How to Start Landing Upwork Jobs (It’s Not that Hard Actually)

01/10/2016 4 comments

Being a freelancer may sounds like a dream job to you. However, a lot of freelancers find themselves unable to land their first Upwork jobs. This post can help you get through the initial rough period.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make the potential client get a better look at your profile when determining who he will work for. Here’s how you can increase your chances to get your first Upwork jobs.

Build a 100% Complete Profile

Unless you’ve built a complete, and I mean 100 per cent complete, profile, don’t bother bidding to any jobs. Yes, it will probably take a day or two to finish it, but it will be more than worth it. I’ve seen too many freelancers bid for a project without a complete profile to their name and guess how they fared?

When it comes to Upwork, make sure to write a good, not generic overview. This, along with your name, rate and skills (more on that later), is what will really grab the potential client’s attention and help you grab your first Upwork job. So keep it crisp and to-the-point. The overview should highlight your best skills, previous work, as well as your personality that will make you a good fit for any future projects. Finally, finish it off on a positive note, saying something like ‘I hope we’ll work together sometimes!’

Do a Couple of Tests Before You Apply

Even if you’ve completed your profile, it’s still not yet time to bid for projects. Before that, you’ll have to show your potential employers that you know what you’re talking about and the best way to do so is by completing a few relevant tests.

What would be ‘relevant’ in your case? It depends on your profession, but, for example, if you are looking for jobs in the content/copywriting area, you should complete a couple tests that show your knowledge of British English or American English grammar and proper sentence construction. For a web designer, on the other hand, you should complete the XHTML Test and if you’re looking to be a VA or Virtual Assistant, Email and Telephone Etiquette tests is where you should start.

Set Your Rate

hands holding pencil writing on tablet

Now we got to the fun part! How much to charge for your work? On Upwork, there are two types of projects – those where the client pays per hour of work and those where he pays upon the completion of the project basically.

The second basically drums down to negotiating for each individual project with the client, and since this depends on a number of things such as the scale of the project and how much the client is generally willing to pay (there’s no point in bidding $5,000 on a small project that is worth at best $200), I’ll leave that up to you.

What’s more important, is your hourly rate. This will show on your profile and tells the client how much you charge for your work per hour. As a beginner on Upwork, you may want to set it a little lower at first. Then, after you get a few good, five-star reviews, increase your rate.

Of course, what’s even more important than simply completing a few tests that are relevant to your desired area is actually doing well on those tests. Upwork allows you to display your results on the profile, but you should only do so if you’ve done very well on the test, like if you’ve gotten into top 20 or less per cent of those that took the test. No one will be terribly impressed with simply ‘average’ results.

Find Upwork Jobs that Fit Your Skills

Don’t worry if you can’t find the right Upwork jobs at the moment. The beauty of freelancing work and Upwork is that there is always new and interesting work available. You just have to be there to apply for the project at the right moment and impress your client.

When it comes to biding on Upwork, the first rule is to stay clear of projects you believe don’t pay a fair price. There’s no point in doing cheap work and losing precious time you can spend on a project that would actually pay well.

Second, look at when the job was posted. If it was in the last couple of minutes and it pays well, drop everything and start thinking of a good cover letter. The closer you bid to when it was originally posted, the closer you will get to actually landing that freelance job. If the project was posted in the last hour or two, it’s still worth checking out, but if this was posted 5 or more hours ago, don’t bother with it. There’s likely already a lot of people that bided on it and your proposal will just get lost in the shuffle.

Write a Good Proposal

What comes next is something where many fail by writing generic proposals. Take your time to write a proposal that will best communicate to the potential client what your skills are and why you are a good fit for the project.

It’s always good to start with a simple “Hi!” or “Hey there!” Don’t go for “Greetings!” or “Dear Mr/Mrs So-and-So” because they are too formal. Most clients are pretty relaxed and prefer a more personal approach. Also, if they’ve given it, use their name both at the start and later at the end of the proposal.

Next, introduce yourself. What are your experiences and skills? Why do you think you are a good fit for the job? While you’ll be tempted to embellish a little, it’s best if you are honest with the potential client from the get go. Somehow, somewhere, the truth is always revealed in one form or another. If you tell the client that you have X years of experience with Y, only to fail miserably at the first sign of the said problem the client will begin to wonder and ask questions.

Show that you’ve read and understood the job requirements and are ready to offer your help. Some things may later change as the project advances, but this will give you a good head start.

Make Your Bid Stick Out In a Good Way

And now, your bid, or how much you will be for the job, hopefully. You can outright agree to the offer the client has posted, but you don’t have to. In fact, most clients, unless they strictly specify, will expect you to negotiate your price. Be careful with this. You don’t want to scare the client with a too high bid. However, you don’t want to bid too low either. It’s a thin line you’re walking here, but make sure that your bid shows and represents your skill and experience.

Finally, finish it off with a simple “I’m looking forward to speaking with you more!” or a similar “call to action” for the future client, followed by your name.

There it is. This should help you land your first job on the platform, but you can use this for any other freelance website. Good hunting!

Do you have any questions or thoughts about the post? What else would you do to get your first Upwork jobs? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google +.