Upwork Specialized Profiles

According to a report by Payoneer, published in Forbes, which was based on a sample of the more than 300,000 freelancers in Payoneer’s network, Pakistan has been ranked as the 4th fastest growing Freelance market, leaving behind countries including India, Bangladesh, and Russia.

Source: Payoneer

When I started freelancing and used to tell people that I am a Freelancer, they used to think it is something you do when you cannot get a REAL job. But then I got a REAL job and the commonality of a 9-5 job made me feel trapped. The frustration I felt sitting at a desk for 9 hours a day made me realize that it wasn’t for me, hence I switched back to my freelancing career. In 2017, I officially returned to Elance, which is now Upwork.  

Things were different this time, the competition was tough, the market was saturated like never before. In fact, it was getting so saturated that there were predictions saying freelancing will take up 50% of the workforce by 2027! I had to put all my efforts into getting a job on Upwork. It wasn’t until 3-4 months that I got my first job there. What I learned in the months where I wasn’t even landing an interview, was that it takes dedication to build a freelancing career, it wasn’t as simple as it was in 2011.  I realized, if I really wanted to make this my main source of income, I needed to work really hard and stand out from the crowd and the best way to do this was to polish my Upwork profile. When a client goes on looking for a suitable candidate for his job, the first thing he sees is the profile. Selecting a freelancer from a client’s perspective starts (and ends) with a profile.

As you can see, three main things are drawing our attention here:

  • Job title
  • Photo
  • Description/overview

Things like hourly rates, rating, total hours worked, and so on are also important but the job title, photo, and description are the things that catch the client’s attention first.

From the beginning, I was providing two services i.e Software Quality Assurance and Writing. Previously I had cramped up both my services in the same description and the writing part was below the QA part, so when I used to apply for writing jobs the description wasn’t visible in search results.

Then, Upwork introduced Specialized Profile, a way through which, I was able to display and showcase my skills to the audience on Upwork and create variations of my profile that showcase my experience within specific skill types.

Some of the questions you might have about Specialized Profiles might be:

1. What is a Specialized Profile?

Upwork Specialized Profiles, is a way to create customized profiles that let you focus on an individual specialty, complete with detailed sections highlighting category-specific expertise.

See the image below, there is a General Profile, Creative Writing Profile, and a Functional QA Profile.

2. How are Specialized Profiles available to clients?

Look at example 1: My profile when someone searches for a QA freelancer.

Example 2: When a client searches for a creative writer freelancer

So when a client is searching for a particular skill set and a freelancer has a specialized profile, the right specialized profile will appear in front of him, that is what will set the freelancer apart from his competition.

3. Can I apply for a job with my specialized profile?

Yes, you can, because Specialized Profiles aren’t only limited to clients searching for a freelancer. You can use your specialized profiles when applying for a job so the client only sees the information that is suited for his job post.

4. Who should use a Specialized Profile?

Freelancers who have specific skills in different areas should create up to two Specialized Profiles. For example, A person may have done work as a website developer which he wants to separate from his work as a writer. So Upwork allows two specialized profiles in addition to the general profile.

5. What are the benefits of Specialized Profiles?

With Specialized Profile, freelancers are able to put forward their unique services with sections that highlight particular expertise, which gets them across the right client for their skills. Again, remember the client is ‘shopping’ for the right candidate for his job and the first thing he’ll notice is the profile. Given these points, freelancers that use specialized profiles on average have found an increase in the number of job invitations.

I hope that now you have a fairly clear perspective of what Upwork’s Specialized Profiles are and do. You can always choose to go with your General profile or use this feature to highlight a tailored skillset.


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