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I am new to Upwork. I can't find work because they require Upwork minimum hours

Active Member
Jacqueline J Member Since: Aug 16, 2016
1 of 16

Any tips on how I get my first job when the majority of postings require 500 hours experience with Upwork?  I am dissapointed because the first job offer was a SCAM supposedly from: **Edited for Community Guidelines** and they asked me to do an interview on Google Hangout, which I reported as inappropriate. Smiley Sad





Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
2 of 16

They WANT 500 hours.  They can still hire you even if you don't fit.  If your experience is vast, go ahead and apply.  Explain that you are new to Upwork but not new to your profession.  It worked for me.  (Besides, if you do fixed price contracts, they don't even show as hours worked)

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Active Member
Jacqueline J Member Since: Aug 16, 2016
3 of 16

Thanks! I will give it a try!

Active Member
Azhar I Member Since: Oct 4, 2018
4 of 16

I am new on upwork, I sent proposals on 10 bids but so far I didn't get any response from any client. Kindly guide me what should I do?

Community Guru
Christy A Member Since: Dec 30, 2015
5 of 16

You can still apply, even if you don't meet the 500 hour requirement.  Make sure you write a killer proposal and be patient.  It can take a bit of time to get your first job.

Community Leader
Lindsey G Member Since: Jul 28, 2015
6 of 16

Just out of curiosity, why do you feel like an interview is inappropriate? Regarding your line of work in management/administration?

Active Member
Jacqueline J Member Since: Aug 16, 2016
7 of 16

Thanks for responding.  They offered me a job at $25 hour for full time position and after Google Hangout Interview which wasn't much of an interview, because they asked me about my bank account infor & address.  Then the asked me to deposit a check only by mobile or ATM into my bank account for $150 that was being sent by Fed Ex as a sign up bonus.


I have read all the tips from other Freelancers and they have confirmed that it is a fraud.  Here is the company they say they represent: **Edited for Community Guidelines**


Don't fall for it!  Good Luck!

Community Leader
David D Member Since: Jun 8, 2016
8 of 16

I'm not sure where you're looking that the majority of postings require 500 hours of experience. As a side note: You can still apply to those jobs, the client will just see that you don't meet that particular qualification. But you can still apply. 


A few things on finding that first job:


1. Keep in mind that this is a slow time of year for a lot of businesses in the USA and Europe so there's a little lull in the amount of work out there. Things will start picking up towards the end of August. 


2. Try re-working your profile so that it reads more like a professional resume and less like one long paragraph. Make it easier to read. Use bullet points.


3. Eliminate unnecessary skills. Is anyone really going to hire you on here because of your knowledge of hand and power tools? I doubt it. Not very applicable to Upwork gigs. You can spin that to say you're familiar with the construction industry or something like that (as you did by saying you can read blueprints) so that might be applicable, but knowing how to use a power sander isn't going to do you much good in a virtual management position.


4. Try looking for fixed price jobs that are one-off gigs so you can at least get some work under your belt and some feedback. I'll assume since you're looking in the VA field that most are hourly gigs but if you can do a few jobs to get some work history going that will help.


5. Take some of the Upwork tests and post the results to your profile. That can help make you stand out.


6. Try focusing the attention of your profile and accent a particular field you're going for. Your tagged skills are a little all over the place .Photoshop, business skills, interior design, management, etc. I'm sure you've got experience with all of these but clients on here are not looking for a general resume. They want focus. They want to look at a profile and see "I am a graphic designer," more than they want to see "I can do a lot of things."  Trust me, you'll have a lot more success focusing on one area and trying to position yourself as an expert in that area than trying to be a multi-hat wearing Jane of all Trades. 


7. On that note, consider a more bold and focused headline. Your profile doesn't read like someone who's really looking for a virtual manager/virtual assistant type of job. So try focusing in on a specialty and sticking with it. I focus on writing and marketing. Specifically marketing-related writing such as blogs, articles, social media, etc. So it ties together. Beleive me, if you form a good relationship with a client you can expand what you do for them as you go on. I've started with clients that just hired me to write a few articles or white papers for them and have wound up doing a lot more. Once they like and trust you- you can have the conversation about what else you can do for them if they need it.


8. Virtual Assistants and Virtual Managers are plentiful here on Upwork. And to be blunt- a lot of your competition is coming from low-cost freelancers working in third world countries. Which is not to say you can't be successful on here, just be aware that you're competing with freelancers with a longer work history that charge a fraction of your posted rate. Consider what skills you might bring to the table that makes you stand out from the rest of your crowded market. What can a client expect from you? If possible, highlight skills, certification, education, and experience that may distinguish you. Consider what industry you're ideally suited for. Is it tech? Aerospace? Working with NASA seems like something you'd want to accent. 


9. Expand your portfolio. If you're going to talk about your skills in graphic design, photoshop, etc. Clients definitely want to see a portfolio. You're doing yourself no good by not having one if you're looking for jobs in that area. 


When I first started, I was lucky enough to find a client who took pity on me and threw me a bone. I did one job for her at a rate that was below what she was asking. I bluntly said "I'm new, I need the experience and feedback to get started." She took pity on me and hired me. We still work together to this day.


I'm not saying undervalue yourself, but I am saying be aware that you're charging a relatively high rate right out of the gate. You may want to roll it back a little bit and re-evaluate your rates as you move forward and have a little more experience and feedback. That worked for me. I don't know if it's what everyone does. I evaluate my rate every few months and make adjustments as necessary.


Also, if you're applying for jobs, keep in mind you don't have to apply with your profile rate or at the budget the client is setting forth. If you see a job that a client  has set a budget of $100 and you think "hey I can do that in an hour"... maybe submit a bid for less and make yourself stand out. Again, you don't need to undervalue yourself but hey, $50 or $75 for an hours worth of work isn't bad. It's all about value and time/work management. I routinely submit proposals and do jobs that aren't "high paying" gigs. It's going to take time for you to land that 20 hour / week gig that pays $25/hour. You can get there, but it takes time.


I hope some of this helps. Good luck!

Active Member
Sabrina G Member Since: May 24, 2018
9 of 16

Hello David,


I have read what you wrote and is very interesting.

I am looking too for that first job.  I will keep in mind your advices.


Thank you.



Community Leader
David D Member Since: Jun 8, 2016
10 of 16

Also, be aware that a LOT of clients will ask for meetings outside of Upwork. I generally try to avoid these but it doesn't necessarily mean they're dishonest or scams. It's a bit of an eyebrow raiser at times, but some clients just prefer to not be on Upwork if they can help it.


Obviously in the case you described that turned out to be a giant scam but I've had some clients on here that ask for a skype chat or phone call pretty early on. Some of them turn out to be great  clients. 


I'm just wary when people want to move things away from the platform that we use for our payment protection. Whenever possible, I do try to avoid this with newer clients and I make it clear that even if I do engage them on another platform such as skype, any real discussion of terms or payment or project details is going to go through Upwork. 


Some clients just prefer to use other platforms. And in some industries it may be necessary. But just be aware that when you start to communicate outside of Upwork you lose a little bit of power if and when it comes to disputes.