Tips on applying to jobs on Upwork

Hi all, today I am back with you to provide you a tips that can make you stand out in a competitive freelancing network. Find below:

Update your profile with good overview, portfolios and experience:

Before bidding make sure that your profile is up-to date, showing off your skills, portfolios and briefly describing your expertise, your nature of work, your interest and how you are set to meet the goals in overview section.

Search jobs that fit your skills easily using the below method:

Don’t ever apply to any projects. Bid on those which right fits and you are confident that you work on that. Set up a job feed shown as below by searching on the skills and saving search, this will make it easy to find a project within your skill set. Once you save the skills, job feed in the left panel will be displayed always. You just click and get the most relevant jobs out of it. You have more option to set for the job feed as below – Job Type (Any job type, fixed, hourly), Experience level (Any Experience, Entry Level Intermediate, Expert), etc. Also you can search the job by project length. If you are interested in working long term, select – more than 3 months. Better to select any project length / selecting any option in all categories, so you may have the option to scroll on any jobs.

On the go, if you have more skills to add on the Job feed, you have the option to advanced search, through which you can search jobs by words shown as below and save the search. By doing so, the newly entered skill will be added to the job feed on the left panel. Also advanced search has different ways to search as shown below:

All of these words, Any of these words, The exact phrase, Exclude these words, Title Search, and Skills search. Thereby making easy for freelancers to search the jobs based on the preferences.

You can find an option in the left panel as “Recommended Jobs”, which will display important jobs related to your job feed.

Bid Early and consistently- frequently scroll the jobs and bid on earliest job and try to be the first to bid.

To get into winning job, one should continuously try on bidding the job daily. For Free Membership, you will have 60 connects in a month and each bid requires 2 connect, so in a month you can apply to 30 job post. Be sure you check daily and try to apply on the relevant job early. When you do reply early to the job post (within 10 minutes to 30 minutes), the client will be also available online and can check your proposal on the spot. There may be chances of getting response from the client right away. Best practice to bid early.

Note: Bidding early doesn’t mean, that you can’t land jobs that has been posted before. Try to find out the job which best fits and then find if the job is hired or is still open. It it’s open without doubt you can send a proposal. Sometimes, the client keep open the job post, until they find best freelancer.

Don’t ever copy/paste proposals. Review and take time to write a good proposal

Most freelancers create a static proposal and copy, paste while applying. You cannot fool the client by doing so. Client doesn’t expect such a proposal, saying that you are such and such expert and having years of experience. Example:

“Hi there, Here I am to help you out in automating your process through VBA. I am an expert VBA developer having 16+ years of experience.”

This type of static application won’t make you stand out from other freelancers. To consider try to write a different proposal for each job posting and don’t ever copy/paste.

Most clients are running out of time and are serious about hiring a freelancer to get the job done in quick turnaround. Definitely they are going to hire the freelancer on spot or in a day or two. If you are serious about winning the bid, then you should propose the client differently. You should write a stunning proposal personally for this client after going through the clients requirement and the attachment, links or videos whatever the client provides in support of the project. Describing them the value-added solution for achieving the project successfully.

Example: Client posts a job saying that he wants an user friendly application, which should work on different operating system. He suggest that he want to use SQL Server as database for this project. I will write a proposal as below for that.

Hi John,

Going through your job posting I found that you are interested in using the app in multiple environments. Also, you want your back-end as SQL server. Do consider, that SQL server won’t work in Linux and MacOS, only in windows. So, if you use SQL server you are limited to Windows. I would herewith suggest that you better use MySQL, which is opensource as well as supports multiple operating system and multiple programming languages including Perl, Scheme, Tcl, Haskel and Eiffel.

I have worked on creating MySQL database application on various programming platforms. Please find my portfolio on my website: having similar projects in the list.

It’s my pleasure to provide an helpful hand in creating multiple environment supportive app. Would be great to discuss further.

This is my Calendly link – Check and schedule a meeting.
My skype id is abc.def.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks and regards,


Provide samples of your work – linked to your website or attach files

To show the client that you are capable of handling the project, you must provide similar samples you have done in the past or your website link, if you have created one that showcase your portfolios and the projects. This will confirm the client that you are capable to do the said project.

Bidding the right budget

This is an interesting phase of bidding. Budget is what the client needs to know for the project completion. We are all mistaken that we should bid not high or low, but in between according to the client available budget.Sometimes, we see on the job posting the budget for the project is $5, we all freelancer mistakes that how to apply to the job for just $5, whereas the project requirement takes long hours to complete.

At first, I had the same thought. I used to neglect such job post and didn’t applied. Later on, I realized the fact. The budget is the place holder for job posting. If the client is unsure of the budget, he just puts on any figure may be $5 or any figure. Sometimes, even we can see in the budget as $5000, $10000 etc. This high figure is also not the correct budget for the project. Only the budget can be analyzed based on the job requirement. We can bid high than the shown budget on the job posting. Budget for the project entirely depends on the factors – type of project, time consumption and the complications or challenging phase it has. If it is a fixed price, we can go by milestone – dividing the phase of project completion into sub-projects. After successful completion of each milestone can proceed with the next milestone. For hourly based projects, we will be using UPWORK time-tracker to proceed. For this type of hourly projects we will offer an hourly rate on the proposal and also the number of hours the project required to complete. By which, the client have an idea the budget required to complete the project.

Start Referring to client by name

Most commonly the freelancers used to refer to the client by sir / madam / hiring manager. This is not a company job post, wherein you will attach a complete resume and are considered as employee working solely for this company. Freelancing is a business, where you are the contractor and you will connect to the client and get to know their problem to solve. You are free to take up as many as clients and can handle multiple projects.

Being in such a position, you have to connect to the client in a friendly manner. It’s a good start, when you refer a client personally by name. Client will feel too friendly on your behavior. You may wonder how to find client’s name to refer in the proposal. There are many ways to find client’s name, such as:

  • Below the job post – You may find at the end of the job post, client mention his name as – (Regards, John etc)
  • If you didn’t find any mentioned name in the job post, you can find the clients job feedback, wherein the other freelancers refers the client by name while providing the feedback.
  • If company name is provided in the job post, then google search and try to find the owners name.
  • If not, then best use as “Hi there”

Briefly state how you can achieve the required project to complete

Provide a solution for the problem to solve and state the stages it requires to complete.

Briefly state the timeline required

Also, a best practice to state the required time to complete the project. If you are sending a proposal for hourly, then state the hours required or term it in a number of days for a fixed project.

State an availability to schedule a meeting to discuss on the project

Use online meeting scheduling tool – such as calendly, doodle, Genee etc.
Stand out from the other freelancers by stating that you can complete within the next 24 hours / so depending on the projects

Communicate professionally and don’t use short terms

Try to be professional and communicate using complete phrase, not short-cuts

Use correct spellings and grammar

Using correct spellings and grammar makes to know the client that your English communication and English skill level is good. Proofread your proposal before sending.

Add the last phrase:

Don’t forget the last phrase stating that you are enthusiast in knowing the client response to your bid. This makes the client that you are serious about the job.

Answer to Additional Questions:

Most Job posting has some additional questions to which we require to answer. Read carefully the question and try to answer accordingly. Take time to write a good answer. The proposal we submit reach to the client displaying the answers to additional question first and then the cover letter follows. Its very important to answer correctly by providing best solution for the query the client has. Once you perfectly reach out to the client answer for their query, you have the chances of getting hired. Please check the below posting, wherein the posting has questions.

Follow these tips and get hired soon. All the best.

If you have any doubt, please do contact me. I am ready to clarify.

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