[Beginners Guide] 20 Tips To Get More Freelance Jobs at Upwork

Upwork is the largest online marketplace in the World of Freelancing. According to Wikipedia, it has over 9 million registered freelancers and 4 million registered clients. The majority of Upwork’s freelancers are from developing countries like Philippines, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Kenya and India. While the clients are mostly from Tier-1 nations like US and UK.

Upworking Jobs
With the future of freelancing looking bright and still a considerable difference in pay scales of developed and developing nations, Upwork is likely to grow exponentially in next 10 years. This makes it an ideal platform for people looking to make a career in Freelancing.
However, with the growing demand, also comes a lot of competition. A vast majority of talented individuals often find it hard to get a single job at Upwork. This is mainly because, unlike regular jobs, where a client spends a considerable amount of time interviewing a candidate to judge his skills, at Upwork, it is all about the first impression that a client may have about a Freelancer. The client may not be able to spend enough time reading each and every cover letters because of the number of freelancers applying for the same job.

So to be a successful freelancer, apart from relevant skills, one must also know how to present themselves in front of the client. Sharing quick guide about getting more freelance jobs for the first time.
How To Get More Freelance Jobs at Upwork
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How To Get More Freelance Work at Upwork?

In this article am going to tell you the exact steps you need to follow to boost your chances of getting more jobs at Upwork. Please note this article is specifically written for Upwork. If you are looking out for generalized solution, do check out my article about How To Be Successful Freelancer


This guide is primarily intended for Beginners. However, the points included are useful for
  • People who are totally new to the Freelancing World.
  • People who are currently working with other freelancer websites and want to start with Upwork.
  • Freelancer who have worked for Upwork but could not taste success.
  • For successful freelancers to enhance their skills.
  • For better understanding let us divide the entire Upwork process into different 4 stages


1. Build An Awesome Profile And Portfolio

As I said, at Upwork it’s all about self-presentation and self-promotion.

You must know how to build a solid and catchy profile that is very unique. Your profile should describe in detail about your qualification, experience, and certifications if any. You should also make sure to highlight special achievements which you find worth mentioning.

If applicable, build a portfolio of your work. This will help the client judge your work and, therefore, will help you stand out of the lesser skilled freshers.

Also, check out profiles of top freelancers in your niche. This will give you an idea of how you should structure you profile.

2. Research For Pay Rates

Before you start bidding, you must decide your pay rate. If you bid too high, the client may filter you out. If you bid too low, the client may still filter you out thinking you to be a spammer.

To avoid this problem, you can first check out few jobs relevant to your niche to know how much clients are willing to pay for a particular job.
Each job at Upwork is marked with “$” sign which indicates the how much a client is willing to pay for a skilled freelancer.

A single dollar sign means the client is looking for cheap and hence beginner level freelancers, and “$$$” signs will indicate he is looking out for highly skilled people with lots of Upwork experience. This will further help you to know how much clients are willing to pay to beginners.

Next, check out profiles of freelancers with total working hours less than 10. They are more or less considered to be beginners. However, since they have completed few jobs, you can check the pay rates they have charged to their previous clients.
Upwork Freelancer Pay Rates
Upwork Freelancer Pay Rates
The above pic shows the project name, a total number of hours the freelancer worked, pay rate and total payment earned for a particular project.

3. It’s All About Ratings

Like when you apply for a regular job, your past experience and performance are always considered. In the freelance world too, it matters a lot.

  • At Upwork, your past experience is judged on the basis of your rating given by your previous employer. A good rating with positive recommendations from your ex-clients can boost your freelance career at Upwork. Your must target 5-star rating for every job and should maintain your job score above 90% at any stage.

  • So beginners must keep in mind that your first few jobs are not at all about money. Rather, it’s about getting a good rating from your clients. So drop money from your mind and start thinking about the ratings. Bid on the lower side, but not too low to be filtered out.

Also, if you are bidding low, make sure to let the client know through cover letter that you are much more talented than what your bid rate suggests and that you are bidding as you are new to the platform.

4. Use your Connects Wisely

Connects are virtual tokens you need to bid for jobs at Upwork. Each job may require anywhere between 1-5 connects, however most of them need 2 connects. As a free Upwork user, you get 60 connects per month. That means you can only bid for around 30 jobs per month or 1 job per day.

So use your connects wisely. Do not bid for jobs you are not sure about completing. If you are a beginner, do not bid for jobs wherein clients are looking for intermediate or expert level freelancer.


5. Read The Job Description Carefully

A lot of jobs may require you to work at odd timings depending upon which part of the world client is from. Most clients would mention it in the job description. If you cannot work at the said time, better not to waste your connects by bidding on such jobs.
Also since a lot of spammer freelancers bid for the jobs without even reading description, a few clients post a code in the middle or at the end of job description which they ask you to submit along with cover letter. This is done to filter out unwanted applications. So unless you read job description carefully, you too may be filtered out.

