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How and Why to Write a Remote Work Cover Letter (With Tips, Template, and Example)

How and Why to Write a Remote Work Cover Letter (With Tips, Template, and Example)

Remote jobs get a ton of applicants, but writing a great cover letter is an easy way to stand out to potential employers.

Cover letters add color that can be missing from a resume and give you an opportunity to dive deeper into your background, skills, and expertise. A resume cover letter can also help the hiring manager understand why you are applying for the specific job at their company and most importantly why they should interview you over other candidates.

In this article, we'll outline what a cover letter is, how and why to write one, and provide you with the specific steps and tips you need to follow to write the perfect cover letter that outlines your background, relevant skills, expertise, and remote work experience (if applicable). We've also provided a template and sample cover letter to get you started.

You can also learn how to write a remote job resume here.

Cover letter

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a one-page document that introduces your work experience, relevant skills, and personal interest in the company's mission.

Think about it this way: Your resume focuses on your qualifications and achievements then your cover letter expands on those achievements, showcases your personality, and explains why your past experience makes you a good fit for the company and role.

Read our guide on how to write a resume for a remote job.

Interview

Why a cover letter is crucial for when applying for a remote job

Writing a cover letter gives you the opportunity to build a narrative around your application and differentiate yourself from other potential remote employees. It's also a good chance to showcase your personality and passion for the company.

Despite being physically distant, remote companies tend to look for employees who are passionate about the company, its products and services, and its mission.

The purpose of a cover letter is to support your resume by providing more detail about your skills, experience, and reason for applying for the new job.

For remote positions, a cover letter is an integral part of your application. First, finding a remote job and getting hired typically means beating out a large pool of candidates, particularly if a remote position is open to job seekers worldwide.

Secondly, it provides space for you to highlight your WFH-relevant experience. It's a myth that not everyone can work remotely but that doesn't mean that remote work skills aren't important. You need to be self-motivated, have strong time management skills, and know how to communicate asynchronously.

Even if you don't have remote work experience, you can use your cover letter to differentiate yourself from other candidates by highlighting the soft skills that are important to remote hiring managers.

Not only will a good cover letter help you stand out, it's also an opportunity to highlight your writing abilities. Writing is one of the most heavily valued remote work skills, particularly in fully remote companies that rely on asynchronous communication.

Remote worker writing cover letter

What to include in a cover letter for a remote job

Include these important details to create the perfect cover letter for any remote job:

  • Your experience working remotely: Like any job application, your past experience carries a lot of weight. If you have remote work experience, call attention to it in your cover letter. Employers to hire people who understand how to collaborate in a remote environment and the challenges associated with remote work.
  • Soft skills relevant to remote work: Even if you haven't worked remotely before, you can show the hiring managers that you have the important soft skills needed to be successful as a remote employee. These skills include the ability to work independently, async communication, time management, cross-cultural literacy, and timezone conscientiousness.
  • Hard skills optimized mentioned in the job description: When writing your cover letter, the job description is your best friend. If it mentions specific hard skills like Tableau or Python and you know have expertise, mention them! Drawing a direct link from the job description to your experience will show the hiring manager that you've carefully read the job ad and have invested the time to craft a personalized cover letter.
  • What you can bring to the table: Employers are looking for someone who can do the job and do it well. The most important thing you can outline in your cover letter is the value you can bring to the company. It's fine to outline the benefits that remote work brings, but always anchor of what you can bring to the table.
  • Your research: It's essential that you research the company before applying for the job. The good news is this doesn't take a whole lot of effort. Start with the company's website and familiarize yourself with their products and mission. From there, you can listen to or watch interviews with the CEO or members of the leadership team. You can also use our remote company profiles to learn about thousands of companies, their tech stacks, and company cultures.
  • Your passion: Two of the most common remote job interview questions are  "Why are you interested in this position?" and "Why do you want to work here?" Both are designed to help hiring managers to understand why you are applying for a remote position at their company. This could be a brief anecdote about how you listened to the founder on a podcast or that you've been a customer of the company for years. There are a ton of different ways you can inject passion into your cover letter, and it's a great way to stand out.
  • A clear call to action: Always end your cover letter with a clear call to action. Reiterate how excited you are about the company and the position then ask for an interview.
Smiling woman

How to write a cover letter for remote jobs

Writing a remote or work from home cover letter can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be if you follow these steps:

1. Research the company and role

A good cover letter is based on research. Read the job ad carefully and research the company to understand how the role fits into the company's mission and values. Look at their website, listen to interviews with the team, and read their blog. If you know people working at the company, talk to them and learn about what the hiring manager is looking for.

