As many of you know, we have found Upwork to be very useful when looking for freelancing clients.

We believe there are two major contributors to success on Upwork.

  1. Having a winning Upwork profile
  2. Writing and sending out awesome proposals

In many cases, before the client even sees your profile, they will receive your proposal. Which means your proposal needs to make a great first impression. You must highlight why you’re the perfect person for the job and do it effectively.

So how do you write a good Upwork proposal? Here are some of our tried and tested tips that we hope will help you write a winning proposal too. We have also included an Upwork proposal sample that you can download and use.

FREE Upwork Proposal Template

Download FREE Upwork proposal template that we use to get $1000+ a month long-term clients.

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1. Find the right job

Before you start writing your proposal, you’ll need a job to apply to. Obviously.

Stating the obvious here but it’s important that you find the right job — one that you are likely to get hired for.

The best job is one that matches your preferred niche and skill set. This is a job that you are more likely to complete successfully and satisfy your clients with, thus improving your profile reputation.

For example, if your niche is graphic design and you have great design skills and experience in desktop publishing, then the job below would be perfect for you.

However, if you’re experienced in marketing with only a surface-level experience of graphic design — you are much less likely to get hired for this job.

 

upwork proposal job ad

 

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

2. Review the job requirements

Before you send your proposal, make sure you read the details of the Job Description thoroughly. Obvious advice but trust us, it’s not always followed.

Understand what the client wants and honestly assess if you’re able to fulfil the requirements.

 

upwork proposal job description

As you can see in this job description, the client is very clear on what they want from the freelancer. (Not all jobs on Upwork are this detailed but most of them do describe what they need to some extent).

If you fit the requirements and decide to apply, make sure you address the client’s requests in your proposals. Many, many freelancers don’t full read the job ad, send out a generic proposal and then wonder why they don’t hear back from the client.  😕

Pay attention, put a bit of effort in to show the client you read the job post and you’re much more likely to get responses.

3. Don’t use a generic response

Once you’ve found a job that is the right fit, it’s time to start writing your proposal. Our number one tip? Don’t send out a  generic response.

Note: It’s okay to have a template that outlines your basic skills and highlights why you are an awesome freelancer. In fact, it’s a good idea to have a basic template ready to go as it saves you having to write from scratch each time. But, it’s not okay to just copy-paste your template and send it to all potential clients without even addressing their specific job requirements. 

Unique proposals tend to be more convincing and thus better at getting you jobs because clients appreciate the effort you put into addressing what they are looking for. More often than not, the client can tell when you have copy-pasted your proposal.

See also: 7 Rookie Upwork Profile Mistakes That Are Costing You The Job

4. Explain why you’re the right fit

Your main goal when writing a proposal is to show the client that you are the best fit for the job.

So, your proposal shouldn’t just be a list of your skills and experience (that’s what your profile is for). Instead, explain why your skills and experience make you the ideal person for the job. Address how you plan to complete the job by sharing your unique approach to the project. If you have worked on similar jobs or projects, mention them and show how that experience will be relevant to the client’s job. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask (clever) questions.

All of this will show the client that you actually read the entire job description. (Yes, we keep coming back to this point — but it really is *that* crucial!). Also, if there are any questions the client has asked in the job description, make sure you answer them in your proposal.

5. Give them your interview availability

Avoid the back and forth and tell the client about your availability for an interview right from the get-go. Interviews are a great way for you to open up communication with the client.

As you finish writing up your proposal, simply add in a line that goes something like this:

I am available for an interview Monday to Friday 10 am to 12pm (UTC + 10:00 timezone). I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss the job further.

6. Be attentive to additional questions

Many Upwork clients will ask you to answer one or more Additional Questions during the proposal stage. When reviewing a job, you will be able to see a list of additional questions at the bottom of the job description. This will help you prepare your answers before you start the proposal submission process.

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Most freelancers tend to pay more attention to the cover letter and fill in the additional questions just for the sake of it, some don’t even answer these questions.

When you click on ‘ Submit a Proposal’ you can usually see the the section for Additional Questions after the Cover Letter.

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However, after you submit your proposal: the additional questions are the first thing the client sees when they receive your proposal, not the cover letter!

So… put the effort into writing relevant, interesting responses to the questions. Most clients usually put in the additional questions because that is specifically the information they are interested in. Receiving generic cover letters is annoying so the additional questions help them weed out the freelancers that didn’t even bother putting in the effort. Don’t get weeded out — answer the questions!

7. Send samples of past work

Some clients will ask for work samples while others will not. Even if the client doesn’t ask, always provide your work samples. There’s no harm in showing them how awesome you are.  😉

You can do this by directing their attention to the portfolio section of your Upwork profile, sending them a link to your portfolio elsewhere or even by attaching a few samples of previous work.

If your samples are good, the client will be suitably impress and it gives you a higher chance of landing the job.

8. Be professional and friendly

Clients want someone they can work with easily. Good communication is a huge part of this.

The way you communicate in your proposal can give them a good indication of your communication skills. Keep your language professional — you want to make a good impression. But, you’re not in a stiff upper lip corporate setting here so relax a little and don’t be afraid to be friendly.

No “Dear Sir” or worse, “Dear Sir or Madam”

Sometimes you might be able to see the client’s name in the job description. Don’t be afraid to use it and say  “Hi John”, Hello John” or “Dear John”.  Some people will say using “Hi” or “Hello” is too casual but we disagree. It’s much more real.

If you can work in a bit of humour into your cover letter — go for it. Just, you know… remember to keep it professional still.

For example:

“Hello John. 

I’m an experienced fashion writer and I think I’d be a great fit for your new brand. I’m good at blogging (I’ll share my experience in a second) but what gets me really excited about this job is that you sell hats! I LOVE hats. I have 57 different hats and some may say I’m obsessed, but I just like to look it as fashion forward. I think you’ll agree?

So anyway, here’s my fashion blogging portfolio and my hat fashion-filled Instagram adventures…..”

A bit of humour and friendliness shows the client you’re not just another drone but actually a real person with personality.

9. Keep it short and succinct

You will be tempted to include everything you can in your job proposal. We get it. You want them to see all the awesome things you’ve ever done. Truth is — this will not get you the job.

Long proposals are boring and will often go unread or simply ignored.  Keep your proposals short and to the point. What’s more important is your creativity in proving yourself and not the number of words used in your proposal.

So there you go, those are top nine tips for writing killer Upwork proposals that get a client’s attention.

Also, check out this video by Upwork for some extra guidance on how to submit an effective proposal.

A quality profile and thoughtful proposals are a winning formula for Upwork.

Have you sent out any Upwork proposals? Any tips you’d like to share with us? Or maybe you have some more questions. Feel free to drop us a line in the comments section. 

 

PLEASE NOTE: If your Upwork profile was rejected, it may be because Upwork is now reviewing new freelancer registrations. Unfortunately we are not able to advise on issues with individual Upwork profiles as we do not have access to members’ private info. More info on the Upwork Support website {click on link to read}. If you continue to have issues, please contact Upwork directly regarding this. Good luck 🙂

 

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Fulltime Nomad

Fulltime Nomad is your passport to saying no to normal, and yes to a life of unlimited travel. Founded by Radhika & Johnny, this blog will help YOU take that big scary first step towards building your own freedom lifestyle. Are you new? Start here.

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