Upwork is one of the most popular freelancing platforms out there, connecting millions of clients with talented freelancers from around the world. But with so many freelancers vying for attention, how do you stand out from the crowd and get hired for your dream project? The answer: a killer Upwork proposal.
If you’re new to Upwork or struggling to get hired, don’t worry! In this article, we’re going to share with you the top 10 best practices for writing Upwork proposals that get you hired. Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or just starting out, these tips will help you create proposals that grab the client’s attention, showcase your skills and experience, and convince them that you’re the right person for the job.
So, if you’re ready to take your Upwork game to the next level and start winning more projects, keep reading!
Best Practice #1: Research the Client and Project
If you want to write a winning Upwork proposal, the first step is to do your homework. That means researching the client and the project you’re applying for. Why is this so important? Well, for starters, it shows the client that you’re not just spamming everyone with a generic proposal, but that you’re genuinely interested in their project and have taken the time to understand their needs. Plus, it can help you tailor your proposal to their specific requirements and stand out from the competition.
So, how do you conduct effective research for your Upwork proposal? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Check out the client’s profile: Take a look at the client’s profile and see if they have any specific requirements or preferences listed. This can help you tailor your proposal accordingly and show that you’ve paid attention to their needs.
- Read the project description carefully: Make sure you fully understand what the client is looking for and what the project entails. This can help you write a more targeted proposal that addresses their specific requirements.
- Look for clues in the client’s portfolio or website: If the client has a portfolio or website, take a look at it to get a sense of their style, tone, and preferences. This can help you tailor your proposal to their specific brand and make a stronger impression.
- Check out their reviews and feedback: Finally, take a look at the client’s reviews and feedback to see what previous freelancers have said about working with them. This can help you get a sense of their communication style, work expectations, and potential red flags.
By doing your research and tailoring your proposal to the client’s specific needs, you’ll increase your chances of standing out from the competition and getting hired for your dream project. So, don’t skip this step!
Best Practice #2: Use a Professional Tone and Writing Style
One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing an Upwork proposal is to use a professional tone and writing style. This not only shows the client that you’re serious about the project and your work but also helps you establish credibility and trust.
But what does it mean to use a professional tone and style? It doesn’t necessarily mean using big words or formal language, but rather communicating in a clear, concise, and confident manner. Avoid using slang, emojis, or overly casual language, and instead focus on presenting yourself as a knowledgeable and reliable professional.
Here are some examples of how to achieve a professional tone and writing style in your Upwork proposals:
- Use proper grammar and punctuation: Spelling mistakes and typos can undermine your credibility and make you look unprofessional. Proofread your proposal carefully and use tools like Grammarly to catch errors.
- Address the client by name: Using the client’s name shows that you’ve taken the time to research and understand their needs, and helps establish a personal connection.
- Focus on the client’s needs and goals: Instead of talking only about yourself and your skills, make sure to address the client’s specific needs and goals. Show them how you can help them achieve their objectives and why you’re the best fit for the job.
- Keep it concise and to the point: Avoid rambling or going off-topic, and focus on presenting the most important information in a clear and concise manner. Use bullet points or subheadings to break up your text and make it easier to read.
By following these tips and using a professional tone and style in your Upwork proposals, you’ll be well on your way to impressing clients and winning more projects. Remember, your proposal is often the first impression you’ll make, so make it count!
Best Practice #3: Address the Client’s Needs and Goals
Now, let’s talk about one of the most important aspects of writing a winning Upwork proposal: addressing the client’s needs and goals. After all, the client is the one who’s hiring you, so it’s essential to show them that you understand their needs and can help them achieve their goals.
Why is addressing the client’s needs and goals so crucial? Well, for starters, it helps you stand out from the competition. Many freelancers make the mistake of focusing too much on their own skills and experience, without taking the time to understand what the client is actually looking for. By addressing their needs and goals, you’re showing them that you’re not just another generic freelancer, but someone who truly cares about their project and can help them achieve success.
So, how do you identify and address the client’s needs and goals?
- Read the project description carefully and try to understand what the client is looking for.
- Look for keywords or phrases that can give you clues about their goals or pain points.
