Okay... there are a lot, and I do mean a lot, of posts asking about how to get that first job. I check these posts from new people who are asking "why can't I get hired" and when I go to look, their profiles aren't even filled out, no tests are taken, or what is filled out is just filled with mistakes. To top it all off, there are just as many contractors handing out bad advice.
That's not to say that my advice is the absolute best; nor will it work for everyone. But it's a system that works for me, and has been working for me since I joined oDesk. If you really want to get that first job, hopefully this will at least serve as a starting point for you. My hope is that other oDesk freelancers will read and add to this posting any thoughts on what works for them that might be different from what I post here. So, going through step by step to landing that first job...
1. Set up your profile! Yes, a lot of people come to online sources because it's easy and convenient - but that doesn't mean that they want to completely give up the personal experience as well. Your profile is what will introduce you as a person as well as an applicant to the people reviewing your cover letter. Make it count.
2. Once your profile is set, then it's time to sell your self to the clients. And by sell your self, I don't mean pay them for the privilege of working for them. I mean convince them that they should hire you and pay you what you want. So, how do you do this?
Cover Letters. Write a cover letter that
A) Proves you know what you're talking about,
B) Proves that you've read the job description,
C) Explains your costs and terms (such as how many hours it will take to complete, or how much money you will require upfront for a fixed rate, or any guarantees that you offer). And for goodness sake - don't send the same cover letter to each and every job posting. The clients always know. You aren't fooling anyone - so just stop. Never beg for a job... It makes you look desperate, not professional. Never lower your hourly rate to a ridiculous amount in hopes of landing a job (or worse, offering to work for free)... Again, it makes you look desperate and gives the impression that you don't deserve whatever amount you have posted on your profile.
Now, for me - and I know other contractors disagree with this (and that's fine) - I also include a paragraph within my cover letter that explains about the ability to contact me. I don't include my contact information - but I do let them know that I am available via Skype, email, and cell phone as well as via my oDesk message center. I also let them know that all of these messages are forwarded to my cell phone to help expedite communications (well, except calls to my cell phone - since that would be redundant). I include this because I would want to know how easy it is to get a hold of a contractor, or if I would be limited to just the oDesk message system.
Also, for me, I will ask all sorts of questions in my cover letter. Some contractors view this as unprofessional, and that's fine. Like I said - this advice won't work for everyone. But if there's a discrepancy in the job description, or if I just want to know more details than was given, I ask then rather than waiting for the interview. What does this do for me? In a lot of cases, the clients want to answer the questions, which gives them more of a reason to place me into an interview, which gives me a better chance of talking to them and convincing them that I am the best candidate to hire for their project. This doesn't mean just start asking any stupid question you can think of. "What's your favorite color?" will probably get you rejected. But asking a question like "Do you think you might also be interested in having Twitter integrated onto your site?" will raise an eyebrow. How else can you sell your self? Glad you asked. You don't have to rely on oDesk's search function to find jobs. Nor do you have to rely on the idea that a client will find you and invite you to an interview. Do you have Facebook, MySpace, or another site that you use? Find the little badges in your account and post them up! Chances are, one of your friends on Facebook might see that you are available for hire as a writer - and they might know someone who just wrote a book that needs editing.
3. Bid often and Bid Reasonably Earlier I spoke about the hourly rate that is posted on your profile - now I'm talking about the hourly rate or fixed price rate that you enter onto the little application form that will accompany your cover letter. This bid can be different from what's posted on your profile - but it should still be reasonable. What do I mean by reasonable?
Remember, it looks bad if your hourly rate on your profile says that you charge $10 per hour if you then bid on a project at $1 per hour... And you shouldn't let a client's budget dictate the level and quality of professionalism that you can provide. And bid often! I still continue to fill out my quota of 20 applications per week. *edited* The only time I slow down on my bidding is if I am beginning to get overloaded with projects. Don't send out just 2-3 applications and then get disheartened that neither one has accepted you yet. This doesn't mean sit down and apply to 20 jobs all in one day - spread them out. I read through just about every hourly job posted (I always filter out the fixed price jobs), but I probably apply to only 4-5 jobs every day, if that many. Be discerning - if the job isn't worth your time, wait a couple more hours and see what new jobs have been posted. It won't do you any good to apply to a job that you're only semi-interested in only to find a great job that you would love to work on but can't apply because you've reached your limit already. Okay - wow, this is really long. Hopefully this will help to get some of you started. But, long as this is - you also need to remember that this is not the most complete listing of advice, and it's not meant to be the end-all be-all or any sort of guarantee that following these steps will get you hired, just a system that works for me.
