The Way We Work
June 7, 2011 by Stephanie Gonzaga

One piece of advice I consider invaluable for contractors is to always be prepared. You may think that you’ve got everything you need to win any job – the experience, the skills, and the portfolio to back it up – but the truth is that you may be missing something essential that’s keeping you from that goal. And because of that, your potential employer may pass on you in order to give the job to the next contractor in line.

To give yourself a head start, here’s a 7-item contractor checklist to guide you and ensure that you have everything you need when applying for remote work:

  1. A complete oDesk profile – a contractor should have completed his oDesk profile before applying for jobs. Your profile is the first thing employers will see when considering applicants for his project, so make sure it’s presentable, updated, and more or less responds to their needs. Ideally, you’re oDesk Ready, have an authentic portrait photo of yourself, and reviewed every section for spelling and grammar errors.
  2. An updated portfolio – employers will want to see the quality and scope of your work, so it’s important that you fill up the portfolio with updated screenshots, detailed summaries, and links to actual work that you’ve done in the past. If you want to increase your chances of winning the project, you should have samples of work that fit the employer’s requirements.
  3. A personalized cover letter – the cover letter is your key to winning the employer’s attention. It is in the cover letter where you will inform him three main things: 1) Who you are and what you do, 2) the problems he’s facing and why you are the person who can help him solve them, and 3) an invitation to contact you for an interview to discuss further. Personalize it the best that you can while maintaining a professional voice. Answer any questions the employer may ask or follow his initial instructions (except when he’s asking for spec work or cheap rates).
  4. Communication tools – an email address and an instant messenger like Skype are important when finding work in and out of oDesk. You need an email address to receive emails from employers (it’s also a requirement for membership on the site), and you need VoIP tools like Skype to communicate with clients in real time. Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Windows Live Mail are some very good places to grab your own work email address, while Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Chat, and Windows Live Messenger are popular choices for VoIP communication.
  1. Payment methods – you can choose from a variety of methods to withdraw and receive your earnings. PayPal, Local Funds Transfer, Moneybookers, and wire transfer are internationally-accessible payment methods you can set up for your account. Each has its own unique fees and requirements depending on where you are located, so make sure to read the help pages for each option before signing up.
  2. Note-taking tools – as contractors, it is our responsibility to note down an employer’s project requirements and instructions before doing anything. Doing so will enable us to ask questions or answer his own questions without making too many mistakes. You can jot down notes using your favorite pen and paper, or use built-in apps like Notepad, Microsoft OneNote (both Windows), TextEdit (Mac), and third party apps like Evernote, Springpad, and Google Docs. Just remember to take those notes down during your meetings and refer to them in your communication with the employer about the work.
  3. Yourself – none of these would matter if you do not prepare yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally for online work. Employers are constantly looking for people who are interested in working with them, who are dedicated, and who have the right mindset to help them reach their goals. If you want to set yourself apart from the competition, you’ll have to show the employer that you are the best person for the job and that you have the interest, knowledge, confidence, and dedication to create a successful project for them.

What other items do you think should go into this list? Do you think you can do without one or two of these and still find good work online?

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.

  • adalyn

    hi steph what should i do to make a good profile?

  • lizzydemocracy

    hello Steph:) I am new in oDesk. How can i improve my profile?

  • angel mae

    helow im angel mae please help how to build up my profile

    thank you

  • http://HiHello...Needhelpcreatingmyprofile...Thankyou... ovefe

    Hi Hello…Need help creating my profile…Thank you…

  • azizul haque

    hello? i need help in creating my profile. i am new hear in Odesk.

    • Torikul Islam Mithu

      Hello, Friend
      My Name is Torikul Islam Mithu, Jessore, Benapole, Bangladesh . I am new contractor on this site. I am not understand . How to my profile 100 % buildup ? My profile is 50% buildup now. But I do not understand how to 100% profile. Do you help me my profile buildup ?
      Please Now I am working start.

      Thnanks to you
      Torikul Islam Mithu
      Jessore, Bangladesh

  • Moosa Tamijuddin

    Hi, I am writing this from Pondicherry, India.
    I am 60 years old but a new born baby in the family of oDesk. I have around 35 years of work experience in Accounts and Administration, but your approach of making a successful, catchy profile is very very good.
    Keep up the good work and I am sure it gives you a lot of pride and peace when you find thousands of people around the world, in quest of internet jobs, follow you to help themselves successful.
    Good Day.

    • rohit

      hello Stephanie,
      Myself Rohit from Punjab,India and I am new on this site.I m not able to understand how to work.
      Could you please help me with some of your knowledge and experience to make me understand how should I work and from where I start.
      .I will be grateful to you
      Your thankfully

  • Lawrence

    Helpful article, thank you very much. Have a great day!

  • Farhan Rahim

    Thanks for this page. It will help me a lot being more professional in online works.

  • rocky

    hi stephanie! nice to meet you .I am a new comer at odesk.Can you tell me how can I become a successful freelancer.

    • Chaudhry_qasim20

      Yes I pray for you that u go and rise your name just work hard to achieve ur goal .. Qasim ch

  • kasun

    excellent work Stephi, it is really helpful.

