Upwork Profile Tips: Getting the Basics Down


If you are looking for freelance work, create a free user profile on the Upwork website to browse thousands of jobs from clients looking to hire freelance writers and other workers. One of the most important Upwork profile tips is to treat your user profile as if it is your calling card or handshake. In this article, we’ll explain each section of the user profile to assist you in getting the basics down so you can make a great first impression on potential clients.

Before I get into this, it’s worth noting that FWU’s own P.J. Aitken wrote about this extensively in his book The Online Writer’s Companion. He was able to earn in excess of $100,000 in his first year on the site and is currently one of the most sought-after freelancers. He laid all of his tips out in his book, and if you want to make it in this industry, it’s a must-read.

Upwork Profile Tips: Basics

The Upwork platform works like a traditional job board such as Indeed or Monster. But instead of entering an in-person process, you bid on specific jobs online and wait to receive a request for an online interview. If you get a request for an online interview, then you have a chance to ask any additional questions about the work or clarify any payment negotiations.

The client then decides from those they selected to interview, which freelancer gets the opportunity to do the work. If chosen, the client will activate a contract with you through the Upwork platform. Once you accept the contract, you are effectively hired. This can all happen in one day, or it can take several days or weeks, depending on the client’s timeline. Once hired, you begin the work, and the client pays you through the Upwork system when you submit the finished work.

Another of the important Upwork profile tips is not to accept, or even agree to accept, any payment outside of the Upwork system. Upwork can ban you from their platform for violating this policy. If a client requests to pay you separately from the Upwork system, remind them that it’s a violation of policy. If they insist on paying you outside the Upwork system, decline the job. You are also obligated to the client to Upwork because they attempted to circumvent the payment system.

The Upwork user profile is quite detailed, and you must complete a good percentage of it to be able to bid on available jobs. One of the often overlooked Upwork profile tips is to complete your profile promptly so that clients can determine whether you are a good fit for the work they need. Clients can search for user profiles based on keywords so keep this in mind when creating your profile.

Introduce Yourself

Think of the Introduction section of your user profile as your professional calling card. One of the most crucial Upwork profile tips is to complete this section thoroughly and carefully.

  • Profile Photo, Name, Hourly Wage
  • Tagline/Title
  • Location and Timezone
  • Skills Tags
  • Video (Optional)
  • Overview

Complete Your Work History and Feedback

  • Portfolio—samples of work
  • Certifications (if applicable)
  • Tests (You can choose to set each test score as either private or public)
  • Employment History
  • Education
  • Other Experience

Adjust Your Profile Settings

  • A personal email-to be used by Upwork to communicate with you.
  • Profile completeness—this statistic gauges how much of your profile is complete
  • Visibility—make this private until you have polished your profile till it shines!
  • Responsiveness—this statistic shows how often and how timely you respond to clients who request an interview.
  • Earnings Privacy—Freelance Plus members can keep earnings on each project hidden from other potential clients.

Carefully Select Your Profile Categories (Main & Sub)

During the completion of your user profile, you will be asked to choose the ten job categories that most accurately reflect your experience. One of the critical Upwork profile tips is to choose your categories and subcategories carefully. These categories will determine the job listings you see in your Upwork feed and determine which jobs you can bid on. It is possible to change your categories and subcategories if you gain new experience or don’t feel you see the jobs that are suitable for your skill set.

Link Social Media Accounts Cautiously

This section of the user profile impacts the amount of publicity or reach that your profile will have with clients and others. You can choose to link your Upwork profile to a multitude of different social media accounts.

The current social media accounts you can link your Upwork profile to include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Behance
  • StackOverflow
  • GitHub
  • Google
  • DeviantArt
  • Dribbble

The best of the Upwork profile tips to keep in mind for this section is to carefully review each of your social media accounts before you link them to your Upwork profile. Once you link your Upwork profile to a social media account, EVERYTHING you post on that social media account will be viewable to potential clients. Make sure you are presenting a professional and unified image across all platforms.

  • Monitor your Work History & Job Success: These sections of your user profile are populated automatically by Upwork. Work history includes the number of hours you have worked on the Upwork platform in the past 12 months and number of jobs you have accepted. Clients may look at this to determine how active you are on the platform and gauge your experience level. Work history also factors into your Job Success score which tells you and potential clients how many of your clients would recommend you to others and what percentage of your clients offer you repeat work.
  • Update Your Availability: This setting lets potential clients know if currently unable to take on additional work. Using this setting prevents you from getting inundated with interview requests if your workload is full or you need to take some time off for whatever reason.
  • Share Your Profile Link: This can be used to share your Upwork profile with current or potential clients so they can review your skills and experience, request an interview, or offer you a contract directly for repeat work.
  • View Profile as Others See it: Not all the profile settings are viewable for clients looking at your profile. If you’d like to know what your profile looks like to other people, this button does just that. A good Upwork profile tip is to check this setting occasionally to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward to potential clients and the public.

With some effort and honest self-reflection, you can create an Upwork user profile that will serve as an effective tool to market your skills to potential clients and bring you enough work to keep you busy.

The last of my Upwork profile tips is to regularly monitor your profile statistics. Regular monitoring will reveal how visible your profile is to potential clients and how effectively you satisfy the needs of current and former clients so you can continue to improve your customer service.

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