6. Check Your Client’s Credibility

5 Star Rating Upwork
5 Star Client Rating Upwork
Like with freelancers, there are spammers among clients too. You may not want to bid for a job which the client may never award to anyone.

How do you know if a client is legit on Upwork? Upwork allows you to check the credibility of a client by displaying the total amount spent by the client, his average rate/hour and his feedback rating. True clients often have their payment details confirmed, ensuring smoother transactions.

When browsing job postings on Upwork, it's important to verify various factors before applying to a project. Take note of the client's payment method verification, the number of freelancers they've hired, their payment, and their tenure on the platform. These details shows insights into a client's reliability and credibility. By considering these factors, you can make best decisions and select projects that fulfill with your goals.

A new client may not always be the spammer, but be vary of new clients. They should, at least, have verified payment methods for you to consider bidding.

7. Write An Awesome Cover Letter

Your cover letter should be no less than mind blowing. This is the first thing that the client sees when you bid for a job.

A badly written cover letter may simply be discarded and the client may not even have a look at your profile and portfolio to know more about you.
Through your cover letter, you must let your client know why do you consider yourself fit for the job and why he should select you over dozens of other freelancers. Make sure to ask your client to have a look at your Profile and Portfolio.

Keep your covert letter short and to the point. A client who has dozens of cover letters to read, may not bother reading long ones until the end and so may skip some important points you mentioned at the end.

8. Managing The Interview

If you have covered the above steps perfectly than there are every chances that your profile will be shortlisted. Most clients will set up a Skype interview for the shortlisted freelancers. This is a great opportunity for you to leave a positive impression.
  • Make sure you prepare yourself for all the possible questions that the client is likely to ask you. At the same time prepare your own list of questions that you would want to ask the client. There are two main reasons you must ask questions to the client.

  • You must make sure that you clear all your doubts so as to be sure that you can complete the job. You simply cannot afford to take up a job you cannot complete even if the pay scale is higher.

By asking relevant questions, you are also showing off your knowledge to the client. This will leave a positive impact on the client. But do remember, too many unnecessary question may well turn out to be annoying to the client

9. Kick Off Meeting

After you are shortlisted, this is the final meeting before you work on the project.

The primary purpose of the first meeting is to decide the payment structure, work timings and other technical things related to the work. Make sure you are able to fulfill all the conditions put by the client including work timings and deadline for completing the project.


10. Communicate Regularly With Client

You must regularly communicate with the client and keep him updated about the status of the project.

You shall also ask him for his feedback and inform him that if there is any scope for improvement you are more than willing to do it at no extra cost.

Proper communication shows your professionalism and it is taken into account for your overall rating.

11. Clarify Doubts With Client

You must clarify your doubts with the client rather than doing it the wrong way. Remember in most cases, a client will pay you on hourly basis. By doing things wrongly, you will be wasting his time and money. Though it can be settled personally, that is something you should avoid.

12. Be Responsive With Your Replies

If a client reaches out to you for some query, be sure to reply to him within 24 hours.
Not responding for couple of days may leave a negative impact.

13. Keep Track Of Your Deadline

You should always respect the deadline mutually agreed while taking up the project.

Some clients may even cancel contract if they do not get the project delivered within the stipulated time.


14. Review Your Work

You must review your work before you submit to the client to check for any errors.

A project full of errors will be fresh in the mind of the client while rating.

15. Offer Special Perks

If you are beginner, you may offer special discount of 5-10% to your client.

Giving discount will make the client super happy and he may even write few more lines recommending you apart from the 5 star ratings you are targeting.

16. Ask For Feedback

You must always ask your client to leave a feedback, few clients may just skip this step unless you remind them.

As I stated earlier for a beginner, a positive feedback is more important than money.

17. Request Your Client To Include The Project In Your Portfolio

Unless the project is confidential, you should request the client to allow you to include the project in the portfolio.

A project completed at Upwork in your portfolio is certainly going to be very important.

18. Apply For New Job

While applying for a new job, always mention in your cover letter about the ratings and recommendation of your previous employer.

With a good rating, you are now more likely to get a job.

19. Quality Over Quantity

It is better to get fewer complex and high paying projects than many smaller projects. This will let you to manage your time effectively and at the same time make your profile more Impressive.

20. Have patience

Though above points will significantly improve your chances of getting more jobs, you need to patient.

A lot of freelancers put in lots of effort and quit when they do not see results immediately.

The key here is to continue trying for your breakthrough. Once you get that you will come off with flying colors.

Success Is, How High You Bounce When You Hit The Bottom.

Bottom Line

With increased competition, getting your Initial breakthrough at Upwork is not very easy. However if you are talented and if you make sure to strictly follow these points, there are immense opportunities to grow.

However, since with freelance, a few bad ratings can spoil your profile. And creating and bouncing back with your new profile is never easy. So you must always consider registering with multiple websites. I have prepared a list of Top 7 Freelance Websites. If you have not seen it yet, do make sure to check it out.

Got any queries? Or have any suggestions? Do use the comment form below to let me know.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and help us spread the word.

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