Upwork Proposal’s Dos and Don’ts

Every freelancer on Upwork wants to win a job and you might see jobs with more than 50 proposals. You may skip through that, assuming you don’t have a chance to win this job. In today’s precise and short article I will change the way you thinking about proposal writing. I want you to follow these steps for at least 10 to 30 proposals and compare the outcome with your usual proposals. I am sharing my about a decade long experience, tips, and techniques to make you a better proposal writer. For example, never tell your client that you understand their requirements. Instead show them with your proposal that you do understand their pain and requirements.

In this article, you will learn about the mindset and step-by-step guide to writing a killer Upwork proposal or any proposal. So without further ado, let’s get into it. 

Dos and Don'ts of Upwork Proposals

How to write an effective proposal body

I always try to start my proposal with a kick-off sentence to build a personal connection. Below are some of the ways you can try to find out and add to your next proposal. 

  1. Give a genuine compliment
  2. Show empathy
  3. Talk about something you have in common
  4. Highlight something in their job description that would achieve this task

I just make sure I am not forcing the personal connection if there is none. Mostly if you try to force a connection the words come across as fake and throw your whole proposal off. 

So what to do in such cases? We have a backup strategy for writing an effective proposal body. 


Repeat what the client has said in their job description. You can start with phrases like “I see, you need”, “I believe, this is what you want”, etc.

This technique may not be as effective as a personal connection.  You can’t make a personal connection in every proposal you write. In such cases, this technique serves as the second best for me. Make sure you don’t combine these 2 approaches.

Note: While using this technique make sure you don’t put words in the client’s mouth. Only make them understand you are interested in their job and you are experienced in this field.   

Relevant Examples/ Providing proof about your proposal body.

Adding one or two relevant examples to your job proposals can make a lot of difference to make you stand out. I don’t just try to throw my portfolio link or a bunch of my previous projects links to the client. I make sure the examples are relevant or somewhat similar. The idea here is to let your client see the future. Let them see what their end result would look like if they choose to work with you. This is a very strong point of your proposal so give it some time. 

Most of the new freelancers to Upwork start a protest at this point. They should rightfully so because most of the new freelancers do not have a huge portfolio on Upwork. There are ways to solve this problem as well.

You don’t have to have a huge portfolio or list of your previous jobs. You can also pick some of your example/practice projects and show them to your client. You can also show them some of your favorite sites that you think are relevant. 

If it happens to be that you don’t have any relevant examples to show. Talk about a similar experience you had with another project/client. Give them a brief about what they want to listen to.

A Bonus Tip: Add a useful suggestion to your client proposal. 

Note: Don’t raise your client’s expectations above what you can deliver. 

CTA (Call to Action)

I use a call to action in every proposal. Mostly ask the client to come to a call for a brief call for further discussion. 

If you are available now, let’s talk. 

You can also ask any clarifying questions. If you are interested in a job but still have some uncertainty. This is a good point to end your proposal with such clarifying questions. This will encourage the client to answer the questions and that will bring the conversation forward. 



Using all these techniques you are letting the client know about your genuine interest in their job. If you succeeded in convincing the client about that, you are highly probably going to be hired. 

It’s always good to experiment with the above-mentioned techniques. What are your pro tips for a professional and winning proposal?

Leave a comment below with your suggestions. Help the community 🙂

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