Starting to look for a job on freelance sites can be challenging, especially when you don’t have the experience that demonstrates your talent. However, don’t let this stop you.
It is possible to get work on Upwork with no experience.
Upwork is a platform for freelancers with diverse experience, there are a series of suggestions that you should follow in order to land your first job.
From defining very well what type of work you are pursuing to how to make yourself noticed, all add up to the bigger picture of building your profile resume.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, be sure to read all these recommendations.
Assess Your Capabilities
Think about what you are good at and something that you genuinely enjoy.
If both points coincide with the same topic, you should consider taking that into account to find the niche in which you should specialize.
The idea is that you work on something that you are knowledgeable about but also something that you like.
Find Your Niche and Be Specific
For example, if you like to write and have extensive knowledge in digital marketing, you might think about specializing in writing articles about it.
If you are passionate about photography but are also skilled in the kitchen and it is something you enjoy doing, why not put those two things together and be a food photographer?
Identify what you are skilled at and take advantage of that.
Instead of trying to master several areas to participate in many projects, focus on investing your effort in only one area so that you can become a true expert in it.
If your clients see that you specifically work in a niche and that you have experience in it, they will want to choose you over other freelancers who do many things.
Take a look at what other freelancers in your niche are doing, what are the trends, how are they selling their work, and how they set their Upwork profile.
If they are using it is because it is working why not learn from them, this will give you an idea of how your freelance colleagues are getting work.
Improve Your Skills and Get Certificates
Now that you are clear about what your skills are and what you are good at, spend time validating your knowledge.
There are online courses that can help you strengthen the knowledge you already have and, apart from that, certify it with a diploma.
If you have a diploma, you will be in a better position than other freelancers.
When clients look for someone to work with, they look for someone they can trust, and if you have a certificate that validates your skills, your credibility will increase and you will be more qualified than other freelancers with empirical knowledge.
Course Platforms You Can Try
Here is a list of course platforms that you can try to improve your skills.
Some platforms offer hands-on courses that will help you to learn while you put into practice what they are teaching you.
edX was founded by Harvard and MIT so it is a trustable site to learn from.
If you want to learn more about topics related to your niche, this may be the ideal platform for you as it is more academic than other options.
What sets EDX above other course websites is that they work with world-class universities and organizations to deliver courses that are useful and add value to people’s careers.
Udemy has courses that range from improving skills to learning hobbies, so you can use it for both study and fun.
You will surely find courses that will help you be more creative with your work.
Although Fiverr Learn courses are especially aimed at people who work using Fiverr, you can also benefit from them if you work at Upwork.
The positive thing about this course website is that its courses are focused on the needs of the freelancer.
Create Quality Samples
One of the problems when starting is that you have no experience while let’s be real, most clients do want to be able to see the different specialties and experiences you have.
Without a doubt, experience is a crucial part to get work on Upwork, but don’t worry if you still don’t have a job to add to your record. You can always create your own sample works.
So, a great idea to get work on Upwork with no experience is to create quality samples that show your potential clients that you are qualified for that job.
Having quality samples will give you more credibility and it will increase your chances of being chosen by a client.
On the other hand, remember that if you have decided to specialize in a specific niche, your quality samples should be made based on that.
Make sure that these samples are a good fragment of your talent and qualities, that show the best of the knowledge you have.
Another good idea is to show it to another freelancer who works in the same niche as you so they can give you their opinion about it, about what you can change or improve.
Remember that this will be the first impression clients have of your work, so make sure you show them your best ones.
Low Paying Jobs Are a Good Place to Start
They have told you that being a freelancer is great, that you can work from your bed wearing your pajamas, and that you will get paid the same as if you were working in an office.
This is a possibility, but that is not how things will be in the beginning, especially if you are inexperienced.
Low paying jobs are a good option if you want to get work on Upwork with no experience.
These types of jobs are aware that they are not giving such good payments as other clients, so they lower their requirements.
Usually, these low paid jobs are not so complex and they are also a great way to get to know how the platform works and how it is to deal with clients.
Besides, you should not underestimate these jobs only because they offer lower payments than the rest.
See each job as an investment you are doing to get more clients in the future and always make sure of giving your best because you never know which client might contact you again with a better job proposal.
Don’t forget that getting paid is not your only goal when you do a job for a client.
Each project you work on should keep building your reputation as a freelancer, so ask your clients for feedback and rating once completed a job.
This will give you more credibility and will increase your chances of landing new and better jobs.
The key is to be consistent in the quality of what you do, so that little by little you will build your experience and become the professional freelancer you aspire.
Don’t start offering your services at super high prices since nobody trusts you yet.
