Is your Upwork profile getting rejected? So how to get an Upwork profile approved even if it has been rejected previously?
Upwork is one of the best freelancing site and a good starting point for freelancers looking for clients. But they have also denied freelancer with a profile on Upwork. Many of my blog readers had troubles getting their Upwork profile approved on Upwork.
So how to get your Upwork profile approved on Upwork? Is there anything that needs to be done differently?
The answer is YES.
If you know what Upwork is looking for when approving an Upwork profile, it becomes that much more easy to craft the profile the way to get it approved faster.
So let me address what you should be doing differently, so your profile isn’t rejected. Remember one point – Upwork’s team is more than willing to accepts you as a freelancer and approve your profile. Just do the right things.
Why is Upwork Rejecting Profiles?
The first question one may have is, why Upwork is doing this?
Upwork is one of the top freelancing sites. So it is quite apparent everyone looking to be a freelancer is making an account on Upwork.
So they are rejecting profiles of such freelancers who aren’t adding any value to the Upwork marketplace. It is for the betterment of the other freelancers who are serious about being a freelancer.
Here is a forum reply on Upwork official community giving clear reasons why the profile isn’t approved for a user in the past.
So if your profile gets rejected, it means you are trying to be yet another freelancer with similar expertise.
From the above reply, it is clear they aren’t rejecting the profile without a thorough review. Even shared the exact reason why in the forum.
It is good because they have the complete process to accept genuine freelancers. They have also suspended existing non-performing accounts. So they are trying to make a better marketplace for the clients with only severe and real freelancers.
How to Get Upwork Profile Approved
So let me share what you could and should do differently, so your profile is accepted and approved.
1. Use Professional Email Address
As a freelancer, your email address is the first point of contact. If you are using a free email address like a @gmail.com or @hotmail.com, it shows you aren’t very serious about freelancing.
I have always shared a view every freelancer must have a blog or a website. Having a website and blogs has many advantages. The key benefit is you can have your professional email address @yourdomain.com. It helps to jump-start your reputation on Upwork.
So the first thing you should do if your profile is getting rejected on Upwork is – change the email address from the free email to the professional email address.
If you are accustomed to Gmail interface, you can use the same interface for a custom domain. In India, the cost of GSuite is lower, and only costs only ₹1500 per year for using @yourdomain in GSuite for business.
I always prefer using GSuite them for all my emails, including @biztips.co / @shabbir.in or my emails for clients.
2. Write a Better Job Title
Upwork gives more preference to the job title, but often freelancers get it wrong. It isn’t the position of the company or the job title printed on the visiting card.
For visiting card job title: What Small Business Owners Job Title Be?.
A job title like “Project manager” or “Team Leader” can mean your profile is sure to get rejected on Upwork.
Try to provide a Job title to describe your expertise in one single sentence. It should neither be too generic nor too specific.
If your title is too broad like a “consultant” or “marketing expert,” it doesn’t help much. Similarly, if the title is too specific like “PPC Marketing Expert For Amazon Stores”, Upwork may think you aren’t interested in other kinds of jobs.
If you work in technology or CMS, provide the title as “CMSNAME expert.” If the technology is too general or CMS is WordPress, be more specific like “WordPress Developer for Food Industry”.
3. Craft a Professional Overview
It is an essential part of an Upwork profile. More often, the freelancer gets this too short.
The overview allows 5000 characters about the services you offer. Often freelancers add the bare minimum which is 300 characters.
Writing more details about your services is very important to get your profile approved by Upwork.
In my overview, I have more than 4k characters.
The overview can separate a lurking freelancer with the one who is serious about being a freelancer.
If you are serious about freelancing, take some extra time to write a detailed overview. What you do, how you can help clients grow their business etc.
You can even add a video to the overview. Though it isn’t mandatory, adding a video about your services can make your profile stand out. Ultimately it helps in getting approval.
4. Select Unique Category and Skills
The next crucial aspect of getting an Upwork Profile approved is – have the correct category and subcategory of expertise.
You are free to choose up to 10 categories. Choose all of them to make sure you are more searchable by clients in the marketplace.
I don’t take up any client work in Sales and marketing. But because I know about sales and marketing, I have it as a category for my profile.
Though you won’t rank very well f\or each category, it shouldn’t stop you from adding them. If you see something you can work on, put it on your profile to let Upwork know your full range of expertise.
Apart from the categories, we have skills. Again one can add up to 10 skills and make sure you add each of those ten skills.
