11

My source of income has been coming from freelance sites, such as oDesk. Things have been slow for me since the start of this year. As I mentioned in my other post about slowing down, I got a response that things pick up in March because people have spend a lot on Christmas. They have picked up for me!

So, now I am having almost 800 hours, and a 4.90 feedback score. I think my profile is good. I update it as I get my projects completed. Typically, I get job invites, but it has been cold turkey for me, and I am worried. I do apply, but it's like the client never open my letter. I never get response. I get that I am not a native English person, but this is how I write my cover letter:

Hello,

I have 3+ years of experience in wordpress. I have created more than 50 websites in wordpress. I am listed in top 10 wordpress developers. I have full control of HTML, CSS, Plugin creation, jQuery, Javascript thus making a child theme or converting PSD to WP. I have a great feedback. Following are my few sites

www.abc.com.au
www.abc.com
www.abc.net

I have many other sites, that i have worked on. I am also looking for long term working opportunity. I hope you like my work and would consider hiring me.

I am always available on email and skype.

Regards,

This is my general format, with good feedback. I believe I do work great, but I don't understand why then I don't get the client inviting me to job or accepting my letter. I understand there are many potential candidates besides me. However, I totally feel I am failing miserably.

Apart from that, I see those tests in oDesk or any other site to be obsolete, questions which aren't asked. Why do they have such questions?

I don't raise my per hour rate because I don't want miss out on clients, but I am not getting clients anyway.

How can I ensure that I'm doing what I need to do in my cover letter to get more clients?

  • 1
    Hey Nofel, I edited this slightly. We're not an advice forum, so try to focus on a specific question. I focused on your cover letter since that's perhaps the biggest part of your question. Hope this helps and good luck! – jmort253 Mar 29 '14 at 17:58
  • I am also interested to know what is better for global services like odesk, freelancer, elance, etc. Whether it's "intro + project questions" or "project questions + your experience". – Peter MV Apr 1 '14 at 8:29
  • To be honest, when I see letters like the one you just posted (as a previous hirer to freelancers) Straight into the bin. Generic cover letters are like spam. Find a client you like, research them a bit, and start of with what you like about them, then what you can do for them and lastly your skills and 1 or 2 of your favourite jobs, that relate to the client. Show some respect and get some back. Clients might research you on Google. Make sure your website is up to date, use a proper emial not gmail or yahoo, link to LinkedIn, you know. Let them follow the breadcrumbs. – WillyWonka Apr 10 '14 at 22:09
  • you did abc.com? it's abc.go.com now ... but I digress – Tapper7 Jan 14 '17 at 9:03
11

[Bit of background, I've done contract work exclusively through oDesk since 2006.]

As far as I see it, the single most important thing you can do in your cover letter is tell them how you'll solve their problem.

That's really what (in most cases) they're looking for. They only care about your past work, your experience, or how well you're rated in terms of how it relates to their specific project.

So don't make them do the work of relating those things - show them how your experience makes you a good match for their project by laying out what you'll do for them.

If they're looking for a WordPress developer to write a custom plugin, take their description and give them an idea of how it would work, Maybe it would be best implemented as a short code, maybe best as something else. Give them a comparison and recommendation.

By just listing your experience and portfolio of sites, you're leaving it up to them to determine if you're a good fit for their specific project. Don't do that, show them they can be certain you're able to complete their project.

When you do this, you'll become how they measure other contractors. Using the above example, did anyone else explain that there are roughly two ways to implement what they want in WordPress?

Now you're the leader by default.

Another way to look at this: pretend they're already selected you as the contractor. What are the first set of questions you'd ask them as a client? Ask those questions in the cover letter.

