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How to Earn Money from the Internet: Tips on Applying for Online Jobs at oDesk

Updated on September 4, 2009

Are you a creative writer, an essay writer, a web developer, an interpreter, transcriptionist? Whether you’ve had the formal education to be one of the above, or are just skillful enough to perform the tasks of the previously mentioned occupation, oDesk is a good place to earn from your skills.

Signing up for oDesk to become a freelance provider is free and easy, though some may find the process quite tedious. In reality, the signup process is not that difficult, and the rewards of signing up far outweigh whatever difficulties you may encounter in signing up. It is very important that your profile is as reflective of your capabilities as possible, since it is this very profile that represents you as a freelance provider in the virtual world. Think of it as writing your curriculum vitae, only this time it is posted in the web, and it is particular to your writing skills. There are tens, probably thousands, of freelance workers in oDesk, so make sure that your profile is competitive. Once you have completed your oDesk profile, you will be ready to apply to jobs, and you are well on your way to earn money from the internet.

Here is a walkthrough on how to apply for online jobs at oDesk, as well as some tips on choosing a good online job. While this is centered on freelance writing jobs, the steps and tips are nevertheless similar if you are a freelance provider of another field.

How to find freelance jobs in oDesk

There are two ways for you to find or view online jobs in oDesk:

1. By searching on the oDesk website

2. Through job alerts

Let us discuss these two methodologies.

Step-by-step guide in searching for freelance jobs in oDesk website

Step 1. Log on to your account in oDesk, you will be taken to the homepage, or to the last window you were on when you last logged off.

Step 2. Go to the “Find Providers and Jobs” tabs.

Step 3. Choose the specific field you are interested in. Say, for example, you are interested in “Blog and Article Writing”. You will see how many job postings there are at any given time. Click on the field you wish to browse.

Step 4. Browse through the hundreds of jobs posting available. Make sure that you understand clearly the specifications of the job before applying.

This method definitely gives you the full picture of the field although it requires a lot of time to sieve through all the available jobs. But, you can be sure that you have not missed anything, and certainly it gives a higher probability of finding the right job posting for you.

Go through the images below to see an illustrated step-by-step guide on how to browse oDesk for freelance jobs.

However, if you do not have that much time to go through all the job listings, you can set up a job alert instead, and you will receive messages in your mailbox from “oDesk Notification” titled “Your Job Alerts for (date)”. This alert usually comes every other day, and is custom-fitted to your liking, provided you have set it up properly.

Step-by-step guide in setting up your job alerts

Step 1. Log on to your oDesk profile.

Step 2. Edit your provider profile by hovering over your profile name at the right hand corner of your page. When you hover your pointer to your name, a dropdown menu will appear. Click on “My provider profile” and your editable profile will appear.

Step 3. Towards the bottom of your profile page, there is a box labeled “Categories and Job Alerts”. Click the “Add or Edit” yellow button and you will be taken to the categories list. Check all the fields you are interested in, as well as the top box that says “Email me daily with matching jobs”.

Go through the images below for the illustrated guide.

How to choose the right freelance job

Before you apply, you need to understand first what you are applying for. oDesk jobs have 2 categories and they are: fixed and hourly. Below I have made a rough comparison of the features of the two types of jobs in oDesk:

Personally, I almost always apply for Fixed Jobs, mainly because I do not want the feeling of being so shackled to the computer. I am not very disciplined, so I do hop from one application to another, and so I might not give full value to the hour I am paid for.

Choose which one will work best with you. When choosing jobs, you have to be brutally honest and objective in assessing yourself – your capabilities and your limitations.

Although fixed jobs are quite risky, because your buyers can just decide not to pay you, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you will be paid.

How to Lessen Risks in Online Job Application

Although not foolproof, there are certain precautionary steps you can take to lower the risk of not getting paid for an online job. Here are some indicators you should be looking at:

1.       Verified payment method

A buyer with a verified payment method is one who has enrolled his debit or credit card with his profile, and has been verified by oDesk. While this does not guarantee payment, it speaks of good intentions from the buyer. There are many buyers out there who doesn’t have verified payment method and they will always ask you to transact outside oDesk. When you do this, you immediately forfeit your rights to complain about that buyer, or ask that he be banned, and you violate oDesk’s terms of service.

