It is extremely hard to get noticed in the freelance market. There are many sites available to search and apply for projects, but with hundreds of bids (a good majority of them being from top rated designers) it is nearly impossible to get that chance you so desperately need. So here are a few tips to help you stand out from the crowd.
1. Read the job listing thoroughly. Around 80% of the bids that a job poster receives are generic. Many freelancers bid on every job posted whether they are qualified for it or not, and they don't take the time to write a good proposal. Read the post. Write an in depth proposal, reiterate the deliverables, and answer any questions they have. It is astounding to see how many freelancers DON'T do this. This will give you an immediate advantage. Often you will see: "let's start" or "I want work on job with you". Employers don't look twice at these bids. The above examples actually lead us to our next tip...
2. Write your proposal like you can actually speak (and write) English. Maybe this should be number one on the list. "I want work on job with you" is a huge turn off to prospective employers. Often, this is simply an editing error that can be avoided. You began writing something else, and then went back and changed some things in order to make it sound better. Instead of coming out smelling like a rose, you immediately look like you don't have a good command of the English language. Since most freelance sites are world-wide, it is important that you do your best to NOT make this mistake because it appears at first glance that English is not your native language, or even worse, upon viewing your profile, they find that English IS your first language and you just can't speak or write it properly.
3. Apply for jobs that are in the vein of your best work. Let your portfolio speak for itself. Wow them with visuals! If you do want to break into something new, offer to do a project for less than it's worth (or for free) in order to gain the experience.
4. Don't get discouraged. It sometimes takes a long time to land your first freelance gig. It will happen! These tips are from personal experiences over several years, so you already have a head start!