Freelancers: For Winning Good Jobs on Upwork you need a well crafted proposal

Winning good jobs at UpWork become easy if you first invest your time in crafting a template of a proposal that can show your skills, experience, and your portfolio in a way that attracts your customer’s attention.

When I had started applying for jobs at Upwork, back in 2014, I used to write a new proposal for every job. The result was that I was wasting too much time on writing them, with no major success. It also happened sometimes that when after writing my proposal I used to hit submit button, the job was already awarded to someone else.

Then I read this famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.

If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 of those hours sharpening my axe.

For me, the meaning of this quote was that I need to spend more time on sharpening the tool (a template for proposal) than on worrying about getting hired.

I realized that it’s time to do something different and come up with something unbreakable, and un-rejectable.

So one day, I decided that I will do nothing but will dedicate all my time to creating aat least five well-crafted proposal templates. I jotted down all the things which I thought are necessary to have and then saved it on my PC. And I found that my such template worked really well for me.

Here are the benefits I got by my template for proposals:

  1. It saved me time. (I just had to copy and paste it with a little variation according to the job description of individual client )
  2. It helped me to apply more than I could before.
  3. It made me stand out among the crowd. (Because I created it by focusing on my own strength, skills, and abilities)

A word of caution though: Don’t apply like a robot. Your first priority should be to read the job description and checking whether the client is real. See, if he has a good reputation and has spent few thousand dollars on other freelancers. Also, you need to assess whether you have enough time and skills to get the job done. Because if you couldn’t, you won’t be paid. All you will get is a bad review that will always be there on your profile. Once you have it, you will find it extremely hard to get hired again.

I hope by now you have understood the importance of having a good proposal template. Now let’s jump to:

How to craft a good proposal that can get you hired

Before actually sitting down for writing a proposal, relax and breath deep. This will help you maintain a good focus throughout this activity. Once you feel all good, then follow these easy yet practical steps.

Step 01 – Keep your proposal short

When we are new to this freelancing world, we are super-excited to impress our clients by writing long proposals. I used to do this, at least. Then I found that they aren’t helping me get any jobs. They were just making sure, I must not get hired. Because, when it comes to go through a lot of proposals, clients wants to know instantly whether a particular freelancer is a good fit for the job or not. Like you they are also short of time. So, I learned through experience and a lot of rejections, that I should write short proposals. Because, no body is interested in my life-story but in whether I can be useful for them.

Write short, but to the point.

Step 02 – Call your client with his/ her name


Like, Dear John, Dear Angela, etc. Start from there and then proceed by pasting your proposal.

It’s a psychlogical fact that everybody pays attention when his/her name is taken. So make it a part of your habit to call a client with the name. Now you will be wondering many clients don’t have their names on their profile. The easy way is to look for reviews section, there freelancing leave their reviews like. It was a pleasure to work with John. So you got it, his name is John.

When you call someone with her name, this also leave a good impression on the client that you not only read the job description, but also took your time to read about reviews. This will show that you are really interested in getting hired.

Step:03- Show your previous work or sample to the beginning of your application

As I just told you that clients are busy people, try to grab their attention by showing your sample or portfolio right at the begining of your application. I have found out through experience that my those proposal in which I had shown my work earlier, I got a positive repsonse from my client.

When a client sees your previous work that is in line with her requirement, she will become more open to you for giving a chance. Therefore, if you have just entered in freelancing, invest some time in writing or creating something that you can show to your client.

Step:04- Convince the Client Why should She Hire You

Every client wants to hire the best freelancer, and therefore, the onus is on you to convince her for picking you than anyone else. And how you will do that, find out below.

Remain focus on following things while writing your proposal.

  • Mention your years of experience. This will really help and will make you look credible.
  • Draw attention of your client towards your feedback section of your profile. This will make your client think twice before moving on.
  • Tell about your previous work, like number of jobs you have done which are related to her requirement. They can be both on Upwork or somewhere else.
  • If you have got some impressive degree like MBA, or something which you feel your client must know, tell her.
  • Ask her to see your Upwork test results. By now, she will be very convienced that you are the guy she was looking for. 

Step:05- Stand out with your mannerism, professionalism and friendliness

This is very important for getting hired. You should sound like a professional freelancer through your writing. Like, you should always address your client with courtesy, e.g. ‘Dear Andrea’. Never just end up at ‘Hi’ or Hello. And just before ending your letter, you should write like, thanks for taking time to read my proposal. At the end of your letter, write best regards, warm regards, or profound regards.

So these are the five steps of how I write my proposals at Upwork. And because of them, I have got some long-term clients as well with whom I am still working now.

Now your turn. What are your strategies that you think have helped you get hired?


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Author: Waqar Ahmed

Waqar Ahmed is a professional freelancer since last five years, primarily working at Upwork. He writes about motivation, technology, personal growth, and about everything that he learns time to time. When he's free, he reads books, watches documentaries on YouTube or learning something new at Udemy!

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