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Advice on Proposals



I'm looking for strategies to improve my proposal writing. After taking the summer of '19 off (full-time work), I returned to UpWork in late September and noticed the Custom Profile rollout was complete, and ever since then I have not been able to convert on any of the proposals that I usually had a higher chance of winning (the ones I've won in the last 3 months were from invitations, nothing that was in my job feed). Please, note I do have a long track record of jobs and high earnings.


To compound matters, I just received an email from UpWork stating my profile was being switched to private until I started to look for work (or won work); however, I've submitted 15 proposals throughout December, so it's not like I'm not active.


So... when in doubt, turn to the crowd for thoughts and advice, right?


Here's a recent job posting that I submitted for, and with my experience, skillset, and background of winning these types of jobs, I was expecting at least a response (when I bid there were less than 5 bids, currently, there are over 20).


**edited for Community Guidelines**


Here's my proposal:


Hello Scott, I've heard you are a fantastic client to work for, and clients tell me I'm an awesome freelance designer, so designing your book project should be a smooth and seamless affair. As a book design expert with major-publishing house typesetting and formatting skills, I'll deliver an easy-to-read, "maximum... more

  • Do you have any questions about the job description?

    1, if you want a paperback and a hardback version, will you use IngramSpark to publish the book? Or a different entity? It doesn't matter to me whom you use, however, I will need to know in order to format for the appropriate specs.

  • What past project or job have you had that is most like this one and why?

    I've attached four business book samples that I've formatted; for each book the client wanted a print version and Kindle version. Each client wanted a book that was easy to read; some have quotes with boxes, some have interviews,

  • What questions do you have about the project?

    1, do you have a cover designed? I'll need that complete the Kindle version 2, do you have a completion timeline? Or does 10 days (or less) work for you? 3, what book dimensions do you want? 6x9? 5.5"x8.5?

I'm looking for thoughts/advice because I'm not sure if my profile is blocked or hidden (it hasn't been viewed since 12/23)? Or I'm not writing the proposals with enough snap to capture the client's attention or is my tone off? Or I'm the competition is much stiffer than what it was back in May?


Thank you in advance.



Community Member

Only the beginning of your cover letter is visible, but the one thing that jumps right out to me is that you waste that very valuable real estate in the first couple of lines with useless flattery and puffery. The client only sees two lines before deciding whether to click through and read the rest of your proposal, so it's generally a very bad idea to waste that space on generic introductory stuff--that's where your hook needs to be.

Tiffany S wrote:

... the first couple of lines with useless flattery and puffery.

My word of the day. "puffery"


I tried and failed to find a word for that level of "whatever" but "puffery" sums it up perfectly.


Thank you

Community Member

How would you have heard anything about the client? That first line doesn't come across well at all.

"Activity" means earnings within the 30-day period. Your profile will be placed on private even if you have an active contract if no payments are made for 30 days. If you want your profile to remain visible, just contact CS or subscribe to the premium services. 

Community Member

Tonya P wrote:

How would you have heard anything about the client? That first line doesn't come across well at all.


That bugged me, too, but I assumed he was referring to reviews.

Okay, got it. More focused first sentence!


Thank you

Overall, it seems a bit lengthy to read, to me. Was the job description long? My rule of thumb is to always write a cover letter that is just slightly shoter than the job description. The reason: If the client didn't have time to write a long job description, they won't have the time to read a long cover letter either. But if they are very serious and want to be extra careful in selecting the right fit, they will take the time to write a lengthy job description. So, in those cases, you should also be serious and take the time to proove why you are a good fit. 

ignore what I said about your cover letter looking lengthy to read...I see where it got cut off now. And the rest are just the questions and answers. But my advice still stands if it was long. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Chris, 

If an established freelancer doesn't earn money on Upwork for 30 days, their profile visibility will automatically change to private. This is checked daily, not once a month. If you aren't regularly earning on our platform, your profile may be set to private, even if you submit proposals and interview frequently. There are different ways of setting your profile to public again, one of which is contacting us directly so that we can set your profile visibility to public.

I have set your profile's visibility back to public. If your profile is set to private again after 30-days, or sometime in the future, check out the options listed in the email notification or in the pop up on Find Work page to set it back to public. You may read more about this in this help article.


As for your proposals, I would recommend that you check out these articles from our Hiring Headquarters to help you create proposals that win jobs, and help you boost your career on Upwork: 

Hopefully, this helps you with your Upwork career. Good luck!

~ Avery
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