9 Upwork Proposal Mistakes & Job Winning Tips


Please avoid these Upwork proposal mistakes and win more jobs by writing job winning professional cover letters. If you do not know which cover letter mistakes to avoid and if you’re looking for the best sample cover letter to write your job proposal, then you are in the right place.

If you know how to write a professional cover letter, some simple mistakes may cost you the job on Upwork. That’s why we’ll provide you all the information you need to know about cover letter mistakes.

We will provide you 9+ Upwork Cover Letter Mistakes so that you can write your own killer cover letter to get a job.

Download all Killer Cover Letters

It’s true that sometimes a cover letter is a kind of spare tire. An applier wants to have it with him just in case he needs some emergency backup. That’s why it’s no wonder that 90% of hiring managers don’t read cover letters. But yet it’s been proven in a survey that 53% of employers admit that they prefer candidates who send a cover letter. So you might have already understood that your cover letter is positively acknowledged, but it probably won’t get read.

Now you may question,  if nobody’s reading it, why bother?

The reason you will write a cover letter because anything that sets you apart from the other candidates you’re up against is an absolute must.

That makes it simple with an example. Suppose,  a company is wavering on your application. There’s a big possibility that they may read your cover letter as an effort to get more background on you. It could mean they’re passing your resume to make a hiring decision. There’s also an alternative thought that it could mean they have a small stack of resumes on hand and are looking for a way to show someone the back door. In that case, they’d read a  few selected cover letters to see if there’s any major error that would permit them to throw a candidate out of the running. The survey also says that 48% of hiring managers will throw out a cover letter that’s not customized, and 49% will toss out a cover letter that has spelling errors.

So without being said, it’s important to know which cover letter errors may cost you the interview. But if you don’t know which are those mistakes, you can not avoid them. Let’s discuss those 9+ Common Upwork Cover Letter mistakes:

01: ‘Copying and Pasting’ other’s Proposal to use as your own

Nowadays, most of the freelances have a sense of urgency to receive a new job offer, that’s why they keep up writing letters after letters for various job postings on Upwork. And because this searching takes a lot of time, the new freelancers and sometimes, many experienced ones also write down their cover letters in Microsoft Office Docs and do just copy-paste as needed. Yes, it saves time but it may cost you your only chance of getting a call for the interview.

Knowingly or unknowingly,  freelancers don’t make effort to write different  cover letters for different types of jobs. They often repeat a mistake of thinking that their old cover letter will do just fine everywhere. But it’s not the case at all, employers want different cover letters for different job postings on Upwork. That’s why, I strongly recommend to all that do not just copy-paste your cover letters while applying for different  jobs. Here are the top ten rules to abide by while applying for a job.

Many freelancers don’t understand how to write a new cover letter each time. Mostly, they fail to find new words or new topics. But you will always find new words or topics if you read the job description carefully.
You will have to understand the required skills and examine the skills that you have as well as the skills that you are lacking. You should  make a decision only when you get assured that you are a good fit for the job.

Once you make up the decision,  then you can easily pick up the topic sentences from the job description and explain the topic lines carefully in your cover letter.
Yes, you can copy some common sentences in order to save time but always try to use new and updated sentences every time.
And finally make sure you do not use same beginning and same ending over and over again.

02: Rushing for Applying

When the competition level is so high, it’s pretty normal if the freelancers think that if they apply faster, they will get a job offer faster. Specially when it comes to Upwork. But sadly, this is almost never the case. When a freelancer rushes toward getting a job, he or she is more likely to commit simple mistakes in his or her cover letter. That’s why I always suggest freelancers not to rush and instead to go over each detail to ensure that his or her application is submitted properly. It’s important to read through the client’s job description and then apply gradually follow the 10 rules which are stated above.

So, without taking more time for the introduction, let’s jump into action!

03: Always offering cheap rated hourly jobs

One common problem that can be discovered in most of the freelancers is that they think offering cheap rates may increase their chance of getting the job. But most of them don’t know that this theory of theirs is far from the truth. It’s important that you check the client’s average hourly rate before applying for the job. Suppose one client’s average hourly rate is $10.00 per hour, then you should apply from minimum $7.00 per hour to maximum $9.00 per hour regarding the job requirements.

If you apply with a rate of $4.00 or $6.00 per hour, then your client may think that you are not a pro worker and that’s why, most probably, you might not get the job. There’s another common tendency that newcomer freelancers follow that they do not check for the average hourly rate so they continue applying for $3.00 per hours as they think $3.00 per hour is a standard price. But I suggest that one should check out each client’s average hourly rate first and then apply. But there’s an exception, when a new client Upwork posts a job description, you will not be able to see an average hourly rate as this is his first time. In this case, you should apply according to your regular job rate and make adjustments as you see fit with consideration to the job requirements.

04: Bargaining over the Budget for a Fixed-Price Job

When a client posts a fixed-priced job, you will see that he has provided a budget. Sometimes new clients are not that much aware of the job budget, so the client may put the budget at $10, give or take. Probably, the work is much more harder than a $10 budget but it’s not your client’s concern. He wants someone who is ready to work within this rate. So if you offer $100 where the client posted for $10, you are likely to never get the job. If you think a job budget doesn’t match your standards, don’t waste your time bargaining on the price and find another suitable offer.

Focusing on Experience over the Job Description

I often notice that many freelancers start writing their cover letter by talking about all of their years of experience. But that’s not the right approach at all.

You should understand that the company you’re applying to is hiring because they need someone to do something for them. It means that above all else, they want to know what it is that you can do for the company. When it comes to show your accomplishments, only show those accomplishments which are relevant to your client’s job description so that you can get in touch. It’s important to make your achievements known in a way that lends well to the duties of the position.

