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