This may seem like a simple question, but I don't think I have seen it addressed, and I'm wondering if anybody has any ideas.
While on vacation I didn't have my computer, but I had an iPad and during some down time I took a number of tests on Odesk. For a number of these, the results were good (top 20% or top 30%). But some of these (for example: creative writing) are not directly related to the primary skills I promote on my profile (database design and database programming).
Now of course I know I should line up many more test results showing off my primary area of expertise (database design), but will these other test results hurt me?
Would oDesk penalize my job applications for good test results in skill areas I'm not applying to work in, or would this be a potential turn-off to potential clients?
I just wanted to bump this thread up and have it answered. I think experienced clients should share their views ragarding this. May be posting this in "Clients" section would have been a good idea.
As for odesk penalizations, only god knows how the elves are sorting out the applications. I ask again to odesk to make the sorting method more transparent so that we know how to shape our profile and form our cover letters. I know that the old guidelines for writing cover letters and making profiles have to be more specific now. Writing a job application is becoming a SEO technique now that we have their hiding algorithm is in place.
Good question. Freelancers can 'hide' tests that they prefer not to display. In addition, I believe that it is best that freelancers display only tests that are relevant to their skills and that they retake tests until they have reached the top 10 percent (I still have work to do in that area).
Hint: Go to Edit Profile, scroll down to Tests, and in the right-hand column select Yes or No to "Display on profile."
I doubt oDesk would penalize freelancers just because they display good test results in skill areas outside of their core skills; however, with oDesk anything is possible. Recall that over a year ago, oDesk published an article in their blog about the importance of "specializing"; rather than diversifying one's skill set. In my opinion, "specializing" meant "relevant"; that is, ensure to concentrate on relevant job skills as they might relate to job openings one seeks to specialize in.
With regard to the overall freelancer profile, I tend to think in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) whereby elements of the profile (esp., Overview, Video, Skills, Certifications, Tests, and Other Experiences) are meaningful, pertinent, and, most importantly, relevant. Of course, other elements within the freelancer profile (e.g., Work History and Feedback, Portfolio, Employment History, and Education) are not always as easy to make relevant especially for freelancers with a diverse background and skill set.
As evidenced by my writings in the oDesk forum, I am not a fan of any of the search features available for use by freelancers when searching for good jobs and good clients on oDesk. As a result, I have resorted to white-hat SEO techniques in order to make my profile more visible publicly on the Internet. So far, more hits, a few invitations (clients found my profile via "G" search; not via oDesk search for jobs) yet no significant improvements in terms of obtaining the best jobs and clients.
My point with regard to freelancer profiles? Recall the word "relevant" as used in the field of SEO.
ADDED: Note that the oDesk Community is publicly accessible on the Internet. Freelancers could use the Social Media button (adjacent the Kudos score) to plan and launch a social media campaign (Social Media Marketing - SMM) with the intent of promoting their services offered here on oDesk.
oDesk shouldn't mind. They might eventually get new client members; hence, additional revenues. Isn't that really what the new oDesk Community is all about?
Be aware that a lot of social media campaigns are designed around personal, non-business social media accounts; thus, they become cluttered with non-relevant content, which diminishes the effectiveness of the campaigns. Use dedicated accounts for each campaign or group of relevant campaigns. As an example, to date I have about 30 primary "T" accounts and literally over 300 secondary "T" accounts that I have used for clients' social media campaigns.
When using social media campaigns to promote your services offered here on oDesk, your target audience should be the best jobs with the best clients that are the best fit for your skills.
Edited 01/09/2015 RT/lwm
Thanks for asking Preston!
If you take additional tests that are not directly related to your main skills and even display them on your profile, it shouldn't affect your aplications' visibility.
Just make sure you apply for jobs which ask for skills you present on your profile and make sure you take corresponding tests to highlight those skills.