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Re: Storing cover letters and other standard writings

Ace Contributor
Todor V Member Since: Aug 19, 2015
1 of 20

Hi

 

I am new to the community and not sure where to post some ideas and suggestions. I feel it will be much more convenient to have the opportunity to store at least one version of a cover letter and probably replies to 5 questions (in my experience there is a roster of about 5 standard questions potential clients almost always use when asking something). 

 

This will allow applying from any device and on the go. 

 

Best

 

Todor

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 20

Todor,

Considering the fact that Upwork has paid its programmers to devise ways to discover re-use of cover letters and re-use of answers, and penalize contractors for re-using such material... And considering the fact the client-side interface includes popup information that warns clients about contractors who may have copied-and-pasted their answers...

 

It is not likely that Upwork is going to introduce a new feature which contravenes their intentions.

 

I have been very successful on Upwork by not using any templates whatsoever... typing every cover letter, ever answer to every question fresh. But if you need to use templates, there are about a million ways you could do, including just saving text in an email message draft in the email software you use.

Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
3 of 20

@Preston H wrote:

Todor,

Considering the fact that Upwork has paid its programmers to devise ways to discover re-use of cover letters and re-use of answers, and penalize contractors for re-using such material... And considering the fact the client-side interface includes popup information that warns clients about contractors who may have copied-and-pasted their answers...

 

It is not likely that Upwork is going to introduce a new feature which contravenes their intentions.

 

I have been very successful on Upwork by not using any templates whatsoever... typing every cover letter, ever answer to every question fresh. But if you need to use templates, there are about a million ways you could do, including just saving text in an email message draft in the email software you use.


It may be a surprise to Preston, but I do agree 100% with his comments about re-using cover letters and answers. For sure, this is a very bad idea.

 

I've mentioned "templates" before, but this does not mean my cover letters are not 100% unique. I simply have a format I like to follow, and if I want to see an example or 3 of specifc copy that has gotten a good response, I can see that in the same document as my format example.

 

I also copy the job description into the Word Doc, so I can see it right there as I write. This is especially helpful if the job description is really big and asks a lot of questions.

 

I can then write my bid right there in that MS Word file, and proofread it before putting into the cover letter box on Upwork.

 

This lets me test new copy, try different arrangements and save ideas all in the same file.

 

This also cuts down on the number of typos and mistakes that manage to slip through on rare occasions.

 

Finally, I save this as a unique document, along with some data about the job such as the URL, client data if there is any, etc.

Highlighted
Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
4 of 20

@ Preston, @ Pandora

 

In all honesty, I find it quite taxing, redundant and bothersome to write a superb unique cover letter for the many quick $20-$50 projects; that only require some data extraction or conversion from one format to the other.

 

I never copy paste, but I almost always end up writing a cover letter that is 95% identical - because what else can I say for such a task that I have not said before.

 

To make matters worse, once I deviate from the script and write what I would consider a detailed proper response; I never land the job. Then I feel - what a waste of time.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----
Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
5 of 20

@Setu M wrote:

@ Preston, @ Pandora

 

In all honesty, I find it quite taxing, redundant and bothersome to write a superb unique cover letter for the many quick $20-$50 projects; that only require some data extraction or conversion from one format to the other.

 

I never copy paste, but I almost always end up writing a cover letter that is 95% identical - because what else can I say for such a task that I have not said before.

 

To make matters worse, once I deviate from the script and write what I would consider a detailed proper response; I never land the job. Then I feel - what a waste of time.


LOL Setu, maybe I should add a disclaimer to my post: For long term job bidders only!

 

Because you have a point. If I had to write 10 cover letters a week, I'd go crazy with the writing.

 

However, I can say that with a couple of exceptions my cover letters have gotton me jobs as much as my profile Overview has.

 

But then, I have this pretty good bid system going, and unlike a year ago, I'm lucky to see a job a week that I want to bid on. That's worth an hour of my time, since it's it's for long term work.

 

I'm planning on offering a couple of fixed-price "package" things in another month or 3, and omg thats going to require a lot of cover letter testing. Perhaps I'll reach out to you, the master of the short term gig cover letter, heh.

 

 

Ace Contributor
Todor V Member Since: Aug 19, 2015
6 of 20

Wow, I did not expected such extreme opinions in the discussion Smiley Happy. Honestly, the policy of Upwork trying to avoid re-use of cover letters is difficult to understand and (probably) even more difficult to justify.

