Mistakes on your upwork profile can cause clients to ignore your proposals immediately. Also if your profile isn’t setup properly, you will never be found when clients are searching for your area of expertise.
The purpose of your profile page on Upwork is different depending on whether you are new-ish or if you have done several projects. If you are new, the purpose of your profile page is to prove that you are capable of doing a great job in whatever you are freelancing for. If you have been freelancing for a while, the purpose of your profile page is to show that you are absolutely awesome at the work that you do!
How can you manage to give out the correct message from your Upwork profile?
I am going to go over the parts of a profile on Upwork, showing you the example of my own profile and share what I have learned. Of course, this is a learning process, and there are many ways to do this right. I am going to share what I know.
There are essentially four parts to an upwork profile. I will go over them one by one.
The Header Area
The header area has your pic, name, location, headline, expertise tags and your hourly rate.
For the pic, I recommend a headshot like mine above. Your clothes don’t matter. A smiling headshot like the above makes a very different impression than a professional business suit. Many people think too much here. I am telling you it doesn’t matter what you wear or where you are. Just grab a headshot where you look decent and that’s fine.
The headline, where it says xenForo | Forums | Paid Membership above is actually the most important piece of information here. Don’t make it too long. It allows 70 characters. The easiest way to know what to put is to look at other successful freelancers in your niche. Look at what they write in their headline. If possible go with one word for one subject as above or at most two words per subject. Hence in my case, I write Forums, because I am an expert with forums.
The hourly rate should be as high as you are comfortable with. The hourly rate on your profile is like the “Maximum Retail Price” on consumer goods in my country. It isn’t necessarily the price a client will hire you at, but it’s like the maximum you would like to get. Many people make the mistake of putting a very low number here.
Remember if you put a very low number, you will attract similarly bad work. People will try to take advantage of you. If you are new, you can’t put a very high number there, but it doesn’t have to be $3. When I started many many years ago on Elance, my hourly rate on my profile was $15 / hour. I have steadily increased it now to $66.67 / hour. If you are absolutely new, try to find the median of what people are charging and put that on your profile.
And lastly for the tags, Upwork uses these to show you in search results. So add between four to six tags here if you are looking to be found for many things. I just use two because I am very specific on the type of work I want to be found for.
One word of caution: If you are a very new Freelancer, my overview above is absolutely wrong for you. With my profile overview above, I am actually trying to discourage unprofessional clients.
Your profile overview is THE most important part of your profile. Do this wrong and you are 100% guaranteed to be ignored.
I am going to give you some advice here which may sound strange. The purpose of the overview in your profile is to make your client feel good.
Let me explain.
If you are a new Freelancer, you don’t have a lot of work history. If a client is looking at your profile, you have only a few seconds to get their attention or get them to ignore you. The client is going to glance at your headline, and by instinct start to read your overview.
By the time they have read a few lines, you want to give them a good feeling about you. And most freelancers make the mistake of writing about what they want on their overview. Your profile overview should not be about what you want at all! but it should be about the work you can deliver.
Absolutely eliminate the following words from your overview, “I need”, “I want”, “I wish”, “I desire”. Use the word “I” as few times as possible. Instead write something like,
“After completing my degree in Computer Science from one of the topmost institutes in my country, I have successfully built the ‘About Me’ plugin for wordpress. My wordpress plugin is among the top 100 most downloaded plugins on the wordpress directory in the first week of January. Having worked on the “XYZ Project” during my studies, I am also an expert on XYZ.
Writing beautiful code, which is efficient and bug free is something I love and I will bring this attitude for all my clients at Upwork. I will give you a quick turnaround time on your requirement and am super responsive to any questions you may have. I have a very positive attitude towards work and value my commitments very strongly.”
Notice the positivity in the message above and see how I haven’t at all talked about what “I” want. This is what works for new Freelancers. Some people write, “I want to get a job where blah blah blah…”. Nobody cares about what you “want”.
For experienced folks, you may have a different objective. For example, I only want to attract very professional clients with a larger budget who value time and professionalism more than money. Hence my profile overview is different and has too many “I”. So don’t use that as an example if you are new.
Remember, references are most important. It doesn’t matter if you are new or old, the best way to demonstrate credibility is to show technical work which has social proof. Read my post about The one thing which guarantees a Client’s reply on Upwork for more on this. See how I included a reference to “About Me” plugin on wordpress in the example above.
A final point on this is that absolutely ensure that you don’t have any grammatical errors on your overview or anywhere else. If English is not your first language, ask your friend or someone you know who writes good English to correct your overview. Bad grammar on a freelancer profile is an absolute turn off. When you are sending your proposals, mention to the client that English is not your first language. But on your profile, absolutely ensure there aren’t any English errors.
The Work History
Once you start to get projects, your work history becomes more important than your profile overview. Whenever clients have given me feedback, they have given me 5 stars. When you are starting out, ensure that you do a very good job. Ensure that you communicate well and ask your clients to leave you positive feedback.
Here’s the method I have employed over several years to get positive feedback. I always avoid marking a job as completed myself. Instead, I finish all of the work, make my work submissions, and after the client has reviewed and is happy, I say something like this,
It was a pleasure working on this. Specially the XYZ part was challenging but it felt great to complete this as you wanted. If there isn’t anything else, I would request you to mark this job as completed on Upwork. Of course, even after the job is completed, please feel free to ask me any questions you have and I will be glad to answer them!
Most people when they read above, mark the job completed themselves, which means they also realize that they have to give me feedback. And they go on to give me 5 stars, which builds my work history.
I put the Portfolio, the Education history, certifications, tests etc all under the category of “Extra Stuff”. If you have an absolutely new Freelance account, you should add whatever portfolio you have. But it loses significance as you do more jobs.
And the rule for almost everything else is, fill them up if you have any sort of “brand names” to speak about. So if you have certifications from reputed places, like Oracle or Microsoft certifications for example, include them in your profile. If your past employment history, education institutes etc have any reputable names, write them in.
I have never taken an Upwork test. And I honestly don’t think they matter at all. If I am a client and want to hire you, I wouldn’t really know if I can trust the results shown from the upwork tests as a measure of your ability. But many people take these tests and use them as a reference, so take them if you feel you will get good results.
So that’s my take on the Upwork profile. I hope this helps you compile your Upwork profile so it is not leaking clients. If you have any specific doubts on any area of the profile, post them in the comments section and I will get back to you.