Just when you think your remote job application is complete, you notice one last requirement: the dreaded cover letter. Your mind starts racing.
How long should your cover letter be? Should you talk about past work experiences in your cover letter, or should you reserve more space on your resume for those? What do you write in a cover letter for remote work if you’ve never had a remote job?
The anxiety is enough to make you want to quit applying altogether. But when you know how to write a cover letter for remote jobs, you’ll feel less intimidated by the requirement and will likely be a stronger candidate for a position.
You’ve probably noticed that some hiring portals allow you to skip the cover letter step, but that can be a mistake. When written and edited correctly, your cover letter is a unique opportunity to highlight qualifications the rest of your application might not reveal.
And, when it comes to remote work, these letters give you a chance to show off your skills and knowledge in remote-first environments. Here’s what you need to know about getting started on your draft.
Why a Cover Letter for Remote Jobs Matters
Submitting a good cover letter can boost your candidacy for any job, but it can be especially useful when applying for remote work. Here are a few of the reasons your cover letter can help you snag a dream role:
- Cover letters prove your passion. Even if you’re competing against candidates with similar resumes, a cover letter can convince employers you’re the best person for the job. It’s your chance to demonstrate interest and expertise in your field beyond basic work experience. And you can tell your story about why you find value in working from home.
- Cover letters show off your personality. In the world of remote work, there are no team lunches or post-shift happy hours for getting to know people (Although there are some cool virtual happy hour ideas and options). Video calls and chat platforms are helpful replacements for in-person socializing, but a cover letter can give future coworkers a glimpse of who you are and what you’ll contribute to team culture.
- Cover letters highlight “soft skills.” Succeeding at work is about more than hitting your quarterly goals. You can use a cover letter to explain your team-management philosophies, your ideas for troubleshooting problems, and even your strategies for remote work and collaboration. After all, a hiring manager for remote roles will want to know you can be productive outside of a traditional office.
- Cover letters lay the groundwork for remote-first. Not sure if company leaders will allow you to work remotely? Here’s your chance to explain why you want to be remote-first, and you can assure managers that you’re a valuable team member in or out of an office.
How long should a cover letter be?
You’re writing a letter, not a novel. The ideal cover letter should be about half a page or up to one page. Typically, this falls under 500 total words, but there is no exact word amount you need to stick by. Just note that you won’t need to write a cover letter that’s longer than one page.
That may not sound like a lot of space, but you can say a lot in just a single page. Skip the filler and just be direct.
Will employers consider you without a cover letter?
You may be considered for a job without a cover letter, but if you have the chance to submit one, it often helps to do so. Going the extra mile in your application, whether for a remote job or in-office position, will give you the best advantage to snag an interview.
This is your chance to highlight everything your resume can’t, so instead of viewing cover letters as an unnecessary requirement, look at them as an opportunity.
What You Should Include in a Cover Letter for a Remote Job
Just as every job is different, every cover letter will be a little different too. However, it will be helpful to include a few key elements in your letter no matter which role you’re in the running for.
However, with any remote job or hybrid opportunity, there are some extra things you want to include to show your skills and value.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the company. It’s not a good idea to blindly recycle the same cover letter over and over again—you can and should tailor your writing to the company you’re applying to. Loopcv recommends researching the company before writing, and then you can personalize your letter for that business specifically.
- Fill in details about your work history. Resumes are helpful, but they can’t reveal everything about you. Your cover letter is the perfect place to elaborate on important parts of your resume or add information on past experiences. If you’ve worked remotely in the past, ensure to highlight that experience and skills to effectively do your job.
- Underline your own value. A resume alone isn’t enough to make you a top candidate. Think about what makes you the single best person for this particular job, and spell that out in your letter.
- Remind the hiring manager that you understand remote work. Wanting to work remotely isn’t something you need to apologize for, but you can use your cover letter to highlight your remote-first skills. Reserve space in your letter to discuss remote work’s benefits for you and your productivity.
- Specific skills that demonstrate you can handle remote work. Whether you have or have not worked remotely, include any skills or examples that would apply to being a successful remote employee. The best areas to think about would be communication, organization, time management, team alignment, and autonomy to get tasks done.
- Tell the company what you can do for them. Already have big ideas for a new role? Don’t be shy about them! A cover letter offers a venue to share these ideas, proving you’re ready to hit the ground running in a new job.
