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Mar 29, 2024
How I Became a Top Rated Freelancer as a Writer - 4 Secret Tips!

I’m not a native English speaker. Yet I have earned the Top Rated on Upwork and still working on multiple projects. 


Truth be told, surviving in the online writing industry is challenging, it gets worse if English isn’t your first language. 


Despite the challenges, I was able to find a way out, thanks to four unique techniques I applied in particular throughout my journey. 


And today, I want to reveal them! Let’s spill the beans, shall we?  




1. Show Live Samples and Portfolio 


Always add your content samples in the cover letter. Make sure the content is live on a website. Sure, having your content published on big sites like HubSpot or Forbes is great, but don't sweat it if you don't. One of my friends landed some top writing jobs without those big names. 


Just get your content published on any website, big or small, with your name listed as the author. It's always better to have your work published with your name and photo attached rather than just sharing Google Docs links.


You can also share your portfolio where all your current works will be available. Here is mine, you can check it out to get some ideas. 


Pro Tip: Check out 6 Steps for Building Your Writing Portfolio. This article serves as a guide to building a writing portfolio that will allow your independent writing career to blossom over time.




2. Prove Your Niche Expertise 


Always submit samples relevant to the niche the client has posted the job for; for instance, if the client is seeking writers with experience in the travel niche, provide samples specifically tailored to that niche rather than any other.


What happens if you have never done travel blogging? Well, I’d suggest you not apply for the job in the first place because writing jobs have become way more competitive and your possibility of landing a job without niche expertise is pretty slim.  You can also talk up any relevant job experience you have in the niche.


For instance, when I applied for a crypto writing job, I made sure to mention my previous managerial role in a crypto company. I included my CV with the application, highlighting my expertise. 


Pro Tip: Upwork has a resource article on the 16 Best Freelance Writing Niches (and How to Choose Yours) 




3. Keep Your Cover Letter Short and Straight to the Point  


Some folks tend to go on and on in their cover letters. Keep yours brief and directly related to the job. Only mention examples of your work that really fit what they're looking for. I snagged a job by keeping my cover letter short and hitting exactly what the client needed.


Check out more on how to write a cover letter here: How To Write a Cover Letter  




4. Don't Sound Too Formal or Artificial 


Besides offering writing services, I have also worked as a recruiter hiring a number of writers. One thing I've noticed is that some applicants get way too formal in their cover letters.


You don't need to start with 'Sir' or beg for the job. Just be yourself! Jot down your thoughts as they come to you when you read the job posting, and then tidy them up before you hit send.


Extra Credit: How To Create a Proposal That Wins Jobs. A single project can attract 5 to 50+ proposals from freelancers. If you want to stand out among the crowd, a well-crafted proposal may be just what you need. 




These are just a few tricks I've used to climb the ranks on Upwork as a writer. I reckon they can help anyone out, whether English is their first language or not. Good luck out there!


Wanna learn more? Feel free to connect with me - Tamzid Ahmed