The oDesk profile is divided into several sections, each one with its own unique purpose. One of these is the Résumé, and it is one of the sections that many contractors tend to overlook or ignore.
The resume section is actually a valuable part of your profile because it contains information that supports your freelancing title. These include your skills, your employment and educational histories, certifications, and other experiences.
It may be a little daunting to fill this entire section up at first, but with a bit of effort and creativity on your part, you can spruce up your resume in such a way that employers would want to hire you on the spot. Here's what you can do:
1. Update your resume in WYSIWYG.
The first step is to update all of your resume, from the outdated information to the obsolete HTML formatting. If you used HTML tags to edit your resume the first time, chances are oDesk has sent you this message already:
Since custom formatting is already removed from the system, you won't be able to use HTML/CSS tags when writing your resume (or anywhere else in your profile). Delete as many tags as you can find and rewrite the content using WYSIWG. You can emphasize certain parts of your resume using 1-2 asterisks, spacing, and double quotation marks.
2. Add your best skills.
Skills that are at least 4.0 - 5.0 on your self-assessment are what you should be prioritizing in your resume.
This way, you're telling the employer that you're very proficient with these skills and that you can do an excellent job with projects that require them. It's also a great way to specialize, allowing you to separate yourself from the large pool of freelancers in the oDesk marketplace.
Once you're done adding them all, here's the next step:
3. Write as if you’re talking to the employer.
Try to write descriptions as if you are pitching yourself and your skills to your employer. This lets him know that 1) You know what you’re doing, and 2) He can contact you if he needs a contractor with this particular skill.
Here’s an example of what I did when writing a description for “web copywriting”:
"Your website needs a content revamp to best reflect your company's goals. You can hire me to create new content for your website or proofread/edit your existing pages to make them more presentable and relevant to your audience.”
4. Take certifications (or more if you only have a few).
Earning certifications and scoring high in them will add a lot of credibility to your resume and your profile as a whole. You’ll find many free tests to earn certifications from, but if you’re willing to pay for tests that are related to your field, that would be even better.
In addition to the free tests provided by oDesk, Brainbench offers both free and paid tests to members who'd like to acquire certifications online. You can sign up and take some of the free or paid tests that are related to your field of work.
5. Highlight awards and recognition.
As we go down further to the employment and educational sub-sections, this is your chance to put the spotlight on you.
Highlight as many related awards and recognitions in both your educational and employment histories. If you’re a Dean’s Lister, a Masters degree holder, got promoted three times by your recent employer, add them all in. Potentials employers will be very impressed with how much you’ve achieved in the past, and well enough hire you quickly for their open position.
The Résumé plays a vital role in any oDesk profile, mainly because it holds the most information about you and your profession. With that being said, give it the same love and attention as you would for the rest of your profile.
What other creative and effective ways can you improve and spice up your oDesk resume? Employers, do you usually take a look at your contractor’s resume before making the hire?