Three Creative Proposal Approaches You Can Use Today

In this post, we’ll focus on ways to get your proposals noticed. The primary focus is going to be the Upwork proposal, but you can take these techniques and apply them to any freelance or contract job posting. 

If you’ve done a good job with your profile or your website (for those not on Upwork), your proposal is not the place to write your resume. And the proposal is never the place to paste your bio into!

We’re also going to skip right past the part about reading the job posting and making sure you’re qualified. 

Here are some tactics we’ve tried and used to win jobs on Upwork:

#1 Give a Specific Example in your Proposal

How specific? If you’ve chosen a niche, you’ll want to show that you’ve done the exact same work before. Start by saying that you are interested in the work because you’ve recently done the same for XYZ client. Then describe what you were able to do successfully. 

If you’re applying for a data entry job, it’s not enough to say that you’ve done data entry for 10 years. Or that you took a course in data entry. If a program is listed, describe how you used that program. Describe how long it took you to do a specific amount of work. Be as specific  as possible. 

Sample start:


I was excited to see your post because I recently completed work with an organization very similar to yours in which I used XYZ software to complete the same task you describe in just under two hours. 

#2 Use the Proposal to Think Outside of the Box

Often clients will post work on Upwork that they haven’t fully thought through or that they don’t have any expertise in. In these cases, they may be relying on a contractor to fill in the blanks. This is especially helpful if you are applying to blogging, marketing, or social media jobs. Start your proposal out by giving a few examples of how you would approach the job.

The very first job I got on Upwork was a blogging job for an educational software company. I started it by saying that I would pitch three ideas for potential blogs. Even though they already had an idea of what they wanted, I got the job because of my enthusiasm.

So, think the job through a bit and figure out how you would approach it. 

#3 Dig for Info About the Client in the Upwork Post

If you can figure out who the client is, do some research before you apply. Start your proposal off by mentioning key elements of their organization and how you feel aligned with their goals and mission. Start by saying, “I took a few moments to look at your website.” And then go into what you were impressed with. 

If these three options don’t seem to work for you, just remember the Key Don’ts!

  1. Don’t copy your bio or you work experience in to the proposal.
  2. Don’t forget to read the job posting.
  3. Don’t forget to proofread.

And the most important ….

Don’t use a generic proposal for every posting you respond to!

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