Last time, we wrote an article that covered some of the difficulties teams face when hiring outsourced talent – and how best to address those challenges. In this post, we’d like to cover the same topic again. But this time, we’ll shift our focus to the freelancer’s perspective.

As a software tester for hire, what steps can you take to boost your chances of landing the right types of freelancing gigs?

Let’s take a look.

Making Yourself Attractive as a Freelance Testing Candidate

Just as with any job hunt, the most important step involves making yourself as appealing as possible to potential clients. This is as true for full-time job seekers as it is for freelancers.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to polish up your presentation, including:

  • Doing lots of smaller jobs to gain experience and accumulate “hours” to put on your CV. This is especially important if you use online marketplaces that allow clients to filter candidates based on the number of hours logged.
  • Investing in continued education so you master critical programming, language, and testing skills. This can be done through formal education or through self-study.
  • Making yourself presentable – both online and off. More specifically, you should be highly communicative and readily available. Having an error-free profile or CV also helps. And perhaps most important – respect each prospect’s time. Your emails, phone calls, and pitches should only be as long as absolutely necessary.

The vast majority of freelance job seekers only tackle 1 or 2 of the above areas. If you cover all 3, you’ll be well ahead of the pack. In fact, you might find yourself receiving more offers than you can comfortably handle.

And that’s a good thing.

Making Yourself Invaluable as a Freelance Tester

You’ve finally landed a contract. Congratulations.

But it’s too early to start celebrating. There’s still a lot more work to do if you want to turn these initial offers into a revolving door of ongoing contracts.

Here are some tips to help you get there.

1. Assume Nothing
You’re eager to get started. And that’s great. Every client likes enthusiasm. But before diving in, make sure to consciously ask for all the data, tools, project outlines, and goals required to do the job.

Guesswork leads to waste. And waste leads to fewer opportunities down the road.

2. Check in Often
This is similar to the above. But now the focus is on checking in regularly to make sure you’re on the right track. However, you don’t want to bombard clients with unnecessary emails. Instead, batch your questions as much as possible. You might even consider doing daily reports – provided that everything is well-worded, concise, and absolutely clear.

3. Test, Test, and Test Again
As a quality assurance specialist, testing is obviously part of the job description. And you should follow all requests and directives as faithfully as possible.

But don’t stop there.

Instead, go above and beyond anything that is asked of you. And don’t be afraid to add your own special touch. Remember that one of the reasons clients higher externally is to benefit from a fresh pair of eyes.

4. Provide Detailed Documentation
It’s not enough to find bugs. Your reporting should also outline how to recreate any errors – preferably with screenshots, screencasts, and other useful guides.

It also helps to include which test you were conducting, what browsers or operating systems you were using, and any other conditions that might aid the development team. In fact, your reports should be so thorough that no one ever has questions about how to recreate issues on their end.

5. Take Initiative
Finding bugs can often uncover additional weaknesses or bottlenecks that need testing. Even if these areas aren’t in the original project scope, point them out anyway.

And here’s why.

As a freelancer, you bring a unique outsider’s perspective – a vantage point that can prove invaluable for teams working in isolation.

Even if you’re a relative novice, you’re still closer to the “end-user” than the in-house staff is. In fact, you might be the only team member who is immune to “groupthink.” And by sharing your likes, dislikes, and areas of confusion, you’re doing everyone a favor:

  • The team receives valuable feedback.
  • The end-user receives a better product.
  • The client makes more money.
  • You secure more work in the long run.

Want to Share Your Own Freelance Testing Tips?

In just the United States alone, 34% of Americans work as outsourced talent. So it’s pretty clear that freelancing isn’t going away anytime soon. This is especially true in the IT world where Internet access, programming skills, and a computer are the only real barriers to entry.

But freelancing will become more competitive, making it increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd.

However, we believe that the above tips will remain relevant no matter how much the freelancing landscape evolves. Being presentable, knowledgeable, and proactively helpful are all attractive attributes with tremendous staying power.

Agree? Disagree?

And are there any other job hunting tips you’d add to our list?

If so, please share them down below.