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Is something wrong with my proposal/cover letter?

Ace Contributor
Benjamin P Member Since: Feb 26, 2019
1 of 14

So I've submitted quite a few proposals (16 to be exact) and all I've heard so far is the sound of crickets.  Yes I'm new to the industry but I'm making sure to apply with entry level and not overbid on my hourly rates.  If anyone could give me some feedback on this cover letter, I'd greatly appreciate it:


To Whom It May Concern:


Graciously accept this application from a highly skilled and capable applicant who wishes to fill the opportunity you have with (company name) to complete (type of job offer).


I'm a native born, English-speaking American that tells every story with down to earth clarity and wit. As I begin the journey of developing my writing into a career, I'm confident I'd be a perfect fit to fulfill all the attributes you're seeking for this particular position. I've been an avid writer my entire life and obtaining my associates of arts while I was at Arizona State University helped hone my grammar and speech. Being a member of the Chicago Writers Association and Independent Writers of Chicago provides me important insight from seasoned veterans of the trade who reaffirm that my style is polished.


I am a determined, hardworking and disciplined freelancer who is able to write intelligent, exciting copy about a wide range of subjects. I have an elite understanding of Microsoft Office 365. I know that my journalistic curiosity aids in analyzing complex issues and would help to generate ideas for new content and would be sufficient in completing whatever task you lay before me. I'm able to independently complete any desired deadlines and assignments, regardless of whatever obstacles I might run into. I have exceptional writing skills, a graphic eye and an exceptional attention to detail.


Right now, I would like to team up with (company name) where I will have the opportunity to add to my portfolio which will be invaluable to the future of my career but more importantly deliver a valuable product to you. If this brief account of my competencies intrigues you enough to invite me for an interview and/or further discussion, then feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience. 

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
2 of 14

You are a writer, so know your audience. You want to grasp attention, not turn off with flowerful antiquated language.

Same goes for your profile. No structure. 

Be concise. 

To whom it may concern is the worst way to start a cover letter. 

Made my point. 

Now you. 

Ace Contributor
Benjamin P Member Since: Feb 26, 2019
3 of 14



I really appreciate your insight.  This is the type of constructive criticism I need to hear so that I can develop into the writer I know I have the potential to be.

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
4 of 14

Hi again, Benjamin. I agree on the language. (Actually, ironically, my first thought was "Is English not this person's native language?" That's not a slight on either you or on non-native English speakers, it's just something that jumped out at me.)


Make your proposal about what you can do for the client. Smiley Happy Make it very very specific to the actual project. Don't go on and on, but do mention at least one specific aspect of the actual project, or it reads like a form letter.


Good luck!

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
5 of 14

Full disclosure: I'm serial-posting largely because I'm avoiding some work that I'm not comfortable with, LOL. (Non-Upwork, don't worry.)


Anyway...I also wanted to mention that you should be very very selective about submitting proposals. You only get so many connects in a month and I've heard some people here say they were ejected from the platform as a bad fit due to sending numerous proposals but not landing any gigs. Can't remember the exact language used.


I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just saying, Upwork pares down freelancers once in a while, as far as I know (somebody correct me). Be careful not to just keep throwing out proposals at any and every job hoping it's a numbers game. It is, but only up to a point. Then you could be gone. Make sure you're an absolute slam-dunk every single time for every single project you apply to.



Ace Contributor
Benjamin P Member Since: Feb 26, 2019
6 of 14

Hey Melanie,

Thanks for the full disclosure lol.  I appreciate your insight.  I agree with you that I shouldn't just be submitting to any gig and it's definitely not something that I'm doing.  I'm going to take all the valuable feedback I've been given and basically do a lot of rewriting.


Thanks again for the valuable and timely feedback

Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
7 of 14



It's a wall of clichéd, flowery, repetitive text that is all about you. It is only incidentally about the client; the client is secondary to your own brilliance, eliteness, and career advancement.


Example: "As I begin the journey of developing my writing into a career..."  To be painfully blunt: It's wordy, it's boring, and it's not about the client. (And, from a stylistic point of view: too many -ing words.)


Also, you make a number of annoying small mistakes ("American that" should be "American who" ... hyphenate "down-to-earth"'s "Associate of Arts," not "associateS of arts" doesn't "fulfill" an "attribute" nor "complete" a "deadline"... etc., etc., etc.) You repeat many words within close proximity as you write.

Ace Contributor
Benjamin P Member Since: Feb 26, 2019
8 of 14

Hi Janean,


Thanks for your quick response.  I feel stuck in how to approach the cover letter since I don't have any experience that I would usually include if I were doing a cover letter from the fields I use to work in.  The gist that I'm getting from a lot of feedback is to keep things short and sweet.


I've read several articles that talk about the use of hyphens.  I agree that "down to earth" should be hyphenated but then I found several recent articles that talk about how the use of hyphens in certain instances is fading out.


This is all a learning experience.  I think I developed tunnel-vision with my cover letter and because of that missed a lot of the stupid mistakes that you pointed out.


If you have any advice on the best way to approach my cover letter, having no experience, I would greatly appreciate it.


Thank you for taking the time to read and respond

Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
9 of 14

Hi, Benjamin:


(1) Shorten the cover letter to one-two paragraphs.

(2) Tell the client what you can do for him/her.

(3) Be specific for each individual prospective client.

(4) Have a good proofreader/copyeditor help you.


I just read your profile: That is also an unbroken wall of text. Needs work.


Thanks for taking my very blunt comments without rancor!

Ace Contributor
Benjamin P Member Since: Feb 26, 2019
10 of 14

Hey Janean,


Thanks for the great suggestions.  As I was saying in some of the other replies, I have a lot of rewriting to do. 


My first mistake, other than the ones you mentioned, was not getting a second pair of eyes to look at my profile and my cover letter.  I think I just develop tunnel vision because I know the first obstacle to learning anything is thinking you already know everything.  That mentality was basically my reasoning for not taking the time to get someone to proofread for me.


I embrace constructive criticism and I love people that are blunt.  It get's rid of the sugar-coated BS but that's JMO.  I have pretty thick skin and honestly my initial reaction wasn't very pleasant but then my ability to be objective set in and realized I had extremely valuable feedback coming from a highly experience individual.

Thank you again for all of your input and I look forward to any communication with you in the future