Get hired on oDesk: Write a killer cover letter

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Cover letters and profiles on oDesk go hand in hand. Even if you’ve taken the time to beef up your profile , without a great cover letter, the buyer will never make it that far! Be honest, be articulate, and be creative.

Each cover letter should be unique – never use a generic cover letter! This will not only show the buyer that you don’t want to take the time to personalize your letters, but it also appropriates your application being flagged as spam. Always tailor each cover letter to the job you’re applying to.

The cover letter checklist

  • Introduce yourself
  • Boast your skills
  • Show your portfolio
  • Ask questions
  • Quality and turnaround
  • Closing statement

The importance of spelling and grammar

Before even getting started on your cover letter, be sure to keep in mind that your spelling and grammar (or lack thereof) can make or break your cover letter. This is your first impression – make it count, double- and triple-check for typos and grammatical errors. If your cover letter is difficult to read, the buyer will assume the following:

  1. You’re too lazy to check for errors
  2. You’re stupid

You definitely don’t want either!

When a buyer thinks you’re lazy, what else are they going to think of you? If you can’t make sure your cover letter is error-free, what about the work they ask you to do? If you didn’t put any effort into your cover letter, can they expect the same lackluster response to their project? Your introduction to the buyer should be a positive experience, not a negative one.

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Hello,

My name is _____ and I have been doing _____ for _____ years. I’m very familiar with _____, as I have done _____ for clients in the past. My specialty lies in _____, and I believe your job is right up my alley!

Below are some examples that focused on _____, as you require for your project:

link1.com (this project uses _____ and _____)
link2.com (this project does _____)

I noticed that your job description mentioned _____, but it doesn’t mention _____. I’d like to get more information on how you would like _____ implemented, and what your thoughts are on _____.

Typically, for a project that requires _____, my turnaround time is _____ [hours/days/weeks]. I always _____ and _____ to ensure you are completely satisfied with my work.

My working hours are usually _____, and you can reach me at _____. If we are able to discuss your project in detail, I’ll be able to give you better estimates of costs and timeframes. If you you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Thank you for your time,
_____

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Breaking down the checklist

Introduce yourself: A brief one or two sentence introduction should suffice. Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been doing it? How well do you do it?

Show off your portfolio: You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Buyers want to see proof that you actually can do what you say you can.

Ask questions: If you have questions to ask, it’ll show your buyer that 1) you paid attention to their job description, and 2) you can help flesh things out to potentially make things easier on you, should the buyer actually hire you!

Explain your work process: Always tell the buyer how fast or slow you work, and what measures you take to double-check and verify work done.

Closing it out: Always thank the buyer for their time and, more importantly, invite them to ask any questions they may have about you or your work process.

That’s it. There’s not much to it once you break it down into manageable sections.

Just remember to keep your cover letters relatively short. More often than not, a buyer will have more applications than they can sort through in a timely manner, giving them too much all at once can have a negative impact!

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