From creating an engaging profile page to offering authenticity through video, here are 16 answers to the question, What are your most helpful tips for a freelancer to get noticed by prospective clients on Upwork?
- Refine Your Profile to Be Engaging and Professional
- Offer a Lower Price for Your First Clients
- Start Off With a Positive Testimonial
- Consider Offering a Free Trial
- Review Your Clients
- Include a Strong Hook in the First Sentence of Your Bio
- Have a Professional Headshot
- Create Industry-Specific Case Studies
- Showcase a Special "You" Factor With a Video Intro
- Make Your USP Stand Out
- Think About How You Present Your Body of Work
- Send Brief, Personalized Responses
- Write Your Profile About Your Client, Not Yourself
- Put Your Skills First
- Produce Work Samples
- Be Genuine With a Video Proposal
Refine Your Profile to Be Engaging and Professional
As a freelancer on Upwork, a top tip for getting noticed by clients is to create an informative and interesting profile. Make sure it is well-written, and grammatically correct with no typos, as this will show prospective employers that you are professional and dedicated.
Your profile should highlight your skills and qualifications, making it easier for potential clients to find freelancers with the specific skill set they are looking for. Engage with other users by commenting on their posts, sharing tips or advice, and generally being active within the community of fellow freelancers—this not only puts you top of mind but also shows potential employers that you have commitment, knowledge, and experience working in the freelancing field.
Mogale Modisane, CEO & Chief Content Creator, ToolsGaloreHQ
Offer a Lower Price for Your First Clients
If you're a new freelancer and don't have many positive reviews to fall back on, consider offering a competitive introductory price for your first few clients. This will attract clients with smaller budgets, who may be more willing to take a chance on an unreviewed freelancer in exchange for finding someone at their price point. Once you have built up a few reviews to demonstrate your quality and reliability, you can price your work at higher ranges.
Rachel Roff, Founder & CEO, Urban Skin Rx
Start Off With a Positive Testimonial
Prospective clients want to hear what past clients have said about you. Let them know right from the start what you bring to the table. If you don't currently have any testimonials lined up, reach out to clients whom you did a great job for.
Most people are willing to take a few minutes to write a good review for someone they were happy with. This strategy will help you stand out from your competition on Upwork.
Melanie Edwards, Sr. E-Commerce & Digital Product Manager, Olipop
Consider Offering a Free Trial
This can be a great way to showcase your skills and demonstrate the value you can bring to a project. For example, if you are a writer, you could offer to write a sample article or blog post for the client.
You could create a sample logo or design if you are a graphic designer. This not only allows you to show off your skills but also gives the client an opportunity to see how you work and get a sense of your style and approach
Make sure to clearly communicate the terms of your free trial or sample, such as the scope of work and any limitations, to set expectations and avoid misunderstandings.
Ilija Sekulov, Marketing & SEO, Mailbutler
Review Your Clients
Upwork is an excellent resource for business owners like me who want to find talent fast, and the reviews make a huge difference. As an avid review reader, it really stands out when a freelancer has taken the time to review their clients thoroughly. It shows me a few things: you have follow-through, you have professionalism, and I get to see a sample of your writing!
Taking the time to flesh out a review that touches on the work completed gives prospective employers insight into your attitude and quality of work, as well as the expected rapport with your employer. These are all important, especially for ongoing or long-term projects.
Tory Jon, Owner & CEO, CamperFAQs
Include a Strong Hook in the First Sentence of Your Bio
Whenever I search for talent on Upwork, I get a list of freelancers who share many of the same skills. Each listing includes a snippet of the first two lines of their biography. Make sure you include a strong hook in the first sentence of your bio.
It should include a keyword related to your core competency, and a phrase that sparks curiosity in the reader. If you do this well, you'll entice the reader to click through to your full bio, where they can learn more about your capabilities.
Dennis Consorte, Digital Marketing & Leadership Consultant for Startups, Snackable Solutions
Have a Professional Headshot
Getting noticed on Upwork in the sea of freelancers can be difficult, and that is why making the perfect first impression is so important. When it comes to first impressions, we're not talking about your proposal or your online portfolio, but literally what the prospective clients see first—your photo.
A great headshot can convey professionalism, confidence, and credibility to potential employers, giving you an edge over other applicants. This will be the first impression that the hiring manager has of you and can often make or break your chances of getting shortlisted or declined.
If done correctly, a well-taken headshot can convey that you take yourself seriously and make an effort to present yourself in a professional manner. Employers are looking for people who embody qualities such as punctuality, reliability, and professionalism—having a good headshot gives you a chance to show them exactly that.
