3 Tips to Help You Win Your First Job at Upwork


Being the most popular freelance platform, Upwork (formerly known as oDesk) offers a vast variety of jobs for freelancers. Although thousands of jobs are posted on Upwork on daily basis but it isn’t that easy for a new freelancer to win his first job despite having potential skills. As a freelancer, I joined Upwork a few years ago when it was branded as oDesk and as a part-time freelancer, I kept working there and now I’ve achieved the top-rated badge. In this guide, I’m sharing some important tips that will help you win your very first job at Upwork. By following my tips, you can avoid the mistakes that most newbie freelancers commit. Here we go.

Tip #1: Complete Your Profile

An incomplete profile may lead to the instant rejection of your proposal by the clients. Upwork requires that freelancers should take tests that relate to their skills. Upwork Readiness Test is mandatory to be taken which will help towards your profile completion status. Without taking the readiness test, you will not be able to understand how the ecosystem of Upwork works. If possible, take additional tests that relate to your skills and this will help you present a complete and better profile. If it isn’t possible for you to take additional tests, then you should at least take the readiness test.

In addition, upload a recent headshot of yourself. Also add your skills, academic details and other relevant information including your past experience to your profile where possible. You should choose the skills in relevant fields as well. All this contributes to a complete profile that increases the chance for you to be hired by the clients as you don’t have any clients reviews and ratings to show at this stage.

Tip #2: Read the Full Job Description

Clients write details about the job in the job description and you should read the full description before submitting a proposal. If the job is irrelevant to your skills or if you have any doubts, then don’t submit any proposal for it.

Sometimes clients require the freelancer to answer a simple question as part of the proposal to ensure that they have read the complete job description. For example, I have seen that sometimes clients ask a simple math question (like 2+2) at the beginning of the job description and at the end of the job description, they ask the freelancer to answer this question as 7. Now if a freelancer doesn’t read the full description and submits a proposal with the answer 4, then he will simply fail. Clients do this to ensure that the freelancers read their job details completely to understand what the actual issue is. So always read the job description completely and never submit a proposal by just reading the job title or by reading the description partially.

Tip #3: Don’t Bid on Irrelevant Jobs

Irrelevant jobs are the ones where you don’t have any expertise and it doesn’t make any sense to apply for such jobs. Apply only if you are 100% sure that you are capable of doing the job with full client satisfaction. If you have doubts, then just skip it and look for any other job or you will end up receiving a horrible review from your client in case you are hired and you don’t fulfill the client requirements. This may ruin your profile without leaving any chances for you to recover and proceed.

Sometimes clients set specific criteria for the job and they look for specific freelancers only. For example, they may be looking for a freelancer from a certain geographic region of the world only or they might be looking for a freelancer with certain Upwork success score. Or they might be looking for freelancers with enough Upwork hours. The criteria where you fail will be shown as the red ones below the job description and you will be prompted on the proposal submission page as well.

If the job requires some specific criteria to be fulfilled by the freelancer and you fail, then just don’t submit your proposal. At first, the clients aren’t going to accept your proposal as they have clearly explained that they need specific people. Secondly, Upwork will not show your proposal to the client unless they decide to see the ones that don’t meet the specified criteria. This way, you will be able to save your Upwork connects that are required to submit proposals for the jobs. (Keep this in mind that Upwork provides 60 connects per month for each basic freelancer plan and each proposal basically requires 2 connects to be submitted.)

Tip #4: Write a Better Proposal

Your proposal makes a difference either the client decides to hire you or not. A better proposal should contain your solution to the client’s problem that was discussed in the job description. In addition, describe you and your expertises briefly. Don’t make it long as clients don’t have an entire day to read your only proposal. Moreover, it is always a better practice to bid lower on the project. ‘Lower’ means that your bid is in client’s budget range as well you don’t bid too low. For example, if the client has set the budget of $100 for a particular job, then your bid should be between $90 to $100. Don’t bid $10 in an attempt to keep your bidding low or your proposal may seem suspicious to the client as well as don’t bid $200 as you are new as well as the client has set the budget at $100.

In addition to this, you would consider describing yourself as a new yet potential freelancer. Be honest as your client will like it. Although the client can see that you are new still it will sound good to your client that you are honest about yourself. You can assure that the client will love your work and you have the expertise to complete the described work with great client satisfaction.

I hope these tips help you in winning your first job at Upwork. I have discussed what I’ve learned so far so you can take this advice as a worthy piece of information. Do you have anything to share about your experience at Upwork? Don’t forget to leave a comment below.


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