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Can’t get my first job for two years

So I’ve been registered in upwork for more than a year and have been applying to jobs in two specialities. No one replied to my proposals and I stopped appying.

Recently I came back and started applying actively, but after so many proposals nobody is even interviewing me. I know there’s a lot of competition and other people have good feedback and reputation, so of course clients prefer them over me, but how am I supposed to get a feedback if no one even interviews me?
I don’t think I’m that incompetent...

Also I always give a good price, last time I offered to complete a 50$ project for just 10$.
Is something wrong with my profile?
Community Member


I don't know that there is anything wrong with you or your profile.

Your speciality is interior design. Honestly, most people hire interior designers locally. Similarly to how they hire chefs and landscapers.

But It also applies for jobs that require only drafting in AutoCad (nothing special), which is basically like abc to me, and I do have professional technical drawings which I always send in proposals, but still no one replies. even if I offer five times less the price (just to get my first job at least)

Hi Bonya, 

I looked over your profile, and I think you're off to a good start.
It took me about a two months to land my first contract. So patience is key!

One thing I wish I knew back when I started was the importance of a proper proposal. When you hand in a proposal, it should be to the point and not more than a handfull of sentences. State why you are applying for the position, your previous expereinces, and leave it at that. 

Hope this helped! 


I disagree, there are many successful interior designers on this platform and is not just a local thing - is a talent thing.


So my question to you is, what do you put in your proposals? Let's say is an interior design job for a 10k sq.ft. restaurant, they need conceptual design + visuals. With that little information (which unfortunately most posts are like), how would you respond? I ask this because I don't think it's an issue with your profile, it could be the way you're responding.



Thanks for your reply, Lila.

This is one of my proposals where the job was to create a 3D model out of 2D drawings.

This is definitely something I can do (thats what I do actually) and I was sure that I would get answered. I also gave a good bid. But no reply..

There you go Shaha - your proposal could be the issue.


This is how I read it:

hi, would like to work on your project,

Then is me, me, me, me, me....

Next paragraph is me, me, me, me. 

Again you touch base on the project proposing a timeline based on what? then you go back saying depending on your schedule.

Then again me me me me


Over 3/4 of your proposal was blabbing about you. You didn't ask any more question about the project itself - just noted: "I would like to work on your project". You didn't ask their timeline you suggested a timeline yourself. Here is my advice to you, take the opportunity to only talk about the job.

When a client receives a proposal it shows your profile and above the work history is your proposal. So before a client can see your proposal they can peek at your bio which talks about you (as it should for our category). So you see the issue, your proposal just repeated everything in your bio. Doesn't show me you're interested in the job....move on to the next freelancer.


Without knowing what the post is about this is what I would have written.


Hi (clients name if there is one in its history),


I see you're looking for assistance with photorealistic visuals for ___________(name of the project or anything else noted in the post)


I am interested in hearing more about your project vision, goal, timeline and deliverables. I would be happy to take a look further at your information, see how I can be of assistance and provide a best approach.


I have attached similar samples to this proposal for your review. For these visuals, I utilized CAD, 3Ds Max, and Corona to get a high-quality finish. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to let me know. I look forward to hearing more about your project.


Thank you for your time,



This talks about their project and you're asking for more information to review. Your proposal speaks about their job, your profile speaks for you. The icing on the cake, add examples of similiar portfolio for their review.


Hope this help.



Thanks a lot, Lila.

I can see the issue now. I actually didn’t realize how important it is to talk about the project, not about you and your experience... I’m kinda shocked hehe.

Will take steps to improve my proposals. Hope for the results.

Thanks again!

I know - when I learned it myself I was shocked too! Anyways happy to help. I also sent you a private message on here with more resources on writing proposals.



Community Member

Your problem is probably less about your technical skills and more about your marketing skills. If you want to be a successful freelancer, you need to study marketing. Learn how to identify your ideal client and pitch to them. 

Offering to do a $50 job for $10 just says that you are cheap, not skilled. Yes, there are clients that only care about cheap. But those clients have plenty of unskilled people to choose from. If you have talent, then find a way to target the clients who are willing to pay for talent. 

Community Member

Thanks for your teply, Tonya.

I thought about it, and I didn’t bid for the first few proposals, and I was somehow sure I would get those projects or at least one of them. I didn’t, and I thought of applying to easier jobs.
Again, I was sure I would get hired, since I have a professional experience, offered a good price and would complete that project in 1 day. Still no results.
I can’t even understand what could possible be wrong.
Community Member

Bonya S wrote:

I thought about it, and I didn’t bid for the first few proposals, and I was somehow sure I would get those projects or at least one of them. I didn’t, and I thought of applying to easier jobs.
Again, I was sure I would get hired, since I have a professional experience, offered a good price and would complete that project in 1 day. Still no results.

