The internet created a boom of writing jobs of all kinds, from content writers to technical writers to social media managers. To land one of these jobs, you'll need to create a cover letter that conveys your relevant writing experience, captures an employer's attention, and persuades them that you have the skills to attract and engage readers.
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Writer Jobs
Get advice on how to craft an effective cover letter for a writing position. Plus, take a look at cover letter examples for writing jobs, along with a template to download to get your own letter started.
Cover Letter Tips for a Writing Position
Don't Send a Form Letter: Form letters look lazy and lack originality. You're applying for a job where your words matter. Use them to craft a specific letter that speaks uniquely to the position and potential employer.
Get to the Point: Some writers love to read their own words. But keep the letter's recipient in mind: they've likely received tons of applications and are short on time. Don't ramble or pontificate.
Keep your letter short and to the point. You may find that using bullet points helps you convey a lot of information without a ton of words.
Choose Your Voice and Tone Wisely: Match the tone of your letter to that of the job description. If the description is formal, write a straightforward cover letter with a sophisticated voice. A fun, offbeat job description filled with humor gives you permission to let your guard down in your letter and spice it up. But don't go overboard on wackiness—when in doubt, reel it in.
Demonstrate Your Writing Technique: Use the cover letter as an opportunity to showcase your command of your craft. Vivid description and imagery aren't just for poetry and prose. For example, if you're applying to write about food or travel, use sensory language in your descriptions. Tell an anecdote to describe your experience.
And what's an anecdote really but a story—draw the reader in, hook them with a conflict (e.g., "I had to write a 500-word piece overnight to meet a publication deadline") and then describe how you resolved it with your top-notch skills.
Share Your Qualifications: While you want to showcase your writing abilities in the letter, you also need to make sure you're highlighting your relevant experience. Read the job description and make sure to share your relevant experience. You'll need to emphasize different skills and experience if you're applying for a role writing social media copy than for a job as a staff writer.
Proofread Very Carefully: It's always important to avoid typos and grammatical errors. But it's essential when you're applying for a role as a writer, because employers will be looking for evidence that you can produce error-free copy.
Share Your Portfolio: What better way to support your candidacy than by sharing previous work? If you're applying for a role as a writer over email, consider attaching a link to your online portfolio. In a hard-copy letter, you can let the employer know you have a portfolio available to share.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
There are a few essential elements that must be included in every letter:
- Your contact information: In a hard copy letter, this will go at the top of the page. For email cover letters, place this information in your signature. You can also link to your LinkedIn profile or online portfolio from your signature.
- Salutation: If at all possible, find out the hiring manager's name and use it.
- Subject line: If you're emailing a cover letter, list your name and thejob title in the subject line of the message. That way the hiring manager can tell at a glance that they are looking at an application for this specific position.
- Highlight qualifications in the body of the email: Keep the body of the email short and sweet—no more than two or three paragraphs at most.
- Include a professional close: Sign hard copy letters in pen, and incorporate an email signature if you're sending your cover letter by email.
Before you hit send, make sure you understand formatting and sending email cover letters, including important reminders about attachments and sending test emails.
For hard-copy cover letters, print and proofread carefully before sending.
Sample Cover Letter for a Writing Job
This is an example of a cover letter for a writing position. Use this for inspiration as you craft your own letter, but don't copy it.
Download the writing job cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online).
Cover Letter for a Freelance Writing Job (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
May 11, 2021
Director, Human Resources
Acme Office Supplies
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Smith,
I'm very interested in your job posting for a business writer. In my position as Business Representative for Union Local 80, I wrote feature articles for the website, managed content, and wrote a weekly email newsletter to subscribers.
While Legislative Director for Assemblywoman Susan Smith, I researched, drafted, and amended legislation, wrote press releases, and was responsible for office communications and correspondence.
I also have extensive experience writing freelance articles on labor issues, which, I believe, would be an ideal match for this position. Published articles are available for your review upon request, and I've included with this letter additional writing samples and my resume. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your consideration.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Sample Email Cover Letter for a Technical Writer
Email Cover Letter for Technical Writer Role
Subject line: Job Application - Technical Writer - Tamara Jones
Dear Mr. Rashid,
I'd like to express my interest in the open technical writer position at ABC Gadgets. I'm a versatile and experienced writer, with a knack for crafting user-friendly copy that drives customer satisfaction.
At XYZ Gizmos, I overhauled consumer-facing instructions, wrote in-app text for multiple launches, and brainstormed strategy and copy for product pages with the marketing team. Prior to my time at XYZ, I focused on corporate communications for ABC Legal Firm. In that role, I maintained the company's internal website as well as writing and coordinating a weekly newsletter sent to 50,000 full-time and contract employees around the world.
If ABC Gadgets would benefit from a timely, responsive writer, whose work reduces questions and negative feedback from customers, look no further. After the update to the consumer-facing instructions at XYZ Gizmos, tickets to customer support fell by 12 percent. While at ABC Legal Firm, my work enabled several departments to share timely information. I'm skilled at coordinating across departments—liaising with engineering, for instance, to get a sense of a product's functionality—to develop effective documentation and instructions.
Examples of newsletters, documentation, and more of my writing are available in my portfolio. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your consideration.