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Finding and getting a suitable project based IT job
It would be really great to work at the time you want, work at the place you want and choose your own projects to work on! Guess what - project based IT jobs can enable that. The only thing is, that if you are just a beginner and your name is unknown, you probably do not have any projects ready for showing and no feedback received from freelancers portals - the beginning might be quite hard and take a lot of time.
Preparation for the job hunting
There are many things that you can do for getting better chances and finding more suitable and pleasant project based jobs.
- Know your skills - you must know, what you are good at. You should apply to the projects, they really are capable of doing! Otherwise, you will get negative feedback and your future chances would be much lower. So - think about the things that you can do best. If you do not have a special skill and you just know a little about everything, choose your favorite!
- Develop your favorite skills until you are capable of finishing some projects. For example, one of the most popular portal - Freelancer - you can use the site to browse the projects under your favorite category and find the most wanted types of projects. After that, practice, until you fill the requirements and you are one step closer to working at home!
- Make some sample projects. Some sample project you already have, if you took advice from the previous point or if you still have some school projects etc. They do not have to be really difficult sample projects that took very much time and - just some practical projects, a little bit different from each other, to show your experience and knowledge. Make an online portfolio of these! Definitely worth it!
- In some cases, you might need a resume or a cover letter and you might be called to an interview. How to prepare for these, you can read here: Tips for Interview/resume and tips for Cover letter.
Now you have made the most important preparations and can start looking for a suitable project.
Finding a suitable project
There are quite a few opportunities to find a suitable project to apply for and work on. Probably you can think of more possibilities, if you are creative and have more experience, but the following should be enough for the start.
- Freelancer.com - this is one of the most popular international web-sites, offering services related to project based IT jobs. Since it is one of the most popular, competition is really high. There are many skilled users, who have a lot of positive feedback and great portfolios, but there are also new projects available all the time. You will have to pay for the service only if you win.
- There are many other sites, which provide similar service, like www.ifreelance.com, www.freelancingjob.com, www.guru.com etc. Probably you also have some local sites in your country. In these sites, the competition is lower, but there are also less open projects. Most of these pages have a service fee.
- IT-related forums. These are quite popular places, where people, who need a programmer/designer etc for only one project, post their job offers. Find international or local forums, where people offer jobs, save the addresses and visit them time to time. Even if there is only one post per week, save the address - if you can find ten forums, where you can find one suitable project a week, that is enough!
- You can just search around and check out some web-pages - if you come up with an idea, what a company might need, write to them about it! Many companies might actually like your proposal and are happy for the feedback. It might be hard to come up with some ideas at first, if you do not know, what to notice and look for, but the pros are that this way you have no competition and you already leave a positive impression. You can, for example, compare some web-pages with similar functionalities and companies with similar services and pick up the best ideas from these.
- Find mistakes and bugs from the pages you see - write to the companies and offer to correct these mistakes. There is a possibility, that the company has its own IT-specialists, but there is also an opportunity that it does not. For example, in google search, you can start looking from the last pages. The first ones that you see, are with high page rank and probably do not need your services.
If you are looking for a project, remember to choose the ones, that demand the skills that you have. Do not apply for projects just in case or just for trying. If you fail the project, you lower your possibilities to get the next project and you will get negative feedback.
Getting the job
Always try to give as many relevant information as you can, to get the person interested. Again, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be specific - if you say, that this is a suitable job for you, explain why, and bring out the latest projects relevant to the job. Especially, if you are just starting and people do not know you, you should have some relevant pieces in your portfolio.
- Do not use a template letter. Write the letter according to the project that you are interested in - shows interest and shows that you are applying for the certain job, not for every job there is.
- Be prepared for demonstration of your skills.
- Be professional in all stages.
- Do not offer too low prices! Many people offer as low price as possible for the first project, just to be picked. There is a big possibility that even if they win, they discover that they prefer rejecting the project to working for free! If you already have an online portfolio, are well-prepared and show professionalism, you can win with a decent price.
- Be honest and know your limits - do not promise things that you have doubts on fulfilling.
In finding a project-based job, it is important to show, that you are ready to finish the project on time and with quality. Unlike applying for a full-time job, you do not have to leave the impression, that you will be really good after a while - you must have suitable skills at the moment you apply!
It might be difficult at the beginning, but after a while, you will already have a portfolio, you will have developed better skills, you know which projects suit for you and you will be receiving feedback. Remember that quality counts and do not let yourself be underpaid just because these are your first projects!