Sean Lau, Travel Blogger, LivingOutLau
Create Industry-Specific Case Studies
From the hiring side, I would say that most people looking for a freelancer expect to see some case studies that are both recent and relevant to their industry
This doesn't mean that you have to continually produce hundreds of case studies for very specific industries; rather, you should take a look at the work you've done (and currently are doing) and look at how you can segment it into industries or sectors
That way, you can produce multiple case studies under a broader industry, even better if you want to target a specific sector or industry based on your freelancing preferences.
Tracey Beveridge, HR Director, Personnel Checks
Showcase a Special "You" Factor With a Video Intro
Getting noticed by prospective clients while freelancing can be tricky, but it can definitely be done with the right tips! Here's one tip I recommend to those looking to get noticed: create an engaging video intro.
It is a powerful format for introducing yourself; we, as prospective clients, love seeing (and hearing!) what sets you apart from other applicants. Plus, it will allow you to connect with potential clients in a more personal way than via text or images alone.
For example, just recently, we hired someone on Upwork to help us update our client's website UX/UI design—he was chosen because of his incredible introduction video that showed us exactly how great he could be for the job! Plus, he showed off his personality too, which made us want to know more about him and what he could bring to the project.
So, to make a great impression, focus on writing an engaging hook, highlighting your unique skills and experiences, and showcasing that special "you" factor!
Maria Harutyunyan, Co-Founder, Loopex Digital
Make Your USP Stand Out
Find your niche, don't be a generalist, and make it visible through your own personal mark
There are many freelancers for any kind of job, and the competition is fierce. Without your own personality at the table, you'll only be another nameless freelancer who might get lucky from time to time
Employers want to see commitment, passion, and a great assurance that you'll make them happy. Don't just list what you can do, but how you will do it. What will be the experience of working with you? This will set you apart and win you a good market share if you're good at your craft.
Cristina Imre, Executive Coach & Mentor for Founders, Quantum Wins
Think About How You Present Your Body of Work
We recently posted a job, and a freelancer provided us with broken links to their work. They also provided large zip files over 10 MB in size with Excel files that required access to other files.
From our perspective, we saw a bunch of error messages and hoops to jump through to see the freelancer's work. This freelancer didn't check their work, had poor quality management skills, and lacked technical empathy. It was one way to get noticed negatively!
Bobby Kircher, Founder, Papaya Search
Send Brief, Personalized Responses
Overall, the client wants to know that you will get the job done right—and efficiently
If you are replying to a job/project posting then reply with a very short custom message stating that you can do what they need efficiently, and that you are interested in discussing. And don't just reword the job post.
What you want is for the client to "shortlist" you for a brief chat so they can decide whether you are a good fit. Replies with too much info or "generic" responses are usually skipped over
When clients search, they notice freelancers with a list of raving reviews for work done on projects just like theirs.
CJ Cornell, Managing Director, CJ Cornell
Write Your Profile About Your Client, Not Yourself
Too many freelancers write their profiles or pitches with themselves in mind. They talk about their own skills, experience, and portfolio. But sales and marketing—even when it's selling yourself—is about speaking to the audience's pain points.
When writing my Upwork profile, I first think about why my prospective clients are hiring freelancers in the first place. To scale their personal output? To help their team hit targets? To launch a project in time? Then I speak to those goals.
Then, I think about what frustrations they may have with other freelancers in my industry. Is it hitting deadlines? Language proficiency? Communication skills? Understanding project requirements? And then I give evidence that they won't have those frustrations with me.
Put Your Skills First
Job postings on UpWork can get a lot of responses, and most prospective clients only have time to read the most promising ones. Since only 2-3 sentences of each proposal are visible without expanding, don't waste valuable space by starting a proposal with your name and title (the client can see that anyway!). Instead, try to make it clear that you read the whole posting, understand what they're looking for, and have the needed skills—in the first two sentences!
Rob Croll, Freelance Writer, Rob Croll
Produce Work Samples
What I recommend is to make sure that your profile demonstrates your skills and experience. Include work samples in your portfolio. Document the outcomes of your most successful projects. Potential clients can trust that you have experience delivering results. Additionally, it can be helpful to attain relevant certifications or accolades and include them as well.
Vladimir Gendelman, CEO, Company Folders, Inc.
Be Genuine With a Video Proposal
You don't need to look for people with problems to get paid to fix, or even convince people they have an issue. Simply convince them why you're the person to help.
I earned close to six figures on Upwork in my first 18 months due to one key principle: people buy people, not proposals. When everyone else is playing the volume game and copying and pasting proposals that get ignored, just be different.
Ninety percent of meetings I land start with the person saying, "I loved that video proposal; no one does that." On a platform plagued by people playing the volume game and copying and posting generic messages, a video really stands out.
It doesn't have to be professional, glamorous, or even good; just let them see you're human and making an effort. Be human, be genuine, and you'll be shocked at the responses you get.
John Duboyski, Founder & Owner, Flux Digital Labs
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