Yes, I know, these sites do have problems, and I've complained about these sites in the past, but the fact remains that you can win jobs, get feedback, get known, and make money, reasonably quickly.
Over the past few weeks, I've been managing several projects, and needed writers fast, so I posted some jobs on three outsourcing sites.
When I used these sites as a buyer, rather than as a provider, I learned a lot. I received lots of responses, which was great, but the responses were frustrating too.
Here's what I looked for as a buyer. I hope it helps you to get writing (or coding or designing) jobs.
1. The first thing I looked for was feedback from others - any feedback was a big plus. Writers who had feedback relevant to my writing jobs went on the shortlist right away.
When I considered new writers without feedback, I looked for signs that the writer had a professional attitude - did he or she have a site, or a blog? Did the writer address all the concerns I mentioned in the project description?
2. Next, I checked a writer's Profile. I was looking for signs that this provider was both competent and reliable. I was also looking for signs that writing mattered to the writer: that he or she took pride in his work.
Tip: the more material on your profile, like writing samples, or failing that, at least a 200 to 500 word bio telling people about yourself - the better. Anyone who's hiring writers wants to know that you can write, so look on your bio as a writing sample. :-)
3. Examples of previous work. Ideally, I looked for writing samples which were relevant to the projects I posted, but any samples at all were a big plus.
4. A fast response when I sent the writer a message. I expected a response within 24 or 48 hours, maybe 72 hours over a weekend.
Many writers didn't respond at all. Several who did, responded days later, asking questions about the writing job which were posted in the job description. A writer saying "I forgot what the job was about, can you remind me?" didn't exactly fill me with confidence, especially since I'd anticipated that writers would be applying for dozens of jobs, and had included the job description in my message to them.
So here's how to go right on buyers' shortlists at the outsourcing sites: SHOW WHAT YOU CAN DO.
You can show by:
* Having feedback - pester your buyers to give you feedback as soon as you complete a job;
* Posting material to your Profile which tells a buyer about you and your experience. Having no experience is fine - everyone has to start somewhere. Tell the buyers about related job experience;
* Examples of your writing;
* Responding as fast as possible: be enthusiastic about the job.
Hope this helps you to make money on the outsourcing sites. :-)