7 Useful Tips to Win Your First oDesk Job

Being new on oDesk can be tough for a professional.  Without any feedback or past projects on your profile, clients don’t seem to want to hire you just yet.
They want talented, experienced, and knowledgeable freelancers – with at least 100 oDesk hours.  Yikes! How will a newbie empty of these things be able to land his first job then?

Being a newbie freelancer myself, this is exactly what was on my mind when I only had a simple profile and a few of my past works. I knew I was facing a very tough competition, most of which are being driven by price.  But I was determined to make my first break, and luckily I was successful.

So I know how you feel, faced with all these challenges and with no opportunity to prove yourself.  To help you win your first oDesk job, here are 7 tips that have worked for me, for many, and hopefully will work for you:

1.      Review, edit, proofread, and finalize your oDesk profile.  If you’re meticulous enough, it’ll probably take you an hour to do. Take a look at this post to see if you’ve covered every important detail in your profile.

2.      Make sure you have portfolio samples for every service you offer.  Upload screenshots or PDFs of your work, link, and label them according to the service you specialize in.  Make sure to write a short but detailed description for each.

3.      Give yourself a title that best describes what you do.  Simply calling yourself, “A Hardworking and Affordable Professional” with checks, diamonds, or heart symbols (seriously, who does that?) doesn’t say much about what you do.  Clients may easily brush off your profile and look at more descriptive ones.

4.      Choose job posts that are best suited for you.  Your chances of winning a web design project is very slim if your only specialty is transcription or virtual assistance.

5.      Customize, personalize, and proofread your cover letter before sending it off.  Make sure you answer the client’s questions, address his concerns, and pitch yourself very well.  This post should help: Additional Cover LetterTips for oDesk Contractors

6.      Choose a rate that’s reasonable, not the cheapest.  Good clients usually avoid the lowest bidders, keeping in mind that “you get what you pay for”. Offer the most reasonable price for your services, but make sure it isn’t because you’re the cheapest in the roster.

7.      Do your best and never give up.  By putting your best foot forward in every interview, you’ll surely stand out from all the other applicants.  If you get rejected, it’s okay.  Give yourself a reassuring hug and continue applying for jobs, until such time that a good client decides to hire you for your first project.

Again, you’re not alone in this struggle for the big oDesk break.  Thousands of contractors (including the big-time veterans) have been in your shoes before.  If they can win their first and succeeding projects, then so can you.