Completing your profile doesn’t just give clients the info they need, it also helps Upwork match you with more relevant projects and it is required if you want to achieve Rising Talent status, Top Rated status or access Premium Services. But what does a top-notch profile look like?
Start your profile by choosing work categories that are most relevant to your skill set and set an hourly rate that reflects your skills and experience level. You can search Upwork to get an idea of what freelancers in similar industries are billing. Then, consider these tips to help enhance your profile and ensure it showcases your experience and expertise in the best light.
In this article, you'll learn how to...
- Create a profile to showcase your skills
- Select a professional profile picture
- Highlight your expertise in the title and overview
- Create an outstanding introduction video
- Feature your work in your portfolio
- Emphasize your experience with certifications
- Include your employment history
- Update your educational experience
Showcase your skills
Upwork has an extensive list of standardized skills that can help you quickly identify your strengths and connect you with relevant projects. These skills also help clients find you more easily.
Example: Skills section for Translations (Yufei F., Martinsburg/WV)
You may see that clients in your niche look for freelancers by the service they want (i.e. logo design, web design) rather than the tools needed (i.e. Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop). Take note of which keywords potential clients include in their project descriptions to help focus your own profile.
Select a profile photo
Clients want to feel they can trust a freelancer before they engage them for a project and your profile photo is an important part of the equation. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does your profile picture say about you?
To help attract clients and stand out from the crowd, keep these tips in mind when selecting your perfect profile picture.
Find your best light — Shady areas outdoors without direct sunlight or on a cloudy day are a great lighting choice. Inside, avoid overhead light, which creates harsh shadows, and instead look for natural light.
Simplify the background — Look for a plain and light background that is clear and uncluttered. A solid, not-too-bright wall, such as the side of a concrete or brick building, or a simple outdoor background might work well.
Focus on your face — Face the camera straight on or with your shoulders at a slight angle. Crop the image so you only include your head and the top of your shoulders. Dress in professional attire and remember to smile! Clients find smiling freelancers more warm, friendly, and trustworthy.
Get ready for the photoshoot — Have someone take your photo for you, or set up a tripod and take the photo yourself, and select the highest resolution to help ensure a crisp photo. Consider taking multiple photos, in several locations and with different poses, so you’ll have a variety to choose from.✪ Visit our blog for more tips on choosing an awesome profile photo
Highlight your expertise
Coming up with a title may seem simple, but it’s a potentially powerful tool that’s often overlooked by freelancers. Why is it so important? Because when a client finds your profile in search, your title is the first thing they’ll see.
Examples: How a freelancer’s title and overview show up in search results.
Your overview isn’t entirely visible until someone checks out your profile, but since it’s at the top of your profile it’s also a highly visible part of your marketing. Use it to introduce yourself and pitch your services.
✪ Visit our blog for more tips on creating your title and overview
Example: Title and overview of a freelancer in Web & Software Dev (Fred T., Seattle/WA)
Create an introduction video
It can be difficult to establish a personal connection through a written profile, but that profile is an important factor when it comes to finding new clients. Adding an introduction video to your profile can be a great way to quickly build a bond with prospective clients by providing a more interactive preview of your unique characteristics and what it’ll be like to work with you. Need inspiration before you get started?
Check out these stellar intro videos from some of your fellow freelancers
- Pavel Pomerantsev – Front-End Developer
- Czarina de los Reyes-Guevara – Customer Service Manager
- Chris Warren – Motion Graphics Artist
Feature your best work
Use your portfolio to draw a potential client's attention and showcase the quality of your work plus the value of your expertise.
Choose pieces that reflect your niche and help prove your specialization. If your skills aren’t particularly visual, try to find creative ways to explain the challenge behind each sample and how your work had an impact.
✪ Visit our blog for more tips on building a successful porfolio
Example: Portfolio of a freelancer in Web & Software Dev (Fred T., Seattle/WA)
List your certifications
Listing the certifications you’ve earned can help prove your specific knowledge or abilities, particularly if they relate to specific systems or software your clients may look for.
Add your employment history
Adding relevant details about your employment history can help clients understand your background, both on and off Upwork.
You can start by adding a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments in your previous roles; pay particular attention to projects that relate to the type of projects you are looking for now.
As your freelance business grows, consider adding new entries for a few of your most impressive projects to help reconfirm your credibility.
Example: Employment history for Translations (Karine S., Gordon/GA)
If you don’t have a traditional employment history, consider adding your freelance business as a one line item, with a brief description summarizing your focus. You can use bullet points to highlight achievements and illustrate your specific expertise.
Include your education and other experiences
Your knowledge doesn’t just stem from your previous work experience! Your education and other activities — such as volunteer positions, mentorship programs, online courses, and other extracurricular activities — can also help shape what you do and how you present yourself online.
Consider including a detailed description of each relevant education item by listing the institution’s name and program in chronological order, beginning with the most recent one.
You can also add informal education and activities in the “Other Experiences” section. This may include research projects, competitions, or other interests that could help illustrate your value.
Example: “Other experiences” for Data Science (Kat C., Las Vegas/NV).
Additional tips to make your profile stand out
You may find inspiration viewing other freelancers’ profiles, but remember to make your profile original and unique.
Consider the following additional tips:
- Make your profile about your clients. How can you help them?
- Be consistent with your strongest skills and leverage all profile sections to back up your skills (title, skills, overview, work history)
- Help establish trust and confidence by completing all sections
- Be concise and straightforward in your language
- Proofread each section carefully and update your profile regularly
- Track your reputation by taking action on non-active contracts—and if you are Top Rated, exercising more control over your JSS score
- Update your profile visibility if your profile has been switched to “private” due to inactivity
- Link other professional accounts in your profile settings to help Upwork match you better to jobs
- Keep a perfect responsiveness score by replying quickly to invitations and messages
- Update your profile to “available” when you are, so you receive invites. When you’re not, set your profile to “not available” to avoid the nuisance of responding and don’t risk hurting your responsiveness score
And before you publish your profile, ask friends to give you feedback. Another good tactic is to read your profile out loud: It’s a great way to see if your profile flows well, has a nice rhythm, and sounds like you.