Portfolio section in your Upwork profile
How to show your previous achievements
Upwork allows freelancers to show up your experience with a Portfolio. We’ll discuss what the portfolio section is and how you should fill it. The same rules apply when you describe the projects you worked for in your resume.
The portfolio is an essential part of your profile. If you are a designer or an illustrator,
you have to make everything to concentrate the best of your background here.
In our experience, as software developers, the clients rarely read the project descriptions carefully. They want to hear the details from you.
The portfolio works nicely for you when you’re a beginner in freelance. You don’t have accomplished assignments on the platform yet, the most powerful tool in your profile. You still have to show the relevant experience somehow. This is when the portfolio becomes handy.
Let’s dive deeper.
What a project consists of?
Usually, the project has a list of used technologies, a description, duration, and other details. Let’s go over them.
List of technologies
You will want to list all the used technologies in the project. Even the ones that you never really touched. Don’t make this mistake!
A stack of technologies might be a good start for the interviewer. Make sure you mention the tools you can at least make a conversation about. It looks bad if the only thing you could say about the technology is “Sarah worked on that, I don’t know the details.”
Make sure you are allowed to tell in public what you write in the description. Most of the projects have NDAs, so keep it in mind. Omit the details, name of the company, etc. Make the description of the project as general as your NDA requires.
Don’t tell much about the project itself, only the core ideas. The field is important because sometimes the clients will look for candidates with previous experience in the same field.
The clients will be most interested in what exactly you achieved. Write shortly. Don’t waste the readers time with lengthy sentences. Keep it short and very specific. Show your personal added value to the project. Also, add numbers if you can - “increased performance by 20%”, “reduced memory consumption from 3Gb to 1Gb”, “increased the annual revenue by $400k”.
Use the maximum the platform gives you. Add pictures to your projects even if you are a developer, not a designer. Human loves with eyes. Use custom graphics to make your account unique. The more you invest in your profile, the more you can get. Remember the rule of the 20% giving 80% of the result. You have to choose what is 20% in your case by yourself.
Keep recent assignments
Even if your experience is rich, try to keep only recent achievements in your portfolio. The project you did ten years ago might look irrelevant nowadays. The technology stack is most likely different. You might have even forgotten already the details of the implementation. It’s good to mention that you have many years of experience. Still, the clients will only be interested in recent projects.
Keep good projects
Keep the good projects and review the list from time to time. The clients will expect that you describe the best experience on the front page. They will build the wrong expectations about you if they see sub-optimal projects.
Good freelancers tend to grow and improve so that the latest works will be more mature. Keep them to manage the picture of yourself on the profile. Don’t worry. You’ll be able to tell about other projects in the proposal or the conversation.
Upwork recently rolled out a new feature - pre-packaged projects.
They tend to help the client understand what your general service is and what is the expected price. It’s not clear yet how this affects the acquisition of new opportunities. Upwork claimed they would promote the profile based on the sample projects too. We will have a chance yet to measure the effect soon.
This section looks useful for potential clients. It’s essential when you look for something without a fixed price to get an understanding of a possible range. The client could compare her project with your samples and try to get an assumption of the cost. While it’s useful in an ideal world, it will also frame the client to some price. This could damage or benefit your future negotiations. Read more about the negotiations here.
The client might think that the project is too big for you, or he would expect a lower price. It sounds wrong, but this is how the framing works. Try to make the price range different. Cover both small and large projects. Give a variety of choices to a client.
Remember, everybody wants to cut costs. The one who gives the better price and estimation has more chances to win. It doesn’t matter whether the project is feasible to finish in a shorter time. If you promise a working solution in a pre-packaged project for $30k, and your competitor for $15k, your competitor will get the call. He could mean a smaller scope or a simpler product, but the client could easily miss this from the description. Play with deliverables and price. But do not lower the estimations. Missed deadlines will kill your profile at all.
Ideally, you will have a small and short-term piece of work, a medium-size, and a large one. The large one will also make the medium’s price look reasonable.
As you have seen, the portfolio is also a lot about marketing and self-selling. There isn’t the only right way to do it. Use our guidelines and make the tests. Try different approaches and measure the results. Eventually, you will come to a way that is comfortable and useful for you.
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