06:  Showing no interest in new Clients with no Feedback and Unverified Payment Method

Sometimes the freelancers do not feel interest in applying for jobs where a client does not have any feedback or payment method listed. But this should not stop you from applying. The new clients might hire you and give you the chance to show off your skills. You never know, this client may even think that you have a better skill set than another freelancer who has 2 or 3 years of experience. It’s true that sometimes one client may take 3 days to verify his payment method. And because of this reason, many of the freelancers pass up on a great job opportunity simply because they overlooked someone with less experience who is new to Upwork and hasn’t verified their payment method just yet. That’s why I would suggest that don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

07: Over Confidence

When Clients look for freelancers to hand over a project, they can see which freelancer has 100% job success rate, 5 out of 5-star rating, proper portfolio, proper work history, professional profile overview, positive comments in feedback. So when you are just relying on your profile and high ratings and thinking that you don’t have to write much on your cover letter, then it is a matter of over confidence. Remember, if you are applying like you are the boss and that none of your competition is worthy, you are making a big mistake. It is a common thing that clients will first see your cover letter and then your profile. So it really doesn’t matter how good you are, if you don’t write a killer cover letter, you won’t get the job on Upwork.

08: Late respond to a Client’s Message or Interview

If you are aa new freelancer and you do not know what an interview is then allow me to make this clear for you. Once you finish applying for a job, a client will read your cover letter and send you a message for an interview. If you do not reply quickly to that call and. end up responding some couple of hours later, probably you will lose your chance of getting the job. It’s because if the client needs the job done immediately, he will not wait for you. He will simply skip you and will call another freelancer who responded in time. So it’s a must to respond quickly when you are applying for a job with Upwork.

09: Being too Nagy

Most of the new freelancers have a bad habit of being too Nagy. Some of them, literally, continue begging the clients to hire them. This is not just humiliating but also harmful for your freelancing career.

For a moment, think of yourself as a client who wants quality work in timely manner. You are offering a good price and you are sure that you will find a qualified freelancer for your project. In that case, surely, you will not prefer someone who begs until you give in. So it’s important you don’t act too naggy. Simply just present yourself in a professional manner to get the job.

10: Loosing interest after seeing Poor Feedback

I have seen many cases where a freelancer sees an appropriate job posting and is about to apply for the job, he discovers that the client’s feedback is 3.50 stars or less and suddenly he changes his mind; decides not to apply for the job. But if you are confident enough and you have the quality, don’t let this hold you back from applying. Even if you have poor feedback on your profile, don’t hesitate to apply because sometimes your feedback is not important when you have great skills, solid work history and support of a killer cover letter.

11: Writing short answers for additional questions in Upwork

One thing that you should remember that all clients see your answers to additional questions first and then your cover letter. So if you provide a good answer to the additional question then it might increase your chances to get a job offer.

As an example, if your client asks, “Do you have suggestions to make this project run successfully?”
Your answer shouldn’t be just, ” Yes, I have one”

But this is not the right way.  You should make clear what your suggestions are. For more details, please read Additional Questions and Answers of Upwork Job Application.

12: Applying for a job where interviews are already being taken

Often you will notice that while you are applying for a job, there are already one or more interviews that are in process. If a client ask for interview with a freelancer, that means the job is already 90% his. Why would you apply for a job where you have few chances? Remember, just 10% of the time, clients will hire freelancer after already conducting other interviews only if the interviewed worker doesn’t agree later on.

That’s why I suggest you to spend more energy on another job where you have a better chance to receive the job offer.

13: Cover Letter Formatting Mistake

A perfect cover letter 5 major parts – Salutation, Introduction, Body, Ending and Signature. So, if you write a cover letter with polite salutation, formal introduction,  marvelous beginning, a descriptive body and a stunning ending then you may have a chance. I have seen many times that the freelancers rush and forget to maintain the structure of the cover letter. Always try to apply in a proper way by writing a good cover letter. Yes, it’s true that you may need to shortcut the formalities of your cover letter but let’s not forget that 60% of clients are still supporting proper formalities in cover letters. So, don’t forget the right format of the cover letter in order to save time.

14: Mentioning the Hints

Probably this mistake is the most common one that 80% of the freelancers make while writing a letter. If you are familiar with job postings on Upwork, you might have seen that a client sometimes tells to mention a hint in your cover letter.

You may not know this but if you do not use the hint, “I am qualified” in your cover letter’s heading, the client might dismiss your proposal without second thought. So as you can see again, a little mistake may cost you big time.

15: Partial Matters

Let’s think yourself as a chef, think that you have cooked a delicious dish by arranging fresh vegetables, using exotic spices and by adding a variety of other food ingredients. But if you do not serve it properly, all your efforts will be for nothing.

Just like that,  you have to look after all of your partial materials, such as; profile picture, title, overview, Upwork test’s, job experience, portfolio, time availability, phone verification and language skills. Remember to make all of those necessary arrangements and then send it properly.

16: Not asking enough Questions

If you are a new freelancer then you might not know that clients actually appreciate questions from their potential workers. It is because if you want to fulfill your working duties, you must understand the job properly and for proper understanding, you must ask questions. But you have to keep in mind that the questions you are asking are not irrelevant.  You should only ask those questions which are relevant to the job or the post.

17: Failing to View the Requirements

Clients may set requirements for their particular job as they want to be precise sometimes.  The clients may ask for the “Natives Only”, “100+ hours billed”, “night work”, “4.5% plus feedback” and/or“80% plus job success” or whatever else.

Yes, you still may apply for this job anyway. But do not forget that the clients can always see if you did not meet all of the required fields. If you do not meet all the requirements,  your chances may decrease 60% or more. That’s why I would always suggest not to apply where there is not a 100% match with your skills and their requirements.


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