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Cannot get my first job!

Active Member
Riyad D Member Since: Feb 20, 2019
1 of 14

I am new to Upwork. I have submitted at least 10 proposals so far, if not more. I simply am unable to get accepted and make a track record.


Other than the fact that I am missing some examples of my work (which I do not have much of since all my experience was co-ops/internships, which is all confidential, and school work), I am not sure why I never get chosen. Even for simple tasks like data entry I am unable to get anything.


I would appreciate if someone can look over my profile and give feedback. Also, perhaps if someone can give a rough estimate for hourly wage of someone of my level.




Active Member
Terri B Member Since: Feb 20, 2019
2 of 14

I'm in the same boat and have a video and samples available and am wearing out my keyboard submitting offers.  Good luck!


Active Member
Riyad D Member Since: Feb 20, 2019
3 of 14

It defeats the purpose of having a freelancer website!


I heard from a few freelancers that there are several people from third-world countries who are using VPNs and faking their US address to get jobs from out here. They are also the ones who offer a lot less pay because the cost of living there is much much lower! This causes us to get outbeat... 


Good luck to you too!

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
4 of 14

Your profile is set to private. We (I) can not view it. Also, data entry jobs are a dime a dozen here with hundreds of freelancers submitting proposals to them. Unless you have something spectacular concerning data entry, it's extremely hard to get a job in that category. Also, most of those freelancers, for whatever their reasons may be. (low cost of living, utterly desperate for a job, trying to get their first job) are bidding the lowest amount that is set by Upwork. 

Active Member
Riyad D Member Since: Feb 20, 2019
5 of 14
Sorry about that, I just made it public.

The problem is I am bidding for jobs that are a lot less of an expert-level so I can actually do the job well. I have some experience but not good enough to bid on stuff that I would need to take a big leap to prove myself for. Also, for a first job, I decided something easier would be better.
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
6 of 14

10 proposals isn't much at all. Even people who have been on Upwork for years - like me - aren't guaranteed a job every time we submit 10 proposals! It's a bit soon to get discouraged. As has already been pointed out, you're competing with hundreds of other people, and if you're only applying for easy jobs that lots of other people know how to do, then clients tend to go with the lowest bidder. You say that you're not an expert and don't have enough portfolio pieces - with no track record, an incomplete portfolio and little experience, the I'm afraid that the odds are against you. In order to be successful on Upwork, you need to stand out from the competition and ideally offer something that others don't - if your prices aren't the lowest, then your work needs to really stand out. 

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
7 of 14

I submitted about 30 proposals to land my first project. About 30 more to get the second. First client hired me for several more projects. Finally got another client who hired me more than once. After about half a year, I stopped using all my connects every month. It takes time and persistence.


Search FLs using terms and filters you expect clients would use to find you, and see what your competition is. Find FLs with qualifications and credentials comparable to yours, doing the kind of work you want to do for the compensation you are aiming for, and examine how they're doing it.

Active Member
Riyad D Member Since: Feb 20, 2019
8 of 14

That is a great idea, I did not know I can search FLs as an FL. Will try that! Thanks for your response.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
9 of 14

According to Upwork's quarterly report to the US government, there were 41,379 freelancers paid for working on projects on Upwork in the Sept. 30, 2018 quarter. With far more than that number total registered freelancers, some of the 5,000 skillsets across 70 categories must be very, very competitive in winning new jobs from potential clients. I don't know if there is any way to tell what pricing is common on Upwork for your area of specialty. 

Are you using the Find Work/Advance Search function to find new jobs? The more specific you are in your search words the more focused your search can be, which might bring to your attention open projects that do so many freelancers are not applying to.


If you have never done in the real world the kind of work you are hoping to do on Upwork, your first task after setting up a great profile and providing excellent examples of your previous similar work (even academic projects, if that's all you have) is to figure out what price you can charge for your work. You will need to test different price points across a large number of proposals. For example, if you think the right hourly rate for your type of projects might/should be $15, you could submit 20 proposals @ $10, 20 @ $12.50, 20 @ $15, 20 @ $17.50 and 20 @ $20. You might see more success at some price points than other, which gives you some idea of where your ideal pricing is. If you win no proposals, can set your range higher or lower and try again.


Unfortunately, Upwork does not provide any information for you to see the winning bid on projects you have submitted proposals on, so it’s something you’ll have to guess at initially and test from time to time. If you win no proposals over time, pricing is the easiest change you can make. But if you find yourself starting to win more projects than you can easily handle, raise your pricing a bit until your wins start to slow down and your income per project increases. Remember that it's better to win 3 projects paying you $100 each than to win 6 projects that pay you $49 each, all other things being equal. 

Active Member
Riyad D Member Since: Feb 20, 2019
10 of 14

Thanks Will for the very detailed response and for providing a great background to choose a price point!