Friday, February 01, 2013

5 Tips for Applying for a job as a Virtual Assistant

I posted a position on oDesk for a Virtual Assistant a few days ago.  After reviewing 30-something applicants, I have the following suggestions:

  1. First, I asked people to answer a specific question in their application.  Only a handful of people answered the question.  If you don't care enough to do a careful job on your application, why should I believe you'll do a careful job once you're hired?
  2. When I hire on oDesk I want you to have experience and feedback on oDesk.  In fact, I usually sort by the total number of hours completed on oDesk.  If you have no hours / feedback, you absolutely have to nail the application letter.
  3. Don't charge $1 an hour.  There are very few places in the world where you can get reliable access to the internet and still live on $1 an hour.  If you charge that little, I assume that (a) you aren't in much demand and (b) if I hire you you will work 10 minutes of each hour, and bill me for an hour.
  4. I pay a lot of attention to the little icon that has your picture in it.  I probably shouldn't, but I do.  Try to project a professional appearance in that icon.  Look trustworthy.  Show me your eyes.
  5. If my job posting is for part-time work, don't tell me you're looking for full-time work, or that you have 40 hours per week available.  I want to hire someone that is in high demand.  And if you're actively looking for full-time work, what's going to happen when you find it?  You're going to drop me like a hot potato, and I'm going to have to go through this entire annoying process again.
Bonus suggestion:

Once you're hired and you get your first task -- absolutely rock that task.  Do a fantastic job, do it quickly, and communicate regularly.

There's nothing more annoying than hiring someone, assigning them a task, and then not hearing from them quickly, having them drag their feet on the task, and then bill you for waaaay more time than you think it should have taken.