Congrats! you’ve finally decided to work at home! The only problem is how to get your Upwork profile approved…

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, UpWork receives more than 10,000 new signups every day! With so many freelancers already on their platform and so much more wanting to join, there’s bound to be limitations.

But even then, I managed to get into the platform to earn more than $4,000+ making money online. On top of that, I also got my mother’s UpWork profile approved recently!

For this article, I want to share how I did it. I want to help YOU get on UpWork! Whether you’re a newbie or not, here are the things you must do to get your UpWork account approved.

Why join UpWork?

First of all, it’s important to know the reasons why UpWork is the number one recommended freelancing platforms especially for newbies.

Here are the best reasons to join UpWork:

1. One of the most popular freelancing platform today.

2. There are many jobs available for almost any skill and experience levels.

3. Secured payment system means you get paid for exactly the hours you put in.

4. Top Rated and Rising Star programs.

5. Competitive hourly rates minimum of $3 all the way up.

Reasons not to join UpWork:

1. Hard to get approved to (that’s why I’ve created this guide)

2. UpWork takes 20% cut on your earnings

3. You need to bid for jobs (like most freelancing platforms!)

If you’re still determined to join UpWork, read on to get your UpWork profile approved! 🙂

How to get your UpWork Profile Approved in 2020!

upwork profile approved

I listed below all the steps YOU need to take in order to successfully join UpWork. But even if you follow all the steps, I can’t guarantee that your profile will get approved. That’s because UpWork is very strict with their approval process and every freelancer is different.

But I promise you that if you follow the steps above, your chances will significantly increase! The good news is that even though you won’t be approved right away, you can always resubmit your profile every day!

1. Use a business email

Right from the start, you need to show UpWork that you’re serious about your freelancing business. The best way to do this is to use a business email to register your account.

A business email is something that uses the name of a company at the end instead of or For instance, I can put “”.

Why do we need to use a business email? For one because UpWork encourages us to do so. As you’ll see in their sign up page, they are asking for a “Work email address”.

upwork registration

The only problem is if you don’t have a business email. Thankfully, this isn’t a requirement. It’s just to boost your UpWork profile’s chances of getting approved.

You can still use your regular email but make sure that it looks professional. Ideally, it should only comprise of your full name and some numbers if necessary. Ex.

2. Select up to 4 types of work as much as possible

After verying your email address, you will then need to complete your account details. As much as possible, select up to 2-4 subcategories from your main service.

Depending on the main service that you’ll choose to offer, you should see something like this.

upwork services selection page

As much as possible, select the skills that you know. You don’t have to be a master of it yet to select it. The important thing is to give UpWork as much info as possible from you.

Naturally, the rarer the skill is, the better. But if you don’t have that yet, you can still try to apply!

3. List up to 10 of your skills

The next thing you’ll need to do is to list down up to 10 skills that are relevant to your main skill.

For instance, I selected “Writing” as my main skill. Then, I checked these as subcategories to my main service.

1. Article & Blog Writing

2. Editing & Proofreading

3. Web Content

4. Other – Writing

Then I’ll list down up to 10 of my related skills here.

upwork skills

My top tip here is to list down 10 skills as much as possible! This is one of the top reasons why most freelancers are rejected – they list down up 3 to 5 skills.

On top of that, rare skills are better. If you just put in common skills like “Microsoft Word”, almost everyone knows how to use that already.

Think of the skills you have that others may not know. You don’t even have to be an expert in that skill yet! As long as you have interest in it and you’re learning it, that’s all that matters 🙂

4. Choose the best experience level that accurately represents yours

One of the worst mistakes a newbie freelancer can make is to undersell their experience level.

For newbies, it makes sense to select “Entry Level” in their experience level. But ask yourself first if you’re really a newbie in your field.

For instance you worked in the BPO industry for 3 years, then you’re not a newbie anymore. You can select “Intermediate” now.

upwork experience level

The point is just because you don’t have freelancing experience doesn’t mean that you don’t have experience at all. Use all your past experiences to jump start your freelancing career forward!

5. Choose a professional photo

Your profile photo says a lot about you than you might think. If you’re serious about your freelancing journey, then you should upload a professional photo.

A professional photo isn’t necessarily a photo taken at a studio. It can be at home. You just need to check the following to help you make it look as professional as possible.

  • Your photo is wel-lit.
  • It doesn’t have any filter.
  • You’re smiling on it.
  • The clothes you’re wearing are professional enough.
  • It’s not a cropped photo with your friends or family.

If you don’t want to go through all these trouble, it would be ideal if you have a soft copy of your graduation photo. I uploaded mine to my UpWork account. 🙂

upwork profile photo upload

6. Your job title should not be generic

Another important aspect that most UpWork hopefuls neglect is their professional title or the job title.

The trick here is to put a title that best describes the work that you do. Try to think of an effective title that perfectly describes you and your work.

Do this by looking at some of the UpWork profiles. You’ll see that their job titles are one of the first and most important things you’ll notice. Try to do the same with yours.

