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How to get hired without a freelance portfolio

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Ace Contributor
Lisa M Member Since: Apr 11, 2017
1 of 16

I am very frustrated. I have been a member since Dec., have a completed profile, have taken multiple tests on which I've scored very high, have received Rising Talent designation and have submitted upwards of 50 proposals for jobs for which I know I am qualified, but have yet to receive a valid job offer. I am new to freelancing, so don't have a portfolio, and can only assume that this is a factor, but how can I remedy that? It's the proverbial vicious cycle! I've submitted for lower paying flat-rate projects, have offered flat rates lower than my hourly rate, offered to negotiate my fee and even test-lowered my rate temporarily, but still no jobs.

 

Second, isn't there a mechanism for jobs to be automatically removed from listings as soon as someone is hired? I've wasted connects applying to posted jobs, only to discover hours later that someone had been hired before I submitted, but there was no notification in posting.

 

I am trying to remain hopeful and to be persistent about looking for appropriate jobs and submitting proposals daily, but it is becoming increasingly discouraging and I'm ready to give up.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 16

Why don't you have a portfolio?

 

Nothing is stopping you from creating a number of portfolio pieces yourself. The portfolio is not (just) there to showcase things you di for others, it is there to showcase your SKILLS, so use those skills, put them to good news, and create portfolio pieces that back up what your overview states.

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Ace Contributor
Lisa M Member Since: Apr 11, 2017
3 of 16

I thought the portfolio had to be published online work, no? I've got plenty of writing that I've done, from previous jobs and even random reviews that I've posted, but nothing professional that's been contracted/paid for, then published online... So what constitutes a portfolio?

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 16

@Lisa M wrote:

I thought the portfolio had to be published online work, no? I've got plenty of writing that I've done, from previous jobs and even random reviews that I've posted,


 PERFECT!

 

That's your portfolio. It doesn't have to be X,Y,Z - it just has to be your own work and you have to have the right to use it!

 

Go for it, and GOOD LUCK!

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Ace Contributor
Lisa M Member Since: Apr 11, 2017
5 of 16

I'll give it shot. Hopefully it will make a difference! Thanks for the advice, Petra. Smiley Happy

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Community Guru
Catherine M Member Since: Jan 20, 2017
6 of 16

Although we are in different fields, I don't have a portfolio and it hasn't been a problem. Maybe it is not necessary in my area. What I have done, though, is to attach several recommendation letters from past employers that show their satisfaction with my work. I only do this with select positions and not the easier ones and it hasn't been a problem. In fact, I have had a few interviews just on that method.

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Ace Contributor
Lisa M Member Since: Apr 11, 2017
7 of 16

Thanks Catherine. I'll keep that in mind. I do think if someone needs as writer, though, that they'd like to see previous writing - I know I would. But Petra has clarified the portfolio expectations for me, so I'm going to go ahead and add what I can from past writings. Thanks very much for your help!

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
8 of 16

re: "Maybe it is not necessary in my area."

 

Yes, there is a big difference between what you do (a job niche for which a portfolio is less necessary) versus what the original poster does. (She is a writer and editor.)

 

A newbie writer without a portfolio is somebody who is not serious about working on Upwork.

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Active Member
Muhammad Haris A Member Since: Apr 11, 2017
9 of 16

First of all remain hopeful. Doing online work is very different from dealing with local client. Here on this platform we don't know each other. All the clients judge us based on the work we have already done, in this case it means the Portfolio. 
I have been trying my luck on upwork and previously odesk years ago but I didn't recieve any offer. Once I have been through the same situation as you are, I thought freelance jobs are based on luck only but that is not totally true.

I am not a pro on upwork but I can suggest you few things as my friends who do online freelance job once suggested me.

1 - Send proposal to the relevant jobs only, the work that you can do easily, good at it or can manage to do it. 
2 - Never show work that you haven't done. Even if you get the job the client will not be satisfied and will result in dispute.

3 - Never apply for rate that are too low or too high. If the rate is too high the client will definitely go for someone who has portfolio and have job success rate etc. Lower rate will show your low confident or maybe will give the impact that you didn't understand the job description. Go for the rate that is suitable for both.

4 - Expose your potentials in your cover letter. Let the client know about similar thing that you have done in the past, how you are planning to execute his job, how you are different from other freelancers (your unique selling point) etc.

5 - Read job description carefully. Ask question related to the job description post. This is very important, because it will help the client to understand that you are interested in the job. Not every client give proper description for job, so ask relevant questions.
6 - As you have so many job feeds it is totally up to your choice who you want to send a proposal, similary the client has many freelancer's proposal. SO HAVE PATIENCE.

Hope you get it. 

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Ace Contributor
Lisa M Member Since: Apr 11, 2017
10 of 16

Thanks for the suggestions and the encouragement - much appreciated!