How to Get Work on Upwork With No Experience

Do you want to learn how to get work on Upwork with no experience? Before getting down to the details know that this is actually possible. One of the best things about being a freelancer is it isn’t as rigid with requirements as opposed to regular employment. Sometimes it’s a matter of luck landing a client but more than anything it’s about knowing how to play your cards right.

So, how can you exactly get work without any experience? It may seem unheard of nowadays. You need to at least have some type of background working as an assistant or an intern. But you can actually score a gig at Upwork without any of these. First, let’s check out the features of Upwork.

Finding Work on Upwork

There are actually a few ways you can get work on Upwork, check them out below:

1. Talent Marketplace™

Steps for Talent Marketplace on Upwork

The first way is the “traditional” or “regular” way you can get a job on Upwork or just about any type of freelance market platform. You start with a profile and then start searching for a job. Once you find one that piques your interest, it’s time to make a proposal and submit it. If the client likes your proposal, then you will receive a contract and you can get to work. Once done, you will then be paid for your deliverable.

If this is the path you will take on Upwork, then be ready to wow potential clients with your portfolio along with a stunning proposal. These will be discussed in greater detail below.

2. Project Catalog™

Steps for Project Catalog on Upwork

If you are ready to impress clients with what you can do by “showing” them then the Project Catalog might be your best path. Although you have no work experience, it is possible that you have some sample works that you have done during your spare time? Maybe work done for school or just something you made while inspired, like a mock-up? Maybe even just a passion project of yours?

If you have these, you can create a project on Upwork and they will review if this is acceptable. If it is accepted by Upwork, it will become available to clients and they will be the ones to come to you to “make an order”. This is when you have to do the job and then get paid after.

3. Talent Scout™

Steps for Talent Scout on Upwork

The last one may be a bit more difficult for those who have no work experience. But, it’s still worth a try. To apply at Talent Scout, you have to upload a portfolio to Upwork. This will then be reviewed and if your application passes, then you will have to complete assessments by takings tests and even doing interviews. If you pass all of these, a recruiter will be the one to find you a client.

Tips on How to Get Work on Upwork With No Experience

Now that you have a better idea of the pathways of getting a client on Upwork, it’s time to do the work. How to get work on Upwork with no experience will require extra effort on your end. Check out the tips below to help you out.

• It’s All in the Profile

The good thing about Upwork is, your profile is not like a regular resume where it will just be blank if you have no prior experience. You can check out samples to give you a better idea. But the best tip here is to show potential clients what you can do for them. Don’t just use this space to introduce yourself and give a background. A good tip is to chop up all your skills into bullets.

Make sure to complete your Upwork profile as this will come in handy for Upwork features. Do verify your email and mobile number if you can so clients will know that you are “legit”.

Beef up your portfolio with relevant information, too. You may not have any work experience but maybe you have the following that you can list down:

  • Languages spoken (some clients prefer bilingual or multi-lingual freelancers)
  • Educational background
  • Training and certifications
  • Awards and recognitions

• Make a Standout Proposal/Project/Portfolio

Once your profile is done, it’s time to create your proposal, project, or portfolio, depending on which Upwork path you will take. If you are feeling inspired, why not try making them all?

Whatever you do, do not oversell your abilities but at the same time don’t undersell either. This is a must for any proposal as you don’t want to end up disappointing your potential clients. Or worse, make them think you are bogus.

For projects and portfolios, make sure to showcase or highlight your very best work. Don’t just put up anything you have worked on. You need to curate these to impress potential clients.

• Utilise Upwork’s Features

There are now so many freelancer market platforms today that you can pit against Upwork. There’s Textworker vs Upwork and Upwork vs Freelancer, etc. However, Upwork has unique features that can help give you an edge. If you want to know how to get work on Upwork with no experience, you need to utilize features such as the Availability Badge or the Freelancer Plus Account.

Some of the features on Upwork are paid so you need to weigh in if these will be worth it. Think of them as investments to landing your first client or gig, which can be the start of a domino effect on your freelance career. Pretty soon, you might need to learn how to write polite messages to decline work.

• Start with Competitive Rates

If you want to learn how to get more clients on Upwork, you also need to know about rates. It’s very important to check out your competitors, how much are they charging? But you also need to check the competencies and experiences of your competitors. Try to match the rates of competitors who also have no experience like you.


Woman sitting on the floor, working on laptop and writing on a notebook with a pencil, both placed on top of a coffee table.

Starting out as a freelancer with zero experience can be very challenging. But again, know that it is possible to get a client as long as you learn how to get work on Upwork with no experience. It may take you days or a couple of weeks but if you keep at it, you are bound to find someone who will give you a chance.

There are even clients who accept freelancers who are fresh out of school or have zero work experience. You just have to be diligent in searching for jobs and determined when creating portfolios, projects, and proposals.

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