Remember to find your own niche - whatever works for you.
Solved! Go to Solution.
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Welcome to Upwork. Here are some tips that i can share with you.
1. Update your Overview. Your overview sets the tone for your profile by showing off your personality and giving clients a reason to read more about your skills and experience. You may check this link for additional help.
2. Enhance and complete your profile.
3, Submit a winning proposal that is related to the skills you have. Check this link for details.
If you need more tips, I invite you to read up on this thread to help you improve your profile, and to be more successful on the platform.
Thanks for the tips. If possbile, could you review my profile? I feel, even though I have enough skills to sell myself here, I just couldn't land on that first job. Could someone just look at my Profile and try to give remarks as to what to be improved? Thanks.
I found your article while looking for something else and I LOVED all of your ideas. I do have one question that puzzles me and am not sure how to responde.
When a client sends me an invitation to apply for a job, I click the "Would love to interview, baby," but then I get to the "Message" area and I have absolutely no idea what to say. They've seen my resume, my 5-star stuff, my portfolio, but frankly, I have no idea what to say except to rewrite my resume somewhat differently. I'm sure this "Message" area is important for gaining an interview, but I end up with the usual; I'm highly interested in your position, I can work any hours you wish, I am highly adept at (whatever they're looking for). I would love a quick answer, PLEASE!!
When I get invited to an interview I start by thanking for the invitation and for reading my profile. Then I write a cover letter matching the job description as I do for every job.
I just checked your account and I could see that you have a client account right now. However, you can be a client and a freelancer at the same time. You may learn more about that here. Thanks!
I am a copy editor and have been working in publishing for the past two decades. I'm wondering if the fact that I'm an Indian citizen as opposed to a UK, US or Australian one puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to getting English editing or proofreading jobs. Any thoughts?
I've been set to private from lack of activity. I couldn't get any propsosals to be accepted, I have followed the instructions here and got nothing. This is my profile as it stands(Attached).
Thisi is a sample of my proposals:
With the utmost enthusiasm, I would like to express my interest in the WordPress Developer position. My interest in Web Development has taken me from developing dynamic publishing systems for an international advertising agency to helping a local fashion house atelier launch a new collection. I believe that my passion for web development, a strong commitment to problem-solving, and interest in research make me an ideal candidate. As a passionate designer, everything I have engaged in so far has been driven by my keen interest in understanding new technologies. I make sure to dedicate some part of my day to research and learning. It is this passion that has driven every one of my career decisions thus far. I look forward to contributing my skills and experiences to the WordPress Developer position and hope to have the opportunity to speak with you further about how I can be an asset to your team. less How do you fix the wordpress white screen where it says "Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Please check back in a minute." following updating a plugin? To start, test the plugins to see if it is causing the issue. To do that rename the 'plugins' folder under 'wp-content' to something other than 'plugins' so that WP will ignore it. If the site returns, then there is a plugin conflict, once that has been established, change the plugins folder name back to 'plugins' and start renaming individual plugin folders to see which one is causing the conflict. In this case I would start with the plugin that was just updated, hopefully, it was just one plugin that was updated. Updating plugins one at a time in good practice to ensure you know which one caused an issue like this. So, for example, let's say you updated the 'advanced-custom-fields' plugin. Rename that to 'advanced-custom-fields.issue' to see if your site returns to normal. If it does, then this is the plugin that is causing the problem and you will have to see why checking things like version compatibility is a good start. less Have you worked on volume projects before? Where you may work on 20-30 sites a week? Are you comfortable with that amount of work? I have not worked on volume projects where the load was 20-30 sites in a week. I do feel very comfortable with that level of work. Please explain why you feel you would be a good fit for this job. I am focused and detailed, and a quick learner. I may not have worked on the volume of work as described but I have and continue to work on a wide variety of projects and know how to quickly switch tasks. I understand HTML/CSS/JS very well and can work within those very comfortably.
I don't know what I'm doing wrong here. I've been trying for over two months.
I just set your profile visibility back to public. Keep in mind that freelancers are hidden from the search results but clients to who you have submitted a proposal will be able to view your profile. You can check out more info about this here.
You can update your profile and edit your profile overview, expand it with your new skills and experiences. Take a few tests and add some portfolio items to showcase the new skills you have acquired.
Afterwards, if you have any questions feel free to follow up in the Community and we'll gladly help you with them.
