At oDesk cover letter is perhaps the most important aspect of your application. An oDesk cover letter needs to be written in a way that is relevant to the job at hand. A cover letter can make or break your job application, irrespective of your other portfolio items or previous experience. Therefore, it is extremely important to write the best letter possible to create a good first impression.
There are many misconceptions about writing oDesk cover letters or in fact any other freelance job opening cover letters. Part of this is because people tend to take the advice given for traditional cover letters while applying for offline jobs and use it for oDesk cover letters. This hardly works ever, if at all. Freelancing is a whole different ball game altogether and you need to understand the nuances of online communication.
In addition, it is worthwhile to remember that small business differ in their hiring process compared to big businesses at least when it comes to hiring freelancers. If you fail to know the distinction, you run the risk of losing a very good job opportunity. So here are some oDesk cover letter tips that will help you make that killer first impression. I am giving you these tips as a very successful oDesk freelance writer, with over 50 feedback ratings and a score of 5.00/5.00.
You will also find my 7 oDesk Tips article very useful if you are applying for freelancing jobs at oDesk or elsewhere.
oDesk Cover Letter Tip-1: Don’t Beat Around the Bush
This is one of the most common mistakes made by people applying to jobs at oDesk. A cover letter should be short and to the point. Does the job require designing a web page? Don’t talk about your C++ skills. Does the job require blog writing? Don’t talk about your experience in writing academic essays. Get to the point, be precise and show that you are fit for the job.
If you beat around the bush, it can mean that
- You haven’t read the job description fully, which is bad from the employer’s point of view.
- Worse, the employer thinks you are just copy-pasting your cover letter instead of preparing one for the job, so you are not interested.
You would of course not want to sound as either of the above, so once again, don’t beat around the bush: be precise and to the point.
oDesk Cover Letter Tip-2: Proofread your Cover Letter
You will be surprised by how many mistakes you can find in a typical cover letter at oDesk. This includes both spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Make sure you proofread what you have written. If possible, let someone else do the checking as well, say a friend. It is usually hard for you to spot errors in a piece that you have written yourself.
One very important thing to remember is never to make spelling errors. These are instant turn offs. I always use Mozilla Firefox while writing a cover letter, so any spelling mistakes are immediately highlighted. If not, write it in MS Word and paste it in the main cover letter area.
If you have confusion regarding some elements of grammar, always check a reference. Check out the common grammatical errors and see if you make any of those. If needed, use a grammar reference guide as well.
oDesk Cover Letter Tip-3: Never Copy-Paste
Here is a little trick that I use whenever I apply to any job at oDesk. Each job is unique and there are unique skills required. There could always be some overlap, but my overall tone needs to be consistent throughout. So, whatever happens, I never copy-paste anything into my cover letter. Not even my standard qualifications, my strengths, my feedback, etc. I write them all from scratch.
Why do I do that? Because of consistency. It is not hard for an experienced person to judge if you have heavily copy-pasted your cover letter and have a generic tone instead of a specific one for the job. Be on the safe side,
oDesk Cover Letter Tip-4: Apply Keeping the Job in Mind
Never ever write a very general cover letter which has nothing to do with the job in hand. If you don’t copy paste, half the battle is won. Next, you should read the job description. List out what skills and experience is required for the job. This may not be stated explicitly, so you should be able to understand what skills are required. Now demonstrate that you have those skills. Every sentence you write should be written keeping the job in mind. Of course you want your strengths to be shown, but only as relevant to the job. You may be a national level sprinter, but don’t mention it on a cover letter applying for a PHP programming job. Always be relevant.
oDesk Cover Letter Tip-5: Point to your Strengths
oDesk has many tools that help you show your previous experience and work. You should complete your full profile before you get started on the site and before you write any single cover letter.
Now, look at the strengths in your profile. You might have a very good portfolio and may have previously written for magazines and newspapers but be new to oDesk. In that case, your previous experience is your greatest strength. You should mention it in the cover letter. If you have previously designed web pages, show your work.
For those who are a little older at oDesk, mentioning about your feedback might be a good way to catch the attention of the employer if it is good. I often mention that I am one of the highest rated writers at oDesk with a perfect feedback of 5.00/5.00. This helps my application to stand out.
Sometimes, if you don’t have a lot of previous experience at oDesk or elsewhere but are good at what you do, consider giving many relevant oDesk tests. If you are among the Top 10% or 1st place, it is worth mentioning in your cover letter, especially if you are new and don’t have a lot of feedback.
In the end, it is all about standing out. The employer probably gets 15-20 applications on an average for every job posting, and much more in some cases. At a quick glance, he should know that you are worth considering, so write something that distinguishes you from the crowd. Create a unique selling point.
oDesk Cover Letter Tip-6: Always Follow Instructions
It is very important to follow the instructions given in the job posting. If the job requires that you show some samples of your work, show the samples. If it requires you to send a detailed resume, send one. Never neglect the steps outlined in a job posting.
In addition, a lot of people, of late, require you to include a letter or phrase at the beginning to ensure that you have read the whole job description. Without this, they will not even read your cover letter and your entire effort will go waste. So make sure you follow such instructions carefully as required.
oDesk Cover Letter Tip-7: Show you are Interested
Always show your interest. You can include a sentence or two about why you think the job is exciting for you. Talk about enjoying a challenging assignment and relate the current job to your previous experience working.
Sometimes, to show that you are interested and serious, include an email and phone number. It is highly unlikely they will call you, but it shows that you are serious and interested in the job.
So here are some oDesk cover letter tips that I have to share from my experience working on oDesk. Am I missing something? Do you have something to add? I would love to hear from you!