At first, the best thing will be to improve your reputation on the platform so that in the long term you can charge more for your services.
It may seem obvious but to get jobs you have to look for them.
Although in Upwork clients may contact you on their own initiative through their profile, it is not something that usually happens, especially if you don’t yet have experience as a freelancer.
The more offers you apply for, the more likely you are to be selected.
However, this is something you should also do carefully.
Many freelancers, when they sign up for Upwork, submit two or three applications and sit around waiting for the projects to rain down on them.
Unfortunately, as in many other areas of life, working on the Internet is a matter of perseverance; oftentimes, you will have to submit a large number of applications before any will be accepted.
Upwork uses a type of virtual currency, the connects, which allows you to send proposals to the projects you find on the platform.
Per month, you can send up to 30 requests; Although normally you will not need to spend all of them to get your first job if you do it properly.
The point is that, if you send a few proposals and don’t receive a reply, don’t be discouraged.
It is a matter of time before someone becomes interested in you, and your response rate will be much higher once you start to gain experience working online.
Look for Jobs That Suit You
You must be extremely careful and make sure that each proposal you send is exactly what suits your profile and your skills.
Don’t waste your time applying to vacancies that require abilities that you don’t have, the client knows very well what they need and it is for good reason that they are looking for a freelancer with certain qualities.
Start for beginner jobs and this will help you to build your freelance career.
Be perseverant and you will become an experienced freelancer with time.
Above all, be patient!
When you traditionally look for work it can take weeks to get one, so why are you going to give up if you have been trying for less than a week online?
Another good recommendation is to not ask for a higher bid. If the job does not suit you then don’t apply.
As we said before, clients who publish offers have already defined what they are looking for and if you apply but ask for a higher payment, you will be discarded since many other freelancers are willing to do the work entrusted for the established price.
Pay Attention to Details
The difference is in the details. Being attentive to the specifications of each proposal will make you distinguish which ones are best suited to you.
Also, it is important to read the job posts carefully to fully comprehend what the client wants.
Some clients hide some words on the text that they will ask you to tell later, only to check if you paid attention to the instructions.
If you follow the application instructions properly, this will make the clients realize that they are dealing with a careful freelancer that will follow their guidelines properly, this will make you stand out.
Personalize your proposals, clients have a handful of potential freelancers applying for each job.
Generic proposals are easy to notice and can get your application dismissed in the first screening.
Clients are looking for the best person to complete that job, how will you be able to achieve it?
In your cover letter be sure to let them know why you are the right person for that project.
Although experience does play a role in most cases, in many beginner jobs clients in fact want a beginner they could shape for their project.
Optimize Your Portfolio
Your portfolio is where you show the work you have done and so clients can see the type of work you are capable of offering.
Treat this as your business card, which means that you should make the most out of it because this is what will catch your potential clients’ attention.
There are some little details you should take care of to give a good first impression, for example, setting a good profile picture.
Humans are drawn to images first and so you should try to make it look as professional as possible. Here are some examples of good profile pictures:
This is not a rule but it is good to make sure that the background in your picture is not distracting.
As you can see in this example, the woman used a plain white background that is easy to find in any home.
If you don’t have a white wall like this to take your picture, you can buy a sheet of white paper or a piece of white fabric.
You can include an element related to your niche in your picture.
Are you a photographer? Choose a picture of yourself with your camera.
Are you a writer? Take a picture working on your computer.
Dress well and use professional attire.
You don’t necessarily have to wear a suit but make sure of using clothes that are appropriate for a job website and that show your personality.
Create an Appealing Title and Overview
Your job at the beginning will be to sell yourself in the best possible way with each proposal you send and also through your profile.
Remember that the important thing at the beginning is to build yourself an excellent reputation and a good portfolio to attract clients that trust your abilities.
Fill in the information in your profile in such a way that you let your future clients know that you are a trustworthy person and that you are an expert in the subject for which you are going to work.
It is also good that you make a creative and specific headline.
For example, instead of writing that you are a designer, say that you are a logo designer.
Use a personal tone that draws you closer to potential clients and be clear about the needs of the audience that requires the services of a freelancer like you and talk more about how to solve their problems than about yourself.
Be direct and list what your skills are.
Show potential clients what you are good at and what you will guarantee if they choose you to work with them.
Add Employment History
Add to your profile all your employment history if you have any, especially if it is your only experience in the field, but make sure that the experience you include is related to the niche where you intend to work to make it relevant.
Everything you include in your profile should aim to strengthen your image as a freelancer within your field.
What to Do Once You Start Gaining Experience
Once you start landing jobs, keep aiming high, and keep hoping for better jobs.
