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How to Get Your Upwork Profile Approved in 2022

11 Mins read

Table of Contents

Introduction

Upwork is one of the leading platforms for freelancers and businesses to connect. With such a large number of freelancers in the United States alone, it’s no wonder that the process to get your profile approved can be more complicated than it used to be. In 2020, there were almost 65 million freelancers in the United States, which is an increase of 8 million from 2017. This shows that the freelancer community is only growing, and Upwork is keeping up with the demand.

As the demand for freelancers increases, platforms like Upwork are becoming more selective about which profiles they approve. This makes it more difficult to get approved, but it also means that once you are approved, you’re more likely to get work.

If you’ve just started your freelance journey, you may be feeling frustrated. A few people I know have immediately quit and gone back to the corporate world after their Upwork profiles were rejected.

In this article, let’s go through how you can get your Upwork profile approved. Let’s get started!

Beware of Upwork Approval Services

Approval services are becoming increasingly popular, but there are some things you should know before using one. Let me warn you about some of the potential dangers of these services.

There are many individuals out there who are willing to help you get your profile accepted on different blogs and forums. However, many of them will try to shamelessly plug their own services in the process. It is important to be aware of this and to research each individual before you agree to use their services.

Here’s an example:

And another one:

Some people use false and misleading information on profiles to bypass Upwork’s account approval algorithm.

They do this by:

  • You can improve your skills in mobile development or programming by changing your focus and categories.
  • Moving to another country, like Pakistan, the United Kingdom, or the United States, can be a big change.

In a few weeks or months, this is what will possibly happen:

You will receive an email from Upwork informing you that your account is on hold. You will then be logged out.

You’ll be asking yourself:

“Did I do something wrong? I never did anything that went against Upwork’s rules.”

You didn’t do anything wrong. But what these people did to get your profile approved was against Upwork’s Terms of Service.

Do not use these services, no matter how frustrated or desperate you may feel.

Although your account may be approved, Upwork will eventually catch up and you will be unable to access your account.

More Automated Than Manual

Many people get angry with Upwork employees because they feel the approval process is “unfair.” However, it’s important to understand that the employees who review profiles don’t know the freelancers. In a 2017 interview, former CEO Stephane Kasriel revealed that there are over 10,000 new freelancers joining the platform daily.

The truth is…

Upwork doesn’t have the manpower to review all these new profiles manually every day.

It’s important to understand that the selection process is more like an automated elimination. If you don’t meet certain criteria, your profile will be rejected.

While there is some automation involved in the process, there is also a human element, according to people from Upwork.

After an algorithm reviews an Upwork profile, it’s likely that a human element is involved in the approval process. The specifics of this are unknown, but it’s possible that resubmissions play a role.

How to get your Upwork profile approved?

Don’t get discouraged if you find your Upwork profile rejected the first time. It doesn’t mean that you’re not fit to be a freelancer.

See also  Top 10 Tech Skills 2022 According to Upwork.

As I told you earlier, the approval process is more automated than manual. So before you give up, try out these methods first:

1. Use a Work Email Address

Previously, you could just use your regular ol’ email address like the one you used to sign up for Facebook or Twitter. They didn’t really care about this step.

Upwork now requires a work email address or professional email, as you can see from the image below.

This is the first step in passing the automated system of Upwork profile approval.

I used to believe that a professional-looking, sensible Gmail address would suffice. However, I have since learned that this is not the case.

It seems that Upwork is not asking for this. Anybody who uses such an email will receive a notice that says, “We noticed you’re using a gmail.com address. Would you like to use your work email instead?”

A work email address uses a custom domain, which is usually the business’s name.

Unfortunately, you can’t get a domain for free.

2. Enter the Maximum Number of Categories and Skills

You will be redirected to the application page where you have to specify your main service, categories, skills, and experience level.

The application page will only accept one service and 4-5 subcategories. Make sure to enter the maximum number of categories and subcategories.

For example, on my profile, I have listed “Sales & Marketing” and “Writing” as my main services with various subcategories under them.

Choose the skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.

If you’re unsure of what to write, look at the subcategories you have selected and start typing in skills that are related.

Upwork will show you a list of suggested skills based on what you have written.

Make sure to fill out the maximum number of skills allowed and include skills that you actually have.

Picking the right skills and subcategories on Upwork will impact the invites you get as well as how easily your profile can be found.

