone has trouble understanding what you have written then it will reflect poorly on both parties involved since it shows them how well their time is valued by someone who has done such poor research on the project requirements before applying for the job.
Don’t Describe Communication Skills That You Haven’t Actually Used In A Business Setting Before
- You can’t just list communication skills that you don’t have. If you don’t have any experience using those skills in a business setting, you should avoid including them on your cover letter.
- However, if you do have experience using these skills in a business setting, then feel free to list them!
Avoid Simply Listing Random Services That You Can Offer To A Client
Avoid simply listing random services that you can offer to a client. Instead, think about what their business needs are, and how your skills and experience could help them address those issues.
This approach will make it much easier for you to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for this job.
Avoid Starting Every Sentence With “I”
In general, you should avoid beginning each paragraph with “I.” It makes your cover letter sound like a list of accomplishments and doesn’t paint a picture of who you are as a person.
Instead, use a different opener for each paragraph:
- First sentence: something specific about yourself (e.g., I’m passionate about building mobile apps).
- Second sentence: an example that shows your skill set (e.g., I built the app from the ground up).
- Third sentence: another example that highlights something else about yourself (e.g., I’ve been working in this industry for seven years).
If you’re just starting out with Upwork, it’s not too late to make this your best year yet. With a little research and practice, you can get the hang of crafting killer cover letters for every job posting. We hope our tips have helped you learn how to do just that!
If you need further inspiration, we invite you to check out the rest of our blog for more information on the world of freelancing.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.