Before we dive in, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
According to Upwork, the platform gets around 10,000 new signups per day. Upwork provides access to more clients than any other job board or freelancing site, so a lot of people want to be on there.
But what happens is that the marketplace gets flooded with freelancers. And many of these individuals either don’t have any relevant skills or aren’t serious about freelancing.
Upwork can’t manually approve or deny 10,000 applicants per day, so they created an algorithm to do the screening process for them. I actually think the approval process is a good thing, and I’m glad Upwork is doing it.
The fact that you’ve been approved to look for work on the platform means that clients will automatically take you more seriously. You’ll also face far less competition when you’re looking for work.
And if your profile gets turned down, it’s not the end of the road for you. There are a few very strategic steps you can take to improve your odds for approval next time.
I know this can be frustrating. So today, I’m going to share the proven strategies my team and I have tested behind the scenes to increase your profile’s chances of being approved by Upwork.
1. Upwork’s rejection policy is a GOOD thing. Because it’s the best freelancing site in the world, a LOT of people want to make an account. Having a screening process means that when your profile does get approved, you’ll face far less competition and your account will be even more valuable.
2. When Upwork rejects a profile, it’s not happening randomly or arbitrarily. When a client searches for freelancers, Upwork uses an algorithm based on a specific set of criteria to determine who shows up, and in what order. While the account approval process may have a human component as well, it’s likely that the first “line of defense” is an algorithm similar to what they use to deliver up search results. If you take time to think about WHAT Upwork is looking for and WHY, you can take steps to significantly increase your chance of being approved. (These steps will also give you a better shot at being hired and quickly boosting your freelance career.)
3. If Upwork rejects your profile, it’s not the end. Even if you don’t get approved, you can always make some changes and resubmit your profile. There’s no reason to stop trying if you’re rejected the first (or second, or third) time.
If your profile has been turned down in the past, please don’t despair. It’s not a sign that you should give up or that you’re not qualified to be a freelancer.
You just need to know what Upwork is looking for in potential freelancers.
When you sign up for Upwork, you’re not just creating an account. You’re creating a freelance BUSINESS (or taking an existing one to the next level).
From the very first step, Upwork makes it clear that they’re looking for people who take freelancing as seriously as they do.
For example: when entering your email address, Upwork shows a preference for business email addresses (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org) over personal emails (e.g., Gmail or Hotmail.)
You’ll use your email address to sign up for an Upwork account. And one of the first things you’ll notice is that Upwork prefers a business email address.
Why does a work email address matter? Well, it matters because Upwork is looking for professional freelancers. So taking the time to set up a business email account is a great way to show Upwork that you’re serious about freelancing.