Choose the one that you are best at first and then add the rest of the skills.
Adding more skills are preferred. Again remember you have to select proper skills that you know and not random.
As an example, a WordPress developer can choose PHP. However, CakePHP or CodeIgniter isn’t a bad option either though you may not be expert in those skills but have a basic idea of them.
If you add a very different set of skills, Upwork may verify them with a test.
5. Add Portfolio / Project
Add every project you have worked in the past that you can share your work with your portfolio.
If you are starting and don’t have samples to showcase in the portfolio – here is a guide for new freelancers to build a portfolio.
Take the time to write the project overview. Don’t be in a hurry to complete it.
Though the skills part of the project is optional, make sure you add all the skills used in the project. It is the skills you have will define how unique they are in the Upwork marketplace.
Remember, we aren’t filling the Upwork profile, but we are building the Upwork profile. So add a lot more details than the mandatory fields to submit the form.
6. Don’t miss on the Education and Certifications
We all have some level of education. So it is always better to add all our education details.
Or if you have any additional certification, please add them to certifications.
Or if you have taken any course on Udemy, you can add them either under certification or under other experience levels.
Let Upwork know everything you have done or can do.
7. Add Relevant Experience
One mistake I see freelancers often make is when entering their expertise. They consider the freelancing experience, whereas, in the Upwork profile, it is the overall experience of the individual in their best set of skills.
What I mean is – if you are a newbie in PHP development and an experienced C# developer. As a freelancer, you want to be working in PHP over C#. So if you choose PHP or WordPress as a skill for freelancing, you may be considered an “Entry Level” freelancer. But if you prefer C# as well as PHP and WordPress, you can be an “Intermediate” or an “Expert” level.
We aren’t providing any wrong or misleading information. It is the most experienced in technology. It is the primary skill. Though we prefer working in other areas more as a freelancer.
8. Add Past Employment
We all have some experience to add as employment to the Upwork profile. If you haven’t done any job and is straight out of college, mention the details of the final semester training program as employment history.
9. Link Social Media Accounts
Link your other accounts from other social networks and development site profile.
Upwork doesn’t offer LinkedIn profile, which is a more professional social network. Primarily because I think they consider LinkedIn as a competitive site than a social networking site.
10. Learn Un-common and Yet In-demand skill
Having a new set of skills that aren’t very common is a perfect way to get your profile approved on Upwork.
I am not asking to add those skills to your Upwork profile. What I mean is to learn those skills that can help you grab more clients quickly and get the Upwork profile approved.
The best way to learn an un-common and yet in-demand skill is to focus on niche freelancing.
Let me share an example. PHP is a broad niche. A framework like Laravel or CakePHP isn’t. As a PHP developer learn an upcoming framework like Phalcon, which is not very common among freelancer and yet in demand as in 2019.
I already see eight projects posted for Phalcon in PHP.
So a PHP developer with Phalcon as expertise and skillset is more likely to be approved on Upwork.
11. Find a client to hire you on Upwork
Upwork has a program called BYOF or Bring Your Freelancer for clients.
If you can find a client elsewhere like from your blog or via a reference or forum networking, you can ask the client to invite you on Upwork. Your profile will be approved instantly.
It means your profile and expertise has demanded to bring more clients.
12. Don’t Create Multiple Accounts
If the profile isn’t accepted once, there are no chances it will be accepted the second time. What it means is all profiles will get suspended.
Similarly, if your Upwork profile has been suspended previously for violation of any terms and conditions, do not expect the new one to get accepted.
If your account is once suspended, it is different from profile rejection. You can get rejected multiple times before it is approved. Once suspended, there is little one can do about it.
13. Be part of an Agency Account
Upwork has two types of accounts, Individual freelancer and Agency accounts. Inside agency accounts, there can be numerous individual freelancers who work as business development for the agency.
If any of your friends have an Upwork agency profile, be part of his agency profile and get your account approved.
Remember the work you do may as a member of the agency may show on the agency profile, not on your profile. Beware of it.
Again it is not at all a recommended method but shared as it is also an option to get an Upwork profile approved. It is always better to get an individual freelancer profile.
Further Reading: Common Upwork Proposal Mistakes and My Upwork Proposal Sample and Template.
14. Look for alternative
If you have done everything as above, there is little chance things don’t work as expected. Still, if nothing works out, Upwork isn’t the end of freelancing world.
There are many other freelancing sites to work.