3. Select the Intermediate Experience Level

The next part is picking the right experience level.

Many people undervalue their experience and choose the “Entry” level instead (perhaps to avoid high expectations from clients).

You should not label yourself as an entry-level contractor if you want to work at home as a freelancer on a platform like Upwork. It will give off the vibe that you’re new to this and probably don’t even know what you’re doing. Instead, list yourself as having expert experience.

If you’re undecided about your future plans, or if you don’t have the required skills and experience, then you might not be ready for this.

Freelancing is not for the unprepared.

You need to have put in some work and gained some experience to be at an intermediate level. If you haven’t done this, don’t apply yet and get some experience first.

4. Complete Your Profile 100%

Next, you’ll want to complete your Upwork profile by adding a profile picture, title, overview, rate, portfolio, certifications, and employment history.

Your goal should be to demonstrate that you are committed to joining the platform.

The human element of the approval process is likely to care a great deal about your profile completeness.

To get started, make sure you’re using a good profile picture. It doesn’t have to be taken professionally, but it should look good.

Just make sure you’re using a clear, legitimate picture of yourself. It’s best if it’s a good, smiling picture of you.

Your title is one of the most recognizable parts of your profile, next to your profile picture.

Make your title stand out so it looks like you know what you’re doing. Usually, clients (especially the ones who pay well) are looking for specialists.

They don’t hire generalists, who are easy to spot with titles like Marketer/Virtual Assistant/Web Developer/…

Here’s a tip:

If you want to stand out, show your expertise.

When it comes to creating a good profile overview, take the time to make it converting. This way, clients will see your value and be more willing to pay your suggested rate, which should be higher than the minimum $3/hour. Keep in mind that clients can see a suggested rate depending on their experience level.

Don’t settle for the minimum rate.

If you charge too little for your skills and services, you’re only devaluing them. Of course, don’t set the price too high, or you might end up under-delivering – or even worse, no one will hire you.

See also  How to open Upwork account in 2022

5. Showcase Your Experience

The lower part of your profile includes your experiences that clients may or may not check. Even though it may not be looked at often, it is still important to fill it out and showcase your experience.

You should include all of your education, both formal and informal, in the education section.

Some items you can add include:

  • Online courses
  • Internship
  • Training
  • Seminars

You should enter all relevant experiences in the employment history section, including formal and informal roles, paid and unpaid positions.

Include any relevant projects you have done in the past, whether it is sample work for someone or helping a friend on a project. This will help support your employment history. Keep in mind that you may not have anything available right away, but if this section is present, make sure to include any past projects.

For example, here’s what my Upwork portfolio currently looks like:

What’s important here is that you showcase your experience and don’t leave anything blank. This is part of achieving a 100% Upwork profile completeness.

Having a complete profile may help you get approved by a human moderator when they review your Upwork profile.

6. Refine Your Categories

If your chosen services and skills aren’t saturated, you will be accepted immediately. However, if you are denied because your skill isn’t needed, visit your profile settings and change your categories. The easiest way to get to profile settings is to visit your profile and click on the Profile Settings button in the upper right corner.

If you have been rejected, you will notice that you’re now able to select more categories.

Add your categories and subcategories up to the maximum allowed.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, try changing up your categories and subcategories. Pick a category that’s still relevant to your business.

If you’re a content writer and you’ve chosen “Writing” at first, you can always change it to “Sales & Marketing” and select the relevant subcategories.

Frequently Asked Questions About Upwork Profile Approval

I hope your Upwork profile gets approved. Though there are other freelance websites out there, nothing still beats Upwork in terms of legit clients and earning potential.

I’m always here to answer any questions you may have about getting approved on Upwork. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below. Together, we can figure it out!

1. How do I get my profile approved on Upwork?

This article is all about reading through everything carefully. I hope you take the time to read it all.
To answer your question, you need to understand the Upwork profile approval process. It’s more automated than you think, and they can’t check every profile that gets submitted.


Upwork profiles can be tough to get approved, but if you follow the right steps, you can increase your chances of success. Make sure your profile includes all the required information and is free of any errors. Following these guidelines can help you get your Upwork profile approved and start freelancing.

  • Using a professional or business email address
  • Entering the maximum number of categories and skills
  • Avoid tagging yourself as “entry-level”
  • Completing your Upwork profile to 100%
  • Showcasing your experience, skills, and education
  • Refine your categories the first time your Upwork profile gets rejected

Upwork will reject your profile if you only mention easy jobs like data entry and research. This is because they are looking for more qualified candidates that can handle more difficult tasks.

