The Way We Work
March 2, 2011 by Stephanie Gonzaga

When was the last time you updated your profile? Or even your user information? As a contractor, it’s important that you take the time to check in on your oDesk or other online contract work account and see if there is anything to add, edit or delete altogether.  Here are five sections of your account that you should update today:

  1. User Information – Your user information includes your name, address, telephone number and email address. If you’ve recently moved to a new house, gotten married, acquired a new telephone number, or opened a new email account for work-related emails, make sure to type in all that new information into your account. You can do this in oDesk by hovering over your username at the upper right side of your oDesk home page and clicking on Account and Profile Settings.
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    Overview – Your profile’s overview should not only highlight your strengths as a contractor but also project how eager you are to service your employers with the best of your skills.  Consider revising your overview by choosing words that best describes you as a professional. Then, focus on using more of the pronoun “you” by pointing out how your employer will benefit from hiring you, how he will get only quality and excellence from working with you, and how he will enjoy adding you to his team of contractors.

  3. Resume – Did you recently graduate from university? Leave your full-time job? Learn new skills? Got a brand new certification? Your skills, educational background, employer history, and acquired certifications all fall under the Resume section of your profile, so if there are any changes to any of these items, you have to update. With regards to skills, you can add new ones, increase the skill levels of those that you’ve improved on, and add a short description to each so that your employers will know just what aspect of “Content Marketing” or “SEO” that you’re really good at.
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    Portfolio – Since you started working as an oDesk contractor, you probably have completed newer and bigger projects that will add credibility to your profile. You can delete obsolete and irrelevant portfolio items while adding new ones that best reflect the kind of work that you love to do. Just remember to ask your employers for their permission to add their company website, logo or blog posts to your portfolio before doing so!

  5. oDesk Tests – Your knowledge over your skills has probably improved tremendously over the years. Retake oDesk tests with the goal of getting into the top 10% – 20% in order to add plus points to your profile. If you have tests in your profile that are many months old already, you can retake those and see if you’ve significantly improved since the first time you took them.

Bonus:  English Skills – Have your English writing and speaking skills improved? How high were you able to score in the Basic English Skills test? If you feel that your English skills are much better than before, you can raise it to a 4 or 5 depending on your self-assessment (and the assessment of others). If — on the other hand — it still hasn’t improved, keep it at the level that best describes it and start studying and practicing both writing and speaking in English. You’ll be surprised how happy employers are when they see that a contractor knows how to communicate project details very well.

What other sections of your oDesk account do you think should be updated as well?  If you’ve already updated it, has it improved your chances of attracting new employers and more work? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Stephanie Gonzaga

Freelancer, Blogger, and Creative Writer

Stephanie Gonzaga is a freelancer on oDesk and blogger of The Freelance Pinoy, a freelancing blog for the Pinoy solo professional.

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  • jxm

    Thanks Erica, its too bad though. Why are they getting rid of the rankings?

    • Erica

      Because the “highest number of hours” on which the rankings are based is not an accurate indicator of quality or demand for a contractor’s work. It’s an easily gameable system, and people have abused it in order to rank well. This behavior devalues the list, and actually makes it more difficult for an employer to confidently hire from it. So, we’re moving away from those lists, in favor of better search results. We’ve added a number of new search facets in the past year which will help employers find the top-quality, appropriately-skilled contractors they are looking for, which will net more successful relationships between contractors and employers. Successful relationships = more ongoing/repeat work + better feedback scores + happy users. #WIN :)

  • jxm

    When will Odesk be updating its Rankings for SMM/Writing? I want to see who are on the top.

    • Erica

      jxm, look for a new oConomy coming soon, where those rankings will no longer be featured.

  • Pothi

    So true. Thanks for the additional tip. ;)

  • Stephanie

    Hi Pothi,

    Hmm, makes sense to update it whenever you’re searching for work. Although I do suggest updating it whenever something important needs to be added/updated such as your address or portfolio. You may never know, a nice employer looking for updated profiles might just be around the corner! :)

  • Pothi

    Honestly, I don’t update my profile often, especially when I am not looking for work.

    BUT, while I am actively searching for work, I update my profile almost every day. I change all the things that you mentioned, especially the profile overview section!