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October 5, 2018

How to get your profile approved on Upwork

When I first started on Upwork, they didn’t do this.

At least, not that I remember.

But, apparently, it’s becoming more and more of an issue because I’ve been getting asked this a lot more lately. And, the thing here is… when you understand what Upwork’s goals are and how it’s technology works to support those goals, the answers here start to become obvious.

Take this, for example:

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In case it’s not clear…

This is an Upwork employee stating that WHO performs a search and WHEN they perform it affects Upwork’s search results. So, if you’ve been thinking that Upwork is 100% rank, this is probably a big eye-opener.

It should tell you two things:

  1. Relevance is a MAJOR factor in how Upwork operates. Search results and suggested freelancer lists don’t just come down to Rank.
  2. Upwork’s algorithms are HIGHLY sophisticated… down to the time of day affecting search results.

So, this goes back to the point I continually try to hammer home about Upwork:

RELEVANCE, RELEVANCE, RELEVANCE!

Upwork’s stated to goal is to match clients with the best freelancers for their project. That last bit can’t be overstated.

What does that have to do with getting your profile approved?

Well, it should tell you a lot about how Upwork thinks about its ecosystem and who they let in. And, when you first apply, you have ZERO rank in their system. So, it is 100% about relevance. Specifically, Upwork looks at what kind of projects clients are actually posting for, how many quality freelancers it has for those projects and where the holes are.

Categories where there’s a lot of job postings but few quality freelancers.

Those are the freelancers they want.

And, who will breeze through their approval process.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they just told you what those categories are?

Well, they kind of do.

Every quarter, Upwork releases a Quarterly Skills Index. Just go to: https://www.upwork.com/press/ and scroll down to the “Upwork Skills Index” link. Scroll down and you’ll see a list of what Upwork has determined to be the 20 fastest growing skills for freelancers in that quarter:

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You think maybe they’d be dying to find freelancers in these categories for their platform?

Absolutely.

Now, I don’t work at Upwork and I don’t know exactly how their application process works, but I’d bet if you were to include a couple of these skills in your application, there’s a good chance you’re going to get approved.

But, John, I don’t know any of this stuff!

Are you sure?

“Rapid prototyping”.

“Product photography”.

“Google Cloud Platform”.

Some of these are vague enough and enough apart of a developer’s day-to-day activities that you could probably get away with listing it. Down the list there’s also “eLearning” and  “Customer retention”. I think almost anybody could list those as a skill you’re, at least, familiar with.

Now, of course, this isn’t foolproof.

It’s possible to list one or more of these skills and still get rejected. Which is why I constantly tell freelancers to stack as many of the cards in your favor as you can. This is just one. In fact, there’s 10 more things you can do when applying to Upwork to help get your profile approved. And, I outline all 10 in my Freelancing on Upwork course on SkillShare.

You can get no-cost access to that course here: https://skl.sh/2OIxQrO

It’s a 35-lesson course that will teach you everything I know about freelancing on Upwork.

Anyway, do with that what you will.

Later,

John

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