Navigating the World of Job Auction Sites

Years of working in the same cubicle at the same job doing the same thing day after day have made you reconsider your career choice. Sure, the pay is good and helps provide for your young family; however, you need to do something else to recharge and make you interested in doing work. Since you can no longer stand to stare at the drab fabric walls of your cubicle, you decide to go freelance, using your skills to help others on an independent basis.

Thing is, you’re not too sure where to start in order to obtain some freelance contracts. One of the places you may want to consider is a job auction site. Companies like Elance and oDesk offer thousands of jobs at competitive prices for folks in freelance-based positions, including graphic artists, writers, copy editors, computer programmers, and system administrators. That’s the upside to these sites. The downside is you’re not the only one bidding on a contract. Sometimes hundreds of other folks are interested in the same job and a more desirable contract price that the employer finds satisfactory. Enough rejections can cause you to abandon your goal of freelancing and force you to return to staring at the cubicle walls again.

Don’t feel dejected, because there are things you can do in order to land a contract at one of these job auction sites. Here are a few tips.

Understand the Site’s Specialties — You may discover what the job auction site is looking for from their home page. For example, the entry to Elance tells you it offers jobs in programming, mobile development, writing, and marketing. On the other hand, freelancer.com is heavy into website development and design, SEO Marketing, and data entry.

Determine the Cost of Signup — Most job auction sites permit you to create a free account and submit to contracted jobs. However, like many Internet operations, there is a limit to the amount of free they give out. For instance, Elance provides you with a certain amount of virtual dollars each month that you can utilize to submit for a job. Run out of money, and you either have to wait until the next month or purchase some with real cash. Other sites, like Guru, offer an option to pay for an upgrade that offers enhanced options. The decision to pay out for these upgrades depends on how serious of an investment you wish to make in freelancing.

Find Out the Average Rates — You tend to be out of the running depending on what you bid for the position. Bid too high, and others under you can present the employer with a proper amount. Bid too low, and the employer may think you don’t have the proper credentials. To solve this, do some research ahead of time to find out the current rates for various positions. Writers, for example, can pick up a copy of Writer’s Market, which contains a detailed chart of rates for various position both by hour and by project. This type of information gives you the ability to determine the proper price point to suggest.

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