How do you get job invites on Upwork? I’ve been on Upwork for several years now, but within a couple of months of implementing a few things, I began getting several invites to jobs per day. And I still am!
So, you may be wondering, “how does the invite algorithm work?” I’m here to answer that question. Here, I’m going to walk you through the system using my own profile. I’ve earned over $300k on Upwork, and much of that came from clients inviting me to apply to their jobs rather than me having to seek those jobs out on my own.
There are a few things you need to do BEFORE you start getting invites, and there are also things you need to do to KEEP getting invites.
To start getting invites.
Step 1. You need to optimize your profile so that it’s very obvious what your area of expertise is. Don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Instead, niche down into a specific expertise and you’ll have an easier time getting invites to jobs. For me, as you can see here, I am a YouTube Specialist, Video Content Marketing.
I don’t just help companies with marketing. I focus on video marketing, more specifically, video content marketing, with an emphasis on YouTube. Me deciding to focus on that specific expertise is what launched my Upwork freelancing career. Clients then saw me as an expert in one category, and it reduced the competition of other freelancers because most of them were targeting too broadly.
Step 2. Apply to jobs. Before you get invited to jobs, you need to apply to jobs and get those jobs. Then, you must do a good job so the client leaves you a rating and review. Go after quick projects that you can complete in under a week so you can start building up testimonials on your profile. The long-term bigger clients will come later, but you’ll have an easier time getting them once you have some history on your profile. That history will improve your job success score, which will then improve your likelihood of Upwork recommending you to clients when they post a job. As a result, you get invited to apply.
Now, having long-term clients also helps your job success score so that you can start accepting long-term gigs immediately. However, make sure you close a few quick projects just to get you on the map with work history.
Let’s look closer at my job success score so that you can see what it takes to increase it.
You don’t need a 100% job success score to get invites. I was getting invites after I reached an 80% success score. When you’re new, it’s going to be lower, and clients hiring entry-level know this.
Here’s what it looks like when a client posts a job. I’ve not only worked on Upwork as a freelancer, I’ve also hired on Upwork, so I’ve seen what clients see and what they look for when inviting freelancers to jobs.
Once you post a job, Upwork surfaces profiles of freelancers that it recommends. As a client, they aren’t usually going to spend a ton of time inviting freelancers. They are paying Upwork to find freelancers for them, and they don’t want to scroll through profiles forever. They would rather save their time reading proposals. So, you really want your profile to be on the first or second page to be invited. At least in my experience.
And remember, relevance is what gets the client to lean in more than anything else does. I’ve hired freelancers who have hardly any history on Upwork, but their job and expertise were both extremely relevant to what I wanted. Maybe their job title almost matched the title in my job post. That’s why you should also research jobs being posted and see what wording your ideal clients are using to look for people like you, and adjust your job title accordingly.
Stick around for a bonus tip at the end.
Anyone can be invited on Upwork, even when you’re new, but you need a really well optimized job title and full profile. Upwork will surface the best options it has, even if the freelancer has little to no experience. And you can always build out the work history section (prior to Upwork) to help.
That’s it for what you do as preliminary steps on how to get invites, but how do you keep getting invites? Because once you start getting invites, it’s not automatic that you’ll just KEEP getting them.
On my profile, I have earned over $300k, had 146 jobs, and worked 3305 hours. All of these stats help put my job success score at 100%, but if I drop off the map and stop working on Upwork, they’ll stop surfacing my profile.
Now I want to talk about ratings and reviews. There are a lot of jobs I’ve completed that don’t have a rating and review, or just have a rating and some that do have one. Out of the 10 jobs on the first page, only 4 have ratings and reviews, yet my job success score still holds pretty well around 100%. It used to be that if a client didn’t leave a rating and review, Upwork would tank your job success score. But they started to realize that many clients don’t leave a rating because they’re too busy, they forget, or they just don’t know how to. It has nothing to do with the freelancer doing a bad job.
Out of hundreds of clients, I’ve only had a couple of negative experiences, and it was never because I didn’t do the work. Rather, it was just a miscommunication of expectations and we realized that we weren’t a good fit in how we worked. Almost all of the jobs I’ve completed since then that don’t have ratings/reviews were positive experiences and the client was satisfied, they just aren’t on Upwork often. Even if I ask, and yes, I could have done better to ask in some of the jobs, people just get busy and don’t get around to it.
But Upwork won’t ding your job success score if the client does not leave a rating and review. They WILL dock it, however, if the client leaves a low rating and negative review.
Now let’s look at what contributes to me continuing to get invites.
When I was building up a clientele, I was getting 5 or more new invites every single day, but then I would have times where I was really busy and couldn’t even respond to some invites, or I started declining too many and I noticed the invites started fading away. My job success score was just as high, client reviews were strong, but why would Upwork keep surfacing my profile and recommending it if I kept rejecting invites? See, Upwork has an availability feature where you can say you’re not available at all and they won’t recommend your profile at all. But I also noticed that when you reject enough invites or just ignore them, the invites go away.
Unfortunately, I still get invites that aren’t relevant to what I do, and it’s just the imperfections of Upwork’s system. So, sometimes my rejections are because they just aren’t relevant. And some of that has to do with your job. If it’s more niche and less common, then Upwork might struggle to place you just like mine. For a while, there wasn’t even a category for YouTube on Upwork, but now there is. I still get invited to social media jobs all the time, even though YouTube is not social media, it’s seo. I also get invited to video editing jobs which I don’t do anymore. If you’re a web developer, you might have an easier time getting very relevant job invites.
Upwork is scoring me based on my response time to invites. I'm right in the middle. I don’t have time to always reply the same day, but I almost always reply every time. What’s going to hurt your invites and being recommended the most is ignoring the invites. At least reply and accept, or reject.
So, if you want to keep getting invites, respond to invites as quickly as possible, try not to reject too many if they are relevant to you, and my best advice is that if you’re getting too busy, hire an assistant. You should never have to say no to an ideal client. That just means it’s time to grow your business and hire people to help you. You’ll make more money and still keep your hours where you want them.
Also, once you start getting hired, Upwork is tracking how many of your interviews turn into hires. I have about 40% of interviews that don’t turn into hires, but my bar shows me almost at the top, so their 100% is probably 70% of interviews turning into hires.
Overall, that is how you get invites and keep getting invites to jobs. And when you’re invited, you don’t use up your connects.
Bonus tip: make a stellar video to put on your profile and it will make you stand out and impress potential clients.