Ten “Little” Things That Can Keep You from Getting Your Dream Gig

missed-workYou know that you’re qualified for this project. You excel at every single requirement that the prospective client has listed in their job posting. In fact, this is your dream project.

You apply for the project and you fully expect that it’s just a matter of time before you start work. After all, this gig was practically made for you.

Sadly, days, and then weeks, pass without any word from the client. You wonder what’s delaying them. Why haven’t they made a decision? Then it happens… You hear through the grapevine that the client chose someone else. You wonder what could have gone wrong.

In this post, we examine ten reasons why you might not have gotten the gig.

Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job

There are many reasons why a you might not be selected for a project and, surprisingly, not all of those reasons have to do with your abilities or your rate.

Here are ten (sometimes) surprising reasons why a client may pass over you for a project:

  1. You missed some of the instructions. Often a client includes very specific instructions when they post work online. For example, they may wish to receive applications only through a particular email address or they may wish to receive certain information in the application. Usually, those instructions were there for a reason. If you applied too quickly and missed some of those instructions, that might be why they picked someone else.
  2. You waited too long. It’s a fact that there will be plenty of competition for most jobs posted online. In addition, most clients are already in a hurry to find someone when they post a job listing. Waiting a week (or even a few days) to respond could result in losing the work.
  3. Your application was too casual. In today’s Internet environment, many clients may request that applicants contact them by email or even through social media. While these forms of communication may seem casual, you should still take their responses seriously. An email responding to a job posting should really be viewed as a cover letter, and you should be careful to match their level of professionalism.
  4. Your application was too sloppy. How can a prospective client trust you to be careful with their project if your response to their job posting is full of typos and spelling errors? I know, we’re all guilty of rushing through things sometimes — especially when you’re really busy or really need the work. That said, make sure that you carefully review any job applications before you send them out. If you need it, get someone else to look for mistakes and typos.
  5. Your didn’t send a portfolio. Most clients do like to see samples of a freelancer’s work before making their final selection. Some freelancers feel that they can’t really show a portfolio until they have a lot of work experience. However, there are techniques you can use to build a portfolio before you even get your first client.
  6. You didn’t do enough homework. Often, it’s possible to lose a gig because they you didn’t do enough research about the prospective client. When you don’t take the time to learn about the client and their business it can be difficult to convince the client that you really understand them and can meet their needs.
  7. You haven’t been watching your online reputation. Like it or not, what you do and say online represents your freelance business. What others say about you is also important. An Internet savvy client will do research on you and your business before they hire you, and if they dig up something negative that could cause you to lose a gig. (One way to monitor your online reputation is to set up a Google Alert for your name and your business name.)
  8. You didn’t show enough enthusiasm. While it can be difficult to convey enthusiasm online, being excited about a project can sometimes mean the difference between getting a gig and not getting a gig. I once had a client tell me that the reason they chose me over the other applicants was because of how excited I was about getting the work.
  9. The client changed their mind. Once in a while a prospective client will post a job ad and then decide that they no longer want that work done. This can happen for a number of reasons. The client may have lost their budget for the project, or they may have truly decided to go a different direction.
  10. Someone else was more qualified. The Internet has a big pool of qualified freelancers. While all of them aren’t necessarily competing for the same projects that you apply for, chances are that competition for many projects is pretty stiff. (This is one reason why it is important to apply for many different opportunities.)

Now that we’ve listed possible reasons why a you might miss out on getting a project, let’s hear your opinion.

Have You Been Passed Over for a Gig?

If you think you know why you might have been passed by for a gig, share your thoughts in the comments.

Also, if you hire freelancers, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us what you look for when you select a freelancer and what might cause you to select one freelancer over another.

Image by seanj