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How to get your 1st job on oDesk, Elance, Freelancer?

Byline: M. Aswad Mehtab

I AM a Freelance Graphic Designer and well established on oDesk, Elance having completed more than 150 contracts for the clients all around the globe.

This wasn't achieved in a day or a month. I had to struggle hard when I started my career as a freelance graphic designer, but i kept trying and kept learning new techniques and kept climbing up the ladder to reach where I am comfortably placed today.

I know there are thousands of talented people trying on oDesk, Elance or on Freelancer but are out of luck after months of struggle that's why this article is going to be a major part of your escape route from this hard luck.

There are many things you might not be doing rightly or correctly that's why (despite having all the talent) you are not getting hired, so this post will highlight some basic areas which you need to work on and you will see the amazing results very soon.

Following set of tips were written by a great fellow Hussain on oDesk forum and I am sharing them here because these are the pretty much what the whole debate is all about, so let's start.

1. The most important thing, after joining oDesk/ Elance/ Freelancer, is to carefully read the terms & conditions and policies. These are a great information resource for newbies. You will find them in their Help section.

2. Make a comprehensive profile. Provide true information about your Education, Work Experience, Skills & any Certificates you possess. Complete your profile 100 per cent.

3. Know your skills & abilities. You should be well aware of what you can do and what is beyond your working capabilities.

4. Take oDesk/ Elance/ Freelancer Tests to prove your skills. The better you score in oDesk/ Elance/ Freelancer tests, the better you've chances to succeed. (First take oDesk/ Elance Readiness Test).

5. Carefully read the job description. Usually clients clearly mention their requirements in the job description. You should read the job description twice, very carefully & then ask yourself. Can you do it? If you can offer the client, what he's looking for, then apply on that job, if not, then don't bother.

6. Cover Letter, in my opinion, is the back bone of the hiring process. After profile, cover letter is the 2nd thing, which will make a client contact you. Write your cover letter in response to the job description. Never ever use the same cover letter for every job.

7. Same cover letters implies that you didn't take the time to read the job description & usually the client will not bother to read your cover letter. It's Simple. If you didn't read the job description, why would the client read your cover letter?

8. In cover letter, explain your skills & abilities in short & to the point. Don't write long paragraphs.

9. Rate Recommendation: Some contractors may not agree with me, but in my opinion, initially a contractor should start with low rates.

Reason: Though you might be an experienced person in your life, but the fact is, you're new on oDesk/Elance/Freelancer & in order to prove your skills on there, first you need some work history on your profile. As soon as you're awarded a couple of contracts & you've successfully completed them, with a Good Feedback Score, then it's time to increase your rates anytime.

11. After applying to a job, be patient. If you've done it right & given the client a reason to contact you, then you'll definitely get a response, from the client. (Hopefully positive).

12. Even if you're rejected from a job, don't lose hope. Keep trying & you'll succeed.

So These were the 12 Tips to Get First JOB on a Freelance Network like oDesk, Elance and Freelancer.

The second part of this post (which is coming soon, InshaAllah) will relate to what happens when you get your first Job on oDesk/Elance /Freelancer. How should you deal with your client and what are the next steps for completing your job successfully.
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Author:Mehtab, M. Aswad
Publication:Technology Times
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Nov 18, 2012
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