Creating your profile is the first step toward developing meaningful relationships with clients. This is your spotlight to share your talents and interests. But even more than that, this is where you show clients how you can help them complete their projects and grow their business.

Fully completing your profile also helps us match you with more relevant projects. We also require a complete profile for you to be eligible to achieve Rising Talent or Top Rated status. But what does a top-notch profile look like?

One of the easiest ways to get started is to focus on the basics. Choose work categories that are most relevant to your skill set. Set an hourly rate that reflects your skills and experience level. If you’re not sure what to charge, you can research other freelancers on Upwork to get an idea of what others with similar skills are billing in your industry. For more details about how to complete these items and other parts of your profile, go here.

Then, consider these tips to help enhance your profile and ensure it showcases your experience and expertise in the best light.

Showcase your skills

We developed a list of standardized skills to help you quickly identify your strengths and connect you with relevant projects. These skills also help clients find you more easily.


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 the keywords that potential clients include in their project descriptions to help focus your own profile.

Select a profile photo

Trust is an important part of any relationship, and your profile picture can help clients feel more trusting and confident about engaging with you on a project. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what does your profile picture say about you?

When selecting a photo, please make sure:

  • It is at least 250 x 250 pixels
  • It is no more than 4000 x 4000 pixels 
  • The extension is .jpeg or .png 
  • The max size is 5 MB

Here are some other tips to keep in mind when selecting your 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 tend to view smiling freelancers as 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 that you’ll have a variety to choose from.

How to take a profile picture for Upwork

Highlight your expertise

Your profile title is one of the first things that clients see when they find your profile in search. This makes it a powerful tool for communicating what you offer.

Hightlight your expertise at Upwork
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.

A freelancer's profile in Web & Software Development
Example: Title and overview of a freelancer in Web & Software Dev (Fred T., Seattle/WA)

Create an introduction video

Establishing a personal connection remotely through your written profile can be difficult. That’s why we’ve designed more ways for you to introduce yourself to potential clients. Though your written profile will still be important, adding a video introduction to your profile can be a great way to quickly build a bond with prospective clients. Video can provide 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 example intro videos from some of your fellow freelancers

Feature your best work

Your portfolio is another great way to show potential clients what you can do for them. Use your portfolio to attract attention and showcase the quality of your work plus the value of your expertise.

Choose pieces that reflect your niche and help display 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.

Sample of an Upwork portfolio
Example: Portfolio of a freelancer in Web & Software Dev (Fred T., Seattle/WA)

List your certifications

Listing the certifications you’ve earned can add credibility to your profile, particularly if they relate to specific systems or software.

How to add certifications to an Upwork profile
Example: Certifications section for Data Science (Kat C., Las Vegas/NV).

To help you connect with clients who may be looking for language skills that are not your native language, consider adding certifications that reflect your proficiency in that language.

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. This shows clients what you are capable of accomplishing on Upwork, and it gives you the chance to showcase new skills and experiences.

Employment history in an Upwork profile
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 stem from only 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 skills and abilities.

Sample of other experiences in an Upwork profile
Example: “Other experiences” for Data Science (Kat C., Las Vegas/NV).

Pro tips to make your profile stand out

You may find inspiration in 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 (Title, Skills, Overview, Work History) to back them up.
  • Help establish trust and confidence by completing all sections.
  • Be concise and straightforward in your language.
  • Proofread each section carefully.
  • Link other professional accounts in your profile settings to help us match you better to jobs. Update your profile regularly.
  • Update your profile visibility if your profile has been switched to “private” due to inactivity.
  • Keep a perfect responsiveness score by replying quickly to invitations and messages.
  • Update your profile to “available” when you are, so that you receive invites. When you’re not, set your profile to “not available” to avoid unwanted messages or a decreased responsiveness score due to non-response.
  • Before you publish your profile, ask friends to give you feedback. Another good idea 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.

Ready to dive in deeper?

Take Upwork Academy's course called New to Upwork 102, where you can find interactive information and helpful tips that can allow Upwork to work for you.

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