For every attractive job offer on websites such as Upwork or Freelancer, there is a competition of over 50 applicants with varying rates and on different skill levels. Aside from submitting a great proposal and being a good fit for the project, having a professionally looking profile can help you stand out from the crowd and get hired. Below, you will find some tips to make your profile look professional and appealing to potential clients.
In this section of your profile you have the chance to greet your visitors, introduce yourself and describe your skills and experience. It’s also a great place to tell potential clients what you can offer and what makes you different from other freelancers. Here is a list of things to remember when writing your introduction:
- Describe your skills and experience in as much detail as necessary while keeping it short and on point. Most people will not have the time to spend on reading through long introductions, so make it easy for them to quickly find what interests them the most.
- Tell clients what value you can bring to the table but avoid stating the obvious, such as, I keep to deadlines or I reply to messages as soon as possible. If you say that you are a specialist in print design there is no need to state that you know how to create bleed or crop.
- Put your clients in the center of attention. Don’t make your introduction only about yourself and how great and skilled you are. Make clients fell like you are there for them.
- Avoid using words with a negative meaning, for example, low quality, disappointed, late etc. even if you state that you are the opposite of that.
- Check for spelling and grammar errors.
- Be inviting and encouraging but not too casual. Refrain from using smiley faces and other emoticons.
Samples of a good introduction:
I’m a digital artist specializing in concept art. I design characters, environments and key art rich with storytelling, all of which can be used in development of games, movies, illustrated books and many other visual projects. With over 5 years of experience in digital painting and over 3 years of experience working as a freelancer for companies as well as individual clients, I am ready to provide you with high quality, detailed work adjusted to your requirements. You will have access to my artistic skill and creative ideas and I will help breathe life into your vision.
I create high-quality vector illustrations and icon designs. My work is colorful, modern, and professional. I enjoy working on positive topics such as child care, education and lifestyle. I have worked for clients in various industries such as health, travel, insurance, real estate, and children’s products. I am invested in creating high-quality work, providing positive customer service and creating success for each client I work with.
I would love an opportunity to learn more about your project and assist you in completing it. Please message me if you would like a quote or have any questions.
Here are some sentences taken from different existing profiles that could turn potential clients off:
With me you will get no delays, no excuses, no surprises.
Using words with a negative meaning makes a client think of a bad result, even if your statement is supposed to say something positive about you.
If I were a fruit I would be a raspberry, fresh and full of flavor and that is how I do my job.
Some might think it’s cute but in the end it doesn’t convey professionalism or reliability.
I like to speak with my clients so that I can have a clear understanding of their needs and vision of the project.
Stating obvious things that should be a given and not a special quality.
I have experience in many different creative software.
Too general. A list of specific software names should be provided.
I only take on passionate projects with an interesting budget.
Makes the freelancer sound a bit arrogant. It’s okay to take on only projects that are interesting and pay well but it’s not something you should state in your introduction.
If you are looking to work with me, I’d prefer if you had a fairly clear vision of what you want. I can work with you, but I need to know what direction you would like your end product to be going in.
I would not hire this person as it seems that they might become too demanding. It also looks like they aren’t ready to offer any advice or put creativity into the project but rather prefer to follow the guidelines.
I specialize in graphic design. It means that I draw logos, banners, advertising posts, book covers, business cards and much more. In short, I draw everything that can be drawn on the computer 😀
It’s hard to tell what this person is really good at. They don’t convey professionalism or don’t seem to be serious about the services they are offering.
I have 3 years experience in design, but my skills still need to be improved.
It’s not a good idea to write that your skill needs improvement, even though it’s true. Everybody needs to keep improving but by stating that in your introduction you tell your client that you have no confidence in your abilities.
You’re probably wondering what a Creative Designer means. Well, in my case it means that I am person of many design skills and still willing to learn more to expand my knowledge.
Too vague and doesn’t bring any valuable information.
Design is powerful. Design has the power to change a persons mood, motivation, and interaction with others. Good or bad, design influences every aspect of our lives.
Good intro for an essay but not a necessary element in your introduction.
Try to imagine yourself being the client and looking for a good candidate for your project. What information would you be most interested in? What would convince you that this person will be perfect for the job? Be the freelancer that you would have chosen yourself!
A good profile photograph can make a positive impression on your clients and raise your chances of getting hired. Keep to these few rules:
- Use a photo taken in a well lit environment that shows your face from shoulders up. Make sure that your face is not hidden in a shadow.
