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Jul 10, 2023
Profile Optimization: How to Stand Out to Clients on Upwork

Profile Optimization: How to Stand Out to Clients on Upwork


To help you create an outstanding Upwork profile that attracts potential clients, we've gathered insights from 13 industry professionals, including Vice Presidents, CEOs, and Directors. From focusing on a specific niche to using eye-catching portfolio thumbnails, discover the top strategies these experts recommend for making your profile stand out.


  • Focus on a Specific Niche
  • Choose a Quality Profile Picture
  • Highlight Your Unique Value
  • Demonstrate Competence with a Portfolio
  • Avoid Adding Massive Blocks of Text 
  • Post Relevant Certifications
  • Display Quantifiable Achievements
  • Highlight Multilingual Skills and Updates
  • Include Relevant Performance Stats
  • Showcase Excellent Customer Service
  • Personalize Your Service Overview
  • Create an Engaging Intro Video
  • Use Eye-catching Portfolio Thumbnails


Focus on a Specific Niche

If you are a freelancer trying to get clients through Upwork, aim to target a specific kind of client. For example, you could be a copywriter for the health and wellness industry or for the veterinary field. If you have extensive experience in any of these sectors, you could get even more specific. 


Either way, showcasing a specific niche is an effective way to help your Upwork profile stand out because those who need your particular skills and knowledge will notice it.


Drew Sherman, Vice President of Marketing, RPM



Choose a Quality Profile Picture

Yes, it's not Tinder, but still, having a quality picture with a vibrant background will definitely give your profile extra clicks and proposals. The human brain perceives pictures much faster than text, and a good image will improve your CTR. 


Also, when I see low-resolution “passport-style” images, it makes me wonder if these people are able to keep up with the latest trends in design, coding, or marketing. On the other hand, profiles with modern images reflect an understanding of contemporary design, aesthetics, and trends.


David Kemmerer, Co-founder and CEO, CoinLedger



Highlight Your Unique Value

One thing that can make you stand out to potential clients on Upwork is showcasing your unique value proposition. Here’s how to do that:


  • Expertise: Highlight your specific skills, certifications, or areas of expertise. 
  • Impressive portfolio: Include samples of your previous work that showcase your best projects. This allows potential clients to see the quality and style of your work.
  • Client testimonials: Request feedback and reviews from previous clients, and showcase positive testimonials on your profile. Testimonials act as proof, demonstrating your credibility and the satisfaction of past clients.
  • Results-oriented approach: Emphasize your ability to deliver tangible results. Share success stories.
  • Demonstrate your responsiveness, reliability, and proactiveness in addressing their concerns or questions. 
  • Competitive pricing or unique packages: Consider offering competitive pricing or unique service packages that differentiate you from others.


Lyle Solomon, Principal Attorney, Oak View Law Group



Demonstrate Competence with Portfolio

A portfolio! If the type of work you do can be demonstrated in a portfolio, then it's worth putting one on your profile. Potential clients are trying to get a feel not just for you but for your work style and competence. 


If they see that you've provided examples of previous work, they can more easily get that feel and won't feel like they're gambling as much by hiring someone new. This will make you a safer and more informed choice than others who have no work samples available.


Kirkland Gee, Co-founder, Perfect Extraction



Avoid Adding Massive Blocks of Text 

Have a clean, organized portfolio that clients can peruse! I see so many portfolios that are overstuffed with samples, disorganized, and are much too broad in scope. Select your absolute best work or most impressive samples and save the rest for a rainy day. There is nothing more deterring as a client than facing a massive block of text for a portfolio! We want something clean, organized, and easy to navigate.


Paul Kushner, CEO, My Bartender



Post Relevant Certifications

In my experience, one key element that's essential to include in your Upwork profile is your certifications. These are not just your degrees or formal education, but professional certificates you've earned that demonstrate your competency and skills in your field. 


For example, when I was just starting my career in arboriculture, I acquired an ISA Certified Arborist certification. I made sure to showcase this on my profile. Not only did it provide a solid endorsement of my skills, but it also signaled to potential clients that I was committed to my profession and serious about delivering quality service. 


Trust me, in a sea of profiles, a certification stands out like a bright beacon, attracting the right clients to you.


