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How To Write a Freelance Proposal That Lands Jobs

In case you hadn’t noticed, COVID-19 and social distancing have led to a huge increase in freelancing across America. In fact, current estimates show a 43% increase in freelance economy in 2020 compared to past years. Likewise, 99 Firms suggested that almost 30 million freelancers are in it for the long haul, and 91% believe the future is bright for the industry. But, especially if you’re new to the trend, you might wonder how all these industrious freelancers are finding their gigs.

If you pay close attention to proposal writing, finding your next freelance job may be easier than you think. Let’s take a closer look at how freelance job proposal writing should be handled in order to land the contract you want in 2021.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: This blog is a guest submission from a member of our creative community. Thank you to Kristin Savage for working with the Artisan Talent team to develop this content. 


Don’t Copy/Paste Job Proposals

Writing a single job proposal and copying it from job to job is a cardinal sin in the freelance industry. Not only will you look unprofessional and impersonal, but you will also likely be picked up as spam by the platform’s algorithm. Hiring Managers pay close attention to each freelancer who applies for their job opening – take your time and don’t rush to the finish line. Write each freelance proposal as a separate document and adjust to the company’s needs.

Read and Reread the Job Description

Each job description will be unique in terms of writing and formatting and will often contain “tells,” which will give you hints about what it is the team really needs. Look for repeated keywords and mentions of certain skills necessary for the job – do you have them? Don’t skim through job descriptions and take extra care to understand what the job entails before you apply for it.

Show Interest Through Personalized Writing

While it’s true that you should be professional and polite to your potential client, you should also show character in your writing. Open the proposal with a formal greeting and write as if you would write to a close acquaintance or colleague. Don’t be distant and cold – you want the client to get to know you as quickly as possible. Personalized writing, coupled with technical lingo and knowledge of the subject matter, is what will help you land the contract more easily.

Break Down Your Expertise

You can use the proposal to break down your professional experience and expertise in a few short paragraphs. While you can’t describe your life in a few sentences, you can give the client an overview of who you are as a freelancer. You can rely on bullet points to list soft and hard skills you possess while also describing your formal education with descriptive writing.

Tim Leland, HR Specialist and Writer at Subjecto explained it simply,“Many interviewers will be short on time and look for skillset lists in the submitted proposal writing. Meet them halfway and format your paper in a way which allows for scanning of your writing – this will likely increase your odds.”

Include Samples of Your Work

Depending on the type of freelance work you apply for, you should consider including a sample of your original work. Coders, designers, and writers can easily include samples of their past work as examples of what they can do for their clients (portfolio sites are perfect for this). Others can include references and social proof of satisfied clients/companies which have enlisted their help in the past. This type of written data will solidify you as a viable candidate and ensure that you have a fighting chance at landing the contract.

Edit, Format, and Proofread

Finally, your freelance job proposal should be impeccable in regards to grammar and formatting. You want the client to trust you with their work based on the proposal you submitted – act like that’s the case. Use writing tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway Editor to spruce up any mistakes in writing or formatting before you submit the proposal. Read through what you’ve written again to ensure that all of the job description’s points were addressed to maximize your odds at employment.

Capping Off

While not as expansive as corporate job applications, freelance job proposals should still be written with care and attention to detail. Showcase the same commitment to detail as you would toward the work you will eventually do. While not all clients will be persuaded, those that do will make the freelance proposal writing worth the effort.

Freelance roles are Artisan Talent's bread and butter. We love matching creative freelancers with great gigs at innovative organizations. See if one of our roles is right for you now.

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Looking for more tips for your freelance career? We've compiled some of our favorites here.

About the Author: Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Kristin runs her own FlyWriting blog. You can find her on Facebook.

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