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Upwork Profile Mistakes That Are Costing You The Job

We are huge fans of Upwork and believe that a good quality profile can go a long way towards helping you find and attract the right clients for your freelancing business.

If you haven’t already read it, we highly recommend that you read our article on How to Create an Upwork Profile That Gets You Clients, FAST. This will help you get all the basics right.

Followed all the guidelines and still not seeing results? Make sure you’re not making one of these rookie Upwork mistakes.

Make sure you’re not making one of these rookie Upwork mistakes.

Mistake #1: Creating a Profile as an Afterthought

This is one of the Upwork profile mistakes most newbies probably make, without even realising they’re doing it.

It’s exciting to finally start freelancing and it’s understandable that you’ll want to start applying for jobs as soon as you can. However, don’t start building your business from the top up. A good foundation is very important. Similarly, a good profile is the FIRST step to landing you good jobs.

  • Once you join Upwork, create a winning profile from the get go.
  • Put in some thought at every step of the profile creation process.
  • Don’t just add meaningless stuff to your profile just to be able to complete the process and start applying for jobs.

A good profile will always be your first impression because clients don’t just look at your application but will pay more attention to your profile.

Mistake #2: Being a Jack of all Trades Freelancer

At the beginning, you will be tempted to want to show clients that you can do everything possible. You probably think you stand a higher chance of getting jobs if you can do a variety of tasks.

The truth is quality trumps quantity, big time.

If you want to start landing high-quality and well-paying jobs immediately, then you have to sell yourself as an expert. There’s no way you can be an expert in 20 different fields. It’s important that you choose a niche. Something you’re really good at and offer that as your main service.

By choosing a niche, your profile stands a chance of ranking higher as you will be offering something specific that clients are looking for. Clients want to hire freelancers who are experts.

Once you choose a niche, build your profile around it. Show your experience in this niche through a well thought-out description, relevant work history and a portfolio that demonstrates your experience in your chosen niche.

See also: How To Make (More) Money On Upwork By Finding Your Niche

This here is a great example of a freelancer who has narrowed down their focus on one niche (email marketing). Both the headline and the skills they have listed address this:

Mistake #3: Using Keywords All Wrong

Keywords are the words that clients use when looking for the right freelancers. For instance, if someone is looking for a freelancer to create a business website for them, they will probably search for  ‘web designer’. The Upwork system will then pull all the profiles that contain the ‘web designer’ keyword and show them first to the client.

Most freelancers either don’t use keywords at all or use too many, across too many different areas.

Not using keywords at all means that your profile will never appear first in the search results. Too many keywords, on the other hand, will make your profile appear spammy, inexperienced and sometimes even considered irrelevant by interested clients.

  • Keywords are especially great when creating your profile headline.
  • Pick 1 or 2 of the most important keywords in your niche and use them to write your title.
  • You should also use these keywords plus a few others, on your overview thoughtfully. Be careful not to overuse them.

Here’s an example of Upwork’s search results:

Mistake #4: Writing a Boring Profile Title

Your job title (also sometimes referred to as the headline or tagline), is among the three things on your profile that a client will see first when it comes up in search results.

The other two are your names and a few sentences of your overview.

Your job title is your first shot at grabbing the client’s attention enough to make them read the rest of your profile. So it has to stand out.

Most people’s headlines are generic, boring and lack creativity. They simply don’t arouse any curiosity. So how can YOU write a job title that is descriptive, attention-grabbing, clickworthy and concise?

  • Focus on offering value. Don’t make your headline all about you, instead use it to show clients the value you will add to their businesses.
  • Go straight to the point. Don’t be ambiguous, let the clients know what you have to offer from the word go. Remember that Upwork has a character limit of 70 for the headline so keep it short by going straight to the point.
  • Stick to your niche. Pick a few skills that clearly show your expertise in your chosen niche.
  • Don’t forget the keywords. Remember to include 2-3 relevant keywords in your headline.

This headline clearly states value to be offered:

Mistake #5: Wasting Valuable Real Estate in Your Overview

The profile overview is the most important part of your profile. This will be the deciding factor for a client whether to hire you or not.

When writing your overview, don’t lose the client by wasting time on pleasantries or describing yourself. Go straight to showing the value you will add.

Simply answer the question “Why are you the best candidate?”. Put yourself in client’s shoes and ask yourself what would convince you to hire you?

Put yourself in client’s shoes and ask yourself what would convince you to hire you?

6 MUST-DO Tips for Writing an Impressive Upwork Profile Overview:

  • Start with the most important info:

Only the first two or three sentences of your overview will be seen in the search results. So you want to ensure these first sentences have the most important information that will convince a client to hire you.

  • Focus on your niche:

In order to show your expertise, focus on showing your knowledge in your chosen niche only. Don’t waste space in your overview talking about other work experience if it’s not relevant to your niche.

  • Include keywords:

Do a quick search of the kind of jobs you’re trying to land in your niche and see the phrases clients use in the job descriptions. Then pick a few and include them in your overview.

  • Use good grammar:

Good grammar is not just for bloggers and copywriters. Using correct grammar is the first step in selling yourself as an expert regardless of your area of expertise.

  • Use short paragraphs:

Break down your description in small, easy-to-digest paragraphs instead of one huge one. This will keep the client interested and prevent them from having a brain freeze.

  • End with a call to action:

Why are you interested in getting the client to read your overview? To be hired, obviously, right? So make sure you end your description by reminding the client, politely and masterfully, that you’re the perfect candidate and not to hesitate to hire you. Example of a well written overview:

Mistake #6: Lacking a Strong Portfolio

The portfolio is the part in your profile that you use to show your previous works. Most freelancers, especially those starting out, normally leave this part blank.

This is wrong because almost all clients will ask for samples. Save them some time by uploading a portfolio.

If you don’t have any previous freelance work to showcase, try and be creative. For instance, if you’re a freelance writer or web designer and you have your own personal website, then you could add this as one of your previous works. You could also use video to describe relevant work that you did probably in one of your full time jobs.

When creating your portfolio, use a catchy image that will attract clients even if it’s not related to the sample you’re adding.

Also remember to give each sample a catchy title that will get people to read it and also an accompanying a solid description of what the sample is about.

Portfolios are especially great for supporting your freelance rate. So don’t ignore this part of your Upwork profile. An example of a good Upwork portfolio from an email marketing freelancer:

Mistake #7: Not Having a 100% Complete Profile

Creating a good Upwork profile takes work and time. Most people don’t want to do this. So what’s the result? Zero clients or low paying jobs that will leave you frustrated.

  • Over and above a good headline, overview and portfolio, ensure that you have a 100% complete profile. Upload a clear and professional photo of YOURSELF. Not your cat or your friend or some abstract object, you. Add all your relevant skills.
  • Include your work experience. This means all previous job positions you’ve held that are relevant to your niche. Also, include any certifications that you have and your education background.
  • There are lots of tests on Upwork that you can take to showcase your knowledge in your niche. Don’t ignore these.
  • Take as many as you can and don’t just do them for the sake of it. Take them seriously, pass and publish the results so that clients can see them

To sum it all up

Success as a freelancer is all about how well you market yourself. A high-quality profile is your first step into attracting good quality clients on Upwork. Take your time to create a quality profile and update it whenever necessary.

Remember that Upwork might seem like a crowded place but if you make the effort to stand out from the crowd, there is plenty of work for you. So stay relevant, be unique and put the work in, right from the beginning.

Ref: Fulltime Nomad

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