- Then, use your proposal to show them how you can help them achieve those goals or solve those problems.
For example, if the client is looking for a blog writer to increase their website traffic, don’t just talk about your writing skills. Instead, highlight how your writing can help them achieve their goal by providing high-quality, SEO-optimized content that drives traffic and engages their audience.
Remember, the client wants to know what’s in it for them. By addressing their needs and goals, you’re showing them that you can provide value and help them achieve success. So, take the time to understand their needs and goals, and use your proposal to demonstrate how you can help them get there.
Best Practice #4: Showcase Your Skills and Relevant Experience
Now that you’ve caught the client’s attention and shown them that you’re genuinely interested in their project, it’s time to showcase your skills and relevant experience. This is where you get to shine and show the client what you can bring to the table.
When clients are browsing proposals on Upwork, they want to see that you have the skills and experience necessary to complete their project successfully. If you can’t demonstrate that you have the relevant expertise, they’re likely to move on to the next proposal.
That’s why it’s essential to showcase your skills and relevant experience upfront in your proposal. Doing so helps the client quickly understand why you’re the right person for the job and gives them confidence in your ability to deliver high-quality work.
So, how do you showcase your skills and relevant experience effectively in your Upwork proposal? Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Use bullet points to highlight key skills and experience. This makes it easy for the client to scan and understand what you bring to the table.
- Provide examples of past work that is relevant to the project. This helps the client see that you have the necessary experience and skills to complete the project successfully.
- Highlight any relevant certifications or training you’ve completed. This demonstrates your commitment to your craft and your expertise in the field.
- Customize your proposal to showcase your skills and experience that are most relevant to the client’s needs. This shows the client that you’ve taken the time to understand their needs and that you have the skills and experience necessary to meet them.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to showcase your skills and relevant experience effectively and set yourself apart from the competition. And remember, confidence is key! Don’t be afraid to show the client what you’re made of and let your expertise shine through in your proposal.
Best Practice #5: Provide Specific Examples and Results
Following on from Best Practice #4… You want to showcase your skills and experience, but you don’t want to come across as arrogant or pushy. So, what’s the secret sauce? Providing specific examples and results!
Think about it. Clients want to know what you can do for them. They want to see tangible evidence of your expertise and how you’ve helped other clients in the past. By providing specific examples and results in your proposal, you’re showing them exactly that.
For example, instead of saying “I’m a great writer”, you could say “I helped a client increase their website traffic by 50% through high-quality blog posts and social media content”. See the difference? Not only are you highlighting your skills as a writer, but you’re also showing the client the impact that your work can have on their business.
So, how can you incorporate specific examples and results into your Upwork proposal? Here are some tips:
- Choose examples that are relevant to the client’s needs and project goals
- Use numbers and metrics to quantify your achievements whenever possible
- Describe the challenges you faced and how you overcame them
- Use concrete language and avoid vague or generic statements
By following these tips, you’ll be able to provide specific examples and results that help you stand out from the crowd and convince clients that you’re the right person for the job. So, don’t be shy – show them what you’ve got!
Best Practice #6: Use a Clear and Structured Format
Let’s face it: no one likes to read a long, convoluted Upwork proposal that lacks structure and clarity. That’s why it’s important to use a clear and structured format that makes it easy for the client to understand your proposal and see the value you can bring to their project.
But why is formatting so important in Upwork proposals? Well, for one, it shows that you’re a professional who takes the time to present your ideas in a logical and easy-to-follow way. It also makes it easier for the client to skim through your proposal and quickly get a sense of what you’re offering.
So, how do you format your Upwork proposal effectively? Here are some tips:
- Use headings and subheadings to break up your proposal into sections. This not only makes it easier to read, but also allows the client to quickly navigate to the sections that are most relevant to them.
- Start with a clear and compelling introduction that hooks the client and makes them want to read more. Don’t be afraid to use a bit of humor or personality to grab their attention!
- Use bullet points to highlight key information and make it stand out. This is especially effective for lists of skills, experience, or deliverables.
- Consider using bold or italicized text to emphasize important points, but use them sparingly so they don’t lose their impact.
