15 tips to build a successful profile at Upwork to grab clients faster

Upwork is the world’s largest freelance marketplace that connects prospective hirers with freelance talent to build a win-win situation. Employers can find skilled professionals, collaborate with them, and get the work done while a freelancer can find work or projects, get paid and grow their business. Upwork was formed as a merger between Elance and oDesk in 2013. In fact Elance was founded in 1999 and had already established itself as the preferred freelance portal by then. Today, Upwork can be accessed using their website as well as a mobile app for Android and iOS platforms.

If you are a freelancer, your success at using Upwork depends on the number of clients you have and the work you get. To gain clients, you should have an attractive profile. We list the 15 tips to build a successful profile at Upwork to grab clients faster.


1. Choose only the main services you offer to the client

While you may be tempted to choose all the services you can so that you attract as many client as you intend to, this may backfire. Choosing too many services, even unrelated ones can give the impression that you are faking things and does not do well to build your credibility. Avoid being the jack of all trades; your mastery of none could cost you projects. So, always only choose those services that you are capable of delivering.

2. Link your accounts

Once you start the process of building your Upwork account after choosing the main services, it would be a good idea to link your social networking accounts. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are best suited though there are other options as well GitHub, StackOverflow, Behance, Dribbble, Deviant Art, and Google+. In these days employers check the social profile of a candidate to identify his or her behavioral traits and assess the reliability.

3. Upload your Photo

Your photo lends credibility to your profile. Uploading your photo instead of a random picture gives the impression that you are serious about what you do and increases your chances of winning that project. Be sure that you upload a photo that depicts you as a true professional while being friendly too. The background of the photo has to be clear and it has to be well-centered and well-focused.

4. Add your title cleverly

Though this sounds quite simple, it is one of the most important facet of your profile. The title has to be specific, short, simple, concise and of course realistic. There are thousands of freelancers out there who are competing with you to land that project. So, your title has to be impressive and distinct to catch the attention of the employers. Use straightforward words, preferably keywords and phrases to describe your skills. Only add skills that you possess and are confident about.

5. Have a clear Overview

The overview section has to let prospective clients know a bit more about you and your skills. This is the opportunity for you to explain your candidature. Always start with the most important aspect first, something you would want the employer to read even if he or she ignores the rest. Bear in mind that your overview should let the prospective client know these aspects – the type of industry and the type of work you are looking for, your experience (in numbers), your expertise in the role or task, your past achievements, the languages in which you can communicate. Soft-skills can be included towards the end.

6. Upload an introduction Video

Introduction video

This is something majority of the freelancers tend to ignore. As I had mentioned earlier, you are competing with thousands. So in order to stand out and create that best first impression you need to do everything that is necessary even though you have an option to skip them. Creating a video profile is one such thing. The trend of video profile is just catching up; sooner or later this will become a norm where every candidate would be expected to post his or her video profile in job website for the employers or recruiters to review it. Okay, now let’s get an introduction video created. Bear in mind, the video should just be about a minute long; longer videos can be boring! Your video should essentially contain your Introduction (5-10 seconds), objective (10-20 seconds), career highlights (10-20 seconds), and conclusion (5-10 seconds). Make sure you shoot the best video and speak well too!

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7. Add your skills

This is the field that you have to fill in diligently. You can select a maximum of ten and a minimum of 5 skills that are closely associated and enable you to perform the job. Make sure that you choose the most relevant skills for your job category. The important skills that will build your case for gaining the project have to be mentioned. Please list them in a descending order based on proficiency. The skills that you select should be consistent with your job title.

8. Take skill based tests

Ah! You may hate the word test! Since school days many of us carried this hidden hatred towards tests and exams. But this is time for you to conquer your fears and take up those tests that are relevant to your skills. Upwork has numerous skill based tests. Start with at least two that is relevant to the skills that you have listed and that you are confident about. Taking tests or assessments is always beneficial as makes the prospective clients believe in your skills and determine that you are indeed a right choice for the job or project. So, do not hesitate to take up those tests.

9. List your Language skills

Like most other portals, Upwork communicates with its users be it employers or freelancers only in English. So, officially English is the only language that matters, even though you may be fluent in many other languages. So, Upwork gives you a field to self-assess your proficiency in the English language. You may be tempted to choose the highest rating “Native or Bilingual” irrespective of your command on the language. Well this may seem quite tempting, but please – honesty is the best policy. Choose the right option from Basic (If you can only communicate through writing), Conversational (If you know English good enough to have a verbal conversation), Fluent (If you have complete command over English, including usage of correct grammar) and Native or Bilingual (If you are natural speaker of English who has complete command over the language, including wide vocabulary, idioms and phrases, and colloquial terms. Use the same selection for other languages as well.

