As you build your business on Upwork, you learn what it takes to create a profile that stands out, write an eye-catching proposal, and build a successful portfolio. But how do you decide which projects to pursue in the first place?
Here are four tips to help you take a critical eye to the projects you consider on Upwork and spot a great job post before you submit a proposal.
1. Take a critical look at the job post
You invest time and effort into crafting a proposal that’s thoughtfully written, well polished, and tailored to address the main aspects of the project you’re interested in.
Prioritize job posts that do the same.
The reality is that project descriptions can be short on detail. In many cases, the business is looking for someone with your expertise to move their project forward and they may not have all the information needed. However, a good job post should still reflect that they’ve done their homework.
For example, watch for:
- A concise title. This is what should grab your attention in the first place!
- A clear description of the scope of work, its purpose or context, the expected deliverables, and/or the timeline. If the project description is vague, or if the deliverables aren’t listed, does the project description explain why?
- A thoughtful overview of the skills, level of expertise, and/or qualifications needed. Do the project’s requirements align with the skills and level of expertise they’re looking for?
- Attention to detail, including proper spelling and grammar. While you may make exceptions when you work with people from other countries, remember that good communication can be essential for successful collaborations.
While each job post is different and each may have various strengths and weaknesses, consider your overall impression as you decide whether to submit a proposal or not. Wondering what a good job post looks like? Check out these examples.
Some projects will show up in search results as “Featured jobs.” It’s important to note that these have not been reviewed or selected by Upwork; the banner means the client is motivated to find a freelancer or agency and has paid to help their post stand out.
2. Watch out for suspicious requests and activity
To rock your Upwork experience and help keep your business protected, watch out for job posts that include suspicious or inappropriate requests. These red flags include:
- Asking you to do free work
- Asking you to purchase something in order to work on the project
- Offering to pay you off platform
- A client who’s unresponsive or slow to respond
- Requesting personal information such as payment information, your driver’s license, your social security number or other tax ID number
- Learn more about how to avoid phishing and malware…
If you encounter a job post that seems suspect, please report them to Upwork.
3. Check out the client’s history on Upwork
As you review the project description, you’ll see two other sections: “About the client” and “Client’s recent history.” The information in these sections can provide a snapshot of their history on Upwork.
In the “About the client” section, you can find details such as:
- Where the client is located and their local time
- The number of jobs they’ve posted and their hire rate (e.g., the percent of job posts they’ve filled on Upwork)
- Total spend on Upwork
- The average hourly rate of the freelancers and agencies they work with
- The 1-5 star feedback received from businesses they’ve worked with in the past
You may also spot job posts from Upwork Enterprise and Upwork Plus members, which include a badge to indicate the client’s membership level. These plans are designed to give larger businesses the tools they need to thrive on Upwork—and that can translate into great opportunities for you.
Clients that are new to Upwork won’t have the same breadth of detail available, so you’ll need to rely more heavily on the job description to make a decision.
Whether a business is new to Upwork or not, you can see whether they have a verified billing method yet. An unverified billing method often indicates that they’re new to the platform or need to update their billing information. However, if you submit a proposal for a project with a client without a verified billing method, you may want to remind them during your negotiation. Left unconfirmed, it could impact:
- Whether they’ll be able to hire you
- Whether you’ll be covered by Upwork payment protection.
4. Received an invitation? Think of it as a client’s cover letter
A cover letter can be the secret to a good first impression since it’s often that introduction, rather than your proposal, that’s read first. An invitation from a potential client to check out their project serves the same purpose: it’s your first point of contact.
While you may source most potential projects by searching through job posts on Upwork, some may come your way directly with an invitation from the hiring manager. In some cases, these may be generic invitations. But if it’s sent with a personalized message, what impression does it make on you?
- Did the sender review your profile to see whether you have the skills and experience to potentially fit their project, or does the invitation feel random?
- If the message is personalized, is the tone professional, with clear language and no spelling or grammar mistakes?
- Does the invitation inspire confidence that you’re about to look at a great job description?
What to do if a job post falls short
You may come across a project with a job post that falls short but provides enough information to spark your interest. As the potential client moves through the interview and negotiation process, take the opportunity to confirm any questions or details you’re unsure about. For example:
- Having trouble understanding what the client’s expectations are? Consider asking, “What does a successful project look like to you?” This question can help you learn more about the results the client is looking for as potential metrics and anticipated deliverables.
- If a client is fuzzy on the project’s scope of work, you can suggest a paid test project as a first step to confirm the requirements for the larger project. Remember that you can change proposal terms to fit the client’s needs better, until they make an offer or reject your proposal.
- If you feel the structure of a fixed-price project could be improved, you can suggest new milestones to help the client refine their project plan.
If communication with a potential client doesn’t resolve the questions or concerns you may have about their project, you have the option to withdraw your proposal from consideration.
Job posts on Upwork are an important way for freelancers and agencies to connect with businesses that need their expertise. But they can also be a subtle marketing tool that offers a glimpse into what a potential client might be like to collaborate with. By learning what to look for, you’ll develop a sharper eye for the projects that will truly be a good fit for you and your growing business.
The post How to Spot a Great Job Post on Upwork Before You Submit a Proposal appeared first on Upwork Blog.