Content writers are individuals who are contracted to write material for websites, articles, blogs, copywriting, marketing, and any other task that requires written content. They are also expected to understand how to use keywords, use SEO concepts in their writing, as well as the ability to conduct thorough research on any given topic.
The vast majority of writers are self-employed. They offer content writing services such as a freelance writer and often find themselves regularly applying for work. Just like for any job, the initial item a content writer uses to showcase themselves to a prospective client is their cover letter.
Why Does One Need A Cover Letter
The cover letter is the best way for one to demonstrate to the hiring manager their value. It offers the writer an opportunity to clearly showcase their skills and experience. Hiring managers are almost always looking at several candidates for any specific job and the cover letter is usually the first item they look at. Those who do not have a quality cover letter will not be considered for the job.
This is especially true for writing jobs where the hiring organization is likely more concerned with the quality of writing than anything else. A well-written cover letter is an excellent opportunity for the writer to showcase their command of the English language.
A cover letter is written by a job seeker to convince the hiring manager that they are the best candidate for the job. It is what will lead them to look with more detail into one’s experience and employment history, usually outlined in one’s resume. No matter how impressive the resume of a particular individual is if their cover letter is bland and generic their resume will likely never be seen.
There is also the question of aesthetics. A clean, well-organized, professional-looking cover letter is also important. The writing may be articulate and well thought out, but without some aesthetically pleasing quality to it, the hiring manager may not find themselves interested. A good way to create a good-looking, well-organized resume is by using a resume template. Many free templates exist online and they are a good resource for job seekers.
Start With A Professional Opening
In the opening, all essential details, such as name, location, date of birth, and educational titles should be clearly communicated. It should start as being addressed to someone. In the best-case scenario, the name of the hiring manager should be included. Unfortunately, there is often no direct knowledge of who this individual is. In this case, opening with “dear hiring manager” or “dear recruiting manager” will suffice. Many hiring managers find the phrase “to whom it
may concern” to be impersonal, generic, and demonstrating a lack of effort.
Once the hiring manager has been addressed the writer should introduce themself and express exactly why they believe that their experiences and skills are aligned with what the hiring company is looking for. The following is a shortlist of what most companies are looking for when hiring a writer.
- Demonstrable writing skills and capabilities
- Strong grammar and spelling practices
- Basic Computer skills
- Time management skills and ability to consistently meet deadlines
- Ability to follow instructions and constructively receive criticism
- Strong research skills
- Strong understanding of SEO practices
- Experience with keyword research tools and Google Analytics
- Relevant experience
For the most part, a writer does not have to possess all of the above criteria for them to be considered by the hiring manager. Many are willing to train the right candidate in the specific areas where they lack experience. This being said, the writer should take care to demonstrate any of the above criteria that they do meet.
Some things are more important than others. For example, a writer who has strong writing and grammar capabilities, as well as the ability to consistently meet deadlines, will still be of interest even if they do not have much experience with SEO practices and keyword research.
Any type of educational or training credentials can also be listed here. While hiring managers are usually more interested in one’s capabilities as a writer over their educational background it is still advisable to list them. After all, if the individual in charge of hiring likes a writer’s resume they will inevitably ask for a sample portfolio.
Highlight Experience Or Accomplishments
A couple of hundred words should be devoted to the writer’s experience or accomplishments. Choosing what accomplishments or experiences to detail should be done with some care. Generally speaking, the hiring manager will be more interested in reading about accomplishments and experiences that are related to the job being applied for.
They should be relatable things, or at the very least transferable, to the skills outlined in the original hiring advertisement. For example, a company that is hiring a writer to write about tech-related topics such as object-oriented programming or Linux distributions will be much more likely to consider a writer who has experience in some related topic over one who chooses to put their marketing or fashion writing experience on display.
Writing to the needs of the hiring organization is generally the best practice. Most writers feel that ‘putting their best foot forward’, so to speak, is their best option. This is not true. The hiring manager is not as interested in how skilled the writer is at writing on specific topics as much as they are in how the writer can fulfill their content needs.
The writer should always be asking themselves “how do I best align my skills, experience, and accomplishments with the needs of the hiring organization”.
Express Interest In The Company
Expressing interest in an aspect of the company, or commenting on something about the company that one likes, can go a long way in the eyes of the hiring manager. By expressing interest it shows that the writer has taken the time to look up the company and what it does. Many writers simply apply for as many jobs as possible, often sending out the same cover letter to each job they apply for.
By adding in something personalized about the specific company they are applying for it shows the hiring manager they have taken a little extra time personalizing their cover letter. For example, a company may be the proprietor of a specific type of software. Commenting briefly on any positive experience with the software would be a good way to personalize the cover letter.
In this section, one can also take a few sentences to state the company’s mission statement and comment on how it aligns with their values or beliefs. If a company’s mission is to provide its clients with the best possible content at the most competitive price, a short sentence or two detailing how such a statement resonates with them.
Wrapping It Up
The final sections should be focused on communication. It should thank the hiring manager for their time and also make it clear how and when they can contact the writer. This section should be quick, professional and not come across as desperate for contact.
Below is an example of how a cover letter can incorporate the above-listed items
Date: MM/ DD/ YYYY
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to express my interest in the content writer position as advertised on WritingJobs.com. I have been a professional content writer for nearly five years, during which time I have had the opportunity to work and write on a wide range of topics.
During these five years, I have further developed my craft, writing unique and engaging content using proper English grammar and spelling. A major part of my success in the field has been due to my ability to meet deadlines and follow the outlined criteria. I also have experience using Keyword search tools as well as implement SEO practices into my writing.
I studied English at university, during which time I became the editor of my school newspaper. Once I graduated, I began working for a software firm writing sales copy as well as maintaining the company’s blog. I understand that you guys use Agile with SCRUM as part of your development and project management philosophy.
During my time as a writer in the software development industry, I worked closely with teams that implement Agile in their day-to-day operations. It would excite me to once again work with a company that sees the value in this project management philosophy.
I appreciate your taking the time to read my CV and attached resume and I hope to hear from you soon. If you wish to contact me I can be reached at the above-listed email address and phone number during business hours.
Because of the competitive nature of writing jobs it is important that freelance writers perfect their cover letter writing skills. The cover letter should be written with the intent of convincing the hiring company that the writer’s skills and experiences fit the needs of the company.
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com. Throughout her career, she has been involved in a number of projects throughout the country. She enjoys working closely with companies to write content that best represents a company’s brand. When not working, the mother of two enjoys traveling, reading, and attending business seminars.