In my example, I didn’t just put “Content Writer”, I put “Expert SEO Content Writer (WordPress)”

upwork professional title page

Do you see how much appealing this would be? To help you with this, try to add some flavor or personality with yours.

  • Be specific.
  • Include adjectives such as Experienced, Highly-Skilled, Rockstar and more.
  • Be real.

7. Think carefully about your profile overview

Your professional overview is your chance to showcase your experience, skills and communication skills to your potential client without talking to them.

An effective profile overview is one which shouldn’t be made in a hurry. On the contrary, it should also not be too long that the client won’t bother to read it all.

To help you with this, try to list down your strong points, experience and the value you can bring to the client is as less words as possible.

Or if you have already have client testimonials from your past freelance gigs, you can put it in your profile overview. This instantly adds credibility to your profile. This is what I did with mine!

upwork profile overview

8. Put a competitive rate

If you’re a complete newbie, chances are you’ll need to start low. The minimum hourly rate on UpWork starts at $3.

But if you have past experiences, this can help you determine your ideal rate. But don’t think too much here, you can always adjust your rate later on.

upwork hourly rate

Better yet, you can search in Google about the average freelancing rates based on specific skills. Take note that freelancers in the U.S for instance have much higher hourly rates compared to our country (Philippines).

9. Put ALL your employment history

If you really want UpWork to consider your profile, put all your employment history.

But don’t just put one or two, as much as possible, put all your experience in there. Better yet, put all the details such as date, company name, and your job title.

But for my mother’s UpWork profile, I didn’t stop at just the little details, I even listed down her responsibilities and tasks at her respective companies. This gave her more credibility and UpWork loves complete details so it’s a win-win!

upwork employment history

If you have prior experience as a freelancer, don’t hesitate to put that! That’s already considered as an experience.

10. List all your education

Another thing that most freelancers don’t list is their complete education.

As much as possible, put your College, High School and Elementary education details. This is to show that you’re taking this seriously as you should.

upwork education history

Obviously just make sure that your credentials that you put in here are all true.

11. Fill up your portfolio

If you don’t have a portfolio to showcase your skills, make one ASAP!

If you’re a writer, create some samples of your own using free WordPress or Wix website builders. For graphic designers, showcase your past artworks proudly!

For other skills that don’t usually have a portfolio such as accounting or data entry, you can put some of your past work as samples. You can include screenshots of some of your data entry tasks on an excel sheet or the likes.

For me, I included my past works from different clients as well as my blog. 🙂

upwork portfolio

12. Connect your other professional accounts for credibility

To get your UpWork profile approved, it’s also important to connect it with your other professional acounts.

Most freelancers always ignore this part but this can actually increase your approval chances. As of now, these are the only accounts you can link to your UpWork profile:

  • Twitter
  • StackOverflow
  • Dribbble
  • Github
  • Behance
  • DeviantART
upwork linked accounts

13. Set your availability properly

Although this isn’t as important as most think, I believe that setting your availability to “As needed – open to offers” gives your profile more chances of getting approved.

This is because it tells UpWork that you’re flexible and you can cater to a larger client base than just selecting “short-term projects.”

I think this is one of the aspects that helped my UpWork profile get approved too. Try it, you don’t have anything to lose!

Important things to remember to get your UpWork profile approved!

Aside from the main things listed above, you need to remember these things for you to get your UpWork profile approved. These are important reminders that you need to know before you hit that submit button!

Delete any duplicate UpWork account you have

This one’s very important because UpWork suspends accounts that have duplicates. If ever you created more than one UpWork account, delete the other one (not approved) immediately. To delete it, go to Settings > Contact Info > Select the Close My Account button.

Make sure all the details are complete

I know that you’re excited to submit your newly furnished UpWork profile but don’t hit that button yet! Make sure that every detail is complete by reviewing your profile top to bottom. Don’t leave out any single space blank unless I didn’t list it out above.

Proofread & Edit your profile

Nothing says unprofessional more than a profile with a lot of typos! Before you submit your profile, make sure that you’ve checked every word for correct spelling and grammar. To help you with this, I use free tools such as Grammarly and Hemingwayapp!

Resubmit DAILY if necessary

Lastly, if UpWork still rejects your profile, don’t give up hope! Some successful freelancers took even months just to get their UpWork profile approved! The good news is that you can resubmit everyday. Just be sure to add new skills or edit your profile daily and see what works. But if you carefully followed the steps above, I guarantee you that you already have a high chance of getting approved like I did! 🙂

Final Thoughts

Your UpWork profile approval success determines on how much you take it seriously. Even if you’re a newbie, there’s no reason not to optimize your profile by following all the advices above.

Are you having a hard time getting your UpWork profile approved? Comment down below! I might be able to help you personally 🙂

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Jerico Saquing

Jerico Saquing

Jerico is the founder of Peso Hacks. He's also a freelance writer who specializes in topics related to finance, travel and games. In his spare time, he likes to watch anime, play mobile games and read books.


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