How to Get Hired as a Writer on oDesk Part 2 – More Mistakes to Avoid

I planned to write about things to do that may increase your chances of getting hired, but after going through another round of writer’s applications over on oDesk, I want to cover some more mistakes I’m seeing made and what you can do to fix them. This in turn will make you more likely to get hired than the people who ARE making these mistakes. (Here is part one if you missed it.)

Let’s just jump right in.

  • Using an obvious template cover letter. I know most writers are applying for as many jobs as they can, but when your cover letter is very obviously a copy/paste job, it really hurts your chances. If you do decide to use a template cover letter, add to it for each job. Include what makes you great for the job at hand. Also, copy and paste it from Notepad rather than Word. Copy and pasting from Word can leave weird and obvious line breaks. Example:

  • Not filling out their profile. oDesk has a fairly extensive profile for you to fill out. Even if you don’t fill it all out at once, take time to fill it out. do look more at cover letters and samples than the profile itself, but an empty profile will keep me from hiring someone. It either makes me suspicious or makes me question how hard this person is going to work on the job at hand if they didn’t take the time to fill out a profile.
  • No picture in the profile. It doesn’t matter what you look like, putting a face to the words is an important factor in trust. Anonymity hurts here.
  • Cover letter is way too short. Include some information about what makes you good for the job. Link to some samples. Don’t just tell them you can do the job, tell them why you should be picked.
  • Cover letter is way too long. On the other side of the coin, I don’t have 20 minutes to read a cover letter when I’m hiring. It is like sales copy… it should be just long enough to tell the potential client what you want them to know and no longer or shorter.
  • Having no oDesk experience and acting like they won’t notice. While a lot of people who hire on oDesk don’t like hiring people with no experience, not all have an issue with it. It’s all about how you approach it. Do you have a blog or experience writing off of oDesk? Tell them that and link them to relevant samples. If you’ve never written online before, take the time to write up one or two sample articles. It will boost your chances SO much! You can even post them up on a site like Squidoo or Zujava rather than attaching samples as documents. (I hate having to download documents to look at samples.)
  • Taking forever to reply to messages. I understand you don’t live online, but when a writer applies for a job at 2PM, I message them at 3PM, and I don’t hear back until 5PM, there is a huge chance I’ve moved on to someone who replied faster.

That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll have more after I go through this next set of applications.

In the comments below:

  • If you hire on oDesk:What are your biggest issues when it comes to hiring writers? What tips can you give to readers who are struggling to get hired on oDesk?
  • If you write on oDesk: Ever wanted to ask someone who hires on oDesk for tips to improve your chances of getting hired? Here’s your chance! Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to reply and give you my opinion on the subject.

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  1. Hi Amanda!
    I haven’t hired on Odesk for a while, but I can tell you what is an instant “no way” for me – awkward, overly formal wording and grammar mistakes. If someone can’t take the time to really go over their description of their skills and make it read well, there’s not a chance I’d go near them.

    I also expect them to both give a sample of their work and do one sample for me, which I’m happy to pay for. If the quality isn’t good and it isn’t formatted professionally then that’s a ‘no’ also.

    I’m thinking of venturing into Odesk again and hope to get lucky!

    – Sharyn
    Sharyn Sheldon recently posted..Your Unique Selling Proposition – PLR eCourse and InfographicsMy Profile

  2. It’s funny reading this post, I’m actually looking for someone to help me with my writing and these are the things that I look for. Especially the cut/past cover letter. The way i see it if they’re not going to take their time to read my job listing they probably not gonna read my instruction.

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