Why Aren’t Clients Hiring Me to Write on oDesk? – A Client’s Perspective Part 1

If you find yourself asking this question, I want to help you. Not only did I used to be a writer on sites like oDesk, but I do a lot of outsourcing there now. Generally I find people to do graphics programming, but I have been heading there more and more for writing.

I’m going to share some of the biggest mistakes people make when sending in applications for my job postings.

Just as an example, I posted up a listing a few days ago and got about 30 applicants the first day. I denied all but five because of issues I had with their cover letters. Out of those five, I ended up hiring two that seem promising.

Here are a few of the mistakes I saw.

  • Applicant obviously did not read my cover letter. Myself, along with many other people who hire on oDesk, like to include instructions like including a certain word because no matter what you are hiring for, the ability to follow instructions is important. Take a minute to read over the job description and make sure you are actually a good fit.
  • Many people didn’t provide ANY writing samples when I asked for two types. If they had said they were new and didn’t have samples, I would have been much more likely to send them a message and discuss further, but this once again points to the inability to follow specific instructions.
  • Typos in their cover letter. This one is VERY important for writers. Take the time to proofread what you are sending! This is your first impression. Failing to capitalize the first letter of a sentence, use punctuation, or spell words properly in your cover letter doesn’t give clients much hope for your writing work. About 60% of the applications I deny are for points one and two, while about 35% is because of types in cover letters.
  • Bidding too low. I’m automatically suspicious of someone bidding way too low. When someone offers to write me high quality articles for $2 each, I assume something is up. I understand you want to be competitive, but extremely low bidding is a red flag.

I hope this helps someone out there. I’ve been going through piles of applications trying to pick out the gems, and avoiding these mistakes is essential if you want to do well on outsourcing sites. Any one of these mistakes will earn an immediate “decline” from me 95% of the time.

Tomorrow I’ll go over some things that may help to increase your chances of getting a job.

In the comments below:

Whether you are an outsourcer or a freelancer, what tips can you give to writers hoping to land a gig on sites like oDesk and Elance?

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  1. This is an excellent post, Amanda. I see these same things over and over again, too, and they are sometimes such simple errors!
    Ruth P recently posted..Kindle Book Sales Update After 2 MonthsMy Profile

  2. Hi Amanda,
    I read your comments almost daily on Tiffany Dow’s blog and I love the things you offer. I find almost as much help from the comment section as I do her blog and believe me, that’s saying something.

    This post is awesome. I am new (about a year online and trying to find a place to land) and just flopping around like a fish out of water. Your blog is so together and interesting. I am always impressed by your comments. This particular post is so helpful. My blog is all over the place and it’s obvious that I still don’t know what I’m doing. All I have going for me is desire. And time. I have the time now to write.

    Why haven’t I already subscribed to you? Good question and one I can’t answer unless I’m learning from the comment section of Tiff’s blog. This is me, going now to subscribe to your list. 🙂
    Ruth C recently posted..New Great-Granddaughter is HereMy Profile

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