 

In my case, I am applying to jobs in the Accounting & Consulting section, with focus on what I can do best – business plans and pitch decks for investors. More often than not one can see postings like “I need professional business plan for my start-up” or “I require an experienced freelancer who can write a business plan from scratch and prepare a good concise deck for investors (previous experience with pitch deck preparation preferred)”.

 

In addition, it seems that all clients have a drop-down list of questions to choose from (probably this is where re-use of answers starts). As a result you can see the same additional questions like “Why do you apply for this job”, or “What past project or job have you had that is most like this one and why?”, “What challenging part of this job are you most experienced in?”, “Why do you think you are a good fit for this particular project?”, etc. Definitely very original, requiring always clear answers and messages….but if the job description is so general you can only repeat the answers Smiley Happy.

 

Probably I can try to prepare killing cover letters and answers to these posting and questions…and I certainly drafted different versions to see which one generate higher rate of responding clients….but once I decide which is the one I need, I simply would like to have this functionality on-site.

 

I guess that, once the functionality exists, the freelancers can decide if they want to write brand new cover letters, adjust existing ones, or simply pressing the button “apply for the job” with all existing docs J. I would even suggest to have the opportunity to store several versions of cover letters Smiley Happy.

Ace Contributor
Luis C Member Since: Mar 10, 2012
7 of 20

@Preston H wrote:

Todor,

Considering the fact that Upwork has paid its programmers to devise ways to discover re-use of cover letters and re-use of answers, and penalize contractors for re-using such material... And considering the fact the client-side interface includes popup information that warns clients about contractors who may have copied-and-pasted their answers...

 

It is not likely that Upwork is going to introduce a new feature which contravenes their intentions.

 

I have been very successful on Upwork by not using any templates whatsoever... typing every cover letter, ever answer to every question fresh. But if you need to use templates, there are about a million ways you could do, including just saving text in an email message draft in the email software you use.



Preston is that true? And how do they penalize? :/

 

When I'm not working with my regular clients I often apply to a good deal of jobs, and since many of them are 'I want a logo kthxbyes' with not that many more details whatsoever I have a standard cover letter, to which I add a couple of keywords about the job. I also have a standard PDF document I attach to my proposal which asks most questions I'd want to know, this is a much better way that dump a truckload of text into a cover letter.

 

Obviously if the client posts a good dead of information about his project I don't use the template, but otherwise how could I write unique cover letters to posts that say "I want a brochure, will give more details later". Am I being penalized for having a system in place that streamlines client communication?

 

P.S.: I suppose the correct answer would be not to apply to such jobs, but having in mind just how many of them are like that I find it hard to put in place such policy. And often the client really doesn't have much more to say about the job actually, if you want a logo and you don't want to post all company details out in the web, there's not much more he/she could do.

Ace Contributor
Todor V Member Since: Aug 19, 2015
8 of 20

@Luis C wrote:

P.S.: I suppose the correct answer would be not to apply to such jobs, ...

 


 

Hi, Luis, just a sideline - probably these are the jobs where the client will appreciate your advice and approach, and will be able to see the value added you will bring. At least I always apply to them except if the price is too low.

 

And by definition, for general inquiries you can provide general (or "standard") responses.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
9 of 20

How does Upwork penalize duplication in cover letters and answers to job posting questions?

Upwork attempts to identify duplication through automated algorithms and flag suspects copy-and-pastes in the client-side interface. Job applicants doing this are flagged, but may still be available.

 

Upwork might use auto-hide against those candidates, moving them to a hidden list clients must manually navigate to. Upwork will also try to rank these candidates lowered down in the lists clients see.

Ace Contributor
Luis C Member Since: Mar 10, 2012
10 of 20

@Preston H wrote:

How does Upwork penalize duplication in cover letters and answers to job posting questions?

Upwork attempts to identify duplication through automated algorithms and flag suspects copy-and-pastes in the client-side interface. Job applicants doing this are flagged, but may still be available.

 

Upwork might use auto-hide against those candidates, moving them to a hidden list clients must manually navigate to. Upwork will also try to rank these candidates lowered down in the lists clients see.


 

And where exactly is this information listed? Where exactly can I read, in the help section or the terms and conditions, about this algorithm and about this candidate list?

My guess is probably nowhere, which is my main anoyance here, how am I expected to play by 'the rules' if they're nowhere to be seen?

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