    • Qamar Abbas Jaffery

      Stephanie Gonzaga and great work for new comers hear at oDesk. Thanks :)

    • queenpnky

      Great advice . I will be going to view your soon. Thanks a lot.

  • Ryhan alom


  • zayad uddin ahmmad

    i want to odesk work

  • Rajibul Hasan

    Really a nice article for me.
    Its inspired me so much

    • humaira-hussain

      hi r u there plz tell me

  • Carolina Young

    Hi, Stephanie,
    I´m a teacher from Uruguay. I have taught English in bilingual schools from 1991 to 2206. For personal reasons I stopped teaching and am currently working as a secretary in a Law Firm in Montevideo. I really need to improve my income, and thought this would be a good way of doing it without having to quit my job (from 9:30 to 18:30, Monday to Friday).
    The problem is that I don´t have any provable experience on this field. I have worked as a translator as an amateur.
    I would be very grateful if you could give me any piece of advice to start with this.ç

    Thank you very much for your time.


    • Julieta

      Hola Carolina. Mi nombre es Julieta y soy nueva en ODesk. Soy argentina pero estoy viviendo en Miami. Estoy buscando alternativas para trabajar desde casa y quería saber como había sido tu experiencia con ODesk, si lo recomiendas y si tienes algún consejo para mi. Desde ya muchas gracias por tu tiempo.

  • Md. Shah Alam Sarker

    As I am a new to oDesk , I have Chosen a job but already has been closed. I do not understand what to do.

  • Arafat reza

    though i have no working experience but i believe i could help you by my responsibility,efficiency,hard working capacity,honesty and positive mentality.i will very happy to know that i am an employee of oDesk because i really respect object of oDesk.And this respect will make me to give 100% of my ability for company face value.

    • Md. Shah Alam Sarker

      Dear Reza
      This is sarker, I am an oDesk account holder, looking for easy work like data entry, could you help me doing this.

  • Susana Malinao

    I am interested to earn in homebase. I hope someone will guide me on this. I am very willing when I get familiar what to do.

  • http://MSN Hasanthi Badra Ekanayake

    As a quick learner and hard worker I want to explore the field of home online jobs. My goal is to collaborate with employer from different countries offering my professional skills and my dedication to ensure client satisfaction. I invite you to trust on me your needs of Data Entry seo,sem,smm,personal Assistant and Other – Administrative Support jobs.

  • Jason Jacob

    Those 7 points are like golden rules to be followed

  • Godwin

    sure this is great.

  • Impact Windows

    Great article Steph how can I get help on web content?

  • Pingback: 7-Item Contractor Checklist For Finding Remote Work | HandyPostings()

  • Casus Kamera

    very good checklist thank you i will follow you

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  • Agha Sohail

    Thanks for valuable information.

  • IWC Windows

    I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information.

  • Stephanie

    @Jessica: Thanks! That’s actually a good suggestion. From what I’ve heard, several oDesk contractors would like a badge or a marker that lets employers know that they’re “verified”. It may help increase one’s chances of finding more work on the site.

    @muchina: Thanks! I’m honored. :)

    • Muhammad Farhad

      Hi Stephanie….! Its your good guide line…..! it make any body a success.. I like that…


    • Ken Vergel

      stephanie hello kababayan can you help me to have some job because i am unemployed but i am a college graduate please. ^_^

  • Pingback: 7-Item Contractor Checklist For Finding Remote Work | Freelance Flux()

  • muchina

    hey steph ua my inspiration

    • Sreejit Menon

      It was a great experience with oDesk . Almost 25 days over with odesk First I thought that I will never get a online work when the clients was withdrawing my application .But I didn’t give up I applied again and again finally one client trusted me and given me the opencart data entry job that I completed within one day So client loved my work he payed me a bonus and given me another work that was web researching I also completed that within 3 days Now I got an another job . I love odesk . oDesk is a platform where you can show your skills and earn lots of money . This is just a message to newcomers that never give up there would be one client or more than that who will appoint you according to your skills . By hearing Stephanie ‘s story I hope I would be like her one day .

      • amelou delacruz

        hi i am amelou delacruz. I am a new comer at odesk.Can you tell me how can I become a successful freelancer.thank you.

        • Sreejit Menon

          Being a freelancer means a lot of freedom to plan your own days at work, but it also does require discipline and planning. Being your own boss, you need to be good at making the right rules to succeed. Most of these tips sound just like common sense, but actually remembering everything when it’s needed isn’t necessarily as easy as you would think.. But don’t give up try as much as you can get the clients . Hope this would be helpful for you

  • Jessica

    Good checklist. Having verified credentials also won’t hurt :)

    • nelson ongiti

      hello? i need help in creating my profile. i am new hear in Odesk.
      i am fresh from college waiting to graduate in december 2013. i pursued information technology

      • aliza

        hello? i need help in creating my profile. i am new hear in Odesk.

        • http://ODesk rashad75

          hy , I am Rashad Thabt . and I need help to creating my profile

          • Md.Selimuzzaman

            Ist I want to create strong profile but how & also establish a good career by using ODesk.