When you’ve been on Upwork (or any other freelance job board) for a while, you can rest on your laurels when bidding on jobs and let your work history speak for itself. When you’re just starting out, however, having a great profile is crucial.
Regardless of how long you’ve been freelancing on the outside, when you join a community like Upwork, eLance, or RAC, buyers (your potential clients) can only see what’s laid out before them.
Don’t shoot blanks
In three months, I have applied on one job on Upwork. Every other interview or candidacy I’ve had (70 as of this writing) were the results of buyers searching for a provider that met their needs. If my profile and portfolio were empty, they wouldn’t have found me.
When buyers post a job on Upwork, they are immediately given the option to view provider profiles that match their criteria for the job. Many buyers will invite you to an interview if they see something they like on your profile that fits their job – but they can’t do this if you don’t have anything searchable in your profile.
Make sure every bit of your profile that can be filled in is filled in!
Objective/Overview: This should never be left empty. On all job sites, this will be the first thing a buyer will see. This should include all the reasons a buyer should hire you over the competition.
Skills: There is no reason this should be empty. At all. Whether it’s something you take for granted like typing 50wpm or operating Microsoft Excel, a skill is a skill. If you have many skills, limit your skills list to a targeted audience. For example: if you’re a web developer, narrow your skills list to programming languages and frameworks – buyers probably won’t be hiring you for your typing skills, show them what they want to see.
Certifications: If you don’t have any certifications, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave that section empty.
Employment History: Unless you have absolutely no work experience, place your most relevant jobs in your employment history and fill in the descriptions for each job. Use bulleted lists or separate skills into category paragraphs to make it easy for buyers to scan your credentials.
Education: Even if you did not get the degree, include your higher education information. Unless you’re a recent high school graduate, listing your high school in your education section is typically irrelevant. If you’re not a recent high school graduate, and you don’t have any higher education courses under your belt, it’s safe to leave this section blank.
Portfolio: Unless you’re marketing yourself in a commodity field like Data Entry, this should never be empty. This is your shot to highlight your best work. Choose your best pieces, whether it’s article writing or web design, and include a descriptive sentence or two for each item.
Target your clientele
The key to getting buyers to notice you is to choose your target buyer wisely. Every successful advertiser gathers demographics on their target audience to create their marketing material. In the world of freelancing, you have to be your own advertiser.
You don’t necessarily have to research demographics, but just know who you want to work for, and fill out your profile to grab their attention. Finding a niche to market yourself in will be easier than applying to jobs randomly, especially if your profile proves you’re the expert!
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