Writing an Upwork profile is a necessary part of beginning to work on the platform. It can trip many people up as they stress about how to create "the perfect Upwork profile" in order to win jobs. Guess what, I've hired 100s of freelancers over the years so trust me when I tell you this: Please do not stress out about this!
In this post, I'm going to give you some quick tips to follow when writing your Upwork profile and show you some not-so-great Upwork profile examples to stay away from.
Plus, at the very end, I'll give you my biggest secret about Upwork profiles so be sure to stick around.
Your Upwork profile title
Let's start with your Upwork profile title. It's the first thing the potential clients see. And you've only got a few seconds to get their attention. With just a few words, you're trying to entice them to read more about you.
But with millions of freelancers on the platform, how on earth do you stand out?
The good news is many people aren't doing a great job with their Upwork profiles. The two most common things I see are people being too gimmicky in an effort to stand out and be unique, or going the other way and making their Upwork profiles totally generic.
You want to fall somewhere in the middle. Make sure that your title is simple and to the point. It should describe what you do and the kinds of projects you're looking for but it should be short. 10 words or less is the ideal.
You also want to be specific. Putting multiple types of work in your title simply discourages the client who is looking for a specialist. (And specialists get paid more than generalists). For that reason, you also want to leave out generic words like "hard-working" or "responsible." They just take up space but don’t truly add to your Upwork profile.
Let's take a look at how the title shows up on various Upwork profile examples:
Jamming too much stuff in just looks bad. I don't want my tax guy to also be writing Python code. I want him to be skilled in and focused on taxes.
Personalization is good! If I need an expert in ClickUp as opposed to just project management systems in general, I'm going to take a closer look at this freelancer.
Your Upwork profile photo
The photo for your Upwork profile should be professional and straightforward. People make first impressions almost immediately upon seeing it so you want them to get the right idea.
DO - Take the photo in good lighting with a simple background.
DO - Face the camera.
DO - Smile naturally.
DON'T - Have too much going on in the background. This photo is small so simplicity is key.
DON'T - Take a sexy model-type photo. You're a business owner looking for clients, not a modeling gig.
DON'T - Take a photo that's completely unrelated to work e.g. casual, out with friends, people cropped out.
Let's take a look at various Upwork profile examples and their photos…
Your Upwork professional overview
This is kind of like your cover letter in a traditional job but can be quite a bit more informal here on a platform.
1. Put the most important information first
The client only sees the first few sentences if they see a preview of your profile. So the title + the first few words of the professional overview are what pulls them in. If they like what they see, they'll keep reading.
If you have outstanding testimonials from past clients put those upfront — especially those that mention a sexy result.
A testimonial like the following placed right at the top of your Upwork professional overview can certainly catch the eye of potential clients ... "Working with Mashon helped us increase our sales from $10K a month to $35K/month in the first 3 months. We were blown away by the results!"
Check out the Upwork profile examples below. As you can see, just a few lines show up. Which Upwork profiles stand out to you?
2. Focus on your client and not on yourself.
Think about the ideal client you want and try to speak to them in every word of your Upwork profile. Craft your skills to show them how what you do can help them.
Instead of: 7 years of experience
Try: With over 7 years of experience, I've helped clients just like you get results like this:
- Doubling sales within the first 6 months of working with me
- Scaling from 6 to 7 figures after 3 months of coaching
- Increased traffic to their website 47% in 3 months
3. Don't stick to old, boring, generic rules!
This is not a resume and you're not begging for a job. You're a freelance business and the Upwork professional overview is the place to highlight your business's services and skills in a way that draws in potential clients.
This means you can skip the boring and predictable droning on about all the things you've done in old-school bullet points. Make your professional overview interesting!
Organizing your Upwork profile
At the time of this writing, your Upwork profile doesn't allow for extra formatting like bold, italics or bullet points. This means you'll need to be very careful with how you organize the information in your professional overview.
One common mistake I see all the time in Upwork profiles is people forgetting this and everything appearing all jumbled and mashed together.
Use spacing and hyphens to sort things out as best you can. And don't forget to go back and view it once published so you can make sure it's showing up as you want it to appear.
I see what this freelancer was trying to do in the photo below. She wanted to make this stand out since Upwork doesn't allow for much formatting. But she didn't take into account how it would show up in her title.
This isn't a bad idea for creating stand out sections in the body... but not first thing or it looks terrible in the snippet that shows up.
Frequently asked Upwork profile questions
Do I have to fill out my profile completely?
No. And you can still get great work without it. But it does help you show up in certain sections. For example, a lot of people ask me how to get Rising Talent status when they're just starting out.
You have to have a 100% complete profile if this matters to you. Most people don't do this, but it's a great way to get that little badge that catches the eye.
You also have to have this in order to get Top Rated status. You can see your profile completion rate on the right-hand side with your other profile settings. These badges can help boost your profile visibility as you can show up in job recommendations you otherwise wouldn't show up for.
What skills should I choose for my Upwork profile?
Upwork allows you to choose up to 10 skills. These come from a standardized list and are very useful to Upwork in connecting you with potential projects that you're qualified for. Take a few minutes to really think about this and choose the 10 most important and most relevant skills.
Let's say for example that I'm skilled in Project Management but 15 years ago in high school I worked at a data entry job so I know how to do that as well. Just because I know how to do data entry, doesn't mean I need to list it if I'm looking for project management jobs.
These skills are also listed in order of importance so be sure to shuffle them around so the most important skills show up first. Make sure to check back every so often and update your skills.
What can I do to stand out in my profile?
There are some great ways to be different in your profile. One is actively disqualifying clients who you DO NOT work with. This shows that you are not just grasping at everything, but have a specific kind of client in mind, and are looking for relevant projects to what you actually do.
This freelancer is actively disqualifying a lot of people NOT in the real estate space. But that's good, because she knows her background and experience can be of major help to someone who is looking for someone skilled in that area.
Finally, that tip I promised you...
Here it is… your proposal is far more important than your profile! I don't want to say that you shouldn't put in time and effort on your Upwork profile, but learning how to write an effective pitch that stands out will get you further than your profiles.
In most cases, clients see your pitch first. They've posted a job, and you've replied to that job with a pitch.
In my experience, having hired hundreds of freelancers, if you don't grab me with the pitch, I don't even bother going to your Upwork profile. But if you have gotten my attention with the pitch, I'll then head on over to your profile to get a little more background and understanding of who you are and what you do. Check out this post on writing great proposals and as always reach out to me on Insta @liveworktravelig with any questions!