Elance Blog

Advice From An Elancer (Volume 6)

Welcome to Advice From An Elancer – a place to ask your Elance questions (through Elance’s LinkedIn page) and get them answered as thoroughly and personally as possible. My name is Dorothy D. and I have worked with Elance as a freelancer since April 2009. I have always tried to help other Elancers understand how things work and how to accomplish more. In Advice From An Elancer I usually address questions from our LinkedIn Group, but this week, a member of the group has asked me to review his profile to provide specific feedback.                                

On occasion, I will review a profile and provide feedback in hopes of helping them, and other Elancers, to improve their odds of winning jobs. Hopefully, others can glean information from this as well.

The Elancer that has requested a review this week is vCache System. They have agreed to allow me to share their name with you. My first stop on my review of their profile is the About the Company section. Beginning with the company description, there are some basic problems. The first issue is formatting. The individual has chosen to use a “list” model to illustrate their main points. On one line, Innovation, the description does not immediately follow the colon as all of the others do. This may sound nitpicky, but consciously or unconsciously, a client will notice that extreme care was not taken to make the description perfect. In addition, there is a sentence that has an unnecessary capital letter after a comma and one that is missing a word(s). A violation of Elance’s Code of Conduct exists with contact information in the form of Skype details. Communication details should not be provided until after the job is awarded.

VCache System is not a US company. This is no problem, because Elance is a global service. The problem exists in the writing errors within the entire About the Company page. Most of them are small, but a client is looking for perfection. If your company does not have a native English speaker to proofread your content, it is worth hiring one to check spelling and grammar. A client who sees errors in writing, no matter what category the Elancer is working in, will pause to consider whether the Elancer is going to make errors in the job they have been hired for.

The enormous list of technologies is overwhelming and it may help to simply include the types of tech they work with, rather than all of the applications. They can explain their experience with a certain program/language as it pertains to a job in their proposals.

I also disagree with the payment model. Elance escrow is our way of making sure that funds are available when our work is finished. By asking for advances, a client may shy away. Escrow protects them as well. Simply use the milestone system and the escrow program. I certainly don’t pay 100% in advance for any service, and I don’t expect my clients to do so.

Most of this carries into the Overview section, but I want to add the skills tests. It’s fine to have some self-rated skills, but a few Elance tested scores give a client confidence in what you can do. This is particularly true of teams who have certain individuals with specialties.

To sum up my recommendations: Have a proofreader, who is a native English speaker, go through and correct the spelling, grammar, and formatting of the entire profile; Remove Skype contact; Reduce the list of technologies to their overall types e.g. Java, Application Server, GUI Development, Databases, and so on. Include the specifics in proposals rather than a huge block of text in the profile; Use Elance escrow – do not ask for payment in advance; Take some Elance skills tests to show that you can prove some of the skills you are listing.

I don’t know what this company’s proposals look like, but I recommend (as always) that they be proofread carefully and written specifically for the job that is being bid on. This is the time to say that you have an expert in Oracle or Drupal or CSS and how it pertains to the client’s job. Always write a proposal specific to a job and explain what you can bring to the client.

Thank you, vCache System, for allowing us to review your profile. With a few tweaks, it will be great and you will be winning jobs in no time!


This is a great article. It is really important for all of us to get such a wonderful advice and learn from it.
incy furniture

Nice article... informative... Thanks Dorothy.

Thank you!

thank you