Updated July 28, 2021 | Originally published January 27, 2019
You’ve decided to spruce up your Upwork profile to land some new gigs, and you’re looking for advice on how to write an Upwork bio that clients can’t resist. Well, my freelancin’ friend, you’re in the “write” place! Read on for some Upwork bio-writing best practices, brought to you by a freelance managing editor who’s read hundreds of bios and hired dozens of freelance writers on Upwork.
Your Upwork bio is the one place where you can show off your lovely personality to potential clients. But even expert freelance writers have bios that are stuffy, overly formal, and well…a little self-centered.
Hate to break it to ya, but if your bio reads like a CV or cover letter, you might as well set a stack of money on fire.
Unless you’ve got money to burn like Granny here, you’ll want to remember the golden rule when writing your Upwork bio.
The Golden Rule
Your bio is not for you. It’s for your client.
Yes, your bio is about you — but it’s not for you.
This is an important distinction to keep in mind.
If your bio doesn’t hook your client from the first sentence, you can kiss that interview goodbye.
Which leads me to my first tip on how to write an Upwork profile bio that will help you make a living on Upwork.
How to write an Upwork bio: do’s and don’ts
With the Golden Rule in mind, let’s dive in to some best (and worst) practices for writing an Upwork bio.
DON’T: Write long, bulky paragraphs
It’s 2021 and we’re all, like, super busy. No one wants to read a whole page about how talented and experienced you are.
This is the era of the tweet, after all. Say what you mean, and say it quickly.
DO: Keep it short and scannable
Apply some content writing best practices to your Upwork bio: use bullet points, short sentences, and short paragraphs to keep the client reading.
Remember, most of us scroll the internet on our phones, so content that looks short on your computer screen might look a whole lot longer on a phone or tablet screen.
Pro tip: Read your Upwork bio on your phone. If you think it’s too long to read, your prospective clients will, too.
DON’T: Write a one-size-fits-all bio
“I have ten years’ experience in writing for several niches. I would be an excellent fit for any project because I’m versatile, qualified, and experienced.”
Now, class, can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this Upwork bio excerpt? Aside from the fact that it’s vague as heck?
Answer: it’s way too broad. This imaginary freelancer is obviously looking for any kind of work they can get their hands on.
If you want to land your dream freelance writing client, consider your ideal client when writing your bio and tailor your content accordingly.
DO: Address the client directly
Here’s the introduction to my own Upwork bio:
Looking for a top-rated writer with a lifelong passion for the craft? You’ve come to the “write” place! Writing is my day job, my side hustle, and my hobby.
(Yes, I absolutely did make a pun in my bio, because this is my house! And I really like puns, okay?)
Remember, the bio is for the client, so talk to them! Tell them what sets you apart and what you can do for their business.
DON’T: Repeat information already featured in other sections of your profile
Try this (totally made-up) bio on for size:
“I am a journalist with several years’ experience in writing. I earned my BA in journalism from the University of Hard Knocks, where I graduated summa cum laude. I’ve worked with nationally acclaimed publications like USAToday, The Guardian, and The Independent.”
Now, class, can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this Upwork bio?
Answer: it’s repetitive.
All this info is already available (and easily scannable!) in the Education and Experience sections.
In short, it doesn’t give the client anything new to work with.
And most importantly, it doesn’t tell the client anything about you. Ya know, the living, breathing person behind all those fancy-schmancy qualifications and bylines?
DO: Provide context
(This is gonna sound a little contradictory to my last point, but just trust me, okay?)
There is a right way to flaunt your education and experience right in your bio.
“But you just said not to talk about that in the bio!”
You’re right, I did.
But I’m gonna tell you what I tell my team of freelance writers: don’t repeat information unless you’re providing additional context.
“But how on earth do I do that?”
Simple. I’ll use an example from my own bio to illustrate:
What sets me apart:
– 5+ years’ experience as a freelance writer and editor
– 2 degrees in writing from universities in 2 countries (see the education section for more info!)
– Extensive knowledge of advanced topics related to language, including rhetoric, discourse, and syntax
– Rave reviews from 20+ satisfied clients
Instead of saying, “I earned my MA in writing from the University of Winchester in England,” I highlighted the fact that I’ve studied internationally.
Instead of saying, “I earned my BA in English at Lander University,” I discussed how the subjects I studied made me a top-rated writer and all-round logophile.
TL;DR: Figure out what sets you apart in terms of qualifications and experience. Instead of bragging about it or simply stating it, contextualize it in a way that benefits and engages the client.
DON’T: Be afraid to show off your personality
My bio is friendly and casual — something many of my clients have commented on in their job invitations:
“I love the way you write, I think you could be the perfect fit for this role!”
“I came across your profile and I was impressed by your bio and feedback.”
“You certainly do sound like the perfect person for this job.”
Those are real comments from happy clients both past and present.
The key here is to strike a balance. Don’t be too casual — use proper grammar — but don’t sound so formal that you come across as robotic, either. (Besides, there are enough robots on the internet.)
DO: Thank the client for their time
Again — and I cannot stress this enough — your bio is not for you. It’s for your client.
Rattling on about how qualified and experienced you are makes you seem…well, a little self-absorbed.
Your client went out of their way to read your bio and consider you for their job — so thank them for their time.
Here’s how my bio ends, after the bullet points:
Think I’m the perfect fit for your project? Just send me a message!Thanks for reading, and I look forward to (hopefully) working with you!
Boom! The potential client already feels valued and we haven’t even talked specs yet.
TL;DR: Your Upwork bio is not for you. It’s for your client.
Seriously, write this on your forehead if you have to, because it is the key element of writing an Upwork profile bio that wins clients.
Now that you know how to write an Upwork profile bio, let’s move on to the next stage of our Upwork journey: how to write an Upwork proposal that gets you hired!
Speaking of proposals, starting in May, freelancers will be charged anywhere from $0.15 and $0.90 to submit a job proposal, as opposed to being free. To help freelancers and employers alike prepare for the transition, here is a comprehensive guide to the Upwork Connects pricing changes with everything you need to know.
Not ready for that part just yet? Consider sharing some of your own bio-writing wisdom (or woes) below!