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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How to Get an oDesk Job

Ever since I've embraced a life online and have found relative success (if I do say so myself) as an oDesk provider, not too few people have asked me, "How do I get a job in oDesk?" While it's not that easy landing one as you'll be competing with thousands of other providers, it's not that hard either. You just need to find the right opportunity, and then go after it. Here are a few tips that can help you get started.
  • Be a hundred and one percent determined to get a job.
That means being online or on standby as much of the time as you can, looking out for new jobs that might suit you, responding to interviews as soon as you can, and in general, letting employers know that you can make time for them and for the job on hand. After all, landing an online job is not something one can do half-heartedly. If you're not really into it, it would be more difficult to get that first break.
  • Use your online time wisely.
Don't have a job yet? Then use whatever time you have to polish your skills or learn new ones. When John and I first started as freelance writers, we didn't even know what the term "keyword" meant, or even what SEO stood for. And while we were still fortunate to land decent writing jobs and just learned along the way, the road to online (again, relative) success would have been much smoother had we known what we do now.
  • Showcase your skills.
The biggest setback that you will have to deal with when looking for that elusive first oDesk job is that you have nothing to show for yet -- no hours worked, no high-rated feedback, no glowing recommendation. But if you've got something that can give you an edge over the others, there's no better time than now to show people what stuff you're made of. Take as many oDesk skills tests as you can, write a blog, or impress them with your resumé. Whatever you come up with, the important thing is to give potential employers enough reason to sit up and take notice of you.
  • Don't be afraid of rejection.
The logic here is simple. The more jobs you apply for, the greater the chances of your getting an interview. Of course, you could just as easily be turned down by all of them, but really, you've got nothing to lose at this point.
  • Always be ready for that first job.
Lastly, here's one thing that you should always ask yourself: Are you really ready for your first oDesk job? Nothing would perhaps turn a client off more than anything else than a provider that's been hired but backs off at the last minute, or worse, is unable to complete the job. If you've indicated a certain number of hours in your application, or declared any skills or knowledge about certain applications, make sure you can follow through with that.

Even now, I can still remember the rush that came over me when I got my first Assignment ###### Has Begun notification from oDesk. If you're bent on making a career of online freelancing, then stay tuned for my next few posts where I will share more details on the above tips on how to get an oDesk job.


RACNicole said...

Hi, this is Nicole from Rent a Coder.

Your advice is very sound, and I'd like to point out a few issues with using oDesk since those issues could influence your satisfaction and earnings.

First, oDesk requires workers to move their mouse/keyboard every minute or two, or they don't guarantee to pay you. This can be very difficult (or impossible), when you're doing things like planning, design or other mental work. To protect yourself, you have to try to remember to constantly jiggle your mouse (which can be like "trying to talk and chew bubble gum at the same time"), or choose to forego the guarantee. Rent a Coder pays you for this sort of work without requiring you to do this. In addition, Odesk only guarantees to pay you for the first eight hours in a day. If you're working hard on a project for a buyer and have to go over that time, you do it at your own risk. At Rentacoder, every hour is guaranteed.

Second, workers on Odesk cannot place more than 2 bids a month unless they take certain Odesk tests, or receive feedback on a certain number of projects. Experience tells us that it takes many bids to land just one job. With limited opportunities, you may not be successful with a service that limits your ability to bid.

Third, on pay-for-deliverables projects, Rent a coder requires the buyer to escrow 100% of the funds upfront and protects your money with arbitration (and will force a malicious buyer to pay you). We will even go so far as to test the deliverables if necessary to prove you met the contract. But Odesk doesn't do any of these things. So you can do all the work and end up not getting paid a cent.

There are other differences as well. I invite you and your visitors to compare the 7 major services through this link to learn even more: http://www.rentacoder.com/RentACoder/DotNet/misc/CompetitorInformation/WhyRentACoder_ForSellers.aspx

If you have any questions, please let me know. You can also call in to talk to a facilitator 7 days a week, or email us (see http://www.rentacoder.com/RentACoder/misc/Feedback.asp).


johnV said...

Hi Nicole,

Thanks for dropping by our blog. I've been writing for oDesk buyers since mid-2008, and I can assure you the ff:
1. The mouse-moving thingy has never been a issue for me at all. Although I have to admit that some buyers may be very strict, I still have to meet one though. I think it's very important that providers and buyers agree beforehand what the expectations are.

2. I have tried working more than 8 hours per day countless times in the past (even did that last week) and have been paid every time.

3. Although I am not sure about the limit of 2 bids, I assume you verified that info already. Now, while you certainly have a point there, I suggest providers should just go ahead and take the said tests since passing them is not really that difficult. Of course, you'd have to take exams of subjects that you are really familiar with. I myself have accumulated 10 tests (and I know many who have taken much more), and have found the difficulty levels quite reasonable and 'passable'.

Once again, thank you for pointing out those observations, Nicole. Potential providers sure could use the information provided by both sides of the coin. More power to you and rentacoder!

RACNicole said...

Thank you very much JohnV. It has been a while since I last posted, but I am grateful that you gave me a platform in which to speak.