Upwork Cover Letter

Your Upwork Cover Letter – Be a Cut Above in 5 Simple Steps

What You'll Learn

The first part of applying for a job on Upwork is the cover letter. The Upwork cover letter is a key part of successfully getting a job on Upwork. The good news is that many applicants don’t take this part seriously. With just a little bit of care and time you can easily stand out from the crowd with your cover letter.

The Purpose of the Upwork Cover Letter

The cover letter on Upwork is the first opportunity you have to make a connection with your client. You can show personality, care and interest on your cover letter.

It also gives you a chance to show how your expertise can solve their problem. They may glance at your profile but the cover letter is one of the first things that they see.

When you apply for a job on Upwork, any chance you have to stand out from the crowd is important. There are a few ways to stand out.

  • Apply Early – Most clients are going to take the first freelancer they see that matches their criteria and that they feel can solve their problem. They may look at a few candidates but most clients aren’t going to wait for days for a flood of applicants to come in.  They have a problem and need it solved. If you apply in the first two hours of a posting your chances of being hired go up considerably.
  • Submit a Robust Cover Letter – You want to submit a good, robust cover letter that interacts with them, shows them what you can do and shows that you have read the posting.
  • Good Reviews – In addition to your cover letter, your overall rating and your job success rating are two of the first things that the potential client sees.
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Here are some simple steps to standing out with your Upwork cover letter.

How to Stand Out in Your Upwork Cover Letter

With a little bit of work, you can easily stand out with your Upwork cover letter. These don’t take an immense amount of work. The problem is that when you’re applying for multiple jobs, it’s easy to rush and try to make things as fast as possible. The good news is that a lot of other applicants are doing that too. This gives you a chance to easily stand out with just a little bit of work. After all, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.


Read the Job Posting

Many job postings are vague or asking for things that aren’t realistic. Some will even have instructions “close your cover letter either your favorite vacation destination.” 

Make sure that you read the entire job description and review any attachments. It’s okay if things aren’t clear or you have questions. In fact, that can work to your benefit.

Upwork Job Posting

Don’t Copy and Paste Your Cover Letter

A lot of applicants will have a standard cover letter that they submit for every job. While this saves you time, it also shows the client that you read the description and understand their needs.

You’re not fooling anyone with a copied and pasted Upwork cover letter. It’s very obvious and it communicates that you don’t care enough to take the time that the client expects and needs. They have a real problem to solve it. They aren’t looking for a freelancer to take take shortcuts.

Follow Client Instructions

If the client asked you to include something or not include something, do that. This is a way that some clients weed out applicants that aren’t serious. Just by following a simple instruction you have moved up the list.

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Show the Client That You Can Solve Their Problem – You can often get away with copying and pasting your experience but make sure that you actually call out any experience that is relevant to the client’s project.

Tell them about any similar projects you’ve done in the past. Show them how you’ve solved similar problems and how well it worked (or what you learned. )

Ask Questions

Believe it or not, asking questions is a great way to stand out. They should be thoughtful, relevant questions but asking good questions shows a client that you read their posting.  Keep your questions professional in tone and never accuse or doubt your client.

It’s very reasonable to ask questions about expectations, requirements or timeliness.

The other benefit to asking questions is that some clients will reach out to answer those questions. Now you have a conversation and your chances of getting the job just went up. In each step of the application process, your goal is to get to the next step which gets you closer to being hired.

Offer a Plan

This may not work for all jobs, but it can be helpful to offer a high level project plan. Include different options and ideas. Just be sure not to doubt the client’s requirements even if you think you have a better idea.

Use Spell Check

You may be applying in a language that isn’t your native one. That’s okay. Freelancing on Upwork is a great way to make money online from any country.  In today’s world, though, there is no reason for spelling errors on any document but especially an Upwork cover letter where you are asking someone to hire you. Use a spell checker before submitting your cover letter.

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Grammarly can be a great resource here.  It can do spell checking and grammar checking right in your web browser. It’s a great tool and even the free tool helps to make sure that you have better writing to get more attention to your cover letter on Upwork (or any writing that you do.)

Include Samples

When you can, include samples of your work. It’s even better if the samples are like the job you’re applying for. Make sure not to include anything confidential but if you have work that you can share, include that. You can also include testimonials that aren’t on your profile.

Bonus- Consider a Video

Often video will make a more personal connection than a written submission. Using a tool like Loom, you can create a short video to tell your client about your background, show them some work and ask questions. It is often quicker to do a quick video than to write things out. Then you can include a quick note on your Upwork cover letter with a link to your video.

Moving to the Next Step Starts with a Good Upwork Cover Letter

Your goal of your cover letter is to get you to the interview. To do this, you have to show your client that you can solve their problem at a cost and timeline that works for their needs and budget. These suggestions will help you good there.

Good luck!

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