Why I Copy/Paste My Upwork Proposals

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An astute Upworker posteth:

“I’m not sure why everyone says don’t use a generic letter, because my ‘generic’ letter works great. But when I start seeing examples of other people’s ‘generic’ letters, I start to understand. Boilerplate text is good to have and useful, and my generic letter is pretty successful. Yes, I do some personalization for each one. But the key is: is your generic letter any good? I get lots of responses to something I consider generic and not hurting for work, so we need to steer away from telling people they shouldn’t have a standard cover letter and work on telling them to write a GOOD standard cover letter that they can quickly edit for each job opportunity.”


As you know, I advise NOT copying and pasting the cover letter in your Upwork proposals (You can read my 7 best Upwork tips HERE). So, am I wrong? Did I just get “owned” by this astute Upworker?

No, no, no.

Details matter, my young (or old) padawan.

Clunking down the exact same letter for every job, with no regard for what a specific project is asking… you might as well take a whiz in 95 mph wind. You’re just effing yourself. Clients sense it immediately and they all say the same thing… they delete those proposals on the spot.

So, how does this guy get away with it?

Because he takes the time to customize his.

That’s the balance. YOUR skills and qualifications are going to remain largely the same. Templating those makes sense. But, the needs of each project is different. The key hiring criteria each client signals in their job description is different.

That’s why the customization is critical.

That’s why knowing how to extract those key hiring criteria is critical.

And, why I teach “templating” instead of “copy/pasting”. Lesson 15 in my Freelancing on Upwork course teaches you the 3-part proposal template I’ve used for years and to get all my Upwork clients.

But really, it’s lessons 12-15 that are the “secret sauce” of bidding on jobs. Finding the best jobs with the best clients, uncovering each client’s key hiring criteria, THEN writing a proposal that addresses those criteria in compelling way.

You do that with every proposal…

No doubt in my mind you’re going to get hired. Maybe not the first time. Certainly not every time. But way more often than not. And, away you’ll go with your freelance career and building your freelance lifestyle.

In any case, you can enroll in the course on Udemy here: https://johnmorrisonline.com/upworkonudemy



P.S. If you prefer Skillshare, you can learn how to get free access to all my courses, including this one, here: https://johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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