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Ivan Karabadzhak
Ivan Karabadzhak

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How to make a great Upwork profile to get clients?

Freelance platform profile plays a significant role in searching for new contracts. Clients search for someone who can solve their problems. If you don't look as a problem solver for their need, they will not try to communicate with you. Also, there are a lot of competitors who want to get the same project as you. How to make a great Upwork profile? Let me share my experience with Upwork. I hope you could find it helpful.

Let me heat your interest by telling you about myself.

I have been working as a freelancer for years. My main specialization is building automated systems to gather and manage data. Sometimes I do backend stuff too. My current stack (end of 2022) is JavaScript, TypeScript, NodeJS. It is my primary income now. Also, I have clients outside Upwork. But Upwork generates more than 60%-70% of the money. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and only worked for a long time in the local market. Upwork gives more opportunities. Here are a few screenshots of my achievements. It's not a million, but quite enough to move forward and try to earn more.

Ivan Karabadzhak Upwork profile

I guess now you should be interested a bit more. If you don't, maybe you are a better freelancer than me, and I should ask you how to earn more money 😃.

Some important information before we start

When clients review your profile, a lot of impacts provides by the following profile sections:

  1. Job Success Rate,
  2. Badge Rising Talent or Top Rated or Top Rated Plus or Expert Vetted
  3. Work History with Reviews

If you are at the beginning of your freelance journey, you haven't any of those. That's why much more simple to get a contract if you have for a while on Upwork than if you are a new person. However, it would help if you understood why it's essential. As much more effort you put in, as much more you get. Keep going and get more opportunities.

Also, there are a few small pros for beginners.

  1. Don't have the "Success Rate" is better than having, for example, 40% of it. Usually, if you have less than 90%, then clients perceive you as a not reliable worker. So better, nothing than bad, right?
  2. Badge Rising Talent is available for newbies. Here is an Upwork article on how to get it.
  3. Like the "Success Rate" section, better have no reviews than having worst. Put more effort provide value for clients, and you will surely get good reviews.

Okay, let's move forward.

3 main rules for how to make a great Upwork profile

I don't want to be mandatory here, but I would like to make some classifications. I see three main rules for making a great Upwork profile:

  1. Specialization
  2. Taking care of client problems
  3. The balance between fullness and relevance

When you decide to improve your Upwork profile, you should consider each rule. To make this more simple, you could ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does that information fit my specialization?
  2. How it tells the client, "I could solve your problems"?
  3. Should I place or not this information here? Is it relevant?

Let's discuss each rule.

Rule #1 - Specialization

You could be a smart guy and know a lot of different things. However, clients don't like someone who can write software in 10 languages or make designs for websites, kitchen plates, and private buildings. If we are talking about freelancers, then things are different. A Swiss knife is a good thing when it's just a knife.

You should have some specialization. Choose your most potent skill and use it like specialization. For example, let's see how it works in my case. I am a developer. Usually, I build bots, scrapers, data mining, and automation systems. I have experience with C, C++, TurboPascal, Delphi, C#, Java, PHP, Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Go, and Solidity. I used each language for at least some time, most of which were used in commercial projects. But, last few years, I used JavaScript in most cases, sometimes PHP, sometimes Python.

What is my specialization? Of course, it's building systems to gather data and automate things, and I use JavaScript for this. I have some detailed information about my experience in the description, but I didn't put it at the front of my profile.

Rule #2 - Taking care of client problems

If you want to be a great freelancer, that should be your lifestyle rule. And your profile isn't an exception. There are a few different places where you could tell clients I want, and I can solve your problems. Please don't put this phrase exactly as I said, but keep it in mind while you write text or make a video for your profile.

Just imagine you are a young businessman. You sell coffee cups with a funny design. And you decided to hire someone on Upwork to build the website logo. Would you care about how many years of experience some folks have? Maybe much more critical to ask them about portfolio items with similar cases.

Rule #3 - Balance between fullness and relevance

It is a pretty simple rule. In a nutshell, I would like to suggest filling all possible fields in your profile, but don't put there too much. Avoid placing not relevant information about you and your skills.

For example, if you are a developer, don't write 3-4 paragraphs about your experience as a taxi driver. I don't think clients will appreciate that.

Maybe you want to make an introduction video. It is a great idea, but don't make it too long. Don't tell about the color of your home pets or favorite football team.

Everything in your profile should have a reason to be there.

Time to start

Okay, I guess time to throw each field and tell you more details.

1. Photo and Name

If you aren't a model, a photo isn't so important. But you should have it. When you apply for jobs, a photo is one of the things which clients see.