If the only skill you know is how to use Facebook, you will have a hard time getting your profile approved. You have to learn a few skills and, if possible, gain experience.

2. Why is Upwork rejecting my profile?

I know it’s frustrating. But the answer is simpler than you think:

Supply and demand.

There are simply too many freelancers offering low-level services like data entry and research. This creates a competitive market where only the best freelancers get hired. If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to make sure your skills are up to par if you want to be successful.

I have also been seeing more and more posts about profiles in the copywriting and web designing categories getting rejected. It seems like the same story every time. As more people offer the same services on Upwork, there is always the chance that those categories will be red-flagged.

See also  How to be a Successful Freelancer on Upwork

3. How long does it take for Upwork to approve?

If you’re waiting for a response from Upwork, you can expect to hear back from them within 24 hours. This is the longest you can expect to wait before someone from Upwork contacts you.

If you’re wondering why some freelancers seem to get accepted to Upwork almost instantly, it could be because their skills, categories, and location are all in alignment with what Upwork is looking for.

You can rest easy that’s not because of some Upwork politics.

4. Can I have two profiles on Upwork?

Are you having trouble logging into your Upwork account? If you created your account a while ago and haven’t used it since, you may have forgotten your password. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! Here are a few steps you can take to recover your account.

Many people have an idea to open another profile on Upwork, but most cannot get through Upwork’s approval process. Some people who are able to create a new profile find that it gets banned after a few months.

Only one account per person is allowed on Upwork according to the site’s Terms of Service. Creating more than one account will eventually be caught and may result in disciplinary action.

5. Are there any skills that could get your Upwork profile approved?

Upwork is a skills marketplace that favors the best talents. If you have the skills that Upwork is looking for, you could get accepted almost instantly. Upwork wants the best talents to be on the platform in order to provide the best services to clients.

If you have highly technical skills, you will likely be approved almost instantly. These skills may include:

  • Programming and development
  • Data analysis
  • Blockchain skills

Many “Upwork approval services” change the skills and categories of their clients in order to get them approved more quickly. They know that by simply changing the skills, an account could get approved right away.

This is a breach of Upwork’s Terms of Service unless you have the skills that you claim to have. If you don’t, your profile could be approved for a while, but Upwork will eventually close it down.

6. How to know or check if your Upwork profile is approved or not?

One of the most common questions I’ve seen on Facebook groups I’m a part of is why Upwork users didn’t receive an email from Upwork for more than 24 hours. The main concern is that they didn’t receive an email from Upwork for more than 24 hours.

If you have not received an email from Upwork after 24 hours, it is likely that your profile has been approved. To confirm, try submitting a proposal for a job and see if it goes through.

If it did, then you’re approved. (Congratulations!)

Use Alternative Freelance Platforms

Depending on the categories and subcategories you have chosen, the approval process may not take very long.

It’s unfortunate, but if you don’t get accepted after countless revisions, you’ll have to move on.

The truth is:

There are already too many freelancers on Upwork, especially in non-technical fields.

If you’re only offering basic services, there’s a chance your Upwork profile won’t get approved. This is because there’s too much supply but not enough demand.

If you really want to fulfill your dream of working at home via freelancing, here are my suggestions:

  • Start learning a new, in-demand skill
  • Create a freelancer profile on other platforms like Fiverr, FreeUp, or OnlineJobs
  • Find clients on your own (research and outreach)
  • Start networking professionally on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn

If your Upwork profile wasn’t approved, don’t think of it as a failure. Rather, treat it as an opportunity to grow and learn more. What’s important is you never give up on your dream.

Now it’s your turn. I would like to know what you think:

  • Are you having problems getting your Upwork profile approved despite following what’s written above?
  • Do you have any more questions about how to get your Upwork profile approved?

Let me know by sharing your comment down below.

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About author
I am a freelance writer and editor from Bangladesh. I have over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry and have written for both local and international publications. I am a versatile writer with a keen eye for detail, and my areas of expertise include travel, food, and lifestyle. In addition to writing, I also have experience in copywriting, proofreading, and fact-checking. I am a reliable and hardworking freelancer, and I am confident that I can deliver high-quality work to my clients.
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