1. Keep your proposals short
My first proposals were long and I tried to include everything I could in them. Long proposals won’t convince anyone, as no one will read them. People run from big blocks of text, and no one has the patience to read your life’s story.
2. Capture the client’s attention fast
You have just a few seconds to win your client’s attention, so you need to be witty in the first two or three lines. One trick I use is to look at the feedback on the client’s Upwork profile when applying; other freelancers will call them by their first name in the feedback. This lets me start my application with their name.
By doing this, I leave the client wondering how I know their name, which draws them to my profile to see if they know me. It also shows that I am very interested in the job and in collaborating with them; I paid attention to their job description and looked even further. Finally, it makes the application more personal.
3. Add your samples to the beginning of your application
If there’s one thing in your proposal your clients are interested in, it’s your work samples. If your samples are good, that is your main advantage for winning the job. So keep your samples as high as possible, maybe after the first paragraph.
4. Answer the “Why should I work with you” question
Every customer wants to know why they should pick you instead of any other freelancer out there. This is basically what your application has to be focused on.
No, don’t start your application with: “You should hire me because…” Present the advantages of a collaboration with you, as well as your qualities. Don’t brag, but be honest and present real facts:
- Talk about experience (i.e. how many years)
- Mention your excellent feedback (if you already have some)
- Mention the number of projects you have worked on so far (inside or outside of Upwork)
- Tell them about your education, if it is relevant to the job
Point out anything that makes you look good as long as you can prove it, via samples or your profile. You should leave the rest out.
5. Be professional and friendly
I have also become a customer on Upwork in the last couple of months, and I have noticed that many freelancers need to improve their customer service and professional manners. “Dear John Doe,” will always sound better than “Hi.” “Thank you for taking the time to read my application” is a great closing line. You can make your proposal more professional or warm with a friendly closing, like “Best regards,” or “Kind wishes.”
Test everything until you find what works for you. The first few months as a freelancer are definitely not easy and you should expect some tough times. But, if you arm yourself with patience, will, and perseverance, results will eventually show and you will get better at it every day.
This story was submitted by freelance writer Andreea-Lucia Mihalache and does not reflect the views or opinions of Upwork.