These oDesk test tips should help you in overall success at oDesk, increase your average pay, and increase the number of conversions – the ratio of jobs you actually get hired for to the number of jobs that you apply. These oDesk test tips should be especially useful for freelancers who are new to oDesk because the test scores in that case could be a big factor in your hiring process. With good test scores, you can get the ball rolling sooner.
The Importance of oDesk Tests
Let me start off by showing you the importance of oDesk tests to get good assignments. These oDesk test tips that I discuss are especially important to freelancers who are starting out who don’t have much feedback at the site and don’t (yet) have a strong portfolio. The main objectives with selling yourself to employers at a freelance marketplace like oDesk (or Elance for that matter) are –
- Higher Pay for the jobs that you apply to
- Better Job Conversion Ratio, and thus more number of jobs, if required
When an employer looks at your oDesk profile, these are the most important criteria that you are in control of (psychology tells us that things like your country of living, profile photo, etc. also play a role, conscious or sub-conscious, but I am not talking about those in this post):
- Feedback score and testimonials from previous clients
- Work history and work portfolio
- Test Scores
- Cover letter for the job
You can now see that oDesk test scores are even more important for new freelancers starting out at oDesk. In addition to having the test scores visible on your profile, you can also mention it on your cover letter. For instance, if you are talking about how good your writing is, you can reference one of the English writing tests that you’ve taken and mention that you stood in the top 10% of the test takers. This can be a generic statement appended to every cover letter that you produce.
The oDesk Readiness Test
The oDesk readiness test is the only oDesk test that is mandatory to complete for freelancers to start working on the site. It also shows up on your profile page whether you’ve completed the oDesk readiness test or not. It is not hard to find answers to this test online. However, I would strongly recommend reading through the entire material and really understanding not just the bigger picture but even the nuances of working at oDesk. This will save you a lot of trouble and heartburn later on. If you want to know how people can have good and bad experience, read through the comments of my oDesk review post. You should learn and understand how the system works before spending your time and effort looking for a job.
oDesk Test Tips and Guidelines
Here are some general oDesk test tips for freelancers in all areas of their expertise –
Choose: I would advise against being all over the place. If you’re a graphic designer, don’t bother taking the call center skills test. This is pointless, but more damagingly, if you score better on the irrelevant tests, those can show up above the ones that display your core skills. It is much better to focus on a few tests and do them well instead of taking scores of tests not relevant to the kinds of jobs you wish to apply for. Bottom line is, choose the list of oDesk tests carefully and try to score well on those.
Prepare: Of course, like with any test, it comes down to preparation. Spend a little bit of time browsing through the topics that would appear on the test. Sometimes we all get rusty. It is good to brush up on the basics and a few advanced concepts on the way. There is no substitute for actually knowing your industry. Make sure you are as good as the test scores will make the employers believe.
Utilize the Complete Time: oDesk tests are timed. I have personally felt that it is possible to finish the tests way ahead of time. And then I realize that I’ve made some really silly mistakes on questions that I totally knew. To avoid this, just use the complete time that oDesk provides. If you do finish early, go through the questions again and make sure you didn’t miss anything. Some of the questions and the corresponding wordings can be tricky.
If at First You Don’t Succeed: Once you take a test, you cannot re-take that test for the next 30 days. This is a great constraint in place, in my opinion because otherwise the system would be much easier to game. However, you should definitely take advantage of this feature of re-taking a test after 30 days. Write down the topics or if you remember, the questions that you weren’t sure of. Also, research the areas where you performed poorly. This will help you score better the next time you take the same test.
A Case Against Cheating: oDesk does try to avoid you to be able to google for an answer. It cannot fully prevent it though (it probably can but doesn’t bother). I don’t want to moralize this issue, but do remember that you don’t want to appear much better than your actual skills, because it will cause high expectations in the eyes of the client, and if the work isn’t top-notch, then you’ll be penalized with poor feedback. And poor feedback is more detrimental to your future jobs than poor test scores. So cheat at your own long-term risk.
The next steps
The other important factor that you can control immediately is to come up with a good cover letter.
oDesk isn’t the first and last place to build an online career working from your home. For example, read Executive in Sweatpants that talks more about success in this niche. Although several freelancers have built a successful career at oDesk, it is important to explore the other options that might be more lucrative, depending on your skill set. Read about how to graduate from oDesk to greener pastures.
Photo Credit: Shinealight