Getting your first job on Upwork can be like pulling teeth.
The dream of working from your laptop is often achieved, or at least started through freelancing.
Since Upwork is the biggest, most well-known freelancing website, we all naturally gravitate there eventually.
I remember when I first started on Upwork a while back and imagined myself getting immediately accepted for my creative writing gift.
Well after tons of declined proposals (or completely ignored ones) I knew that it wouldn’t be as easy as I’d thought.
If I could go back in time, I would slap myself in the face for not thinking clearly!
It’s such a simply problem to overcome, and I’m 100% serious when I say that the few changes I made immediately got me my first job within 24 hours.
It’s not even anything crazy, and it’s honestly something that you’ll probably think I’m ridiculous for not thinking of.
That being said, I know I’m not alone and chances are that if you’re here that you haven’t made these changes either.
Alright enough of the rambling suspense, what were the changes I made to get my first job on Upwork?
I upgraded my profile and I changed the way I submitted proposals.
That’s it. Super simple, right?
Well it might not be as simple as you think, so let me break down exactly how you should setup your profile and what changes you should make to your proposals.
How to Set Up Your Upwork Profile
Setting up an Upwork profile is very self-explanatory so I’ll save you the obvious fluff and platitudes of repeated stuff that you’ve already read 100 times.
What changes do you really need to make in order to really get recognized and get that elusive first job on the biggest and wealthiest freelancing website in the world?
Your portfolio has go to change, and fast.
Believe it or not, most clients view your portfolio and one little forgotten trait or experience could be the difference between you and your competition.
I’ve both hired and gotten hired, and let me be the one to tell you that there are a ridiculous amount of proposals you get within 24 hours of submitting a job posting!
When I hired people on Upwork, it was usually for ghostwriters to write eBooks for me, since I’ve been in the eBook industry for a few years.
I would have to sort through about 20 or so proposals the next day, with about 15 of them being absolute trash and 5 being very, very close in competition.
So what was the one determining factor for me?
I’ve always been someone to give a new freelancer a chance, so I would look for someone who was trying to land that first job.
The freelancer who filled out everything, and I mean everything on their portfolio was usually the one I chose.
Flip sides now, and I’m back in the phase where I’m still trying to land my first job.
I decided to look at myself as a freelancer that I was considering to hire and immediately noticed that I wouldn’t even hire myself!
Why’s that? Because I didn’t have my employment history, my education, and my bio was trash.
Employment history isn’t always something that should relate to the topic you’re writing about.
Us hiring clients just want to see that you’re capable of holding a real job because let’s face it, if you can’t work a 20 hour/week retail job then you’ll never keep up with the brutal online world of blogging, etc.
My point: Fill out every single detail of your portfolio, and don’t leave anything out.
How to Write the Perfect Proposal on Upwork
Writing the perfect proposal on Upwork is also a make it or break it situation.
Think about this: You’re trying to hire someone out of 15 different proposals and one of them says stuff like “lol” or “haha” and misspells words so much that you don’t even look past the first paragraph.
That’s another thing, don’t write 3 sentences and expect to get hired.
You’re presenting yourself for a job interview, so if you walk into an in-person interview and said 3 sentences, you’d be laughed out the door.
Address your hiring client as sir, madam, dear hiring manager, etc.
I always have started my Upwork proposals like this:
” Dear Hiring Manager,
I would love the opportunity to work for you on your article/listing/post/eBook about X…”
And work from there. You have to show passion and an honest desire to work for these hiring managers.
If you walk into an interview bored out of your mind, you know very well that the job isn’t going to you.
Your passion for online work needs to show in your proposal.
Spend 10 or 15 minutes writing it.
Show some respect and give them exactly what they want and more, it’ll surprise them that you cared so much to take the time to address them!
How to Land Your First Job on Upwork
If there’s a way to sum up this entire post it’s this:
Present yourself better.
Treat this like a real interview, minus the nice dress clothes and fancy watch to impress.
But isn’t that the great part about working online?
It might be stressful to land that first job, but in the end you can be anywhere in the world wearing pajamas and cowboy hat and nobody really knows or cares.
Now go back to your Upwork profile, fix up your errors, write down those proposals (remember that a longer proposal is better. Shoot for 3-4 paragraphs) and get that first job.
Also keep in mind that you’re not going to get that first application accepted. Or the second. Or the third.
You’re waiting to impress someone so much that they take a chance on you, because that’s what it is in the end.
You have 0 credibility online in their eyes, unless you have an eBook, audiobook, or blog.
They have to take a leap of faith to put their money in your hands and their articles their too, so impress them.
Now stop reading so into it and get back to applying and applying and some more applying.
Good luck on your freelancing adventure, and remember to always stand out from the crowd.
What makes you unique and better than the other applicants?
Time to change, and time to make an impact.