If you decided to give Upwork a shot after reading about my experiences as an Upworker , here are some handy hints to give you the best chance of getting hired! (Lots of these are also relevant if you participate on other freelance job websites too!)
Upwork – how to be successful!
- Make sure your profile is complete and up to date – get all your best work out there for potential clients to see! Try to write honestly and engagingly about yourself and why you’re good at what you do, and if you have qualifications make sure they’re on there too. If you’re new to the site and you don’t have any feedback yet, an unfinished profile isn’t going to inspire much confidence in your potential clients.
- Take Upwork tests! You must take the Upwork readiness test before you get started anyway, but there are tons to choose from. If you’re a writer, take all the spelling, grammar and article writing tests you can get your hands on! If you’re a designer, you can prove your expertise in photoshop, illustrator etc this way too. If you don’t do so well first time, brush up on your knowledge and try again. There are tests available for most professions, from programming to telephone etiquette.
- Bid, bid and bid some more. When you first get started, the biggest hurdle you have to jump is getting those first couple of jobs. The more jobs you bid on, the better chance you have of finding a client who’s willing to take a chance on a newbie.
- But – don’t bid too low! True, you might have to lower your rates a little bit initially to tempt those first few clients. But never go too low – a bunch of $5 jobs on your profile don’t make you look like a skilled professional. They make you look desperate.
- When you do get hired, always get some money up-front, if you’re working on a fixed-price job. (I usually ask for 30% – 50%, plus milestone payments, depending on the cost of the whole job.) If you don’t, you have no guarantee that the client isn’t going to a. vanish into the ether never to be seen again, or b. vanish into the ether never to be seen again, WITH all your hard work (if you were daft enough to hand it over before you got paid.) The only exception to this is maybe if it’s your first job and the client had great feedback from previous hires. And even then I would be very cautious.
- Take the time to write a bespoke cover letter for each job application you do. Yeah, I know, it takes ages, but it’s totally worth it. You don’t have to write an essay each time, and don’t bother reiterating all your various skills if they’re already listed on your profile. Keep it professional, ask questions, show that you understand what the client needs and that you’re capable of delivering it. Show examples of similar work.