How to Write a Cover Letter for Remote Jobs
When you organize your thoughts and plan your cover letters correctly, they can become less of a chore. Here’s how to write your next cover letter for remote work.
1. Do your research before writing.
When it comes to cover letters, Western Carolina University notes, specificity is better. Remember to research your company and potential role, and use your letter itself to explain why you’re a great fit for both.
Things you can do include analyzing the company website, looking at their social media company handles, thoroughly reading the remote job listing, listening to podcasts of company leaders, etc.
2. Create an outline of key points.
Whether you want to talk about remote experiences, explain a highlight of your resume, or share ideas you have for the job, you should plan how and where these points will fit into your draft.
By having these written down ahead of time, you can start to craft your main narrative when you introduce yourself and where your top experiences or ideas can naturally fit in.
3. Call out specific skills that relate to remote work.
As alluded to in the previous section, you definitely want to include skills that show you can handle remote work. Use this time to demonstrate skills that apply to areas of the job you’re applying for, and tie it back to remote work.
An example could be a project you took ownership of and gave detailed project updates to the team to meet an aggressive goal.
That would cover self-ownership, strong communication, and organization in just one highlight. This can show your job-related skills and how you crushed this project while working remotely.
4. Provide any resume clarifications.
Sometimes, you may have something on your resume that could be deemed a red flag. Maybe you had a gap in employment or a very short stint at a specific employer. While it does not have to mean something bad happened, why let a hiring manager or recruiter start to wonder?
Instead, use your cover letter to call out anything that could be questioned, but isn’t explainable via the resume alone.
5. Write and review.
Don’t click the submit button the second you’re done writing! Reread your letter and, if possible, ask a friend or significant other to read it too. Grammar errors and oversights can be easy to miss in your own work, so it’s always better to get an extra set of eyes on the cover letter.
6. Send the letter and save it for future reference.
Even though it’s not a good idea to recycle the exact same cover letter, you may want to refer to your letter later if you are offered interviews. (Or, you might want to grab some highlights to rework into future letters.)
Personally, I’ve saved one version of a cover letter that I could clone and edit with updated language as needed. This saves time from completely starting from scratch, and sometimes it would not need a major rewrite. Work smarter, not harder (;
Remote Job Cover Letter Templates
There’s no one way to write a cover letter for a remote job, but starting with a template can be a helpful springboard. Here are two variations you are welcome to copy and use to help you fill in the content.
One is a bit more informal and the other is more traditional. Either can work well, just include the best details about you and your skills as you can.
Remote Job Cover Letter Template 1
Dear [Hiring Manager Name],
This is your Introductory Paragraph, where you will briefly introduce yourself and mention the role you’re applying to. You can also briefly state the reasons you’re a good fit.
Your Work Experiences Paragraph is the place to highlight key parts of your resume. Remember that if you’ve done your homework on the company, you’ll have a good idea of what they need in a job candidate, so you can emphasize relevant history here.
Finally, you’ll look to the future in the Why-Hire Paragraph. Here’s where you get specific about what you can do for the company, and you can also discuss the benefits of remote work for both you and them.
End the letter politely with a quick Call to Action Paragraph, letting the employer know you’re looking forward to chatting more about the role.
[Your Name and Contact Info]
Remote Job Cover Letter Template 2
[Hiring manager’s name]
Dear Hiring manager name,
Introduce yourself here and refer to the remote job that you’re applying for. Share why this position was interesting to you and what excited you about the company. Good time to show the research you did in this opener.
Highlight your qualifications, how you align with the role, and your experiences working remotely. Try to include a few examples that tie to the needs of the job role and how you handle remote work. Specific projects, your impact, or results will be great to highlight in bullet points here as well.
Reminder, use specific keywords or language that is similar to the remote job listing. This shows you read it in detail and align with the requirements of the job.
Before drawing to a close, call out any questionable areas of your resume. If you don’t have any, then go right into why you are the candidate over the others applying for the job.
As you end your cover letter, thank the recipient for taking the time to read your letter and reiterate your excitement to learn about the next steps for this job.
You can also link to any personal website, online portfolio, or LinkedIn profile at this time as well.
Whether you’re currently applying to remote jobs or are only considering a career shift, it’s important to know what you want from a new role and what you can bring to it.
By planning how to write a cover letter for your next remote job, you’ll position yourself as a stronger candidate for any job you’re considering.
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