Upwork Profile Creation Guide: What Clients Want to See?

29/01/2017 10 comments

Being a freelancer is all about presenting yourself in the best light to potential clients. And what better way to do that than by creating an awesome Upwork profile that gets clients coming to you? If you thought through your profile carefully and have done it so that it looks professional, you’ll have good chances of landing projects on this platform. However, there are so many things you can do wrong when it comes to your Upwork profile that it’s very easy to mess it up. That usually means no jobs for you.

So how do you build an Upwork profile that gets clients to stop and look over it and later hire you? This is how:

Your Upwork Profile Must Include a Professional Photo

Forget about putting a picture of yourself with your friends or family. This isn’t Facebook and clients are not interested in them. They’re interested only in you. So make sure your Upwork profile photo includes only you and no one else. Also, make sure the background is not distracting. I actually took my photo in front of a plain white wall, so there’s nothing to look at other than my mugshot when you look at my profile image.

Your photo should be done as professionally as possible, so no taking selfies or doing any close-ups. Again, this isn’t social media. Also, it should be clear so that clients can actually see you. Avoid playing with effects on your camera like giving your photo a blur or a black and white effect.  The picture should be in color. Use a good camera, if you have one, or ask a friend to lend you theirs for this.

Before taking a photo, don’t forget to take a haircut if needed and trim your beard if you have one. You don’t want to look like you’ve just gotten out of bed or that you don’t take care of yourself. Once you’re presentable enough, ask a friend with a steady hand and a good eye to take your photo. Better, yet, you can do what I did and have your photo done in a studio, by a professional.

Finally, don’t forget to smile on your photo. I know I didn’t (although I think the glasses add a bit authority), but smiling will actually make you look more confident and attractive and will increase your chances of getting projects.

Use Your Real Name for Your Upwork Profile

Who would you rather hire: Vladimir Covic or Vlad C? Always use your real name on your Upwork profile and don’t abbreviate either your first or your last name. NEVER USE A FAKE NAME. No matter how smart you think it is, fake names never work on Upwork, so avoid using them.

If you’re worrying about what others may think of your name, don’t. If nothing else, a more uncommon name could actually make someone pause and have a better look at your profile, so you still win. But if you use a fake name, it will only make you look unprofessional.

Use First Person in Your Upwork Profile Bio

Don’t use “he” or “we” when writing your Upwork profile bio. The first will make it look like someone else created your bio and the “we” is used if you’re a company (which you are not). Only use “I”. This simple detail will make the profile truly yours and personal.

For example, instead of writing:

 “John Doe is a content writer since 2005”

You should write:

“I am a content writer since 2005.”

Also, make sure you don’t have any grammar errors in your Upwork profile. Always double-check and proofread for those. You don’t want to look unprofessional from the get go. Keep an eye on your spelling!

Choose the Skills You Actually Have

I’ve seen a lot of freelancers put skills they don’t actually have in their Upwork profile. Don’t do that. You might think this will impress someone and it might, but only until they ask you to do something that includes using those skills. Then try explaining to them that you don’t actually know to program in PHP. Not only have you just wasted that clients time (they could have immediately looked for a freelancer who actually has that skill), but you’ve also diminished your reputation with that client.

There are plenty of skills you can put on your Upwork profile. Just for writing, for example, you can choose between article writing, SEO writing, technical writing, creative writing, content writing, copywriting and a few more. In addition, you can also include your English grammar, spelling and proofreading, as well as editing and proofreading. As you can see, there’s plenty to include with which you can impress a potential client, without lying or bragging.

What About Skill Tests? Should You Do Those?

If you’re just creating your Upwork profile, consider doing some tests. I’ve heard some say that this isn’t important, but I feel it is, especially for a new freelancer. If you don’t have any projects under your belt just yet, the only way for a client to determine if you have a skill he is looking for or not is if it is displayed on your Upwork profile. However, only display your test scores if they are really good and you’ve in the top 5-10% freelancers for that particular skill. You won’t impress anyone with “above average” test scores, let alone if your score says you’ve failed a test.

Again, skill tests are important for a new freelancer, who doesn’t yet have any jobs to show off. They can help you get your foot in the door, but are nowhere near the actual experience in importance. Once you’ve secured and finished few successful projects, you can almost forget about skill tests.

Have a Clear Job Title in Your Upwork Profile

The job title just below your name (full name, remember?) tells clients what you can do for them. It’s basically like an article headline. It should be clear and specific, not confusing to clients. Mine, for example, just says “content writer”. That way, the client knows straight away what kind of assistance I can provide to them.

Don’t try to be smart or funny with your title. While you can add some thing like “with SEO experience” to your title, avoid using words like “hardcore”, “kickass” or “awesome”. At the same time, you have to be a little more specific than just writing “web designer” or “writer” in your title.

Keep it simple and clear and you’ll have a much better chance of securing gigs on Upwork.

Showcase Yourself in the Overview

This is probably the hardest part of creating your Upwork portfolio, but it’s also the most important one. The overview is where you can either interest clients in hiring you, or chase them away, so don’t skim on any important details and make sure you present yourself well to your future clients.

The overview is where you will showcase your skills, experience and qualifications to your next client, so include those, but don’t brag. Include a few lines about your previous workplaces, especially the ones you really want to highlight, but don’t forget to add them below in the “Employment History” section.

Portfolio, Certificates and More Things to Include in Your Upwork Profile

Other than this, there are a few more things you can include to make your Upwork profile stand out head and shoulders above the rest. One of those is your portfolio. Upwork allows you to showcase your best work here, so why not take advantage of that? Make sure to upload a quality photo and to write a detailed description of the project, along with a link for clients to hop over and check it themselves.

Another section of your portfolio that is very important to potential clients is your “Work History and Feedback”. This is the part of your profile you can’t cheat on, as it depends on the score your clients will give you after you complete projects for them. While you can choose to show the newest projects, those with the highest rating, your largest projects, or those with the lowest rating (I don’t know why you’d do that, but okay), and kinda hide any bad projects, if most of your feedback is poor, it will definitely hurt your chances.

I already mentioned the “Employment History”, so I’ll skip that part. As for the other sections, like “Certifications” and “Education” I don’t think they’re all that important, but feel free to include those as well.


Never consider your Upwork profile complete. I know that’s a bit of an oxymoron since we are going here for a 100% complete profile, but that’s just the way it is. The reason for this is that you’ll acquire new skills, experiences, add new employment history or more things in your portfolio, while removing other ones. In short, always keep an eye on your profile and look for ways you can improve it.

That’s it! You are now ready to look for your first job on Upwork!

Are you struggling with creating your Upwork profile? Has it helped you land any jobs yet? Let me know in the comments below!