‘I’m Not Getting Hired on Upwork!’ Here’s Why.

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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You’ve finally been accepted on Upwork after tirelessly working on your profile. However, there’s just one little problem: you’re not getting hired on Upwork.

Each time you bid on a project, you get the same dreary message: your application to job xxx was rejected. Reason: Chose another freelancer. How in the world are you supposed to earn that ka-ching  if no client hires you?

Things are becoming tight – not only on your wallet but also on your self-confidence.

Relax. Mummy’s here 🙂 Let’s take a look at why you’re not getting hired on Upwork. 

  1. Your Proposals Stink

‘Ouch! That hurts Sheeroh’

Okay. They are dry and lifeless and not attention-grabbing.

I have a client account on Upwork and I post jobs every once in a while. Sometimes I get proposals from freelancers who’ve addressed me as ‘Dear Hiring Manager.’ Oh please don’t start with this! Here’s a little trick.

When you’re bidding for work, scroll down the client’s profile and read the feedback that he has received from other freelancers. You might just see the client’s name in there. If not, you can use Dear Client.

Read Also: How To Write Great Proposal

What you need to realize is that clients receive so many proposals within the first 20 minutes, that they simply cannot afford, in terms of time, to go over every single one.  

Your first paragraph needs to be show stopping – well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit –  but it needs to convey exactly what you are bringing to the table. How will the client benefit?  

What ideas do you have to make their project a success?  Show that your enthusiastic and excited about the job.

Here’s an Upwork proposal sample that has a punch!


2. Your Profile Is Not Complete And/Or Appealing

So probably you’ve written a good cover letter but, alas, your profile is not complete. A profile that is at 70% doesn’t exactly give the client lots of confidence in your ability to complete tasks.  Worse still, is a profile that is riddled with grammatical and spelling errors.

Take your time and write a great overview statement  that explains to the client what sets you apart from other freelancers. Take some tests – some clients won’t even consider you if you haven’t attempted any test.  

And talking about tests, do you really need to show all six failed tests,  what with their glaring red font? 😀

Read Also:  Upwork Rocks – Here’s Why

Another reason why you are not getting hired on Upwork is because you haven’t uploaded any samples of your work, that is, you don’t have a portfolio.  Also, be  careful about the title  that is displayed on your profile.

Stating that you are a web designer who has a  passion for transcription, writing, graphic design and accountancy makes you out to be a jack of all trades and  a master of none 🙁 You want clients to hire you, not to run away!


3.  You Don’t Bid As Regularly As You Ought To

This is another reason why you are not getting hired on Upwork. If you’re bidding once a week, God forbid once a month, it’ll be a miracle if you ever get a client.

Bidding can be frustrating and discouraging but this is what I’ve discovered,  that the more times you bid, the more psyched up you become.  It becomes a habit.

Remember that you are  a freelancer, and freelancing is actually self-employment. You need to open that door every day in terms of bidding.  With the free plan on Upwork, you have 60 connects available each month.  

Essentially, you should be bidding on at least one job per day, as it costs two connects per bid.  But in my experience, every day is different.  

Some days you’ll use more connects than others. Be careful not to spend all your connects within two or three days. If you spend all your connects that fast, what will you do if the right job for you happens to be posted tomorrow?

Read Also: Top Rated Freelancers – Here’s All About It

4. You Bid On Jobs That  Have Too Many Applicants

As I mentioned earlier,  very few clients have the time to peruse numerous proposals.   There is a lot of competition on Upwork and many are the times when a client will find a good fit within the first 5-10 applicants.  

That is not to say that every once in a while, a client won’t  find a great fit who happens to be the 40th candidate but that’s rare. Be wise and try to be the early bird that catches the worm.

5.  You Are Not Getting Hired On Upwork Because You Have No Feedback

Unfortunately, when you are a newbie, this is out of your control.  When you’ve just joined Upwork, how are you supposed to get great feedback without being hired?  

Well, let me encourage you – all experienced freelancers started as newbies.  I joined Upwork  back in 2012, and it took me around three weeks to win my first contract.  

If you take note of the points mentioned above, you’ll be hired in no time.

Read Also: Freelancers Need These Traits


Have you realized why you are not getting hired on Upwork? Take action today. Remember that success depends on you. Read as much as you can from the Upwork blog, and other resources online and then tweak and experiment to see what works.

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About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • Very educative. I’m learning something new. It’s because I have an upwork account but my profile isn’t complete. Particularly the portfolio part and the proposal. Nice work.

  • That was really resourceful, I have realized why non of my bids have never been accepted before. Been pitching since eternity and and am yet to land on a single job. After reading your article I know know the reasons why no client was attracted to my bids.

    • Way to go Hilary. That’s the first step. The second step is taking action! Hope to hear from you when you land your first gig!

  • A very helpful post as always Sheeroh. Humorous too … How do you do that? It will definitely help a lot of us improve out stats and get to where you are some day.
    Thank you!

