This week I learned a valuable lesson in freelancing. If you have a score, skill, or qualification that could help you to win a job or client, don't leave it tucked away on your profile page or website. Include it in your actual job proposal.
Elance, one of the job boards I get work from, offers free skills assessment tests. I took a number of them when I first signed up for the site about two years ago. I did better on the assessments than I expected to. In Creative writing - Fiction, I scored in the top 1% out of everyone who had ever taken the test. In Non Fiction, I scored in the top 20%. I ranked in the top 5% in Article Writing and Blogging as well as in English Word Usage. I also ranked in the top 10% on English Vocabulary. While I've always been proud of these scores, they didn't seem to have much of an effect on my job proposals. Of the proposals I submitted, only about 10% received any response at all. This didn’t concern me because as far as I could tell, a 10% response rate seemed to be the average on freelance writing job boards.
However, a little over a week ago I was putting in a proposal for an article writing job and a friend recommended that I include not only my experience in the subject, but a score I had received when tested on it. As I stopped to look up the score, I suddenly realized that this was something I should have been doing all along. While I don’t always have a test or score pertaining to the subject of a particular writing job, my general skills assessment scores could easily boost my qualifications in the eyes of potential clients. Though these scores have always been accessible by simply visiting my profile, I wasn’t doing myself any favors by leaving them tucked away, halfway down my profile page.
I realized then that by including these scores in my actual proposals, I made certain that potential clients saw the scores whether they visited my profile page or not. All I had to do was create a short list of my assessment scores and include them at the bottom of each proposal. It seemed so obvious once I thought of it that I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t been doing it all along. But I try to be as honest as I can when sharing my experiences. So, I submitted five job proposals with my new skills assessment signature. Of the five potential clients, four of them responded and three of these accepted my proposal. Simply by creating a little block of test scores, I had dramatically boosted my response rate and connected with three new clients.
From now on, whenever I submit a bid to a potential client on Elance, I plan to include my new skills assessment signature. It has already proven to be a valuable proposal strategy and is one of the many tips I plan to pass on to the new writers I offer advice to.
What about you? Do you have a special strategy or simple tip that helps you find clients and win jobs? Share it in the comments below.
Want to learn more about my experiences as a freelance writer? Check out my blog, Living a Freelance Life.