Ben McInerney, Director and Founder, Home Garden Guides



Display Quantifiable Achievements

Speaking as someone who often hires freelancers on Upwork for short-term projects at my firm, professionals who demonstrate specific, quantifiable achievements in their portfolios with images from past successful projects often stand out the most. 


For instance, for a digital marketing gig, I'll definitely get in touch with a freelancer who has displayed graphs of successful ad campaigns while mentioning specific KPIs they've improved for a client. I've noticed many candidates list a large number of skills and mention their years of experience but fail to actually specify what they've achieved during all those years with all their skills. 


A well-built portfolio with only a year's experience can sometimes seem more appealing than someone with five years' experience but nothing to show for it.


Anjela Mangrum, President, Mangrum Career Solutions



Highlight Multilingual Skills and Updates

If you speak multiple languages, be sure to include them in your profile. Fluency in another language can be a great tool for clients that require localization, translation, or multilingual assistance. It broadens your prospective client base and displays you as a versatile freelancer capable of catering to a wide range of audiences, in my opinion. 


Remember that your Upwork profile should be an accurate depiction of your talents, expertise, and distinguishing characteristics. Keep it up to date with your newest accomplishments to stay relevant in the marketplace. To increase your trustworthiness, seek feedback from clients on a regular basis and add their testimonials or evaluations to your profile.


Tiffany Hafler, Marketing Manager, FORTIS Medical Billing



Include Relevant Performance Stats

Include relevant performance statistics in your profile to make yourself stand out to potential clients on Upwork. Aside from your Job Success Score that Upwork automatically calculates, your clients want to see performance stats pertinent to the project deliverables they are seeking.


For instance, if you're a content writer, provide the numbers on how many websites you've written content for, and how many of your content pieces have ended up on the first page of search results. If you're a software developer, share how many software projects you've successfully completed, how many different niches you've worked in, and an accurate estimate of how much revenue your products have earned for clients over the years.


These stats prove to potential clients that you're capable of achieving the type of results they're looking for.


Ben McInerney, Founder and Director, GoSolarQuotes



Showcase Excellent Customer Service

Many clients are looking for freelancers who can offer high-quality customer service with their work, so if you demonstrate your commitment to providing excellent customer service, it will make you stand out from the crowd. 


Some best practices to include in your Upwork profile are to emphasize how you communicate with clients, provide timely and efficient service, and strive to exceed expectations. Providing examples of satisfied customers you’ve served in the past is another great way to show potential clients that they will be getting quality work from you.


Darren Shafae, Founder, ResumeBlaze



Personalize Your Service Overview

A detailed overview outlining your services is an excellent element to include in your Upwork profile. This section allows you to showcase your expertise, experience, and the specific services you offer. However, to truly stand out to potential clients, it's important to go beyond the generic approach and infuse your personality into your profile.


Consider adding a personal touch by sharing your story, your passion for your work, and how you approach projects. Instead of simply listing your skills, highlight the unique perspective or approach you bring to your services. Share anecdotes or examples that demonstrate your problem-solving abilities or successful outcomes you've achieved for previous clients. This humanizes your profile and helps potential clients connect with you on a more personal level.


John Cammidge, PPC Trainer, Jcammidge



Create an Engaging Intro Video

Potential customers will see your headline and a piece of your bio when they visit your Upwork profile. If they don't want to read any further, they can simply click "Play Video" to learn more about you and your writing services. While not all writers are at ease in front of the camera, it is something I suggest. 


Making a short video allows you to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your confidence. Furthermore, you can discuss your writing business and help people get to know, like, and trust you. Don't worry, the video doesn't have to be long—it shouldn't be. One to two minutes is sufficient time to convey your message. Focus on who you are, your experience and niche, and, most importantly, how you can assist clients in building their businesses in your short opening video.


Arman Minas, Director, Armstone



Use Eye-catching Portfolio Thumbnails

I've been both a hirer and a top-rated plus freelancer to know that the easier and eye-catching your portfolio is, the better. If you don't have client portfolio items, you can always put some of your own works up to start off the process but always have a thumbnail.


Arthur Lee, Head, Arthur Lee



Submit Your Answer

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