How to create an Upwork proposal that lands you a job?

Getting started on Upwork can be tough. Being one of the biggest freelance marketplaces online, Upwork has thousands of people competing for the same job every day.

You might ask me, ‘What is the cheat sheet to get more jobs on Upwork?’

Well, dear friend, Upwork does not have any cheat sheets. But, there is one thing that can help you- WRITING A WINNING PROPOSAL.

Like it is always said, you are sure to miss all of the shots you don’t take, but you are likely to succeed if you take some shots. Upwork functions in a similar manner- the more proposals you submit, the better are your chances of winning the job.

However, writing a proposal does not mean writing blindly. You need to put some effort and write a quality proposal that would compel the client to speak to you and choose you for the job.

A good proposal can also help you stand out from the crowd and give your client a great first impression. 

Read on this article to know how to write an effective Upwork proposal along with some samples. But before that, let me tell you some common mistakes you need to avoid in your Upwork cover letter.

Four common mistakes of creating an Upwork proposal

Avoid too much boosting

When your Upwork proposal talks extensively about you, it might work against you. When you write that YOU have done this, YOU have done that…the client might get confused about what you can do for him. They only need to know how YOU can help THEM.

Avoid being too practical

Clients do not maintain an excel sheet of all those who applied for the job and then filter the data. They make decisions after reading an appealing cover letter.

Avoid using a copy-and-paste template

If you are doing this, YOU NEED TO STOP THIS RIGHT NOW. When you use a copy-pasted template, you are immediately spotted and rejected. Nobody will hire you if you use a set template because if you cannot spend time writing your proposal, clients might feel that you may not spend time on their work as well.

Avoid big and bulky paragraphs

Creating big, bulky Upwork proposals in itself screams, “Don’t hire me!” When clients get a hundred proposals every day, will they ever read your long and bulky proposals? Obviously, no.

Now that you know how not to write an Upwork proposal, you are already one step ahead in the game. 

Check out these successful tips to get more jobs on Upwork.

Five ways to create an Upwork proposal

I hope you already have your Upwork account in place before you get started with creating an effective Upwork proposal. If not, check out this fresher’s guide on getting started with Upwork.

Well, I have told you what to avoid writing in an Upwork proposal, so now let’s find out what to actually write.

Begin with restating their core problem

You just get a few seconds to win your client’s attention, and proposals help you do so.

The key to creating a compelling proposal letter is to restate the client’s core problem. This will give them assurance that you have read their requirements. Of course, you need to keep it very short and crisp.

Further, when you restate their problem, it is also important to share how you can help them overcome the problem. This is where you show your knowledge and expertise.

Keep it personal

A good proposal should be PERSONAL to the client, meaning he should feel that you have spent a considerable time researching the work before applying.

Try to look up their name and address them accordingly. You can also write a line or two about their personal interest and see if you can match it with your interest.

This way, you have already established a commonality between you and the potential client, and he might be more comfortable working with you.

Explain why you are a good fit

This can be quite a tempting part where you want to overdo the proposal and talk about all your achievements. But remember the thumb rule, do not make the proposal about YOU. Keep the proposal short and direct and tell them how you can solve their problem and that you are ready to do it right away. 

The client wants a solution, and they want it fast. Period. 

Tell them why you are a right fit for the job with real facts. Talk about your experience and showcase some excellent feedback and testimonials from other clients. Talk about the results that you drove (in real numbers). Prove these with your work sample, and the client will surely shortlist you for the next round.

Describe your process of work

Continuing in line with the solution you provide, the client would also be interested in knowing how you will guide them through the process of the project. When the client has already stated the job’s specific requirements, you need to walk them through your process and plan of action.

This can sometimes be the make-or-mar section, and you should spend considerable time explaining your steps. 

When the clients already know your POA, they are surely going to appreciate your efforts and pick you for the next round of interviews.

Attach your portfolio

Your Upwork proposal is incomplete without a well-designed and well-documented portfolio. After you have explained all the reasons why you are a right fit for the job and how you can help them achieve their goals, it is time to showcase your past work with relevant proof.

A strong portfolio helps build your credibility for the job and gives an idea of how you have worked with other clients. 

A portfolio can also ease and relax their mind from any confusion about working with you because they now have some real proof of your work. Plus, it also shows your level of professionalism and can put you at the top of the pile of applications.

Some hygiene tips

After following many of these tried-and-tested strategies to write a winning Upwork proposal, you also need to keep a few basic hygiene points in mind.

  • Keep your proposal short, direct, and relevant
  • Show them your vision and action plan at the beginning
  • Be professional and friendly
  • Proofread the proposal and ensure there are no grammatical errors
  • Replace the ‘YOU’ with ‘THEM’
  • Attach your previous work samples


Creating an Upwork proposal is a matter of time and practice. After you have nailed a few clients, it might seem like a cakewalk to you. It is crucial to keep the job requirements in mind when you are trying to craft your Upwork cover letter. It is essential to focus on past results and numbers and show your vision to achieve those for the new client.

With the umpteen benefits of freelancing, there is still no one-shot formula to get more jobs on Upwork. You need to test the approach that works the best for you and put consistent efforts with each new client, and the results will start showing eventually.

Excited to get started with your Upwork journey? Connect with me at [email protected] for any queries. I would be happy to help you! Join the Discord community of like-minded freelancers here.

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