No matter which freelancing site you choose, the first thing you should be doing is to complete the profile. An incomplete profile is one of the major reason why most freelancers have a hard time finding clients on such sites.
While getting the profile completed is crucial, the quality of profile is more important. So a complete profile does not only mean hitting 100% completion mark.
In the social media era, we are habituated to complete the profile in bits and pieces. We add details when Facebook or LinkedIn asks for, like education, where we worked etc but that doesn’t work on sites like Upwork. You have to allocate time to complete the profile and consider it to be an equivalent of creating a CV.
So here is how I structure my Upwork profile.
1. Use Full Name
Upwork has strict guidelines for using real names but I always prefer to use my full name Shabbir Bhimani instead of S Bhimani or Shabbir B or S B.
When clients see my name in proposals, they can Google about me and not using full name means clients cannot search perfectly on Google.
2. Current Headshot Photo
Use high-quality headshot photo such that when it reduces in size still you can be recognized.
Apart from using the right headshot, it is also important to use your current photograph and change as you grow older. I normally change my profile picture every couple of years.
3. Appropriate Title
Your title should never be CEO or Owner like we normally set in a LinkedIn but it should be your expertise.
Keywords in the title help rank better in search for freelancers.
See how xenForo is highlighted in the title and in overview when searching as a client for xenForo freelancers.
I don’t prefer a very detail overview and 2 to 3 lines works best. I add details of what I do and how I can help my clients grow their business.
Make sure you add the keywords in the overview that your potential client may search for. As you complete related projects related, you can be found more prominently in the searches.
You can add a limited number of skills on Upwork and so add only those that can drive more clients.
I prefer more niche skills than broad level skills like. As an example, a PHP developer in frameworks should add CakePHP over PHP.
6. Hourly Rates
If you aren’t sure what should be your hourly rate, don’t set the minimum allowed value. It can look cheap and desperate. Check out How Much Should I Charge for My Freelancing Services.
7. Response Time
You cannot set your response time and Upwork automatically calculates it for you based on how fast you reply to client messages and invitations.
Less response time can help nail down client requirements faster which can increase the chance of getting projects awarded to you.
Respond to messages as fast as humanly possible.
8. Sample Portfolio
You should add few samples to your portfolio because profile without samples has very low impact.
If you don’t have real samples from clients, you can make few samples. Not fake samples but samples that you haven’t actually worked for clients but only for showcase purpose.
Setting availability can help you avoid dealing with many invitations when you aren’t looking for new clients.
10. Tests and Certifications
Always take the tests. It helps clients to hire you with confidence. Even after delivering 50k+ worth of work in Elance and then moving over to Upwork, I took the tests. It takes few minutes to complete if you know the subject well.
Clients are happy to share feedback and it helps future clients to hire you with confidence.
Upwork’s job success ratio has a factor where excessive projects without feedback dampens your job success ratio.
If you don’t ask for feedback, you may not get it, it is as simple as that. It never hurts to ask for a feedback, so always ask for a feedback.
12. Complete Jobs
I had many jobs open (since 2008) from Elance and were shown as working. It was because either I or my client never clicked on that complete project button and this was dampening my job success ratio.
I asked Upwork about why I have so many jobs open and found and realized I need to make them as complete. I closed these jobs in Elance and the job success ratio took a sharp upswing.
I have many clients who like to keep jobs open for anything they want to be done in future but getting them completed and asking for feedback helps with job success ratio.
13. Employment History
Add your employment history to your profile. Where you have worked and what was your role in each of your jobs. Add everything that you have worked or are working.
14. Social Media Profiles
Though your social media profiles will not be revealed to clients, it helps Upwork improve your job search results.
15. Education Qualification
Add your education qualifications like bachelor or masters.
Make sure every aspects of your profile is correct and complete.
Once complete, evaluate it. Ask a friend to look at the profile and see if it qualifies for jobs you want to apply for. You can share your Upwork profile in comments and I will be more than happy to look at it for you.