Are you writing Upwork proposals and not even getting an interview? Are you on the verge of giving up? Please don\’t.
Today I will show you how to write an Upwork proposal that gets results. Like every other thing, it is an art you can learn. But consistent execution is how you strengthen those muscles. I know artificially intelligent tools like ChatGPT have made proposal writing a breeze. But I consider them colors at the hands of an artist. Use them smartly.
I will share an Upwork proposal sample that landed me a $10,000 content writing contract in 2021. They are easy tips to remember, and you can apply them together or separately. Most importantly, always read and understand what the client wants and tailor your proposal to resonate with their concerns.
Without wasting time, let\’s get started.
How to Write a Proposal on Upwork that Gets you Hired
Follow these steps to stand out from the noise:
1. Read the client\’s job description word by word
I understand that Upwork has a lot of talent, and it is always a race to send your proposal the sooner the job is posted. Of course, it is one way to be noticed by the client. But you won\’t have adequate information to work with if you don\’t read the client\’s job description word for word (however long it is).
Besides, you might omit essential details that a client gives preference. For example, most verified Upwork clients hide certain phrases within the job posting to help them filter applicants. I don\’t know about you, but I was once a culprit, only to realize my omission after applying for the job.
If you don\’t take the time to read the job posting, you will waste your connects and regret it. It doesn\’t matter how qualified you are. If you can\’t do that, your client automatically assumes that you are not attentive to detail. And trust me, that is not someone even you would want on your team.
That said, let\’s read this job posting. I will give you the sample proposal I wrote for it in a few.
2. Pick a job you are certain to deliver
Don\’t worry if you are not a technical writer. You filter yourself out or in from reading and understanding the job description. You will know whether the job is within your abilities or not. If you find that the job has certain complex aspects or concepts that might make it difficult for you, don\’t proceed.
Note that when the client posts a job on Upwork, every sentence they write means a lot to them. Therefore, pick a job that resonates with you. Do you fit the description? Can you deliver based on the niche, the deadline, different time zones, etc.? What about the tools you must have? Can you use them?
If your answer to any of these questions is a yes, then you can proceed. If you are undecided, it doesn\’t hurt to try. Just don\’t carry a knife to a gunfight. Ensure your guns are blazing, including having the right samples to show for the job.
3. Prepare samples that align with the client\’s requirements
The most common question concerning samples is, \”what if I don\’t have a sample?\” My answer is, what are you waiting for? You cannot create a sample from scratch and apply for a job in Upwork when it is so urgent. The more time you waste, the more the client peruses incoming proposals.
I always tell my writers to start small. LinkedIn, Medium, and Google Docs allow writers to create and share impressive samples through links. And you don\’t need to write many words. If you are a writer like me, your samples can be 500 to 800 words. Just give them your best shot.
Note that you should have this before writing an Upwork proposal. Align your samples to your desired niche, so you don\’t send, for example, pet samples for a technical job posting like the one we have here. You might be the best, but someone with relevant samples might knock you out of the game.
4. Start with a friendly greeting
You don\’t just come from nowhere and start selling your product or service to me without a greeting. That isn\’t polite. Please don\’t do it. Always start your Upwork proposal with a warm greeting. Although it is the simplest thing to do, it has a twist. Do your research and dig for the client\’s name.
If the client has a long history with Upwork, you will likely find their name in the review section. What are their previous freelancers saying about them? Are they friendly or more formal? Can you notice the clients\’ names within the reviews? If you can, that\’s a bonus.
Get back and start writing your proposal as soon as possible. Mention their name after the greeting to give your proposal a hint of personality. It will also make you stand out from many others as a person who is thorough and diligent in their endeavors.
But you will not find the client\’s name every day in the review section. Especially if they are new to the platform or their previous freelancers don\’t mention them by name. In that case, make your greeting short and friendly and get straight to the point.
5. Get straight to the point
This is where you let the client know you understand their problem. Getting straight to the point means you don\’t waste time discussing unrelated things. Using the client\’s keywords in your proposal is the best way to go about this.
For example, the client in our case study needed a technical writer. You can tell this from the use of words such as \”tech,\” \”pc,\” \”hardware,\” \”Android,\” \”iOS,\” etc. Chances are you are writing the proposal simultaneously with your competitors. So, pick up these keywords as you read the job description.
Use the keywords to magnify their problem and create urgency for a solution. You do this immediately after the greeting. And since this client\’s problem is a technical problem, you need to position yourself as an expert. How do you do that?
Let\’s talk about that next.
6. Position yourself as an expert
There are many ways to show your expertise to a potential client. I always think of it this way: Imagine meeting the CEO of your dream company in an elevator. You are going to part ways in the next 30 seconds. Now assume they are the ones that posted this job on Upwork.
How best could you utilize the 30 seconds? What is the best pitch you can make? You might lose credibility and a fantastic opportunity if you don\’t position yourself as an expert early and quickly enough. You will notice how I did that in the Upwork proposal sample below.
Instead of being general, mention the topics you\’ve written about and marry them with the client\’s technical requirements. For instance, you say, \”I have written about good GPU temperature when the computer is idle and when it is loaded. I have also written about how much RAM is used by Windows 10.\”
Another way of positioning yourself as an expert to Upwork clients is by mentioning the duration you\’ve spent solving similar problems. You can also tell them about the companies you\’ve worked with. This is particularly powerful if you\’ve worked with or been featured in popular businesses.
7. Exude confidence in your Upwork proposal
A client can tell with significant accuracy a timid freelancer from how they write their Upwork proposals. These freelancers write as if they are asking for a favor from the client. They will write something like \”You will be happy you chose me for this project\” or \”please, allow me to work for you.\”
Timidity scares away clients. It makes them think you are desperate for a job and not committed to value addition. To write Upwork proposals that get results, you must give precedence to the latter and shun the former as much as possible.
Confident freelancers know their worth. Besides, don\’t you think their samples speak for themselves? Of course, they do. I have a simple rule: First impressions matter, especially to clients who have never known you.
So even if you are worried sick about where you will get your daily bread, suppress those primitive instincts and activate your survival instincts. Ask them questions, point out biases or omissions in their requirements, and suggest ways to improve them.
In short, show Upwork clients the best and most confident version of yourself that perhaps even your friends and family have never met.
8. Omit the call to action (CTA) at your own risk
Now that you\’ve said it all to your client, what do you want them to do? Or asked another way, what action do you want them to take? \”Hire me now,\” \”I am eagerly waiting for the interview,\” or \”let me know if there is anything else I can help with\” are some potential calls to action.
Another common line I frequently use is, \”I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.\” Maybe you\’ve also used it before. It is a nice way to shelve your expectations while waiting for the client to act on your proposal.
Enough with the essay.
Here is the proposal that won me the $10,000 content writing contract I was telling you about. Feel free to review this article again and notice how I applied the points here.
Now create your Upwork proposal and win those jobs
Your proposal does not have to be long. Although these techniques seem overwhelming, there is always a way to condense information to its most impactful components. That is what I want you to do. Avoid large blocks of text, and don\’t say too much; spare your client\’s time.
Read the job posting word for word, pick what you are certain to deliver, keep your relevant samples on standby, greet the client by name, and go straight to the point. Also, improve your chances of getting hired by positioning yourself as an expert and exuding confidence.
Most importantly, end your Upwork proposal with a call to action for your client.
I hope you found this article helpful. I would like to hear what worked for you too. Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comment section below.
Happy job hunting.