As freelancing grows in popularity, platforms like Pangea.app are exploding with opportunity. A place for students, recent grads, and young professionals to gain access to paid, remote freelance work, Pangea serves as the bridge between emerging talent and their prospective careers.
If you’ve been applying for freelance gigs but haven’t quite landed one yet, we’re here to help. We recently sat down with New Degree Press author and Pangea client, Jennifer Asher, who offered her advice on proposals, portfolios, discovery calls, and more. Jennifer recently used Pangea to hire a social media manager to help promote her new book, Journey to My Daughter: A Memoir About Adoption and Self-Discovery.
#1: Craft Custom Proposals
When writing a proposal, highlight what you bring to the table. Simply introduce yourself then take the next 4-5 sentences to detail what you’re capable of and what you would do for them specifically. Research their company, brand, or product, and tailor your proposal around what you perceive their needs to be.
When applying for jobs as a freelancer, your proposals will serve as your first (and possibly only) impressions. Upon reviewing the 20 plus applications Jennifer received on her job post, there were only a handful of proposals that really stood out. Those who took the time to write unique, thoughtful proposals that displayed genuine interest in the role were the ones who landed interviews. It’s fine to have a proposal template to turn to, but avoid copying and pasting the same text into each and every job post. They will notice!
#2: Appropriately Answer Screening Questions
Oftentimes, clients will include screening questions on their job posts. These are there to further gauge your interest in the role as well as your ability to knock out the tasks at hand. Answer these questions to the best of your ability in clear, concise, and complete sentences. The answers Jennifer received to the screening questions on her Social Media Manager job post determined who received an interview invite and who didn’t.
“One of my screening questions was, ‘Are you comfortable with posting on various social media platforms?’, and several applicants simply wrote, ‘yes’, '' Jennifer said. Even if a client poses a yes or no question, NEVER respond with a simple yes or no. Screening question answers should be 1-3 sentences long and could be as simple as, “Yes, I post to LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok daily.”
#3: Provide Portfolios & Sample Work
As a freelancer, you’re expected to have a certain level of expertise on day one. You might have a beautifully written resume detailing your work experience, but for these types of roles clients want to see you know what you can do before hiring you. Portfolio websites are a great way of showcasing previous projects you’ve worked on. Using platforms like Wix and Adobe Express, you can easily craft a visually appealing digital portfolio for free in just a few minutes.
Similar to keeping your proposals and screening question answers short and sweet, you also want to avoid bombarding potential clients with too much sample work. “No one is going to look at 20 work samples,” Jennifer said, “so you should narrow it down to 3-4 that are appropriate for the project.” It’s totally fine to have a wide range of work samples on your portfolio, just be sure to highlight which works fit in with the role you’re applying for.
#4: Come to Discovery Calls Interested, Prepared, & Confident
Hooray! You landed a discovery call.. Now it’s time to prepare. Always walk (or Zoom) into a call having done your research on the company. Come up with a plan of action you would take based on your knowledge of their business and your experience with the opportunity they’re considering you for. If you take the time to do these things beforehand, you will display an air of confidence, which was the number one thing Jennifer looked for when comparing candidates.
The candidates that stood out to Jennifer most were the ones who exhibited “confidence they knew what they were doing and that this wasn’t going to be a struggle for them.” Companies turn to freelancers for assistance in areas where they themselves are not proficient, so it’s important for them to feel comfortable that you know what you’re doing and are ready to get to work straight away. Be sure to always come with a few questions of your own as well!
#5: Send a Post-Call Follow-Up
After the discovery call, always follow up with a prompt thank you email or message. You may have been one of 20 freelancers considered for this project, but the odds are less than half of them reached out after the fact. This is an easy way to float yourself out there one more time and rise above the competition. Shoot, even include a link to that beautiful portfolio website of yours one more time to remind them how awesome you are. If they asked for you to provide a more detailed proposal on the work discussed, be sure to scope that out and send it over as soon as you can.
Speaking to her final decision making process, Jennifer made an interesting note about one of the candidates she was considering but did not end up hiring. This particular freelancer followed up with a beautifully created social media plan designed around Jennifer’s book that would have most likely landed her the job, but it didn’t come until after she had already made a hire. These projects fill fast, so act fast, be confident, and know Pangea.app’s always got your back!