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Perfecting your Elance Job Proposals

Updated on October 28, 2011

Elance is an extremely competitive online job platform, and the number one way to get more jobs is through perfecting your proposals. Don't bother wasting your time submitting mediocre proposals that will quickly be ignored or declined. When submitting a proposal keep in mind that you not only have to prove why you can get the client's job done well, but also why you are better than the competition.

To put this into perspective, there are close to 500,000 contractors (individuals and companies) that work through Elance. You won't obviously be competing against all of them at the same time, but I regularly see jobs that have close to almost 40 proposals. If you really have no idea who to get started, I'll give you some step by step tips of perfecting your proposal.

1- Gain an understanding of the client and the job requirements

When you stumble upon a promising job, take the extra time to check out who the client is. Visit their profile, get a feel for their jobs and check out their ratings. If they seem like a responsible, easy to work with client then take a look at the job requirements. Read through it entirely, including any attached documents. Check to see if you with their requirements. For example, if the job is for ghostwriting an eBook, but you only have experience in Copy Writing, you should probably for go submitting a job application.

2- Only submit proposals selectively

Take a long hard look at the job requirements to if it is something you can do and actually want to do. I find that when you are self-employed being able to chose jobs that interest you is part of the joy of working at home. You are your own boss and can decide which jobs you would like to take. Take a minute to really think about the job, and if you are ready to get it done if you are selected. Keep in mind that if you can't follow any guidelines or time lines reasonably, then don't submit a proposal.

3- Don't be afraid to ask questions

Occasionally job clients may write pretty foggy job descriptions that don't give you a true idea of the job. It is always better to ask a ton of questions than get in way over your head. Even the most picky of clients would rather you fully understand the job at hand. Until you have a total understanding of the job, leave the Cost & Timing section blank.

4- Personalize your proposal including benefits

If the job requirements are now crystal clear and you have a total understanding of what you'll need to do, you can submit a proposal. Now, even though it takes more time, personalize every and all proposals you submit. This is what the client will read and decide whether you are suitable for the job or not. Introduce yourself, but always stay on topic. Include the following and remain friendly:

  • Let them know you have fully read everything and will be able to complete the job to their full satisfaction.
  • Refer back to any requirements in their job requirement to further prove you've read the article and are suitable for the job.
  • Answer any questions they may have asked in the job description.
  • Off to answer any and all questions they have in a timely manner.

5- Refrain from overselling yourself and claiming you can do things that you can't

There is a fine line between making yourself sound perfect for the job and overselling yourself. Though you may be the most amazing writer in the world, the client doesn't know that -yet. Don't be afraid to really tell them why you are the best candidate for the job and highlight benefits that you have over the competition. Keep this to only 2-3 sentences, and don't overdo it. Never, ever tell them that you can do something that you really can't. Hardly ever does BSing about your skills end up working out decently for you. On top of that, when your client finds out the truth you'll be getting a bad rating and a bad name.

6- Review before submitting

Before you submit your proposal take a quick look over it. Read it to yourself and see how it sounds. Also, make sure that you edit any typos. I've been guilty of hastily submitting a proposal that had a grammar typo :).

Congratulations on submitting an excellent proposal! Hopefully you are now well on your way to self-employed success. If you have any tips and tricks for perfecting proposals please contribute them in the comment section.



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      Samugit2 5 years ago

      Good piece of work. I like the ideas that have been put forward. I am also a writer with Elance and isn't easy to get a proposal been approved. I have realized the best way to win a bid is by letting the employer understand you better. Writing a sample on the the topic will also help in showcasing your writing skills.