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The first step is to create an account that will allow you to apply for work. Click here to sign up or simply navigate to the oDesk home page and click “create an account.” Fill in all of the necessary information: first name, last name, email address, country, username, and password. Your username should be professional; after all, you will be communicating with prospective clients on this site. Enter the correct letters into the CAPTCHA and click “Get Started.”
You may find it helpful to pull up your LinkedIn profile or have a copy of your resume on hand as you complete your profile. Be sure to fill your profile out to 100% completion—this is your chance to show future clients your skills, so make the most of it.
Create a title for yourself. Your title is placed right below your name, making it one of the first details a potential employer will see when viewing your profile. Be sure to choose a brief phrase that will give employers an overview of your top skills. Next, add a portrait. Ideally, a professional photo such as one you might use for your LinkedIn profile.
If you’re not sure what your rate should be, check out freelancers with similar skill sets and experience to get an idea. Your rate should reflect your experience and capabilities. Your hourly pay rate will determine your hourly bill rate, which is the rate that oDesk charges the client. oDesk receives 10% on top of your pay rate—so if your hourly pay rate is $15, oDesk will charge the client $16.67 per hour. Working through oDesk gives both you and your employer some protection and security as a freelancer in exchange for this small fee.
Rate your English experience level and share a brief overview of your skills and interests. Similar to a resume summary or LinkedIn description, the overview gives you the opportunity to outline your expertise in your own words and show prospective clients why you are the best choice for their position.
You also have the option to add a short video introducing yourself. Check out the link to example videos to give you ideas to get started. If you’d like, you can link your social media accounts to your profile. This can be particularly helpful if you have examples of your work on these sites.
To reflect your expertise, you can choose up to 10 categories that match your professional experience. With a wide variety ranging from web design to voice talent to bookkeeping, you are sure to find categories that match your professional interests.
Add your skills and take relevant tests to show your expertise in these areas. Be sure to take the oDesk Readiness Test as well. List your current and previous work experience and education, as well as any certifications you’ve received and other relevant experiences.
Portfolio Projects is an area that allows you to show examples of your best work to prospective employers to give them an idea of your previous work. This is your chance to stand out, so be sure to include samples that will impress prospective employers.
Set up your payment option and then go back and proofread your profile to be sure everything is grammatically correct and spelled properly before moving on to the next step: applying for your first oDesk assignment. Good luck!