How To Get Your First Job At Upwork


If you are new to Upwork, you may be spending a considerable amount of time looking through people’s profiles, noting how many jobs they’ve done, and wondering how in the world they were able to land so many jobs and make so much money when you can’t even get one client to respond to your applications.

I know exactly how this feels cause I’ve been there before.

After repeatedly checking your email and still not finding any response from clients, you may begin to wonder if freelancing is really going to work for you.

But there’s absolutely no need to be discouraged. The truth is, if you are new to freelancing, there are some things you need to know that will help you score your first gig, and kickstart a successful career. The tips I’d be sharing in this post are those that have worked well for me, and I believe they will do likewise for you too. Let’s jump right in…..


8 Tips For Scoring Your First Job At Upwork

1. Write a compelling profile overview
Your profile overview can strongly affect your chances of getting a job at Upwork. However, when you are new to freelancing, you may not really know how to craft a captivating overview, and so this may be a challenge. The good news is, I wrote an article that shows you how to do this. The article also includes samples to help you see exactly what a great overview looks like. Read it here: Upwork Profile Overview Sample.

2. Complete your profile and add items to your portfolio
Ensure your profile includes detailed information about your skills and experience. If you have completed some projects outside Upwork, include them in your portfolio. Since you are new to Upwork and have no record of successful contracts, your profile and portfolio have to be detailed enough to convince clients that you can get the job done.

3. Learn how to write great cover letters
Your ability to write great cover letters influences your job prospects at Upwork more than anything else. A cover letter should show the client that you understand the job requirements, have the necessary skills, and can do the job and help the business succeed. Please read this article to learn how to create Upwork cover letters that employers can’t resist.

4. In the cover letter, state that you are new to Upwork and then explain that you will do a great job nonetheless
This is how I got my very first job at Upwork. I told the client I was new to Upwork but not new to the task he wanted me to perform, you can do the same. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you could say “I am new to Upwork but I already have a record of beautiful designs as you can see here and here (Provide links or refer the person to your portfolio.)”

Further, you can even convince the client that because you are new to Upwork, you will do a better job than everyone else. Look at the following statement for example: “I am new to Upwork and I understand how much your review of my performance after the job is done will affect my career here, so you can be sure I’d go above and beyond to ensure you’re 100% satisfied.”

5. Search for jobs in your country
Many clients require people from specific countries to perform jobs for them. If you do a search with your country name, you will likely find a couple of these. You stand a better chance of getting hired on such jobs so search for and apply to as many country specific jobs as possible. Even if they are not an ‘exact’ match for your skills, apply for them nonetheless (as long as they are tasks you can perform), and this brings us to the next point.

6. Don’t be rigid
As a starter, you may need to accept pay rates that are less than what you intend your rate to be. This is especially so when you have little experience and few items in your portfolio. You may also need to be versatile when choosing jobs, even accepting some that may not be the exact jobs you aim to do at Upwork. When you have a record of successful jobs, you can restrict your applications and contracts to your exact skill set, and set your hourly rate to what you are comfortable with.

7. Take Many Tests
Tests are a great way to prove to clients that you have the skills needed to get the job done, so take many tests that are related to the job you want to provide to clients. If you perform poorly in a test, there’s no need to show it to the world. Upwork allows you to hide poor tests and retake them later.

8. Apply to many jobs
You can increase your chances of scoring your first job when you apply to as many as possible. So do not stop at 2 or 3 applications. Search for jobs regularly, apply to those you can perform, and while you wait for these clients to respond, keep yourself busy by applying to yet more jobs. It may take quite a few applications before you score a job so don’t get discouraged. This is how we all started.


Following the points outlined above, I was able to kickstart my freelance career, and thus Upwork remains a major source of income for me. I am positive that you will have the same experience if you ensure your profile is captivating, learn to write great cover letters, and follow all other tips written in this post.

If there are other points you believe can help freelancers score their first job at Upwork, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

One Response

  1. Maria Christina Lopez July 31, 2016

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