Research will help you tailor your letter and show the potential employer that you understand their company, its goals, and how you can support them.

Review the job description and note any requirements you have or responsibilities that you have successfully managed in the past. You'll want to use this to include any relevant skill or experience in your cover letter.

Use the same language the company uses on their website and in the job description to shape your cover letter.

2. Introduce yourself

Now that you've done research, it's time to start writing. The first paragraph of your cover letter should introduce you by summarizing your experience in the industry or related roles. Explain why you are applying for the position and why you're excited about the company.

Leverage the research you did to demonstrate your knowledge of the company's mission and how you're excited to contribute. Be sure to express your enthusiasm for the job title, company, and role responsibilities.

Two people working at computers

3. Outline your relevant skills and experience

Use the next paragraph to highlight your qualifications, relevant skills, and work experience. We recommend using the STAR method to outline a specific situation that is relevant to the job description. STAR stands for:

  • Situation: Describe a situation you were in and why it's relevant to the new job.
  • Task: Outline the goals you were working toward.
  • Action: Describe the actions you took to address the situation.
  • Result: Provide context and outline the qualitative and quantitative improvements your actions made.

The example you choose should align with one or more of the requirements outlined in the job description. This proves to the employer that you've done your research and understand why you're a good fit for the role.

If you can't think of a specific situation, use this section to highlight any remote work experience and skills that enable to work remotely. Examples of beneficial remote work skills include:

4. Reiterate how you'll add value

Based on your research and the example you chose, tie your skills and previous work experience to the role you are applying for. Help the hiring manager or recruiter understand why you are the best candidate.

To do this, you'll need to draw a connection between the situation that you outlined above and the specific goals or problems the company has identified in the job description or that you have identified in your research.

Interview

5. Outline your competitive advantage and explain anomalies

Now that you've emphasized your value, seal the deal by outlining any unique skills or experience you have that can set you apart from other candidates. If you have extensive experience working at a competitor or in a similar industry that can be the focus of this paragraph.

If you have anything on your resume that you think could be a red flag for a hiring manager, such as employment gaps or unique work history, it can also be a good idea to provide clarification. Your resume won't be able to provide sufficient context on these situations, so use this as your opportunity.

6. Close with a strong call to action

Use the final paragraph to reiterate everything you've outlined above. Emphasize your excitement about the job posting and thank the reviewer for their time and consideration. Then close the letter with a strong call to action about the next steps in the interview process.

Say that you hope to hear from them soon and you look forward to answering any additional questions they have during the interview process.

Use our guide on remote job interview questions to prepare.

Writing cover letter on MacBook

Tips for writing an effective remote work cover letter

These tips will help you write an engaging remote work cover letter:

Keep it concise and well-formatted

Stick to a simple 10- or 12-point font and avoid graphics. Remote employers receive a lot of cover letters, respect their time, relay only important information, and invest the time to make the letter skimmable.

Remember, the goal of your cover letter is to get the interview, not to answer every possible question. Keep it all on one page.

Use job-specific keywords

Always include skills or keywords that match the job description. Personalizing your cover letter to the specific job will show that you've read and understood the requirements and expectations and that you aren't sending a generic cover letter. It'll also help you get past any automated filtering that the company may have set up in the applicant tracking system.

Address the hiring manager by name

Your cover letter will have the most impact if you use the hiring manager's name. If possible, avoid generic greetings like "Hi there" or "To whom it may concern."

You can typically find this by searching online or by reading the job description carefully. Don't stress if you can't find it though, it's definitely not a deal-breaker.

Avoid repeating what's on your resume

Your resume summarizes your previous roles, responsibilities, and achievements. You don't need to repeat the same details in your cover letter. Use it as an opportunity to go deeper into a specific situation or role that you think is most relevant to the new job and company you're applying for and to demonstrate your research and passion.

Writing cover letter on MacBook

Show your personality

Just because you're working remotely doesn't mean that your potential employer doesn't want to understand you as a person. Tell them about why you're passionate about the industry, role, and company.

