How to Create an Upwork Profile in 2020 - Get Approved by Upwork and Attract Clients Fast
Updated: May 3
I know a lot of people who are so eager to start their freelancing career but for some reason, they just went to a full stop when they were about to create their Upwork profile (raise your hand, my sweet sister-in-law! 😘 ).
A few would be so brave and went ahead but seems like they went to a war with just a stick on their hand.
And who would be best to give you the best tips on how to create a great Upwork profile? Guess what, it’s Upwork.
I am here to give you that extra edge on how to become a Virtual Assistant or any freelancing project you have in mind.
So, on this article, I wanted to give you links to resources that they have that helped me to continuously improve my Upwork profile.
Plus, I will share additional tips on how to get you approved by Upwork and things that will give you the edge over other freelancers on how to attract clients using your profile.
Upwork’s Tip on How to Enhance Your Profile
Try to focus on this article from Upwork itself. Upwork gave you the points you need to follow:
You can use the same principles on your other online profiles.
Here are some key takeaways that I would like to highlight just because I think these are commonly overlooked even if it seems like a no-brainer.
Please read this article from Upwork that is focused on that perfect profile picture:
Here are some of my own inputs:
Have it in high resolution. Use your smartphone and don’t rely on your old best picture or your graduation picture or your wedding photos. Drop your scanned “usual suspect” kind of picture you used from your old resume.
Dress properly. I see some who have sunglasses, wears a jersey, spaghetti strap top...
Use the right angle. Avoid using the typical selfie picture. NO chin down and the down shot angle, please. You wanted to land a job, not to gain followers.
Smile. Just have a genuine smile. Forget about pouting lips.
Just you. Though it is kind of sweet that your picture includes your child, please save that to your family album instead.
Background. Though it is recommended that you use a clear background or simple outdoor background, I opted to crop my picture and have a background color that matches the color of Upwork. Part of my branding, I might say. I just think it strikes most if you have a background color that catches attention, but not so bright though. Anyway, see what works best for you.
2. Profile Overview
Please read the article from Upwork that I provided. Sorry, I need to reiterate this. If I may highlight it even further…
Put the best information in the first sentence, skip the hi’s and hellos or even saying, “Thanks for viewing my profile”. The first line of your overview is a gold spot that you do not want to put into waste.
Keep it short and neat. Use the outline/points provided by Upwork in the article, simple as that. It is a great guide on how you will sum up your overview and avoid making it look like a jungle of pitches.
If you have some experience already, you don’t need to copy-paste there the great feedback you received. If I am the client, I would think you don’t have the brain to create your own overview of yourself.
Refrain from saying that you are only interested to do “work on the side” even if you are. Though you wanted to be clear on what you can deliver and what you can’t, this is not the place for that.
3. Check Your Grammar
Check the content of your Overview for any error using Grammarly.
Having a perfectly constructed introduction about yourself is not really to highlight your English proficiency (though some clients are particular to that) but I think it reflects more of your character as to being detail-oriented, your preparedness and generally the way you think.
If I am the client, I might think like if you profile have lots of flaws, how should I expect that you will care about my business?
4. Complete Your Profile
The fields provided by Upwork is there for you to fill-out.
Though it seems like some of them are optional, actually they are not. If you are a newbie, it is always best to complete everything.
Think of it as a points system.
So, if they gave you 10 fields to fill-up and you just did 5, should Upwork prioritize your profile over hundreds of freelancers who wanted to get in?
Most of the fields we usually skip are:
Introduction Video. See this tip: https://www.upwork.com/hiring/for-freelancers/stand-out-introduction-video/
Here’s a sample that I really like:
Link to social media accounts. Don’t be afraid to link your social media pages. It will never show in your profile. It will help Upwork to confirm your identity thus, giving you that plus points to get your profile approved.
5. Take the Tests
The basic test that you need to take is the Upwork Readiness test.
I am not sure if there is a cheat sheet for this but - Hey! Never do that!
This will actually help you to know which ones you need to dive deeper. (If you took time to do the “Know the Industry” step, then you will have no problem on this.)
The second basic test is the US English Basic Skills Test.
The next tests that you should take are the ones that are related to the skills you choose in your Upwork profile.
Important Tip! Your aim, of course, is to pass these tests. There would be instances that you pass the test but would show you are at “Below Average”, please know that you have the option NOT to display it. So don’t if the result is not impressive.
Please see this article for other details: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211063198-Skills-Tests
Update: Upwork removed the Skill Tests last year
The portfolio section can be utilized in different ways. When you are already experienced, you may want to use it by grouping your skills.
For instance, I have skills in project management, online marketing, and recruitment. What I would do is to have a portfolio piece for the project management where I would show screenshots of actual work/tasks that I did for that role (i.e. task monitoring tools, communication tools I used for the teams that I handled, I would also put some screenshots of the backend of the website that I managed but I just blurred the confidential information that I see appropriate not be seen by anyone).
This same goes for my skills in online marketing and recruitment.
But as a newbie, I suggest utilizing any work you have from your day job. Take screenshots of those and again, just make sure to blur any information that you think is confidential.
You can also take screenshots of the apps you learned. Just make sure that the content of your screenshots is something worth sharing for (i.e. If you know Trello, make a sample Trello board that you created. Just make sure it is somehow relevant to jobs that you are interested to focus on).
As a beginner, you may be tempted to just go and create your Upwork profile and play the waiting game until your account is approved by Upwork.
Please... spend some time to have a 100% complete Upwork profile BEFORE Upwork review you profile submission.
And final tip (very important!), if you are tempted to include data entry, MS office or anything that 95% of the population can do, please refrain from doing so. Upwork will just reject your submitted profile.
Ready to take the next leap? Share your thoughts by commenting below.