Here are some tips for faster success -
Be Brutally Honest
The biggest thing is to be honest. Don't apply for jobs that you are not qualified for. If you get selected for a job that you are not qualified for, the employer will find out pretty quickly that you were less than honest about your qualifications for the job. Not only will you lose the job, but you may open yourself up for receiving negative feedback which will be displayed on your profile page for all to see.
Honestly assess your skills and levels of expertise. If you are a great typist, then say that. If you are a so-so writer, then apply for job postings accordingly. Just don't pretend to be an expert at things you know very little or nothing about. Don't apply for jobs that require 10 hours a week if you only have 5 hours to work. Be honest in an evaluation of your skills and doing the best possible job for each employer.
Ask questions in the forum. Apply to jobs. Take more tests while you're waiting for that first job. Everything you can add to your profile will help get you working.
Always be professional. When you land that first job, always respond to e-mails as soon as possible. Ask questions if you need clarity on something. Go above and beyond. If the employer has a tight deadline, then be sure to meet or beat the deadline. Do what you say you are going to do. This is no time for excuses or dropping the ball. If it turns out that something comes up and you are no longer able to fulfull your contract, then be honest and professional in letting the employer know as soon as possible so they can make other arrangements.
One of the biggest complaints of employers is that once they award a contract to someone, suddenly they don't hear from the person again, or the person has 100 excuses for not being able to finish the job, etc. Don't be one of these people.
When you are first starting out, the goal is to get a contract so you can get some feedback and logged hours on your profile page. So, as you are applying to jobs, see what some of the other contractors are bidding. You may want to bid low at first just to get some projects. Don't worry...as you log hours and get positive feedback you can increase your hourly wage.
Also, if I were looking to apply for a contract but saw that there were 50 people applying, I would pass on that one because there's a lot of competition. Not that you can't bid on these projects, but if you are just starting out, I would go for something with a bit less competition.
On my profile page, I had listed an hourly rate and when I was awarded a contract, I was offered 2x as much as my price! Not only that, but if the employer is happy with your work, they can give you a bonus. So again, if you do get a bonus, even though your hourly price is on the low side, a bonus awarded might make up the difference in a hurry!
Do a good job and you will get more jobs and make more money.
You'll never get hired if you don't get over to the site and sign up, take your tests and get ODesk ready! The sooner you get started, the sooner you will have money rolling in!