Sometimes, a buyer is just having his payment method verified. I’d advise that you transact with buyers who have verified payment method only.

2.       Buyer facts and job description

Buyer’s facts will give you the past activity of your buyer. The more active the buyer is in oDesk, the less risky he is. If he is transacting a lot of business in oDesk, it means that he is somehow relying on oDesk, too, for the continuity of his business. If he has a lot of job postings but very few job positions filled, perhaps he is just using oDesk to get access to freelance writers and workers, then persuade them to work outside oDesk. Also, a high jobs filled to jobs posted ratio will indicate that this buyer is serious about his business.

You can get a lot of insight from the buyer’s description of the project. I only go for those with comprehensive description, not some mysterious sounding job posting. Again, this is not foolproof, but this gives you an indication of how much effort has been put into the job listing. A serious buyer who wants to attract serious freelance writers will come up with a serious job description.

3.       Buyer assignment history and feedback

As a freelance writer trying to earn money online, this is perhaps the most important thing you should be looking at. Check the feedback given to the buyer by the other providers. Providers will usually be transparent and candid with their feedback. (Remember to give feedback responsibly, too, so that other freelancers will be guided) A no feedback usually means the relationship between buyer and freelance worker is less than thrilling. Also look at the feedbacks given to the freelance writer. Look for someone who is articulate with his comments. Remember that buyers also look at your feedback scores, so you want to build it properly.

Day 11 HubChallenge

12th...getting there
12th...getting there

Working online through oDesk or any other marketplace can really be profitable. You can earn money from working in the internet, if you just know how to look, and what to look for. Remember that whenever we transact in the internet we are all taking risks. These are just guidelines to help you lessen the risks of getting online jobs. You would want to take note of every little detail in your transactions so that you can improve on your judgments in the future.


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    • htodd profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      oDesk is really nice,I have nice success with it

    • Sunnyglitter profile image


      8 years ago from Cyberspace

      This is a very detailed article. Nice job.

    • debugs profile image


      9 years ago from Odessey777, Umbris

      I earned 400 bucks in a month at Odesk.

    • sutrapu profile image


      9 years ago from kuwait

      very excellent article.

    • tinarathore84 profile image


      9 years ago from India

      Great hub. I had been looking for freelance sites of similar kind. Glad i found your hub

    • stephenbaugh profile image


      9 years ago from New Zealand

      Great layout. I didn't even know of oDesk so thank you. I've only used Elance to date.

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hi, Karen! You will be a bomb in oDesk, because you have your blogsite to speak well for you. :)

      See you around!

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you, Mecheshier, see you around!

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Philippines

      Masmasika, I've registered with freelancer, too, but found that oDesk works better for me. Haven't tried Constant Content, though. Perhaps when I am more stable here in HubPages. :)

      oDesk really works, in fact, it was even featured in QTV, as one of the better means of alternate income. Do message me if you need any help. Cheers!

    • Karen Banes profile image

      Karen Banes 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for this. I'd heard of Odesk and it's on my (very long!) list of opportunities to investigate. Will bookmark this for future reference!

    • mecheshier profile image


      9 years ago

      geart article very informative!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub mommyfreelancer. I am also a Filipino writer. Actually I have registered with odesk, freelancer, and constant content but I'm still trying to figure out how I could make money from these freelance sites.

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Philippines

      No harm in trying, Dohn. It has worked very well for me. Though there are some jobs that ask for the moon and pay a pittance, but there are really very good ones. I will be most happy to assist you, so feel free to contact me if you have any question about oDesk.

      4 to go - no doubt you can make it. :) As for me...I hope I get at least half! Enjoy the weekend!

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Great job, mommyfreelancer! I'm seriously considering this as I'm now between jobs, as it is. Thank you for this and good luck on the 30/30 Hubchallenge! I have four more hubs to go!


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