How to Find a Job on oDesk: The Complete Guide

What is oDesk?

oDesk is an online freelance marketplace that connects remote, skilled workers (known as "providers") with employers who are hiring (known as "buyers"). Buyers post projects or jobs that they need to outsource, and providers bid on the jobs, either on an hourly basis or as a fixed-price bid. oDesk is a shortened version of the phrase "no desk", which refers to oDesk's founding principle; to enable individuals to work anywhere or anytime. oDesk's headquarters are in Menlo Park, California. As of early 2009, oDesk reported having 170,000 providers scattered all over the globe. oDesk was chosen by PC Magazine as a finalist for the 2006 Small Business Awards.

What Sets oDesk Apart from Similar Sites?

You may be familiar with similar sites like eLance, Guru, and RentACoder that offer "middle-man" services between freelance professionals and project managers. oDesk is quickly becoming a preferred site for many freelancers because it offers:
  • Guaranteed payment. Unlike many other sites where payment on projects or hours work is not guaranteed, oDesk guarantees payment on all hourly work that is completed using their free, downloadable sftware, oDesk Team (see more about oDesk Team later on).
  • Automatic invoicing and billing for providers and buyers. Unlike some sites where getting paid can be tricky, oDesk keeps the buyer's credit card on file and charges the card when the pay period ends. For fixed price assignments, however, the buyer elects how much to pay (or if to pay at all).
  • oDesk doesn't charge a monthly/quarterly/yearly fee to freelance providers. Instead, oDesk gets paid when the provider gets paid; oDesk charges an 11.11% markup on each provider's wages (charged to the buyer). So, for example, if a provider charges $100 for their services, the buyer is charged $111.11.
  • oDesk allows providers to showcase their talents by taking free skills tests (and assigning a ranking to the provider's profile based on the test scores achieved).

What Skills Are In Demand on the oDesk Interface?

oDesk allows registered providers to browse, bid, and apply for jobs in Web Development, Software Development, Networking and Information Systems, Writing and Translation, Administrative Support, Design and Multimedia, Customer Service, Sales and Marketing, and Business Services.

How Do I Become an oDesk Provider?

Becoming an oDesk provider is easy and costs nothing. The first step to becoming an oDesk provider is to register for an account and create a provider profile. Let's look at the different sections of the provider profile and get some tips on filling in each section.
 
Next: Creating an Eye Catching Profile