10. Choose the right experience level

Upwork requires you to select the experience level based on the professional tenure in the chosen area of expertise. There are three options here – Entry level, Intermediate and Expert. Select “Entry level” if you are just starting your career in a particular field and are yet to explore the length and breadth of the challenges it offers. Select “Intermediate” if you have a few years of professional experience in the field you’ve chosen but are short of being called an expert. Choose “Expert” when you believe you know it all – You’ve put in enough years of professional experience in doing job at different level and understand the nature and complexity of the tasks thoroughly. No matter how irrelevant you may think this is, without this your profile completion would be less than 100% since this is an element that is considered in calculating your profile score.

11. Highlight your certifications

Certifications from a third-party will add value to your profile. If you have done any professional certification that corroborates the info given in the skill section or the statements made in the overview section, it would be a good idea to include it. Listing the certifications you have cleared or completed indicates your knowledge and ability in related fields of expertise for category you have chosen. Certifications rate high among employers and add credibility to your profile. So, be sure to add the certifications that you have.

12. Include your employment history

If you are experienced professional your employment details are a great way of showing potential employers the work experience that you bring to the table. The employment history gives prospective clients useful insights about the projects you have undertaken in the past and your job qualifications. Make it a point to focus on projects that you are expecting to win. You can even include the current freelance role that you’ve been playing and the kind of projects that you’ve completed. If there are any call-outs (of course) do not hesitate to highlight them. Use the employment history as a tool to further your chances of winning relevant projects. Add your employment history in a chronological order with the most recent one appearing at the top.

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13. List your educational qualification


The education section in your Upwork profile further enhances your profile by validating educational background. Make it a point to be clear and specific. Always list the institution name and your degree(s) in a chronological order starting with the most recent one.

In the rarest of rare cases where you do not possess any formal education, add all informal and self-learnt education in the “Other Experiences” section. Completing the “Education” section can help validate your background and increase your prospective client’s faith in your ability to perform the work assigned. After you have created your Upwork profile if you have gained any new educational qualification, do not forget to update it in the “Education” section. Be keen to update your profile routinely with new found experiences and details that will improve your qualifications and help you acquire more projects. Stay simple and yet specific to make your profile more effective.

14. Showcase your portfolio

The Portfolio section gives you the opportunity to let know prospective clients see what you have achieved so far. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your past (completed) projects so that they see the quantity and the quality of the work you have completed. It is like making the work you had undertaken speak for you. If you are successful in portraying exceptional ability and skill in a specific area of expertise, it increases the trust and you would naturally tick more boxes in what the client looks for before handing over a project. Certain categories like Content writing, Web designing etc. this section hold great value, so depicting them would certainly increase your chances of getting hired. Please get the consent from the copyright holder (I mean the client for whom who had worked and would like to add the details in your portfolio.) beforehand.

While adding your portfolio, the rule of the thumb is that – Best comes first! If there are tasks that you wouldn’t like to flaunt, it is best to leave them alone. Only add the details of projects that hold you in good stead. If your expertise ranges on more than one area, include that as well. Building the portfolio is a dynamic activity. You need to keep updating it as soon as you complete new projects to your client’s satisfaction. The portfolio should tell a story of your transformation from a beginner to a full-fledged professional who is able to handle even complex projects, or it can even show the growth in the width of your expertise. Add positive feedback from your past clients shamelessly! You’ve gained the positive feedback by your skills and work, and there is no reason to hide them. Please file every item under the relevant categories so that your accomplishments don’t get lost.

15. Set up a fair hourly rate

This is the last step and it all boils down to money here. This could be the most difficult and confusing part to update in your profile. It is hard to put a specific rate on what you are worth. Let’s face it – If you are good at something, don’t do it for free! Well, that doesn’t mean that you charge exorbitant rates. Find the right price for the task you offer and price accordingly. You can do your bit of research over the internet or even look at the pricing of other freelancers in the same category to arrive at a number.

Well, this sums up my 15 tips to build a successful profile at Upwork to grab clients faster. Hope you put this to good use and excel in your tasks.

Amit Acharya

Amit Acharya

Hello, I am the author of Top Earning Strategies. I am an avid blogger and a digital marketer. I love to learn and write about making money online, SEO, Blogging and any new tips and tricks.
Amit Acharya

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