Types of Jobs on Upwork
There are three types of work on Upwork.
Hourly jobs probably make up 80% of the jobs posted on Upwork. For these jobs, clients often specify a range of how many hours of weekly work they’re looking for, as well as a price range.
2. Fixed Rate
Pretty self-explanatory, fixed-rate jobs have clear outlined one-time deliverables.
This is almost a mix of the two in that it can accommodate long-term jobs but is still under the premise of a flat-rate solution. Every week or month (depending on the job), you would submit the milestone, and the client would approve it.
Applying and Getting Accepted to Upwork
1. Choose a skill that is in demand
Are you a strong writer? Then apply as a copywriter. Write a mean Instagram caption? Apply as a social media manager.
2. Focus your profile entirely on that skill
You don’t stand a chance if you’re trying to be everything to everyone, and Upwork knows that.
Start by specializing in one thing – do it well, rank for it (more on this later), and then add other services.
3. Fill out the application incredibly thoroughly
They’ve gotten much stricter about letting new people on the platform recently because they don’t want the talent pool to exceed the job opportunities vastly.
4. If all else fails, get an agency to invite you to their team
I did this for quite a few friends over the years, especially Canadians. I would upgrade my agency account (which costs $20) a month and invite them to my team.
Setting up Your Upwork Profile
Once you’ve been accepted to Upwork, next up on the agenda is setting up your profile. I think a lot of this is pretty basic stuff, so I don’t dive into it too far. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Pick a good profile picture
Ideally, one that shows your face in a clear and bright atmosphere.
2. Optimize your bio
Try to make it read like a sales page – pay attention to searchability and keywords here!
3. Get your profile 100% filled out
Kind of a no-brainer, but Upwork will prioritize your profile and show it to more potential clients if it’s filled out.
4. Fill out the portfolio section
Include work samples that can show clients what you’re capable of.
Applying to Jobs on Upwork as a Beginner
1. Set up your home feed with proper keywords
With no filters on, you can waste a lot of time scrolling through your feed looking at jobs that aren’t relevant to you. When I started on Upwork, I was heavily focused on helping businesses with their Instagram accounts, so my keywords were focused on this.
2. Get creative with your keyword searches
While it’s worth setting up your home feed for some more well-rounded catchall keywords, I also try to spend some time searching for random phrases that might be less likely to show up to many people.
3. Create a script for applying to jobs
If you write a good cover letter script, this will help you stand out when applying to jobs on Upwork, save time, and will highlight why you’re the perfect person for the job.
Clients are busy – they don’t want to read an essay. They want to know you’re interested in their job. Aim for just a few small paragraphs.
4. ALWAYS customize the script
A bland and blatant script will not do anything for you, especially as a beginner on Upwork.
If you talk about your relevant experience in your cover letter, make sure to adapt it to highlight work (especially previous clients that you’ve worked on) that fits this job/client.
5. Look up the company
Clients don’t always mention the company name, but if they do, it’s worth googling them to learn more about the business so that you can customize it even further.
If they don’t list the company name but have posted other jobs before, do some digging to see if the company name is listed in any of the other jobs, whether in the postings or the reviews.
Most people applying to jobs on Upwork won’t take things this far, so it’s 100% worth doing it if you can. You will wow the socks off the client when you’re the only one that customized it to their brand.
6. Close your script with a CTA
Many beginners on Upwork stall out at the application phase. This is why it’s key to leave an actionable next step for hiring.
The more you can close the gap from the internet and create a genuine working connection, the better off you will be.
Bonus points if you can go out of your way to meet them in person – this will keep clients so much happier in the long run!
As a complete beginning on Upwork, reviews
1. Get Reviews Fast
As a complete beginning on Upwork, reviews matter more than anything. This is definitely what you should focus on first.
Take on small and short-term jobs so that you can get reviews quickly. The jobs above were perfect examples – small odd jobs that other people had no idea how to do but were easy for me to execute and help them out with.
Go above and beyond on these, and make sure to ask clients to give you positive reviews when the job is complete.
2. Keyword optimize your title
Upwork prompts you to write a sentence here, but I’ve found it’s better to focus on the skills you want to get hired for.
For a long time, I was simply an Instagram growth expert. Eventually, when I had worked on enough Facebook Ad campaigns for current clients and wanted to start getting new jobs for this skill, I added it to my title as well. Within a few months, I was the highest-ranked female Facebook Ads freelancer on Upwork, even though all of my reviews were about Instagram.
Keyword SEO is alive and well in Upwork job titles!
3. Reply quickly to invitations
Upwork ranks you based on your reply speed, so don’t dilly dally when replying to things. I’d suggest you download the Upwork app on your phone and make sure you have email notifications turned on so that you know as soon as you have any opportunities.
4. Verify your profile identity
Help give clients more peace of mind by knowing exactly who they’re hiring.
5. Go above and beyond on all of your jobs
This one kind of goes without saying, but this is a service-based industry at the end of the day, and it’s worth going the extra mile to make clients happy, especially as a beginner. The first few jobs you complete on Upwork will be paramount to strengthening your profile.