Review your cover letter

Proofread your cover letter before you send in your application. Look for typos but also look for confusing sentences, places that could be better formatted, and any fuzzy language.

Do your best to stay on topic and only include information that is relevant to the job you're applying for. If you can, ask a friend or colleague to read over it to make sure you've accurately explained your value.


Remote worker writing cover letter

Remote job cover letter template

{Your name}
{Your country and timezone}

{Date}

{Hiring manager's name}
{Company name}

Dear {Hiring manager's name}

{Introduce yourself and refer to the remote job that you're applying for. Explain why you're applying for the position and why you're excited about potentially joining the company. Leverage the research you did.}

{Highlight how your qualifications and experience align with the job description. Include one or two brief examples that showcase how you've performed in previous situations. Where possible, show how you made a positive impact on your employer, team, or customers. This is also a good place to outline any remote work experience you have.}

{Now it's time to reiterate the value you can add to the company based on the skills you've outlined above. Remember to draw a connection between the situation you've outlined above and the specific goals or problems the company has identified in the job description or that you've identified through research. Remember to use the language and keywords in the job description.}

{Use this paragraph to showcase your competitive advantage and explain any anomalies on your resume.}

{Thank the recipient for their time and consideration then summarize what you've outlined above. Include a call to action or say that you look forward to the next stage in the interview process.}

Sincerely,

{Your name}
{Contact information}

Click here for a Google Doc version of this template you can copy and use.

Sample cover letter for remote work

Jian Yang
United States, Pacific Time

10th November 2021

Gavin Belson
Hooli

Dear Gavin,

My name is Jian Yang and I'm applying for a software engineering position at Hooli. I'm really excited about Hooli's mission to change the world and I'm passionate about your tech stack that includes Python, Java, React, and Scala. All languages that I have used in the past.

I've been building my own startup for the last few years and have been backed by Erlich Bachman's incubator Aviato. You might be familiar with another company that Aviato has backed, Pied Piper. I'm passionate about video compression and I've learned a lot about it working close to the Pied Piper team. In fact, for my own startup I've been able to get close to their levels of video compression. I've been working from home for the last few years so I believe I have all the remote work skills required to work remotely for Hooli.

Here's how I think I could help if you hired me as a remote software engineer. I know that Hooli has been interested in buying Pied Piper for a number of years but the team is not interested. I also know that being able to cut down on the file sizes of videos would dramatically improve Hooli's profit margins. I would like to leverage my unique skills and past experience to help.

I am the only person (other than the Pied Piper team and Erlich) who has seen the development of Pied Piper's algorithm from inception to now, so I'm uniquely placed to help Hooli build out a similar product.

Thanks for your time Gavin, I really think that with Hooli's resources and my experience we'll be able to build something great together. I look forward to hearing from you and speaking to you more during the interview process.

Sincerely,

Jian Yang
[email protected]


Remote worker at home

What to leave out of a remote job cover letter

Some things are better left unsaid. Don't lower your chances of success by including useless or harmful information including:

  • Irrelevant details: Recruiters and hiring managers for remote jobs tend to receive a lot of applicants. Help them out and keep your cover letter concise. The goal of the cover letter is to get to the interview, not to outline your entire working history.
  • Half-truths: While it's important to shape your cover letter based on the contents of the job description, it also needs to be truthful. Don't say you have experience using a specific tool if you don't, and never lie about having remote work experience if it isn't true. It's unethical and will only damage your chances.
  • Badmouthing current employer or previous jobs: Maybe you're looking for a remote job because your current employer is forcing everyone back to the office. That's fine but it's probably not that important to the hiring manager. Keep things positive and professional and focus on why you're excited about applying instead.
  • Typos: Typos and misspellings can happen but it's better if they don't. Reread your resume and cover letter a few days out loud before sending them. Also, be sure that you don't misspell the company or the hiring manager's name.
  • Repeating what is on your resume: Remember, the cover letter is to add to the information on your resume. Don't waste it by repeating everything that is on there. Use it to highlight the specific value you can bring to the role and company you are applying for. Learn how to write a remote job resume.
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Find a remote job on Himalayas

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We can help. Himalayas is the best remote job board because we're focused on providing the best experience for remote job seekers.

Check out our remote jobs or remote company database.