One thing, I don't know how to answer, is on job descriptions, where they post two sentences, and then ask this question
What past project or job have you had that is most like this one? Please show me a few examples.
I'm not sure how to respond to it.
I responded with something like
I'd need to see some more information on this project.
Some help here is appreciated.
When I have had this ask, I either provide a brief description of something I have done in the past that is similiar with links to my profile or to an example of what I have done.
You're asking other freelancers how they would respond to this question, one of the pre-written questions clients sometimes include in job postings:
"What past project or job have you had that is most like this one? Please show me a few examples."
I would definitely never answer how you answered, which is to say that I "need to see some more information on this project."
You're actually answering the question in a very literal way. But the client doesn't want to see a literal, technical answer. The client wants to know more about you as a contractor. If I answered that way, a client would see it as a non-answer. It could be interpreted as me being too lazy to answer a question.
I would simply imagine what the project is, now matter how vague, and give an answer. The question is an opportunity to show that I know what I'm talking about and that I have done significant quailty work in the past.
It totally doesn't matter if I guess wrong about what the client's project is REALLY like. If his job application is vague, he already knows that. The client will be impressed by my answer and then ask me to interview. During the interview he'll explain that although I talked about doing THAT, what he really needs done now is THIS, and he thinks I can do it. Or at least he'll ask me if I can do it.
Generally, I do not view the additional "canned" questions accompanying job postings as an exercise in "creative writing." Most clients on oDesk do not even understand the nature of those questions being asked of freelancers during the application process.
Regarding the question "What past project or job have you had that is most like this one and why?"; I usually refer to a specific item or items in my portfolio. However, when based on my experience I find that I am dealing with a professional, experienced, and knowledgeable client, I include in my answer references to items in my portfolio, and indicate that additional, more detailed information will be provided during an interview.
It deserves mention that some clients and some freelancers with client accounts, post jobs just to obtain free information for their own self-gain. I try to avoid that pitfall using established criteria for selecting the best jobs and the best clients on oDesk. Actually, finding the "best" is hard to do these days on oDesk.
I choose to "sell myself" in the body of a well-written, unique cover letter that addresses all aspects of the job description and the services that I offer. My cover letters include more than just an introduction. They might take the form of a proposal or statement of work that I write on behalf of the prospective client. Of course, bullet points and other methods are used to highlight key information
In the case of "high rel" contracts, I attach a formal proposal to my application in response to the client's Statement of Work (SOW). It all depends on the job description and the client's background. Having worked in "contracts" with major US firms, I have acquired a knack for negotiating successful contracts.