Don't bid too low. Lots and lots of clients will discount everyone who bids significantly under the budget.

Experiment with bidding around (Never exactly) on the budget, slightly below or even slightly above.


My suggestion was also to bid higher.  I just got a smallish job that was a couple of hours and I bid nearly 3 times the suggested amount by the client.  I got the job, and ended up finishing it faster than I thought so I acutally charged a bit less.  But all that is to say that clients rarely know what they want or need or how much it will cost. If there are lot of successful freelancers bidding at 3 or 4 times what you are bidding, then then a good client is probably interviewing the second or third highest bidder for your kind of work.  Never bid less unless you really think it will take less time than the client is expecting.  You are the expert and you know what how to bid out the job better than the client usually.


Also, just like clients, you can say that you don't really know how much the job will cost because you don't have all the information but then you can give them examples of types of jobs you done and how much they cost.  For example, I might say, that a typical 15-25 question survey costs $XX.  But that depends on how much logic is in the survey and how much research is required for the questions/answers.  Think of the proposal more as a way to earn the client's trust and get them to start talking to you.  Not as an end to the negotiation.  You might even give a very minor suggestion to the client based on the job, ex. I typically use this platform, but in your case we could use probably that platform because it will meet your needs and is cheaper...or whatever. 


Good luck.

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There are many different ways to obtain freelance work, and if you've been here for a year with no success, perhaps it's time to turn your focus elsewhere? I honestly don't mean this in a nasty way! Personally, I don't rely exclusively on Upwork to obtain new clients - I ask friends and past clients for referrals, I use social media, I check in with former clients regularly to see if they need anything else, I've taken out a few ads, I go to networking events, etc. etc. Even with my past experience on Upwork, I read through probably 500+ RFPs per month, and of those, I only bid on 20-30, and of those 20-30 bids, I get maybe 5-6 jobs. I mean, it's nice to think that you could just sit at your desk for half an hour a day posting a few proposals and the work will roll in, but that's just not the reality for the majority of people who want to be freelancers - you have to hustle.

Thanks, Christine.

I was not much active here for the past year but for the past few weeks I’ve been actively applying for jobs with no results. I will try to work on my proposals and stuff and probably try other places too.

Well, if you've only been actively trying for a few weeks, then definitely give it a bit longer. It's not unusual to go for a few weeks with no results, even for successful freelancers (things can get especially slow around holidays like Easter as well). 

If you haven't freelanced before, it involves a bit of a paradigm shift in terms of promoting yourself. It's different from applying for an employment position in that it's very project-driven. Especially here, where your profile serves as your resume & credentials and is immediately available to the client. As others have suggested, learn to use the cover letter to snag the client's interest and get them to engage with you, then don't hesitate to ask questions. That (1) demonstrates you know what you're doing, and (2) enables you to capture enough specific information to actually scope the job and provide a solid price quote and schedule.


I came here with 20 years of freelance experience and it still took a solid month to land my first small project and another month to land my second. It's a long game. Good luck!

Everyone has such great advice. One thing that helped me was checking my connects history and seeing who was hired on the jobs I bid on. How much was the winning bid? Most times it wasn't the lowest.

Community Member

I can understand your mindset.

I have been on upwork since March 2020.
And so far I have been able to answer just 1 interview.
I wonder what is wrong in my profile.

How can I even show job success when I dont get a single offer?

Please advise.
Community Member

Vanisha, your profile is simply too generic to appeal to one specific client. Just look around, how many software engineers are you competing with? (I'm one of them if we're put in the widest possible category.)

It's an expert's game out here. We get hired for specific tasks and specific projects. Generalists manage better in the location IRL game where client existing relationships and word of mouth are the key to success.

Will you aim to work with technical clients (other developers) or non-technical business owners? I cannot tell. But maybe from the number of tech keywords I'd guess you are a subcontractor type. That's rarely the best type of business for us techies.

You should probably aim to conquer a more narrow niche first. Not "software engineer" as the field is really huge.

"ASP.Net developer" is more specific.

"SQL Server expert" is more specific.

"Angular 4 specialist" is more specific.

Which of those do you want to be top at? Going deep on one topic is a better approach than going shallow in several topics.

Whomever you try to attract, try to speak their language.

Lots of technical jargon will only appeal to those who know that exact jargon.

Practical example: I had exactly 1 keyword on my first 3 years on this platform... So within just some months I was the most specialized guy doing what I did. I got all the good projects early on. And as I focused on non-technical clients, I never even listed the programming languages I master. They would not have known the difference anyway.

Specialize more. 😉
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