Tests, Ratings and Credential Verifications
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Since you fill out your own profile, what’s to stop you from saying that you have a PhD in astrophysics, or that you were the CEO of a Fortune 500 company? Nothing but your own integrity. Clients know that while most contractors are basically honest, some are not, and falsehoods in profiles are fairly common. Thus, they will tend to be understandably skeptical of more impressive claims about education and experience.
Some freelancing sites address this issue by offering credential verification. You can select a particular employment, education or other line item on your profile to be verified. This is generally done by a third party, and involves a one-time fee in the range of $25 or so per entry investigated.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to verification is that the more impressive the credential is, or the more likely a client is to doubt its veracity, the more value you will get from verification. You don’t need to verify a degree from an average college, or even a good one, because clients will not doubt such a claim. But if you have a degree from a truly prestigious university, or a degree that requires great expertise, verification is probably worth the cost. Similarly, clients will believe most work histories, but if you did something truly out of the ordinary, get it verified.
There’s another advantage to verification as well, which applies to everyone: it demonstrates professionalism, and your seriousness in pursuing your freelancing career. This process costs money, and for that reason most people don’t bother with verification, which makes you stand out more if you do. And anything that helps set you apart from the crowd is worth considering.
Ratings are like tests but they are self-assessed. In essence, you say on your profile that you feel you are a 9 out of 10 in a particular area. This helps clients understand what you believe your strengths are.
There’s nothing wrong with using these, but I recommend doing so sparingly, focusing on only the most important aspects of your work. Since these ratings are not verified in any way, here we are back to the “anyone can claim anything” problem. Clients tend not to pay a lot of attention to self-ratings, and will think it odd if you’ve put too many self-ratings in your profile.
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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