9 Upwork Proposal Tips To Win You More Jobs

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.

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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

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.

Ready to Succeed on Upwork?

Have you been having trouble finding good quality jobs on Upwork? Check out these online courses that teach you how to ace it on the platform:

Upwork courses

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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Writing an Upwork proposal? WAIT! Read this first. Our tested tips will help you get the client's attention and win that job. Free sample & template. | FulltimeNomad.com

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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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44 Comments

  1. Nick

    Thanks for this post.
    Will be very useful for my further attempts..

    • Radhika

      Happy to hear it Nick. Let us know if you have success 🙂

  2. Darshana

    thank you so much… it is very help full for me…. Thank you once again

    • Radhika

      Happy to hear that Darshana!

  3. Kevin

    Thanks for the tips Radhika.

    • Radhika

      You’re welcome Kevin.

  4. amin

    Hi Radhika, Thank you, its 100% helpful article.

    • Radhika

      Thanks Amin. Happy to hear that.

  5. Fuad

    Hi Radhika,

    Thanks for the nice post. I have one question to ask is that is it possible for others who underbid the same projects can see my proposal or the folio link i share with the client.

    Thanks,
    Fuad

    • Radhika

      Hi Fuad,

      The proposal you send a potential client is only visible to them, via a private conversation between you and the client. Other freelancers cannot view your proposal. Hope that helps!

      • Fuad

        Thanks Radhika 🙂

  6. Hardeep

    Hello Radhika,
    I am new at Upwork and I’ve sent lots of proposals but no success, any advice ?
    Thanks in advance.

  7. Silverblade

    Thanks for your tips. It helped me closed more clients, because of your tips I have a ton of work and can’t concentrate. But I’m glad for being subscribed to your blog.

    Thank you.

    • Radhika

      Thanks so much for the feedback! That is really great to hear 🙂

  8. Masum

    Hello, I am trying to do data entry, web research, web development-php, html, css, bootstrap, email marketing, social media marketing job. So how can I write cover letter for those job. Please write for me a sample.
    Best Wishes
    Masum

    • Radhika

      Hi Masum, As a first step, I would recommend picking a niche. Those are some very varied skill sets and clients prefer experts in one area. If you offer everything from email marketing to web research – you don’t come across as an expert in anything and appear more to be a Jack of All Trades. So pick the skill you are best at and build your profiles and cover letters around that. I have some advice on picking your niche, here – https://www.fulltimenomad.com/how-to-make-money-on-upwork/

      Once you have a niche, please download the proposal template in this article and then customise it for your own needs.

  9. BANTI MATHUR

    Hello Radhika,

    I work with upwork but right now my account is suspended by upwork so any idea how to resolve this issue i send mail to upwork but he reply me your account suspended remain. so if any idea please share or mail me here : [email protected]
    Thank You
    BANTI MATHUR

    • Radhika

      Hi Banti, As far as I am aware, if your profile has been suspended from Upwork, there is no way to reinstate your account unless Upwork feels like it has been a mistake. Unfortunately as this is an issue with your personal account on Upwork, we are unable to help much further.

  10. Tanjila Akter

    Hello, I am trying to data entry, search engine optimization seo,social media marketing smm,job.so how can i write cover letter for those job. please write for me a sample.

    Best wishes
    Tanjila Akter

    • Radhika

      Hi Tanjila! To start with, I would recommend picking 1 of those niches. All of those fields are very varied so unless you have specific expertise, you’re going to find it hard to find well paying jobs if you decide to do a bit of everything. Clients usually prefer freelancers with specific expertise. If you would rather offer ALL of these services, I would recommend packaging yourself as Virtual Assistant instead. There is some advice here on why a niche is important for your success on Upwork – How To Make (More) Money On Upwork By Finding Your Niche

      Once you have figured out your niche, there is a free proposal template available in the article above. Please download that to get an idea of how to write your proposals for jobs.

  11. Ravi N Prajapati

    Hi, I am trying to do web research, and data mining job. So how can I write cover letter for those job. Please write for me a sample.
    Best Wishes
    Ravi

    • Radhika

      Hi Ravi,

      Please download the template above and personalise it for your own needs. We are unable to write individual samples for you, unfortunately.

  12. Kamran Gillani

    Awesome !!
    Now Finally I understand what should be in a good proposal, good tips that will help me a good start at upwork.
    Thanks again !

    • Fulltime Nomad

      We’re glad to be of help Kamran. Wishing you all the best!

  13. Mamun

    Thanks of lot for share this.
    This article is very helpful a new freelancer.

    • Radhika

      Thanks Mamun

  14. Rajia Tumpa

    Hello Radhika,
    I am new at Upwork and I’ve sent lots of proposals but no success, any advice ?

  15. Pooja

    Awesome post, finally got some important idea for my upwork proposal. Thank you very much.

  16. Sydney Lund

    I’ve been reading about Upwork and I have found alot of negative reviews by both clients and freelancers. Do you know why there is so much negative about the site? Is it safe to give Upwork my license for jobs listed only within the US?

    • Radhika

      Hi Sydney, as with any big company – you will find negativity with Upwork too. The prime complaint is usually poor quality clients and poor quality freelancers. Upwork has been around for well over a decade now and in the last few years, in my personal experience, the quality of clients and freelancers have significantly improved. I not only work there as a freelancer myself but also hire freelancers for various jobs.

      I’m not sure what your second question means.. I don’t understand what you mean by “my license for jobs”. Perhaps you could elaborate?

  17. Olawale

    The tips are really great, and I believe will help many freelancers. Thank you.

    • Fulltime Nomad

      Thanks for your feedback Olawale!

  18. László Gazsi

    Thanks for the article and the example, now I know where I did make some mistakes and why being hired seemed almost impossible. Oh, I was one of those using “Dear Sir/Madam” 🙂

  19. Abdur Rahman

    Really helps me right a better and effective proposal. Will definitely tell, if I win from it 😀

  20. Shiwank Goyal

    Thanks a tons Radhika! This article is really helpful. I just want to have some more samples of proposals that we are using on upwork. Kindly share the same if you have any idea.

    Thanks in advance.

    You both (Radhika & Johnny) doing a great job for us!

  21. Aminul Islam

    exccilent job.

  22. Eseimieghan ThankGod

    I will be glad to know if this could also work for a first timer on upwork.

    • Radhika

      Sure. These tips are relevant for everyone.

  23. Shiru

    Hi. Thank you for those tips. Now I know better.

    • Fulltime Nomad

      Thanks for reading Shiru!

  24. Prakash Kashyap

    Hii,
    I’m new at Upwork as Data Entry Operator, so any advice for me.

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