Writing Emails With Priorities in Mind as a Freelancer
Last time we talked about cover letters and what a recruiter should expect from you. Today, we're digging further into the topic of business writing with some tips on email messages, introducing ourselves, and picking the right priorities in the structure. Let's dive in!
Introducing Ourselves and Our Reasons
You want to convince your recruiter to hire you. Great. You already have your cover letter ready, although that's not helpful in all cases.
Usually, to both save time and for convenience reasons, an effective email message, where you also attach your resume and possibly your portfolio too, will be enough. Remember: time is valuable, and you need to use that wisely.
I always start my email with a greeting (quite obvious). I write 'Hello,' sometimes adding the name of the person I'm contacting; if I'm to send it to a company general email address (such as info@<company>.com or contact@<company>.com), I might use 'Dear <company name>,' instead.
So, let's hit Enter twice and state our name. Now, we need to explain why we're contacting this email address. Remember that we're still talking about our first contact with an agency. If we saw it on LinkedIn asking for new vendors, we can say so. If we found the website while searching and got the email there, that works too. Just be honest and clear.
Priorities in the Email Structure
Now, what I always do is structure the message in the form of a short skill introduction/cover letter. If you already have experience, you can state 'in the past X years I worked with <big client names>'. Just make sure you're not breaking any NDAs.
The 'big client names' trick works fairly decently (provided we're using big names that are actually recognized pretty much anywhere, like Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.). This creates a common ground with the recruiter who'll acknowledge your experience.
Of course, you may not have a big client to share, or you're just starting out and have close to no experience. In this case, you don't have to focus on what others say about you, but on what you can bring to the table (as you have nobody backing up your statements). You're shifting the focus more to your professional figure.
So, instead of mentioning clients, I'd talk about some projects I've already worked on, even volunteer ones, it does not matter. In the case of commercial projects (likely) under NDA, we're not disclosing much specific information on our work. And we don't need to. We can just mention the project vaguely 'gambling website content', 'enterprise desktop software localization', 'famous fantasy book translation'... That kind of stuff. If the amount of words you translated is considerable, I'd also suggest you calculate and add that. E.g., 5k words translated.
Now, you might have no practical experience. So, we're exploring yet another scenario. The shift to your professional figure is even more prominent here. You might have education, degrees, courses done... Anything that helps show the recruiter that you're fit for the job. So, you're going to talk about your highest level of studies, its score (if high, that makes it worth adding), CPD courses taken, and so on.
Naturally, you can add as many of these things to your message as you wish, depending on your experience. Generally speaking, though, I'd focus more on the structure as proposed: 'clients' > 'projects' > 'education'.
We're Not Done Yet!
In the following post, we'll continue talking about how to structure our email message as we move forward to integrate some of these precious tips in our resume as well.
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