How to Write an Upwork Proposal that Gets You Work

How to Write an Upwork Proposal

Your Upwork proposal is your opportunity to sell yourself to potential clients and convince them that you’re the right freelancer for the job. When you’re new to Upwork, the proposal process can seem daunting. But don’t worry! In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to write an Upwork proposal that will get you work.

What is an Upwork Proposal

First, let’s start with the basics: what’s an Upwork proposal, and why do you need it? An Upwork proposal is a letter that outlines your skills and experience and explains why you’re the best person for a job. When you sign up for Upwork, you’ll create a profile and then start bidding on jobs. When you find a job that you’re interested in, you’ll submit a proposal to the client. This proposal is your opportunity to sell yourself to the client and demonstrate why he/she should hire you over other freelancers. A proposal is just like a cover letter you send with your CV or resume.

Bonus Tip: Before you start sending proposals in Upwork, make sure that your profile is complete and up-to-date. Your profile is what clients will see when they’re searching for freelancers, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. Include information about your skills, experience, and education, as well as any relevant samples of your work.

Read more on how to find a legit job in Upwork.

Upwork Submit Proposal

Format of a Winning Upwork Proposal

Just like letters, essays, and emails you have written throughout your life, Upwork proposals too have three sections: a brief introduction, proof you can do a good job for the client (body), and a clear call-to-action (conclusion).

Upwork Proposal Introduction

With the introduction, you have to grab the client’s attention, start building rapport, and show that you have read the job post fully and understand the requirements. And you have to do all this in just one sentence.

You can start your Upwork proposal with a conversation starter or a spontaneous statement. It can be a statement of empathy, a compliment, or something you have in common. For example,

“Hi! I’m sorry to hear that you lost all your articles.”

(This was how I replied to a client who accidentally deleted his articles and wanted someone to re-write them.)

“Hello! Congratulations on launching a new website.” 

(This was what I sent for a client looking for an article writer for his newly launched site.)

But you might not be able to use this kind of introduction for all proposals. If the Upwork job post does not allow such an approach, you can use another type of introduction. In this introduction, you just have to repeat back what the client has said in his job post. This is really easy to do, and most Upwork freelancers I know tend to use this method. This type of introduction shows the client that you have read the post carefully and understand the job requirements.

Show Proof that You Can Do a Good Job

  • Show off your skills in a tangible way (measurable results show that you know what you’re doing!)

For example, if you are a proofreader, you can show the before and after examples; if you are a social media manager, you can get screenshots of posts (with statistics like the number of likes, comments, and shares), etc. You can attach your work samples as attachments in your Upwork proposal. But make sure to explain in your proposal what makes the work relevant/special and how it relates to the current job.

  • Address the client’s issues just after the brief introduction. This shows the client you’re experienced and knowledgeable.
  • Make sure to answer all the screening questions carefully (of course, not all job posts have them). Don’t just repeat what you have written in the proposal. Did you know that clients see the replies to the screening questions first before they see your proposal? So my tip for you: Answer the screening questions first and then start on your proposal.
How to write an Upwork Proposal

Upwork Proposal Conclusion

You can use two main methods to write a great conclusion. First, you can ask a question about the project. If not, you can use a call to action (usually inviting the client to a brief call). Both convey your enthusiasm for the project. A call to action prompts the client to respond to you and move the conversation forward. But make sure to use only one call to action for a proposal. And when you are asking questions, make sure your question’s aim is to clarify something about the project. I also recommend using just one question per proposal. At the same time, the question should be easy for the client to answer. A few examples are as follows:

“Can you tell me a little more about your product?”

“Let’s make a brief call later.”

Tips to Write an Upwork Proposal

To write a winning proposal, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  1. Take the time to read the job posting carefully and make sure that you understand what the client is looking for. Address the client’s specific needs in your proposal.
  2. Tailor your proposal to each individual client. Generic proposals are a big turn-off.
  3. Use the client’s first name wherever possible. You can find it in the client’s feedback history.
  4. Finally, don’t be afraid to promote your strengths and highlight your successes. If you’ve got relevant experience or skills, make sure to mention them in your proposal! Include information about why you’re a good fit for the job and what you can do for the client.
  5. Keep your proposal short and sweet! Highest-paying clients don’t usually have time to go through all proposals they receive. So you should try to improve them in a few lines!
  6. Drop a question in your proposal. It will show that you understood the project well and bring the client to your inbox, where it’s easy to convert him.
  7. Use a clear CTA (Call to action) – the message you back or schedule a call to discuss further.
  8. Try to use the most relevant attachments (samples). Also, make sure that it’s your best work. Visually appealing samples are more likely to grab the client’s attention. 
  9. Finally, make sure your proposal is well-written and free of grammar or spelling errors. Errors will make you look unprofessional and could cost you the job.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to writing an Upwork proposal that gets you work!

Mistakes to Avoid in an Upwork Cover Letter

  • Using too formal language
  • Including too many questions in your proposal
  • Copying and pasting the same proposal for every job
  • Skim-reading the job post
  • Not addressing the client by name

In this article, we gave you some tips on how to write an Upwork proposal that will get you work. With these tips in mind, you’re ready to start writing killer proposals that will help you land great clients on Upwork.

How to Write an Upwork Proposal that Gets You Work

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