10 Tips for Landing an Gig Online
If you are looking for ways to earn extra money online, you may have responded to a help-wanted ad on craigslist.org or another free ads site. Working small gigs can be a good way to put away some extra cash when times are tight, and although it's increasingly competitive with so many people out of work, here are some small ways you can improve your chances of getting hired for a odd job when replying to a 'help wanted' ad.
Turns out that the things you need to do to get hired for a gig really aren't all that different from tips your might hear for landing a regular full-time job. Because you have to create a first impression via electronic mail, it's crucial that you convey a sense of professionalism and maturity. Whether you're a seamstress or a landscaper, dog walker or budding personal assistant, how you introduce yourself to potential clients can make the difference between landing the gig and being ignored completely.
Here are some tips for how to stand out from the crowd of other gig-seeking people:
1. Look to see how well you qualify for the job. If you meet 1 out of 5 listed desired traits, don't waste your time or that of the hiring party, unless you are positive that you are the right person for the job. Whenever I put out an ad for someone to do a few heavy-lifting jobs, I inevitably get an email application from a wispy woman who makes a living reading tarot cards. While small women can be strong, and there's certainly nothing wrong with making a living reading tarot, it does help your chances of landing a gig if you "fit the bill".
2. Have your own email account. Some married couples prefer to share email for whatever reason, but some people don't want to respond to firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you are, say, a seamstress talking to female clients about measurements.
3. Pick out a good email address and use your own name as your alias. If this means that you have to set-up a separate email address for work, then so be it. This step is so crucial to normal job searches that I'm surprised that more people don't know about it. If someone posts an ad for a babysitter, and return an hour later to see their Inbox full to the brim with responses, they're probably not going to gravitate to the one with a name like "Sexxy Tymz" or "mushroom maven". These aliases may be fun or a good indication of your personality, but even if you are replying to a job that requires you to remove garbage from someone's yard, you need to present yourself as a professional. The email address you choose can be cute if you want, but make sure it's appropriate. If you are replying to an ad that seeks help setting up a mycological garden, then "Mushroom Maven" is fine - just be sure to capitalize it.
4. Email from the account that you plan to use for your job-oriented communication. Don't email from one account and ask someone to reply to another. Some busy people simply won't deal with the hassle. Also, don't immediately request a phone call. While some people are immediately comfortable pikcing up and calling you, not everyone will feel the same way. Provide your contact information, but allow your potential client the leway to contact you in whatever manner they choose.
5. Choose a staid font and avoid flashy weirdness within the email. Blingees are fine when you are emailing your friends, but potential clients won't take you seriously if you compose emails in a curly, 17-point purple font.
6. Spell check your ad or email response. I mean, duh. There are some people who will overlook typos, and there are some people who won't. Might as well be safe (lord knows I am one of the worst at this, as is evident by my frequent typos in blog posts).
7. Have an email signature that includes your full name, title, business name (if you have one), phone number, and other relevant info, including your blog or web site address. Signatures are a snap to set up, but give emails a polished appearance. If you do link to a blog or web site, make sure that they are appropriate, and if possible, topical.
8. Show enthusiasm. It can be hard to get psyched about weeding sometimes, but I've noticed that I tend to hire people for odd jobs who express satisfaction over the work. Including a brief mention in your job email that says something like "While hauling away rusted metal can be a dangerous job, I take pride in my careful handling of all your scrap, and find satisfaction in leaving you with a clean garage" can be a good way to separate yourself from the ten other guys who wrote "Me Joe. Me have toe truck take you're rusted carz LOL." Obviously, you don't want to over-express your love for shoveling steer manure over someone's garden, but you get the idea.
9. Provide references, or at least, a promise of references, especially if the job poster has specifically mentioned that they will be required.
10. When you answer the phone, use a proper greeting that identifies you. "Hello?" isn't adequate. "This is Barb Jones" is a better start a conversation with a new customer.
You can also increase your chances of being noticed first by using Adnotifier, a service that alerts you whenever a new ad is posted in a section of help wanted ads that you monitor. It does cost about $10, but may be worth it if you need that kind of alert.
Have you had success getting extra jobs online? Share your tips for success in the comments!