How To Get Hired On Upwork – Step-By-Step Guide

If you want to get hired on Upwork there are a few things to keep in mind. This step-by-step guide is designed to help freelancers who are struggling to land a job.

Getting to the point where you can earn your living on Upwork can take a while. There’s a huge competition, both in the terms of quality and quantity. Many freelancers, unfortunately, agree to work for the lowest fees, while others will command higher fees due to their skills, rating and experience. Of course, the latter is the group where we all wish to belong, though many fails. Those new to Upwork should know that just because they’re new does not mean they have to “work for peanuts”.

In this article you will learn the best tactics for applying to jobs on Upwork, as well what you need to do even before you apply.

get hired on upwork

Set up your profile properly

A complete profile is a bonus, whether your client looks at it or not. If they do, it shows you put effort into it, and therefore are much more probable to put effort into your assignment than someone who didn’t complete their profile. However, one part of your profile will always be seen and serve as the first impression of you – your profile picture.

Some things go without saying, but I’ve seen some questionable photos on Upwork, so I’m going to say it: avoid photos from parties. There’s the other extreme, using photos that look like you just went to get your passport picture taken. There’s no need for a strict, formal, impersonal photo: be yourself, just with a nice non-distracting background and preferably a smile.

You can use PhotoFeeler and experiment a bit with various pictures. PhotoFeeler provides real reviews from real people that will help you make a right decision.

Take Upwork tests

When it comes to tests, I suggest doing all tests that are relevant to your desired categories. This is beneficial to you as well, not just to your clients. Of course, they will be able to see how you rank in a certain category, but they won’t give you a job based on that. Where it comes handy the most is helping you to evaluate your expertise.  For example, your services are mostly SEO based. If you are in 30% of the freelancers in every Upwork test based on SEO, you know how much learning is still ahead of you.

Of course, not every test is a good measure of your knowledge and expertise, and some of them might be slightly outdated. This is why clients don’t make decisions based solely on test results. Not only that, but some of the tests can be solved with some Google help. Still, it is useful to have these to fill out your profile, and if you get a bad score, you can always hide it or improve it later.

Write a better cover letter than your competition

The most important step in your quest to get hired on Upwork is the cover letter. First off, you need to forget about “samples” or any other “tailored” cover letters that you can just copy/paste and put no effort into. There is no magical cover letter that will win every job for you. This might seem like common sense to some of you, but I’ve seen many requests for samples and whatnot.  Yes, there are a few things to keep in mind when writing a cover letter, but a universal key to every job posting? No.

This article by Danny Marguiles breaks down some common mistakes that people make in their cover letters. The one that is probably most easily avoided is writing your cover letter “upside down”. Clients see the additional questions category first, so write your cover letter accordingly.

Answering client’s questions should be prioritized in a cover letter. While in some cases your past experience may earn you the job, you can achieve as much with putting effort into your cover letter or sending samples that fit the job description. Always bear in mind that 20+ people also applied for the same job. Out of all those, however, at least 50% are bound to be generic applications that the client is unlikely to even consider. And many clients seem to prefer when a freelancer is personable, approachable and takes time to do their best.

Know your rates and bid accordingly

Make sure your client knows how much you are bidding and why. Let’s say you charge by the hour, and that you’re applying for an article writing job in the sports niche. The client requires a post-match preview or an opinion piece on tactics. In either case, there’s a lot more work than simply writing the article. You need to watch the match, or do some research on tactics, and that should be counted as hourly work as well.

Unless, of course, your client would prefer that you just read someone else’s preview and draw your information from there. If they hire you, they can save money that way, but also lose on quality – but it’s their choice. A lot of things are negotiable when it comes to bidding – for example, you may opt to charge your research time less than your writing time, or vice-versa. If you charge per word, you can still charge the “outside activities” hourly – just make sure you state it clearly to the client. Knowing your rates to the T leaves a good impression, and if you value your own time, odds are that your client will, too.

Focus on details

A neat way to get an insight into what your client values is to check out feedback they left to previously hired freelancers. If they commended a freelancer for completing the work before deadline, make sure you mention if you are able to do that. If they complained about a freelancer’s communication skills, be communicative, while setting clear borders on your availability.

You can also try to emulate your client’s writing style. This is mostly psychology, but it could work if done subtly enough.

Above all this – be patient and consistent. Test your cover letters, see what is works best for you and utilize it.

Do you agree with our article? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Janko Glavonjić

Freelance copywriter interested in sports, science, gaming and fitness. And, of course, the best brother in the world :)

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