- End with a strong call to action that encourages the client to take the next step, whether it’s scheduling a call or hiring you right away.
By using a clear and structured format in your Upwork proposal, you’ll not only make it easier for the client to understand your proposal, but also show them that you’re a professional who takes pride in their work. So go ahead, give it a try and see how it can help you win more projects on Upwork!
Best Practice #7: Pay Attention to Spelling and Grammar
Let’s face it: nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes, especially when it comes to spelling and grammar. But if you’re serious about getting hired on Upwork, paying attention to these details is crucial. Why, you ask? Well, first impressions matter, and nothing screams “unprofessional” louder than a proposal riddled with errors and typos.
Think about it: if a client receives two proposals that are equally impressive in terms of skills and experience, but one is full of mistakes while the other is flawlessly written, which one do you think they’ll choose? Exactly.
So, how do you avoid these mistakes and make sure your proposal is error-free? Here are a few tips:
- Use a spellchecker: It may sound obvious, but using a spellchecker can help catch simple mistakes that you might miss on your own. Most word processing software and browsers have built-in spellcheckers, so make sure to run your proposal through one before submitting it.
- Read it out loud: This may seem silly, but reading your proposal out loud can help you catch errors and typos that you might miss when reading silently. Plus, it can help you spot awkward phrasing or unclear sentences that could turn off the client.
- Have someone else read it: Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes is all you need to catch mistakes that you might have overlooked. Ask a friend, colleague, or family member to read your proposal and provide feedback.
- Take a break and come back to it: When you’ve been working on a proposal for hours, it’s easy to overlook mistakes because you’re so familiar with the text. Taking a break and coming back to it later with fresh eyes can help you catch mistakes that you might have missed before.
Remember, your proposal is your chance to make a great first impression and convince the client that you’re the right person for the job. By paying attention to spelling and grammar and making sure your proposal is error-free, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired and building a successful freelancing career on Upwork.
Best Practice #8: Personalize Your Proposal
Want maybe the simplest secret to winning Upwork proposals? Personalize your proposal for each client. I know, I know, it can be tempting to use a standard template and blast it to every job posting that looks remotely interesting. But let me tell you, clients can smell a generic proposal from a mile away, and they’re not likely to give it a second glance.
So why is personalization so important? Well, for starters, it shows the client that you’ve taken the time to read and understand their job posting, and that you’re genuinely interested in helping them achieve their goals. It also allows you to showcase your skills and experience in a way that’s relevant to the specific project and client, making it easier for them to imagine working with you.
But how do you personalize your proposal, you ask? Fear not, my friend, I’ve got a few tips for you:
- Address the client by name: This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many proposals start with a generic “Dear Sir/Madam.” Do some research and find out the client’s name, and use it in your greeting.
- Use their language: Pay attention to the client’s tone and language in their job posting (see Best Practice #1), and try to mirror it in your proposal. If they use a casual tone, feel free to be a bit more informal in your writing. If they use technical jargon, use it too (as long as you actually understand it!).
- Show them you’ve done your homework: Reference specific aspects of the client’s project or business in your proposal, and demonstrate that you’ve researched their industry and competitors.
- Offer relevant examples: If you have previous work experience that’s relevant to the client’s project, mention it and provide examples. This will show them that you’re not just a generic freelancer, but someone who has the skills and expertise to help them succeed.
Remember, personalizing your proposal doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. Just a few small tweaks here and there can make a big difference in catching the client’s attention and winning their trust. So, take the time to tailor your proposal to each client, and watch your Upwork success soar!
Best Practice #9: Include a Clear Call-to-Action
Alright, folks, we’ve made it to Best Practice #9, and this one’s a biggie: including a clear call-to-action in your Upwork proposal. Now, you might be wondering, “what the heck is a call-to-action, and why is it so important?” Well, my friend, let me tell you.
A call-to-action (or CTA, for short) is basically a statement that tells the client what to do next after reading your proposal. It’s like the icing on the cake, the cherry on top, the… you get the idea. Without a clear call-to-action, your proposal can fall flat, leaving the client unsure of what to do next or how to move forward with you.
