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Upwork: Simple Step by Step Guide for Kenyans on how to Create the Best Upwork Profile

Upwork is the leading freelancing platform with many jobs in different niches. Creating a good Upwork profile is the first step towards succeeding on Upwork.

How to Register for an Upwork Profile

Kenyan freelancers can register on Upwork by going to the home page and clicking “become a freelancer.” Here they will be prompted to fill in their personal details as follows

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address, and country of residence.

The next step requires freelancers to choose their preferred usernames. A username appears on their profiles and is visible to clients. It is important to choose an appropriate username because it enables clients to gauge a freelancer’s professionalism. Based on your official names, the Upwork system generates various username suggestions to choose from.

Once a freelancer has chosen their preferred username, they are prompted to generate a password. Please choose a strong password and one that you will remember.

Upwork usually requests freelancers to indicate how they discovered the site. There are several answers provided in a drop down option. When registering, one is required to prove that they are not robots by typing a set of provided characters.

Freelancers can either skip or choose to receive informational emails from the Upwork website.

Finally, users should accept the Upwork terms and conditions. While people rarely take the time to read the terms and conditions, it is important to read and understand them. Once this is done, freelancers are ready to click on “get started.”

Upwork then sends an email to the freelancer’s registered email address which they should click to verify their accounts. Clicking on the email leads one to the “create profile” page on Upwork.

Here, freelancers are required to define the following

  • The services they offer. Freelancers can choose up to four of the suggested types of work.
  • Their area of expertise. Freelancers can choose between three and ten skills

Experience Level

Freelancers should define their level of experience in order to achieve a 100% profile. Upwork provides three levels to choose from which are entry, intermediate, and expert level. The level a freelancer chooses does not necessarily define their experience on Upwork. It is a comprehensive coverage of the professional experience they have in their areas of qualification, experience, or skill. Individuals who choose intermediate or expert levels should ensure they are competent enough. These levels are particularly determined by the number of years one has spent working in the given field.

After that, one is presented with Upwork Job suggestions depending on the skills applied for. While freelancers can view numerous job suggestions, they can only save five jobs that they have an interest in. Once the five jobs are saved, freelancers can proceed to “continue to create profile”

Upwork requires freelancers to provide more information about themselves in this section. This is particularly paramount when it comes to helping clients choose freelancers. Job seekers should be authentic. Providing false information is likely to be reflected in the quality of work a freelancer submits. This is not only inconveniencing to the clients, it is also detrimental to the freelancer’s career.

The Steps Involved in Creating an Upwork Profile

1.      Uploading a Photo

A photo gives the client an impression of who the job seeker is. Photos help people have an idea of the personality of the person in the photo. For this reason, freelancers should upload good quality photos.

The photo should clearly show the face and have a good background. A smile goes a long way in giving a photo a friendly appearance. In addition, ensure the photos used are real. Some freelancers are tempted to use other people’s images. According to research, freelancers whose photos look presentable, professional, and friendly have increased chances of getting hired than those without photos.

2.      Add a Professional Title

The professional section is a vital part of a freelancer’s profile. Many freelancers may skip or even write a random title just to fill the space. However, it is important to understand that a professional title should be convincing enough to grab a client’s attention at a glance.  In fact, a title can determine whether a client peruses the profile further and the possibility of getting hired. There are various factors to consider when writing a title which include:

·         Be straightforward and clear

Freelancers should resist any temptation to use complex words when choosing a professional title that best describes their skills.

·         Utilize Keywords

Freelancers can broaden their chances of getting hired by using keywords. There are various tools available online that users can use to find appropriate keywords to match their skills. Freelancers should carry out adequate keyword research to ensure that clients can find them easily.

·         Be Distinct

Freelancers should decide on a specific niche they would like to specialize in. This should be properly articulated in their titles. Trying to fit in various niches limits their chances of getting hired.

3.      Professional Overview

This section enables the freelancer to describe their interests, strengths, skills, and experience. The description should be short, precise, and error free. Freelancers can utilize this chance to sell themselves by highlighting their unique skills and ways in which they can add value to the clients. While describing the professional overview, freelancers should ensure it revolves around their chosen niche. It is important to start with the most vital information because only three sentences of the overview appear in Upwork pages and search results.

·         Factors to Consider when Creating a Professional Overview

Freelancers should include various skills related to their expertise at the bottom of the overview.

Freelancers should concentrate on their preferred industry and the type of work they would want to venture in

Freelancers should include their experience in years, their accomplishments, and the languages they are proficient in.

Always proofread the overview to ensure it is free of grammatical and spelling errors.

4.      Education

In this section, freelancers should include the colleges they have attended complete with the dates and the expected year of completion for those still in college. This is followed by a section where they should indicate their degree or degrees starting with the most recent. Freelancers who have no formal education can indicate their experiences or self-taught skills.

Certificates related to the skills registered for should also be highlighted.

5.      Employment history

Indicate the companies worked for, previous positions held, and the number of years worked. Freelancers can also include any accomplishments they have been able to achieve while working.

6.      English Language Proficiency

From the drop down menu, freelancers can select their proficiency in the English language. This can either be

  • Basic, the ability to communicate through writing only
  • Conversational, the ability to converse or discuss issues verbally
  • Fluent, having perfect grammar and an excellent command of the English language
  • Bilingual or native, having a complete understanding of the English language

7.      Setting Hourly Rates

Basically, this section requires freelancers to indicate their expected pay per hour. Remember, this should be in dollars. Freelancers should ensure that their expected pay can match their expertise and experience. Below that, the freelancer will be able to get a glimpse of the percentage that Upwork deducts as the service fee from their earnings. Finally, there is an estimation of the amount of money a freelancer gets after deduction of service fees.

8.      Location and Availability

Here, freelancers choose the number of hours they wish to work for every week. Freelancers then proceed to indicate their full address, city, and country of residence. Finally, there is a postal code and phone number section. After this, the freelancer can review their profiles, submit and wait for approval.

Optional Details

There are additional items that one can include in their profile. This help make the freelancer more marketable and a cut above the competition. These are also good to help increase the chances of getting approved by Upwork moderators.


Freelancers can choose to add an introduction video to their profiles. While this is optional, it makes a profile unique and heightens the chances of being spotted by clients. A video enables clients to see first hand what a freelancer is capable of in terms of grammar, language proficiency, and communication skills. A video is more convincing than a photo. Freelancers should ensure the videos are short, simple to understand, and precise.


Upwork provides online tests that freelancers can attempt. The score or results from the tests can be publicly displayed on the profile. These tests are a good way to prove to clients that you are competent. Once you do a test and your score is not very good, you can always hide the results.


A well-crafted Upwork profile can propel freelancers to success on Upwork. Freelancers should ensure their profiles are 100% complete. This encourages clients to work with them. It also indicates a freelancer’s level of professionalism.

Following the above tips can enhance both new and existing freelancer profiles. Lately, there has been various complaints among aspiring Kenyan freelancers concerning Upwork’s failure to approve profiles. Submitting a completed profile can go a long way in convincing Upwork just how authentic and competent a freelancer is. This reduces the chances of having profiles rejected.