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Why can’t I get hired?

Active Member
Madison S Member Since: Apr 17, 2019
1 of 11
Hello, my name is Madison, and I’m new to Upwork. I was just wondering why I can’t get hired and what I can do to improve my chances. I’ve submitted over 30 proposals and have had either no replies or rejections (only 2). I’ve made sure to apply to only Entry-level and Intermediate positions and made sure not to request over or below the fixed rate. My proposals are generally tailored to the client, explaining my experience in writing, proofreading, editing, and so on and are written in an enthusiastic tone. I always include an expected timeframe and why I’d be the best fit for the job.

If someone could check out my profile and let me know what I’m doing wrong, I’d really appreciate it.

Thanks,

Madison
Ace Contributor
Julie J Member Since: Jan 28, 2019
2 of 11

You'll need to make your profile public.

Active Member
Madison S Member Since: Apr 17, 2019
3 of 11
Just did, thanks!
Community Guru
Michael S Member Since: Aug 29, 2017
4 of 11

Madison S wrote:
My proposals are generally tailored to the client, explaining my experience in writing, proofreading, editing, and so on...

This could be part of it. A proposal should never be about you or what you've done the past. Client's don't care about that. If they want to see your experience, they can look at your portfolio. Putting all that in your proposal is just re-hashing information they already have access to.

 

What they do care about, and what you should focus on conveying, is what you can bring to the table right now. What can you do to make their project a success? That's the proper way to frame it.

Active Member
Madison S Member Since: Apr 17, 2019
5 of 11
Okay, thanks for your advice!
Active Member
Lauren C Member Since: Apr 17, 2019
6 of 11

Hi Madison!

Sorry you're having trouble getting hired on Upwork! When I first started, I filtered the open jobs list so that I only saw jobs that had less than 5 proposals submitted. I had a better chance of getting my proposal noticed if I wasn't competing with that many people. I also took jobs that weren't as high paying to get some reviews.

 

In my cover letter, I always start with introducing myself and that I'd like to be considered for their job. Then I go into my qualifications.

 

At my day job, I've actually hired Upwork contractors so have seen cover letters that are only a few sentences and just say they want to talk more. I really go into detail about why I'm qualified and that I'd be happy to answer any questions about my skillset. And I give examples of similar projects so they know I'm familiar with what they're wanting.

 

Your profile is private so I couldn't take a look. Hope this is helpful!

Community Guru
Michael S Member Since: Aug 29, 2017
7 of 11

Lauren C wrote:

In my cover letter, I always start with introducing myself and that I'd like to be considered for their job. Then I go into my qualifications.


Clients can see your qualifications by looking at your profile. Re-treading that in your proposal is likely to make them move along to the next one, because they will have seen dozens of people all giving them information they can easily see already.

 

Your proposal is not a place to talk about what you've done. It's a place to sell your services to the client by letting them know exactly what you can do for their particular project.

Active Member
Lauren C Member Since: Apr 17, 2019
8 of 11

I've had really good success getting new clients and repeat clients with my cover letters. I'm only offering tips from what I've done and have seen work for me. 

 

There's no one right way to write a cover letter that will work. There are a lot of variables. Everyone should be open to new ideas and testing new formats to see what works.

Active Member
Madison S Member Since: Apr 17, 2019
9 of 11
It is now public. Thanks so much for the advice!
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
10 of 11

Which is it? Are you a writer or a proofreader, an editor or a Powerpoint designer? You may well be proficient at all of those things, but clients see "jack of all trades, master of none." Consider narrowing the focus of your profile. You can still cast a wider net when you are searching job posts. But when clients find you, it's best to be tightly focused if you want to convince them you're an expert.

 

Your academic track record is admirable but featuring it front and center underlines your youth and lack of professional experience. Search freelancers here--as if you were a client--and find ones who are successfully doing the kinds of work you'd like to do, who seem to have skills comparable to yours. Study their profiles and how they present.

 

Re cover letters: I've supported myself freelancing for over 20 years, have been on UW for nearly three years, and I also occasionally hire here. I tell you this unequivocally: do not waste valuable space in an UW cover letter introducing yourself or stating that you'd like to work for the client or rehashing info they can easily see by scrolling through your profile. Clients only see the first 1-2 lines of your cover letter unless they click on it to open it. You must use the first sentence or two to get them to click. They likely have several dozen other proposals in their queue. Tell them what you can do to make their project successful. Ask questions that demonstrate your expertise and help them think through what they need (which they often have not done, sadly). Your objective is to open a conversation to fully discuss the project and determine whether or not you are a good fit for each other.

 

IMPORTANT: There's more to freelancing than having a marketable skill and finding clients. Every freelancer is essentially operating a small business. There is a suite of what I think of as wrap-around skills that you also need to master, including how to tell good clients from bad, how to tell whether or not a project is a good fit for you (be picky, no matter how desperate you may be feeling to get started), how to manage a project, how to manage a client. Read all you can find about freelancing in general. It's also worth your while to browse this forum. Lots of smart, experienced FLs compare notes and share advice here.

 

ALSO IMPORTANT: Do your homework about Upwork. Be sure you understand the ToS, how different types of contracts work, how to get paid, how to avoid scams, etc.

 

UW is a long game. I came here with 20+ years of experience and it took me about 30 proposals to land my first project, and about 30 more to land my second. Dig in and persevere! Good luck!

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