So, how do you craft an effective call-to-action statement? Here are some tips to get you started:
- Be specific: Instead of a generic “contact me if you’re interested” statement, try to be more specific about what you want the client to do next. For example, “I’d love to schedule a call to discuss your project further” or “If you’re ready to move forward, let’s set up a milestone payment and get started!”
- Use action-oriented language: Your call-to-action should be active, not passive. Use strong verbs like “schedule”, “book”, “hire”, or “start” to encourage the client to take action.
- Highlight the benefits: Instead of focusing solely on what you want the client to do, try to frame your call-to-action in terms of the benefits they’ll receive by working with you. For example, “Let’s schedule a call to see how my experience in X can help you achieve Y” or “By hiring me, you’ll get a dedicated, professional freelancer who will deliver high-quality work on time.”
So there you have it: Best Practice #9, include a clear call-to-action. Now go forth and craft some killer CTAs that will have clients lining up to work with you!
Best Practice #10: Follow Up After Submitting Your Proposal
Congratulations! You’ve just submitted your killer Upwork proposal and now you’re eagerly waiting for the client to respond. But what do you do if you don’t hear back from them? Do you just give up and move on to the next project? Absolutely not! Following up after submitting your proposal can be a powerful way to remind the client of your interest, showcase your professionalism, and stand out from other freelancers.
The importance of following up after submitting an Upwork proposal cannot be overstated. Clients often receive dozens, if not hundreds, of proposals for a single project, so it’s not uncommon for them to miss or overlook some of them. By following up, you’re not only increasing the chances of your proposal being seen, but you’re also demonstrating your commitment and interest in the project.
Of course, following up effectively is key. Here are some tips to help you do it right:
- Wait a few days: Avoid following up immediately after submitting your proposal, as this can come across as pushy or desperate. Instead, wait a few days to give the client time to review all proposals.
- Keep it short and sweet: Your follow-up message should be brief and to the point, reminding the client of your interest and availability, and asking if they have any questions or need further information from you.
- Be polite and professional: Remember to keep a polite and professional tone in your follow-up message, even if you’re feeling frustrated or anxious.
- Don’t be too aggressive: While it’s important to follow up, it’s also important not to be too aggressive or pushy. Avoid bombarding the client with multiple follow-up messages, and respect their decision if they choose to hire someone else.
By following these tips, you can increase the chances of getting a response from the client and ultimately getting hired for the project. So, don’t be afraid to follow up after submitting your Upwork proposal – it just might be the extra push you need to land your next gig!
Better Than Best Practices? Strategy.
While individual best practices for writing Upwork proposals can certainly help you improve your chances of getting hired, having a well-thought-out strategy can take your success to the next level. A strategy is essentially a plan or roadmap for achieving a specific goal, and in the case of Upwork, it means having a clear plan for how you will position yourself, market your services, and stand out from the competition.
A strategy involves looking at the big picture of your Upwork profile and proposal writing process and creating a cohesive plan that ties everything together. It involves setting specific goals, identifying your unique selling points, targeting the right clients, and tailoring your proposals to their specific needs and preferences. By following a strategy, you’re not just applying individual best practices randomly, but rather using them in a deliberate and targeted way that is aligned with your overall objectives.
Ultimately, having a strategy can help you stand out from the competition, build a strong reputation, and attract the clients and projects you truly want. So, if you’re serious about succeeding on Upwork, it’s essential to develop a strategy that works for you and your unique skills and goals.
And that’s what I teach you in my book, Upwork Essentials.
Upwork Essentials is a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know to build a winning Upwork profile and write proposals that get noticed by clients, even if you have no job history, reviews, Job Success Score, or other credentials. With step-by-step instructions, practical tips, and real-life examples, Upwork Essentials will teach you how to optimize your profile, showcase your skills and experience, and craft proposals… oriented around a proven strategy for new and/or struggling Upworkers.
Whether you’re just starting out on Upwork or looking to take your freelance career to the next level, Upwork Essentials is the ultimate resource for mastering the platform and getting hired for the projects you deserve. Right now, you can get over $50 in bonuses when you buy the book on Amazon. All the details on how to get your bonuses are here.