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So after over two weeks with applications still pending, should I still be hopeful? Or just assume that they've chosen someone else and didn't notify all ? Still looking for that elusive first job after several applications I felt more than qualified to fill. Maybe it's my cover letters? Any links to threads on good cover letters (i.e.- length, salutations, etc...)?
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I wouldn't do that, the hiring process is not a 3 day event. Give clients time to sift through them all. We've taken as long as 1 month to make a hire and as long as 1 week to contact the applicant after he applied. Clients want as large of a pool as possible to work with, withdrawing your app so quickly would make one think you would rush the client into hiring you.
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Your biggest pitfall is no Odesk history, it's kinda a catch-22. But it is what it is. As others said, you'll probably need to do some one time fee jobs first. Also, don't be afraid to send a client a follow-up if 2 weeks has gone by. Clients use many venues to hire and this is just one of them, good chance they may have hired elsewhere and forgot to close the job post here. Another thing to look at is the clients payment history, have they hired before? Or are they a first time client? First time clients tend to make a post and decide on something else or not to hire for whatever reason. Apply only to jobs that show you the client's total spent / payment history. This way you'll at least be applying for positions with someone that has a track record of hiring in the first place That doesn't mean a first time client won't hire, but odds are in your favor by applying to more jobs with those with a history of hiring.
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Matthew, Thanks for your comments (and to everyone else as well). Yes, very aware of my lack of history at ODesk, even if I feel definitely qualified. I am actually looking at fixed cost jobs also, especially if I see the client has consistently given feedback to the freelancers. I'm sure that will help also, even if it doesn't garner me hours. Good point on checking on the client's history. I figured that one out perhaps a little late (after I had already applied to several positions for new clients... again, not that there is anything wrong with new clients, but kind of like new freelancers, right? )