  • Can you edit the answer with some example? That would be helpful? – Nofel Apr 8 '14 at 13:13
  • I saw your profile on oDesk, and its marvelous. Sometimes i think, the rate is the issue. But i see at your profile, people are loving you. great job! Given my results in test, i don't know what is wrong. It really put me off. Maybe the headline? Maybe search keywords should be changed besides the Cover letter? – Nofel Apr 8 '14 at 13:38
  • @Nofel You probably don't want to compete on rate, don't be afraid to charge for quality work (but make sure your work is worth it). See this answer. The best advice I can give is in the answer, tell the client how you'll solve their problem, not your qualifications / history / etc. And search keywords are a topic of their own on oDesk. It matter less what you put in your bio, and more what words are on the jobs you win and are actively working on. – Tim Lytle Apr 14 '14 at 21:31
  • When you say, Tell them how will you solve the problem? They aren't looking for problem solving, but having a website made for them using tools such as wordpress, magento, php etc. How do you get through them? Perhaps a example of a cover letter would be great? – Nofel Apr 29 '14 at 8:28
  • Can you provide a example of a winning cover letter? – Nofel Jul 12 '14 at 10:20
10

I see you have a ton of experience which is good, but it's not enough to convince a client. I have been working for almost 8 months now and I'm starting to get more work than I can handle. Here are some tips to get more jobs:

  1. Don't start with " I have a lot of experience...". It's good that you have, but keep that to the end. You must first catch the client's attention.
  2. Try demonstrating that you understood the project. Ask the client questions about the project, things you didn't understand, things you think will help him get a better product. Tell him how you plan on making certain features for the project and show him projects you have worked on that involve something similar.
  3. You should have the client's attention with that presentation so now it's time to tell him how great you are. Show him your best work, preferably relevant with this project. Tell him about your experience, the ratings you have received so far on the site(congrats on that).
  4. As a last advice, try to not bid a value the first time, if that feature is available on that site. Just bid and wait for a response. A lot of clients filter freelancers by their bid value, so you might loose a lot. But if you first make him become interested in you then you can ask for more than all the other freelancers and he will still pay you.

I had to hire myself a freelancer and I experienced what clients feel. The things I learned from that are:

  1. Be personal. People usually avoid companies.
  2. Make a short introduction and don't bore me with details. I will ask them if I am interested.
  3. Show interest in my project by asking a question, giving some advice etc. If you just say "I can do this" I'm not convinced.
  4. Try to speak in English and don't make a lot of mistakes or write using SMS language like tnx, k etc.

That's about it from what I learned so far. I'm not as experienced as you but I'm sure some of this advice will help you out.

UPDATE

Here's an example:

Hi, how are you? Great I hope! I'm interested in helping you out with your project. I think it's interesting and I'll enjoy working on it.

But first I'd like to ask some questions to get a better understanding of what you need.

First question.

Second question. Etc

These should be legit questions. There's always something to ask.

If it's a website, app etc then you test it a bit, if you can, and write some feedback. For example: I tested your current Android app and I feel it's good but it needs some modifications to be great. I think X feature is not working properly or it's hard to understand how to use even for an experienced user like me. Don't make this generic, ask something your really think and after you really test it.

Google the client's name, see if you find info about him. If yes, check out what he worked on and tell him this. For example, I had a case where the client had a personal blog and website for the app, so I gave him some feedback about the website, about what he wrote in the blog. This just shows you are interested.

Now you say what you can do. I have been freelancing for x years and programming for y years etc. You do your thing here but try to send relevant sample, if you have and explain a bit what it has in common with what he needs.

  • You sort of covered this in the 2nd point #4, but it's worth mentioning that "I" when used to represent the pronoun for self must be capitalized. When these details are ignored, some clients might get the impression you're out of touch with that client's target market and culture... Hope this helps. Nice answer! – jmort253 Mar 29 '14 at 17:50
  • Ah, just realized that Nofel actually used capital "I" in the cover letter, but it still might be worth mentioning for future readers... – jmort253 Mar 29 '14 at 17:59
  • @Mihai Boisteanu A example, would be helpful. – Nofel Apr 11 '14 at 5:48
  • @Mihai Boisteanu Please can you provide me with a example? – Nofel Apr 29 '14 at 8:23
  • I added an update to the answer. I hope this helps. – Mihai Boisteanu Apr 29 '14 at 8:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.