My email is overflowing!
This has been a hectic week at work as we are looking for 2 more additions to our (awesome) Philippine team. We actually hired someone earlier this week, but to make the long story short, her first day of work was also her last day. So I’m back to zero!
I’ve been going through profiles and profiles of fellow writers and virtual assistants, and when I posted an ad this morning (check it out here), even more profiles are added to my mental list of follow-ups. Hence, this is why my email is overflowing!
It’s currently a very stormy night here in Davao with a power interruption to boot, so let’s talk about applying for online jobs and how to get noticed by employers in OnlineJobs.ph. This has been my main “source” of job opps, and this is where I have gotten my job now. This is perfect for virtual workers who are looking for permanent full-time positions instead of projects. There are sooo many profiles in the website, and those looking for workers will not go through each one (because who has time to do that?). I’ve hunted for candidates several times, so let me share with you the factors that make some profiles stand out.
Your picture is your first line of defence, seriously. You don’t have to have a professionally-taken photo or look model-esque. The best kind of picture is a picture of an open face that highlights all of your features. It should be well-lit. It should be high-res.
Don’t use a graphic design. Yes it shows your skill but your employer would want to know who you are. Don’t use a dim picture or a picture that only shows your profile (a.k.a. side view), or worse, just your hair. This is not Facebook; don’t pose weirdly or hide your face. You can look serious, but I personally prefer smiling faces. You can use a selfie (I have a selfie on my profile), but please don’t use a selfie that shows your arm holding the camera. And don’t leave your picture blank.
2. Basic Information
First, use your complete real name. Don’t leave your surname out and don’t use a nickname. Most of all, don’t use an alias. It’s also very helpful to include a blog or website and your IQ and test scores. An address is useful for employers who are looking for virtual assistants based in a particular city.
I’m not posting a screenshot of my skills here because they are not only not updated but also too long. You see, Online Jobs took a major makeover and I wasn’t informed haha. So there are still parts of my profile that do not fit the new website to a T. However, updating your profile, especially your skills, is very necessary. It’s alright to use (short) paragraphs. It’s also okay to use bullets as long as you’re properly explaining your skills. Refrain from using one-word or two-word phrases to describe your skills. You will only look lazy.
In the lower part of your profile is your skill rating. If you know you’re really good at a particular skill (for me, it’s writing), don’t be afraid to give yourself a 5-star rating. Just be prepared to justify it lol.
And be honest. Don’t make yourself appear better than you actually are.
Reviews make or break a profile, so be very, very careful! Do your best at work! I can’t count how many times I rejected an applicant because of a bad review. There are only a few profiles with good ratings (my colleague, Lenz, has a really good review from her previous employer!) because most profiles don’t have any reviews (like mine). It’s safe to assume that the employers of the latter are also satisfied with their performance. Most of the time, it takes a really big mess up to provoke the employer to leave a negative review.
But there are also profiles with negative ratings. Some complain about plagiarism, while most are about the person’s bad work ethics. Yes, people, work ethics can be more important than skills! The thing is if you have a free profile, you can’t see these reviews. To be safe, be a good worker. Fulfil your obligations. Don’t leave an employer hanging, and be compassionate. It’s not that hard.
5. External Profiles
Whenever I encounter an interesting profile that I think is worth a second look, I always look for that person’s other profiles. Yes, that includes Facebook. The application is where he puts his best foot forward, but I want to see him in his “comfort zone.” You wouldn’t want to hire someone who picks fights or is full of negativity – or I may just be speaking for myself. I don’t want that on my team.
Profiles on other job sites, such as Upwork, is also valuable. For example, I had to reject an applicant because her profile on Online Jobs is so good, but there are negative reviews on her Upwork profile.
So because you’re looking for a job in the online world, be searchable – and take care of all of your profiles.
6. Application Letter (if applicable)
I know this is a nitpick, but I tend to ignore application letters that begin with Dear Sir/Madam or worse, To whom it may concern. People, you have access to the name of the job poster. You will see that when you click on “Apply for the job” – or whatever the “Apply” button says. 80% of the emails I received got my name right. I don’t see why you can’t edit your canned response to mention my name.
And speaking of canned response, don’t ever think that employers cannot recognise one. It’s so obvious. The best application letters are not the lengthy ones that detail your skills (although I sent a leeengthy one to my employer now – good thing it didn’t affect my chances haha). The best ones are those that are written with the exact requirements the employer wants. Does the job ad call for someone with a sense of humour (just like ours)? Tell me that you’re funny! Actually, I shortlisted the applications that paid attention to this requirement that we added! 😀
There you go; I hope I was able to help you! So edit, edit, and update your profile now. Be honest with your skills, and make sure you have good external profiles. Don’t use canned responses and pay attention to every requirement the client asks for. Most of all, do a good job!
Edit as of September 22, 2017
Before, an applicant used to be able to view the employer’s name when you apply for the job. Take a look at this application I sent to the company I’m currently with. I sent this on April 2015:
But it recently came to my attention that applicants aren’t able to do so anymore. I logged in to my personal profile and saw for myself that the employer’s name doesn’t appear when you apply for the project. With that said, don’t worry about using your employer’s name in the salutation of your application letter (unless he/she explicitly states it of course!). Still, never ever make it obvious that you’re sending the same application letter to a million job listings! 😀