- Don’t photograph yourself wearing sunglasses or a hat.
- Smile, look friendly and approachable.
- Don’t use party or family photos or a portrait of you with your pet.
Examples of a good profile photo:
Examples of a bad profile photo:
It may be difficult to set a fair rate when you are first starting out. If it’s too low, you won’t be able to meet your monthly goals and you may attract clients that won’t value your work. If set too high, clients will most likely hire somebody else with comparable skill and a lower rate. Be objective about your experience and the worth that your work can bring to your clients. If you’re a beginner, don’t start at $40 per hour. Start lower and gradually raise your rate as you complete projects and gain experience.
For your reference:
A minimum federal wage in the United States for 2018 was 7.25 U.S. dollars, while average hourly wages in December 2018 were 23.05 USD. A low skilled employee earns 1960 USD per month, while a high skilled employee earns 4520 USD per month on average (source).
As for average income per month (in USD) around the world, here is data from 2017 for some countries:
Looking at these numbers, it’s no wonder freelancing online is a very competitive field. If your country’s average income is very low, you are tempted to set your rates at minimum since your costs of living are much less expensive. On the other hand a freelancer from a highly developed country needs to set their rates accordingly and may have trouble competing with cheaper freelancers. This is why your skill level and the quality of your work matters so much.
I recommend setting your hourly rate not lower than the average for your country of residence unless your skill level is very low and you have none or very little experience. If you do have experience and have worked in your field for more than 3 years, you can set your rate to average and above. In the end you have to look objectively at your professional level and assess how much income you should receive for your work.
Also, keep in mind that from the money you earn you will need to pay a service fee (10% to 20%) to the freelancing website you used as well as any applicable taxes to the country of your residence.
A strong portfolio will attract clients whether you have just started building your profile or already have a long job history. Here are some things to remember when uploading your portfolio:
- Keep it relevant to the services you are offering and the kind of work you want to get hired for. Make sure clients know what you’re best at.
- Choose your highest quality works, even if you only pick a few.
- Group your work into projects or categories to make it easy to navigate. Don’t let potential clients get lost in a pile of random work.
- In some cases you might need to get approval from your past clients to showcase work you did from them.
- Keep your portfolio updated. If you have no professional experience, keep creating new art to improve your skill and have new material to add to your gallery.
Reviews are a proof of your reliability in successfully finishing a job and being able to satisfy your clients. As a client, reviews would be the first thing I’d look at when choosing a freelancer to hire. While it is much easier to get jobs when you already have some good reviews on your profile, it’s definitely possible to get offers without any reviews at all. You just have to make sure that the rest of your profile looks professional and you have some quality work in your portfolio.
The less reviews you have, the more impact each new one has on your average score, which is why beginning freelancers try their best to always get those 5 stars. While reviews are very important, don’t let anybody use it to convince you to work for free.
Normally, if you follow these rules you should be able to get a great review without trouble:
- Keep to the deadlines. This one should be obvious but many freelancers don’t feel the pressure to finish their assignments on time. Since you can’t get fired and most of the time you don’t have to face your clients at all, the feeling of responsibility may not be as strong. If you are having this problem, try to remember that this is real – this is your job and your future career depends on your actions. Submitting your work on time can help you establish good, long-term relationships with your clients and a great reputation. Sometimes you might not be able to meet the deadline because of late responses from your client – in such cases discuss a new schedule and completion date that both sides are satisfied with.
- Respond to messages within 24 hours. The person who hired you may start to wonder if you are still available to complete the job and may consider late responses a bad experience when writing a review.
- Be communicative. Ask questions if you are unsure how to proceed and answer any questions that your client might have. Make sure that your client understands the process and your work style.
- Send updates to your client as often as possible to keep them on the same page before they have to message you asking whether there was any progress yet.
- Always be polite and respectful. If you are having trouble dealing with a client, try to keep emotions at bay and avoid getting into any disputes. Read more in this article.
- Deliver the best work that you can and try to exceed your client’s expectations. Don’t take any jobs that you can’t put 100% effort into. It may be hard when you are just starting out and not getting your dream projects yet but whatever you are working on and for whatever pay, the results you achieve will get you closer to your goals. Do your best at all times!
The bottom line is, your profile is a statement of how invested you are in what you do. It’s definitely worth spending some time and effort into making it look professional and convincing. It will show that you are ready to put your best into jobs you take on and will help you get recognized and hired for more work.