There are several ways to continue optimizing your Upwork profile to get more clients, but what you must remember is that you should never stop working on promoting your personal brand.
Add an introduction video
Upwork allows you to display a video on your profile and that is a tool that few freelancers take advantage of.
In that video, you can give a short presentation about yourself and talk about the type of work you do.
This will make your profile more attractive and will strengthen your customers’ trust in you.
Useful Tips for Your Video:
- Keep your introduction short and concise
- Talk about your latest job experiences
- Briefly explain why they should choose you
- What you can offer to potential clients
- Some clients don’t have a lot of time, don’t let your video last more than two minutes
- Avoid having a messy background, make it look professional
- Avoid external noises while recording, potential clients need to hear you well
- Try to be creative so you will not go unnoticed and be memorable
Keep Building Your Portfolio
Familiarizing yourself with the portfolio format offered by Upwork allows you to create images that stand out and invite you to look at the work.
This in no way replaces your personal page, but many clients will look at the works in this section first before anything else.
A reminder that you cannot link to external pages in your Upwork profile, this is the only way you have to show visual pieces.
As you get more jobs and complete them, you can show the results on your portfolio on Upwork.
Always choose the most satisfactory projects and those that represent you the best.
Again, make sure they are related to the niche you chose and update your portfolio regularly.
Stay Ahead of Your Niche
Like you, many freelancers are preparing every day to get work on Upwork with no experience, so you should try to stay ahead of your niche.
How can you do this?
Always improve your skills and if it is possible, get a certification that validates your knowledge.
Upwork also allows you to carry out tests that certify your knowledge in various areas and this is very useful because in this way the platform shows contractors that you are qualified.
Of course, clients will choose someone who is trained over someone who is not.
Building Your Freelance Career
To become a featured freelancer you need to use all possible tools to add more professionalism to your profile.
Not only within Upwork but also on the internet in general.
Invest in Clients Outside the Platform
Although the Upwork platform allows you to create your portfolio, don’t rule out the idea of building your freelance career independently off the platform.
The more spaces you are present in, the more audience you will reach.
So, the best thing you can do is create your portfolio with your own domain, this will make you look more professional and experienced in your area.
WordPress.org is a very popular choice among all freelancers because you don’t need to know web design to create a portfolio that looks good.
There are many default themes that you can edit to give it the look you want according to your needs.
Both offer you the web hosting service for very cheap rates, starting from $ 2.59 per month.
Here are some other options where you can create your portfolio website:
With Wix, you can create your portfolio website quickly and easily and they have web templates that you can choose according to your niche.
This option is more suitable for all those who work with graphic arts: photography, illustration, design, among others.
Adobe Portfolio also supports a responsive layout which is an important aspect when it comes to optimization, ensures that your work looks great on all screen sizes.
A popular platform amongst freelancers is Squarespace, you can easily manage your portfolio website as it does not require programming knowledge.
Squarespace pays a lot of attention to design and helps you give a better image, apart from being more pleasant for the user.
Things You Should Do to Make Yourself Stand Out
Take Care of the Words You Use
Your language when communicating with clients should be concise and direct.
Don’t try to use complicated words to give an interesting image, you can be genuine and maintain a professional profile.
Take great care of your spelling and grammar as this is something employers pay a lot of attention to.
Don’t forget to speak to the client, using a generic application will hinder your opportunity to landing a job.
Complete Your Profile 100%
One of the keys to getting a job in UpWork is having a very attractive profile.
To do this, the first thing you must do is complete it.
This includes aspects such as adding a photo, including your work experience and information about previous projects in which you have participated and taking some skills tests offered by the page.
Make It Clear How You Can Help the Client
If someone is looking for your profile, it is because they have a need that you can fulfill.
Make your profile about the client, explain how you can help them and what you offer them.
In short, explain the benefits that you will get when hiring you.
Respond Quickly to Messages
While a client contacts you, the most likely thing is that they are also talking to other freelancers that they could hire.
That is why you must respond quickly to the messages, so that you don’t miss any opportunity and so that clients notice that you are an attentive person who is interested in the job they offer.
Include the Details That Make You Stand Out
Don’t forget to mention all the information that can make you stand out in your niche.
Not only certifications and studies but you can also talk about why you are passionate about the niche you chose.
Perseverance Is the Key
As you can see, it is possible to get work on Upwork with no experience.
Many other freelancers started the same way as you and now they are well positioned on the platform.
Following those guidelines closely will help you land work regardless of your experience.
The important thing is to keep in mind that it takes persistence and discipline to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
Don’t give up and soon you will be working on your first project in Upwork.