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Looking for Advice on How to Optimize Efforts to Obtain Work

joeygross1985
Ace Contributor

Good afternoon everybody:

 

I am brand-spanking-new to this site, but I am already optimistic about the possibilities. What I have read so far suggests that a new member should budget their connections. My experience is almost exclusively legal writing (though I am positive those skills translate to other areas). My question is "does anybody have useful nuggets of wisdom that will help me not waste my time, or the client's time?" I look forward to hearing from the community!

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
prestonhunter
Community Guru

Joseph:

Your profile photo is 100% unacceptable.

 

It's too dark.

 

And it features two people.

 

And when I look at your profile page, I don't see a portfolio. If you are a writer and you have no portfolio, please do not bother to use this site to look for work.

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25 REPLIES 25
prestonhunter
Community Guru

Joseph:

Your profile photo is 100% unacceptable.

 

It's too dark.

 

And it features two people.

 

And when I look at your profile page, I don't see a portfolio. If you are a writer and you have no portfolio, please do not bother to use this site to look for work.

Hi Preston:

 

Thank you for your response, I received a notification from Upwork regarding the issue you raised regarding my photo. Great minds think alike. As far as your comment regarding my portfolio goes, what should I include? I can link: (1) the web-content that I have written, (2) various motions I have written (assuming I can link documents - however it is not my name on the motions, since I am not the attorney representing the client); and (3) a handful of academic writings.  I'm more than happy to accept constructive criticism, I will look through my photos to see if I have something slightly more professional (I do not have many photos that look similar to yours, I'm not what you would call a "looker.")

re: "I do not have many photos that look similar to yours"

 

Joseph:

I didn't just find a photo.

 

I spent an entire day going downtown and having my photo taken in various parks, museums, other locations, with various poses and looks, all for the express purpose of getting the optimal photo for my Upwork profile.

 

Then I spent hours selecting the right photo, intended to send a particular message, and trying out various ways to crop it.

 

My photo is not an accident. I am aware that it is the first thing that potential clients see. The time I spent on my photo has more than paid for itself. My photo is the most visible, most prominent aspect of my Upwork "marketing."

 

In a perfect world, nobody is judged by their photo. I don't live and work in a perfect world.

Joseph, with respect to your portfolio, your overview states that you 'have written all the content for four (4) criminal defense websites', so a screenshot & link to one of those sites would be a start, assuming you can get permission to feature it in your portfolio.

 

With regard to your photo, mine was taken with a web cam, not a professional photographer, but I'm been continously top rated since Upwork introduced Job Success, so I doubt it's been a significant handicap.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

Hi John:

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I have attempted to update my profile to reflect my work. I'm still unsure of what I can inclue. My strongest work is my law-in-motion work, but as mentioned above, I am not sure if I can use that since my name is not the attorney of record - it basically requires the reader to take my word for it that I wrote the content.

 

With regards to the photo, is my current one sufficient? if not, I will get a friend to take a better one.

re: "As far as your comment regarding my portfolio goes, what should I include?"

 

Include in your portfolio anything that:

- you created

- makes you look good

- demonstrates your professional services

- you have the rights to include

 

Your portfolio items do NOT need to be work that was done on Upwork.

They do NOT need to be work you were paid for.

They do NOT need to be work that you own the copyright to, as long as you get permission to include them in the portfolio.

 

You can write new pieces specifically for the purpose of including them in your portfolio.

Hi Preston:

 

I did not intent to imply that you "just found a photo." It is a very professional photo, I simply do not have one of those at this time. I have changed my photo to one that is as close as I can get to fixing the issue you raised. As of right now, this is the best I can do.

 

Turning to the portfolio issue, what types of things should I include? I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me, even if those responses aren't "you're doing perfect."

Joseph:

I see your new photo now.

 

That's so much better!

 

I can clearly see your face. (It's not so dark!)

 

It shows only you, and not other people.

 

And you're dressed appropriately for the job niche/services you are promoting.

 

You could easily just continue using this current photo.

Thank you Preston:

 

I have taken a swing at making my portfolio look a little better, but there is certainly room for improvement. As I mentioned to John, my strongest work product appears in my law-in-motion work. I am not sure I can include that however, since my name does not appear on any of them.

 

I really appreciate your feedback.

colettelewis
Community Guru

Joseph,

 

Stick to your niche and it is a good one. Don't generalize at this point. If you stick to what you know, your proposals will be more convincing, and budgeting connects will not be a problem.

 

Do read all the help pages, particularly Upwork's Terms of Service (if you haven't already done so). Here is a good starting point to avoid pitfalls etc. https://community.upwork.com/t5/New-to-Upwork/Getting-Started-on-Upwork/td-p/264214/jump-to/first-un... , which is the greyed-out thread at the top of this page.

 

But as Preston says, you really must lighten up your profile picture, it is offputting and eventually Upwork will get round to smacking your wrists for it. (I don't see two people though! ;))

 

Good luck!

 

ETA: Sorry Joseph, this crossed with your new pic. 🙂

Hi Nichola:

 

Thank you for responding to this post. I have attempted to fix the flaws with my profile that have been raised. I truly appreciate all of you taking the time to provide me helpful advice. I have not read all the help pages, but I am doing so right now.

Joseph, I'm a paralegal and I share your concern about a portfolio and including pleadings that were obviously signed by the attorney with no indication of your - likely massive - input and work.  I have a redacted medical chronology and maybe something else of that sort on mine.  It's a conundrum for motion practice documents.

Hi Mary:

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. Have you come up with a way to include your work, without stepping on toes or violating the Terms and Conditions of this site? On one hand, all the submitted documents are public record. On the other hand, I'd be hard-pressed to convince someone the writing that does not have my name on it is actually mine.

re: "On the other hand, I'd be hard-pressed to convince someone the writing that does not have my name on it is actually mine."

 

Don't worry about whether or not the writing has your name on it!

 

Nobody is going to care.

 

If you have the right to include the documents in your portfolio, go ahead and do so.

Hi Preston:

 

I have updated my portfolio to include websites, and a few documents I have written that I enjoy. You have already helped me quite a bit, but I would appreciate your feedback if you have the time.

Well, I've submitted redacted discovery and med chrons, as I said.  Pleadings are trickier.  Currently, I'm doing cite checking and blue book stuff for an appellate firm and I haven't included any of that because I don't want anyone to think that I drafted the briefs themselves.

 

In your case, given legal egos, it could get tricky adding briefs to your profile.  Do you have any that you red-lined?  You could include those, showing your work.

 

The worst thing I face is that clients think paralegals are discount lawyers!

Hi Mary:

 

That is a great idea! I have never utilized track changes with the people I work for, but I will begin doing that immediately.

 

In response to your statement about the belief (of some) that paralegals are discount lawyers: I have worked with a number of paralegals that put me, and the attorneys I work for, to shame.

BTW, you might want to raise your hourly rate a bit.  I started too low and it took me a long time to build up to where I am now.

Hi Mary:

 

That is something that concerned me as well. My friend, who suggested this site to me, recommended that I start low to build up my reputation. Do you have any advice on what amount says "I'm competent, but I'd rather have consistent work"?

 

As an aside, I'm really surpirsed, and impressed, with the speed and quality of the feedback on this site. Thank you very much!

The trouble with starting low is that your rate for previous jobs shows on your profile and will hurt your negotiating ability in the future.  Check other legal writers on here and see what they charge, then compare their profile/ experience with theirs.