    • I guess I have a couple of funny bones in my body 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it and happy that you are doing great as well.

  • Thanks for the great advice and especially on stinking proposal and being lazy to bid.. ☺ What an eye opener…

  • Very informative. Thank you very much Sheeroh. Now I have an idea of what to do and what not to do as I embark on my online job search. Keep it up.

  • Thanks for the tips! Having that problem myself (no luck on Up work)… Will keep trying though…

    Blessings Sheeroh

  • Hi Sheroh? I must admit this text has been very informative especially for me who has had an upwork account for almost a year without any work done. Most of the bids I make are rejected as you said and the response is that another writer was awarded the project. I guess the issue is in with my portfolio in which I filled as data entry expert instead of academic writing which am conversant with, is there a way you can kindly help?

    • The frustration is real, I tell you. But we have to hang in there. Keep bidding, keep writing great cover letters and keep working well.

  • Hey Sheeroh, always grateful for the great articles. You still offer the transcription training? If so at how much? Regards

  • Hi Sheeroh,

    I came across your blog in a random web search and I must say I have enjoyed reading it. I have also downloaded your freelancing cheat sheet, thank you very much for that. While reading the section on tips for freelancing success, I came across one tip that threw me- “under deliver and over promise!” My question is, wouldn’t this leave a client feeling sold short? Thanks again for all the practical pointers.

  • Many thanks Sheeroh, I officially started bidding a few days ago after upwork training and with a %100 complete profile. The competition is real out there but i trust to land a job soon.

    • I agree Chidi. You believing that there is a client out there who will hire you soon, is a great starting point. It all begins with the right attitude and you have it! Keep it WOK for more tips 🙂

  • A very informative, helpful and humorous article. I really enjoyed reading this. I guess I need to polish my application and stop wasting my connects on projects with many proposals. Thanks for the tips, Sheeroh. God bless u!

  • I need to upload a portfolio now on Upwork. I seriously need to look at how you view things on these online opportunities.

  • Hi Sheeroh,
    Your blog is very educative. I am learning a lot. I want to ask, as a newbie, where do I get the work samples to attach on my profile? Its a bit discouraging.

    • Hello Doreen, You can transcribe a YouTube tutorial, of about 2-3 minutes, assuming you are a transcriber. If you are a writer, there is no harm in writing for an article for free. There are plenty of people who post jobs in Facebook groups. I hope that helps.

  • No disrespect, but this is a run of the mill article, like so many from the so called gurus on the internet. After the merger, there is something fishy. No one around seems to be getting jobs. Everyone seems trying to optimize, but still not getting jobs.

    • The merger happened a while back. Some people left and got better opportunities elsewhere. Others, like myself, stayed and we’re still getting work. It maybe a run of the mill article to you, but these tips work if you work them. They worked and continue to work for me.

      • Hello Sheeroh,
        I have bid on several writing articles without getting a hire. I’m a newbie, frustrated and with only several connects remaining on my title. Kindly help

        • Hey Jackie, Have you read the tips above? They actually work. You must be missing it on one of the points above. I suspect most likely, your proposals need a bit of tweaking here and there. This post will help you out in that area.

  • This article was really helpful.
    I have been suspended by Upwork twice as I had just started out. This time I even had one feedback by a client yet they suspended me as “I was sending out too many proposals” according to Upwork. However, I was bidding on 1-2 jobs per day or on some days I wasn’t even bidding at all. My profile was 95% complete as well.
    What would you suggest me that I should do in order to avoid being suspended.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Hey Hannah. Seeing that you have already been suspended on Upwork, you can reach out to them and see if they can reverse it. It’s not always easy for that to happen, and it usually does for those who already have a couple of ongoing contracts. Going forward, spread out your risk by signing up on other sites and not relying on one site alone.

  • Am new, and I love how you take on an issue, make it juicy yet very informative. The more you give the more God opens more doors for you. Guess you are living your purpose. Looking forward to become a household name in online work

      • I am pretty old there. 60 jobs. 100% job success.
        I am a graphic designer with logo design preference.
        I didn’t get hired from last year till now….
        What could I do.
        I have tried everything.

        • I know. Upwork has become a bit tricky nowadays, what with more and more competition in the platform. But if you have great graphic design skills, you should 1) Consider Fiverr 2) Start your own site, put up a hire me page that has samples of your designs and begin cold emailing clients directly.

  • Just to let you know, Connects are no longer free, and they make you pay for them out of your balance, thereby making it longer until you reach the minimum amount needed to withdraw funds.

  • I have an Upwork account and I can’t say I have made a substantial amount yet my profile reads ‘over 500k’ earned. The connects fees, plus the 20% deduction then the MPESA deduction, you end up with almost half the amount you worked for. That’s not even what worries me at this point, my profile has an 88% success score yet nobody is hiring me now lol. I have sent numerous proposals but no response, am just about to close that account because am really tired of waiting on something that might not even come forth. I don’t know the point of this message but please say something for encouragement. Thanks.

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