Knowing how to write a good cover letter will do wonders for you on oDesk, and the same is true for Elance and other freelance working sites. But to get the job, you need to do more than get a good model of application letter and use it for each job.
Here are the most common mistakes made by oDesk freelancers when submitting their letters of intent.
1. No personalization
Many contractors (as freelance workers are called on oDesk) use a template cover letter for each and every job. This is a major mistake. oDesk employers like to know that you actually read the job description and that you put some effort and attention into your application. Mention something specific about the job, and you will show that you are serious.
2. Bad spelling
Nothing makes you look less professional than misspellings and bad grammar. For example, an application letter that begins with "I am a web devlopar wit 10 years expirience" will be useless. Even if you do not know English fluently, you can still use a spell-checker to proof your writing. Nowadays, spell-checkers are even incorporated in browsers, so you do not have any excuses.
3. Letter too long or too short
The best cover letter should do one thing: get you hired. Do not use it as a CV and do not include irrelevant details. Think that oDesk employers typically get dozens of cover letters for each posting. They do not have time to read useless things about your high school grader, or that you used to be a model … The same is true on the other way. For example If your cover letter is just one sentence, your chances to get that oDesk job are minimal.
Where to start
Writing good application letters is a skill, and some would say an art. You need to learn this skill if you want to have success on oDesk. To get you started, look online for good cover letters models and templates. Use them as examples. Do not just copy-paste them into each oDesk application!
Then, try to put yourself in the employer's place. What would you think about a contractor sending you a run-of-the-mill cover letter, with bad spelling and irrelevant information? You would reject that contractor right away.
If you still have problems getting jobs on oDesk and you suspect that your application is not up to the standard, look for help from a more experienced freelancer, one who has dozens of completed jobs under his or her belt. Their advice can be priceless!