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How to Get Your UpWork Profile Approved

I work from home as a Lead CSR and I love my job. I love sharing stories hoping it will help or motivate other people.

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UpWork Logo

About UpWork

UpWork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely.

In 2015, Elance - oDesk was re-branded as UpWork. It is based in Mountain View and San Francisco, CA

UpWork has twelve million registered freelancers and five million registered clients. Three million jobs are posted annually, worth a total of $1 billion USD, making it the world's largest freelancer marketplace.


UpWork is a great help for people who wants a home-based job. Employers there are more responsive than at other freelance sites, one of the reasons why UpWork gets plenty of membership applications.

After signing up, UpWork will carefully review your profile to make sure that you don't have a previous account or multiple accounts. They will also check your skills to make sure that both you and the platform will earn.

Recently, I noticed a bunch of posts from new freelancers asking help with how to get their UpWork profile approved. I also had the same problem before and got the same rejection letter. Here's an example:

Letter from UpWork stating that the profile was not approved.

Letter from UpWork stating that the profile was not approved.

What to do?

Understand the Letter

Sometimes, people just scan and fail to read the whole letter. The letter shows the reason why the account got declined and suggests ways to solve it.

Here are some highlights from the sample letter I attached above:

"There are already many freelancers with a similar skillset to yours and we cannot accept your registration."

"For example, at times our marketplace may have too many freelancers with similar skills competing for a small number of projects. To avoid the frustration that goes along with that, we must limit the number of new freelancers that can join our website."

The message is clear and people might've missed that part. They just want the Demand and Supply to stay in good shape. I'm not a pro when it comes to business management but it makes sense to keep the numbers balanced to avoid any possible problem for both the site and its users.

Fix Your Skillset

Based on the letter, "If you have more relevant skills or experience to add.. update and re-submit your profile and we'll take another look.."

It's all about your skills. Answering as many tests as you can, adding a payment method, or a great profile picture won't be the solution. Be honest when entering your skills. When thinking about your skills, it does not have to be "what else can I do?", you can also enter any tools or software that you've handled.

Tip: Check someone else's UpWork profile with the same expertise and use it as a guide. Observe their skills because you might be good at it too.

Take Tests to Verify Your Skills

Just like what I mentioned above, answering as many tests as you can might not be the best solution. You need to take relevant exams only, those that are related to your skills. When you get a passing score, the skill related to that test will have a check ✔ mark. This will prove that you really possess that skill and Upwork may approve your profile.

I have a simple skillset, but most of them are verified and I think that's the reason why I have an approved Upwork profile.
Below are the skills I added and the exam I took to have it verified:

Scroll to Continue
  • Customer Service – Test: Customer Service Test (old) Top 30%.
  • Email Handling – Test: Email Etiquette Certification Top 20%.
  • Translation English Filipino – Test: English to Tagalog (Filipino) Translation Skills Test Top 20%
  • Translation Filipino English – Test: English to Tagalog (Filipino) Translation Skills Test Top 20%
  • Writing –Test: Online Article Writing and Blogging Test (U.S. Version) Top 30%

Browse on their Exam/Test lists if they have certain tests related to your skills. You may also attach any certification you have for your Technical skills.

Sample skills set that have verified skills.

Sample skills set that have verified skills.

Add Portfolio or Certificates

Add any certificates you have. If you've taken an English test before? or any Technical skills certification? Enter them on your profile to make it stronger. If you have sample screenshots of your previous work, attach them to your portfolio. If you have a blog page, add them to your portfolio too.

As for me, we are not allowed to show a screenshot of the tools we are using in BPO. However, I had some certification before for providing good Customer Service. I took a photo of those and added them to my portfolio.
I also recorded a short introduction via Vocaroo and added the saved link to my portfolio. I am offering Customer Service that may handle phone support. For me it is necessary to give them a hint on how I speak and what my accent is.

Keep in mind that your portfolio should be related to your skills as well.

Don't Give up

Don't check other platforms right away, that's not how a great freelancer acts. A great freelancer does research first prior to giving up.

The letter from UpWork provides links that could help. Check it and be patient in reading. If you want to be a freelancer, you need to be patient and open to new learning.

Every platform has its pros and cons. It's always up to us how willing we are to learn the site.

If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.

— Jack Ma


Let me use my expertise as an example. Let's say you're a Customer Support, you can choose from these following skills:

  • Customer Support
  • Customer Service
  • CRM
  • Google Docs
  • Microsoft Office
  • Email Support
  • Email Handling
  • Chat Support
  • Phone Support
  • Phone Handling
  • Data Entry
  • Technical Support
  • Telemarketing
  • Cold Calling

You can include software/tools, apps or sites that you've handled. Examples are:

  • JIRA
  • HubSpot
  • Amazon
  • Slack
  • Sococo
  • Avaya
  • Xlite
  • Zoho

You can also include skills that you know outside the scope of your Title. Examples are:

  • Translation
  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Painting
  • Graphic Design
  • Logo Design
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Lead Generation

There are a lot more. You need to assess yourself and determine your skills. You need to be honest with it all the time.

Do You Have a Different Rejection Letter From Upwork?

If you have a different one, feel free to leave a comment here and state what the message or error is.

If you already worked on your skill set but still not getting the approval, you may also leave a comment here with your UpWork profile link so we can take a look and see what we could help.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Arleen Roja


Arleen Roja (author) from Philippines on October 26, 2017:

@li mingming

I'm sorry, I can't help you with that list but one thing is for sure, they have a large number of freelancers so that means lots of competitors on the platform.

I hope the article will help you but if not, I recommend to join any Upwork group/forum on FB so you could post your questions. Posting your Upwork concerns/questions on the forum will get you more tips/hints, opinion, idea from different kind of professionals.

li mingming from Dandong, China on October 25, 2017:

Dear Arleen!

Very thanks your reply.

I want to know Top list skill that they are not limiting freelancers.

I want to test they.

If you know, talk me please.


Arleen Roja (author) from Philippines on October 25, 2017:

Hi Li Mingming,

Unfortunately, yes they are limiting freelancers if their skills are similar to many like Data Entry, Admin Support, etc. As indicated on the rejection letter, they wanted to make sure that their freelancer are capable of landing a job on their platform. To prove that you are skilled and can get a contract is to take relevant tests to verify the skills you've entered. Once you have 3 or more verified skills, contact their support team to check if they can review your profile. Please take note that you can still get a chance to work and find a client on other platform. Wish you all the best!

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