Thanks for the tips, nothing seems to be working though... 40 applications, so far I've landed one job for a total of 5 hours of work. The 5 star rating and glowing feedback I received have done nothing to help actually land another job. I've spent much more time trying to find work through Upwork than I have actually getting paid to work.Looking back at jobs I've submitted proposals for, most of the 'Expert' level proposals restricted to US only have low bids in the $3-5 range - either there are lot of people providing expert service far below minimum wage, which I find hard to believe, or foreign workers are bypassing the US only restrictions somehow. Either way, its extremely disheartening - as an Excel specialist with 12+ years of experience, employed as a federal program analyst in charge of developing tools used agency-wide, I should be able to land projects at least every now and then...
@Jon W wrote:
Also, it looks as if failing to respond to the spam invite I received to attend sporting events to collect data is hurting my response rate...
You have the option to decline an invite, it's a one-click process and it counts as a response.
Jon, you need to work on your profile, and probably on your proposals too. Your profile is a wall of text full of useless information. Use English, talk to the client. Tell them about your experience, but not by enumerating what you know and what you did. Do it by explaining how such and such experience or knowledge can help them.
Your proposals: never, never, never talk about yourself. The client doesn't care about you. He or she cares about what you can do for them. When the job posting contains enough information, tell them how you can help.
Marketing oneself is the hard, very hard 🙂
And one last thing: you're not competing against people who work for $3/hour. These people are not your competition and clients who seek these people are not your prospects.
I agree John! Especially when you say you've put in more time applying for work than actually working on Upwork. I feel the same way and I sometimes wonder if Upwork itself isn't a false promise, bordering on scam scheme? I think playing the lottery gives the same odds of landing real, sustaining/good paying work at this point. I have been trying since February of 2017 and landed three writing gigs, one for an attorney, which paid the most: fifty dollars! I try keeping it narrow to my specialties of voice-over and creative writing or blog writing - to no avail. I have read all the "tricks" and revised my profile, substituted videos, etc - zip. The only feedback I get is when I get the email that says, "Please note that a job that you have applied for, Introduction Letter, has expired or has been canceled by the client. Your proposal has been archived." Maybe we should get paid for proposing!!
Ultimately, I think that I will likely give up on Upwork in disgust as I did with Gust and some other similar platforms back in the mid-2000s.
Bonne Chance to you!
Wowwwwww...thanks a million for this insight. It has helped me greatly! I have completed my profile (100%) and I am happy about that 🙂 ! You just let me know that I am on the right track. Now I can continue forward! Take care!
Very happy Thursday to you.
Really appreciate your post. Read it to the end. I feel encouagedby it.
I too am new and was wondering when I will land my first job. Gonna make the adjustments to my profile etc.
Thanks a mil and blessings.
Might Upwork consider:
1. Classifying some jobs as "for new users only?"
2. Set a time limit for persons to be considered as "new users?"
3. Let persons poting jobs know and let freelancers know as well
4. This can be seen as spoon feeding but it could do a lot to encourage new users
5. Set a rate/cost/pay limit for these jobs
6. Allow a job poster to have only a small number (maybe 3) jobs classified for new users only.
What do you think?
re: "Can anybody give me an honest feedback about my profile?"
Your profile photo is wrong. Replace it.
Your profile page headline identifies you as a "C# and Delphi developer".
But the photo does not show a C# and Delphi developer. The photo shows a stand-up comedian.
Haha, nobody told me that before. Actually the picture is taken from a conference at which I was a speaker. I had NO idea I look like a stand-up comedian.
Thank you for your feedback. Will change the photo ASAP.
Will J wrote:
Hi can someone rate my upwork profile please and give me constructive criticism please?
Your name is right there at the top of your profile, no need to repeat it, but rather use that space to dig right in and tell a client what you can do for them. Clients don't care how much you spend. The last sentence should be your first sentence.
And if you are an agency, you must set up with an agency account, not an individual contractor account.
I would lose the FREE comment, you can add that to your bids if you feel an RFP warrants that.
Finally, for the dollar figures you mention, your hourly rate seems low, and would give clients pause.
I created my profile way back 2017 but never really focus on it until this month when i'm searching for an online platform that offer online work. I am new in Upwork and I have read several articles on how to get started. I've submitted several proposals on Data Entry jobs but I haven't received any feedback from the clients. Can someone help me out check if I have the correct profile? I dont have any porfolio that I can upload as of yet as I haven't gotten any project. I would really appreciate your help to kick-off my carreer in Upwork.
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