Why did Upwork Reject my Profile?

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You must have already heard about the many horror stories of new profiles getting rejected by Upwork.

While I’ve done my best to help you create an Upwork profile properly, there are truly no guarantees that it will get approved.

But before you protest and give up without even trying, let’s try to understand why this is happening.

First, Upwork currently has 9 MILLION registered freelancers, making them the largest freelancing platform right now. The larger the platform is, the more potential clients there are posting jobs. Isn’t that a sweet, ideal place for us who’re looking for jobs?

HOWEVER (yup, capitalized and bolded), understand that they’re also an online business. And you know how businesses work.

Upwork earns profits whenever a freelancer completes a project and clients make the payment. So, the more clients, the more freelancers, the happier, right?




Wrong. It’s true that they want more clients but they also want higher quality freelancers.

What’s going on right now is that they’re getting swamped by freelancers creating new accounts without the proper skills. Others may have the proper skills but are trying to get into a field that’s already too crowded.

Knowing these reasons, there are very limited “REAL” options for us:

1. Learn new skills in a specialized niche.

2. Get invited and hired directly by a client.

3. Invest in their paid account. ($10/month or about Php 500)

4. Try a different freelancing platform.

If you believe that you already have marketable skills or even a specialization, but is still getting rejected (yes, that happens), you must know that every new account faces 2 digital enemies before getting approved. Identifying these enemies might help you find ways to defeat them so here we go:

1. The Mighty Bots

An internet bot, according to Wikipedia, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet.

Here's a popular scenario:

You’ve put in all those hours to prettify your profile and now, you’ve just clicked on “Submit”.

They tell you to wait 48 hours while they review your profile and you get all giddy, nervous and excited at the same time.

You’re finally starting your freelancing journey!

But in less than a minute, you get an email saying:

 We’ve reviewed the updated skills and experience you added to your profile. Unfortunately, our marketplace does not have opportunities for you based on your combination of skills and experience and we will not be able to accept your registration. We thank you for your interest.”

What the fudge, right? How can they reject your profile when they barely even glanced at it? Where’s the justice for all the time and effort you spent in creating it?!

You can rant all you want but you’ve just been attacked and defeated by the Upwork bots. Because they are receiving thousands of applications every day, it has become impossible for real human beings to review every single application they get.

That’s why Upwork runs bots that check new applications and automatically reject those who don’t make the initial cut.

The good news is that, since this enemy is a computer program, some freelancers have found that updating your skills and making your profile 100% complete before re-submitting helps defeat them.

Here’s our article about making your Upwork profile 100%.

The bad news is that, since no one really knows the exact algorithm used on these bots, this might not work in ALL cases.

But we’re tough, determined freelancers and we really want to work from home, right? So, it’s worth a try and we keep going...

2. Upwork Support Team

Once you’ve surpassed the tough, level 1 enemy, your account either gets approved or falls into the hands of the next foe, the Upwork Support Team.

Rumor has it that this team happily rejects new accounts because that’s what they’re paid to do. But since we have no evidence, let’s just give them the benefit of the doubt.

If your account took about 48 hours or more to get rejected, chances are, they are the culprit.

At this point, take some time to honestly evaluate your profile. Do you think you could’ve done it better? Did you include marketable skills that add value to Upwork as a business?

This is the time to confront yourself and face the painfully liberating truth – for this is the only way that you’ll find the right path and stop wasting your time.

If you feel that you can improve your profile and make it better, then by all means, do so. Re-take failed quizzes, add new skills, add portfolio items, give it your best!

If you realize that you really lack skills and need some time to learn or practice, then go ahead. You can always come back to improve your profile and re-submit. Don’t rush it, give your skills some time to ripen, or you’ll only get frustrated with the rejections.

But if you know, in your heart, that you’ve given your 100% and that you are more than ready to show them your worth as a freelancer, then FIGHT for it!

Contact Upwork Help and Support and they will help you out. If you can convince them why your profile deserves to get approved, then great!

However, you may not always get favorable results but at least, they get a chance to explain the reason for your rejection and you get some proper closure.

Breaking up with Upwork is sad but don’t dwell on it. Get up and move on to the next freelancing platform.

No matter what, getting rejected is not the end of your freelancing career. It only ends when you give up. MAKE YOUR CHOICE.

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Holly Ocaya

Holly Ocaya

Holly started freelance writing in 2010. As someone who has not graduated from college, she is living proof that you don't need a degree, education, or experience to be a good freelancer. Nowadays, Holly provides support for aspiring freelancers and works on her own writing endeavors.

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