The potential client doesn't care about your face. But if you show yourself with a bottle of beer, a client might think you are not a serious freelancer. Avoid any possible suspicions from the client side. Just use a photo without anything except your face.

If you can afford to hire a professional photographer, then do that. You could use that photos not only for Upwork but also for LinkedIn or other social networks.

As for the name section, the situation is much more straightforward. For example, my last name is Karabadzhak. Some clients can't read it. So I prefer to be just "Ivan K." But don't overthink here. If you can provide value, it doesn't matter what your name is. Using not your real name is again Upwork ToS (Terms of Service), don't forget about that.

2. Title

When you apply to projects, clients see your title. When clients search in the freelancer's directory, they see your title. So, that section is one of the most critical items.

Put here a few words which describe better your specialization and skills. Don't be shy to tell about your coolness. If you don't think you are cool, why will clients think? However, don't try to say you are number one, except in the situation when you are.

I suggest avoiding putting a lot of skills. Better if you use 1-2 simple phrases which describe you a lot. That's why I told you before about your specialization. Time to show it to clients!

Bad examples:

  • Developer, PHP, Python, JavaScript, C#, Java
  • Designer
  • Cool Writer
  • Mobile Developer
  • Solidity Developer

Good examples:

  • Backend Developer, JavaScript Guru, NodeJS, Deno
  • UI/UX Designer + Mobile Apps Designer
  • Top Rated Upwork Writer, Technical Writer
  • iOS Developer of Great Apps
  • Blockchain Developer + Solidity Expert

3. Description

It's also a critical section.

Let's talk about the description section length first. Someone suggests making it as shorter as possible. Someone tells the opposite. What is the best? I don't have that answer. But, in general, take care of clients' time. Don't make a poem inside.

I guess I can say there are three rules of great description:

  • The first few sentences should be eye-catching
  • it would help if you described how you could bring value to clients
  • if you have to write something more, do it after an eye-catching thing and a value-based story.

4. Video introduction

Someone says the video is a critical element. Someone thinks he doesn't need the video. As for me, I don't have it yet.

Video could help to show your English level. Also, it's an excellent opportunity to catch the attention of clients who are bored reading descriptions.

If you could make a high-quality video and describe how you could solve a client's problems, then do it. If you aren't sure about the video or don't have a good camera, then it is better don't have it on your profile page.

5. Portfolio

It is a crucial part of each great Upwork profile. Clients who see your profile on the search also see one of your portfolio items.

Do you remember Rule #3? Don't put here every small project that you ever did. I suggest having 3-5 projects. You should be proud of a bit of each one. Make an excellent description of each project. Tell which problem you solved, how that helped the client, etc.

If NDA protects your past projects, then tell about them without names, details, etc. You could use a fake name and tell about the logic and challenges of the project. For example, you did some software, and the client sells it now.

If you are a developer, it could not be so easy to make great portfolio items. You can show some of your GitHub projects here.

6. Skills list

The skills list is not the first section where a potential client would like to look. At the same time, skills help Upwork arrange you in searches. Keep in skills list your 15 most used and most powerful skills. To do that, start editing the skills list, put there all your skills, and then sort descending by experience amount. Then remove all skills after the 15th one.

7. Known languages

The most important language to find excellent clients and significant contracts in English. If you would like to put more known languages, that is always welcome. But I don't think they will help you a lot. You can build a great Upwork profile only with English in your languages list.

If you know a widely available language, then put it here too (examples: Spanish, Chinese).

8. Education

It is okay not to have a specialized degree but be a fantastic freelancer in the modern world. However, if you have some, put it here for sure. It will not help you much with searching for clients, but as I said before, your Upwork profile should be complete.

9. Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to get some reviews if you a new on Upwork but have some clients outside the platform. However, you can't get real testimonials if you don't have any clients. So, try to think good if there are some previous clients, people who could provide valuable feedback about you. If you remember someone, don't be shy to ask about testimonials to make your Upwork profile great!

10. Certification

Any possible certificates are always appreciated. If you are a developer, don't share certificates about cooking burgers and salads. However, if you have a certificate related to your specialization, you should specify it here. Don't forget certificates about soft skills if you have some.

11. Employment History

That section isn't critical too. A tiny amount of clients read this. However, if you have some related experience, put it here.

12. Other Experiences

This section isn't critical. However, if you have some experience related to your specialization, don't avoid writing about it. Maybe you were a UI/UX designer but now working as a Frontend. It would be great to have noted your designer experience.


That is all I want to say about how to make a tremendous Upwork profile. I hope you find something useful. If you have some suggestions, write a comment below.

And remember one crucial thing. NEVER GIVE UP! Upwork has a massive amount of opportunities. Find yours. I believe in you!

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