Top 10 Tips To Get Your First Freelance Job

The first challenge you have as a freelancer is getting your first job. This is why I created “Top 10 Tips To Land Your First Freelance Job”.  Landing your first job as a freelancer is probably the most important and most exciting step in your freelance journey.  It is a unique feeling, knowing that you can actually make money online using your know-how and expertise. Whether it be web design or proof reading. But given that there are already so many fish in the pool, how can you as a fresher land your first job ? It definitely is a challenge, even if you have game, you still have to convince the employer to give you a chance to prove yourself.  Have no worries, it is actually easier than you think to get your first job. These tips work on any of the major freelance sites, but lets assume you did register a free account at a freelancer site and now you want to get a job and start making money.

Based on my experience here are tips 1 – 10

TIP 1 : Have a complete profile with a picture

The first thing you should do is setup a complete profile, stating your skills, experience. You want the employer to know who you are and what you can do if they are considering you for the job. Another good technique is to add a personal photograph. Once you have more ratings and reviews you can get away without a picture. But given you are new, you want to inspire confidence and a personal feeling, a photograph goes a long way in this situation.

TIP 2: Bid low and explain why

The first job you win is the most important one, because once you actually do have review your bids will directly stand out. Therefore, it is a good technique to bid low. BUT you need to explain to the employer why you are bidding low otherwise he will assume you are bidding unrealistically low. In your bid tell the employer that you are bidding very low to secure your first job and get your first review, this will leave a very good impression and improve your chances of landing the first job.

TIP 3 : Read the project description in full detail

You need to understand the project description in order to bid properly, therefore please do read the project description carefully. A lot of employers use tricks like “Type READ IT in your bid if you read the description” failing to type READ IT gets your bid discarded right away even if you are a top dog.

TIP 4 : Bid according to the job specification

Once you do have loads of reviews, you can get away with a template bid with no or little modification, employers will come after you for details. But at this stage you have no reviews, so you want to let the employer know that you know how to get the job done and that you understand his needs. Therefore, do bid with a lot of detail on how you are going to get the job done. There is not specific content here, just type in what you would do if you would get the job.

TIP 5 : Ask Questions

If the job description is not clear enough or you are confused about some aspects of the job, do ask questions. If you go ahead and ask the employer questions, the employer will know that you read, understood and thought about the job. This goes a long way. However, do NOT ask irrelevant or simple questions that can be concluded from the content of the job description or by your expertise on the subject matter at hand.

TIP 6 : Sponsor your bid

Most freelance sites allow you to sponsor your bid, each at a different cost. What this will do though is move you to the top of the bidders list, and rank you above a person with hundreds of reviews. A sponsored bid, combined with the other tips in this article is almost a guarantee to get seriously noticed.

TIP 7 :Look for employers who actually want fresh freelancers

Employers know you are out there, and they know you are looking for your first review. I have seen loads of jobs that are priced low, but the employer promises a  5 star rating and a great review in exchange for a low price. Look actively for these kind of listings, as the employer is actually looking for you.

TIP 8 : Keep your cool

It might take some time to get your first job, some are lucky others are not. So a bit of patience is needed, even with my 100+ reviews and my 5 star rating I do have periods where I don't land a job. My estimate is that you should land your first job within 10 to 14 days if you use my tips. Please let us all know how it goes in the comments area below.

TIP 9 : Check the exams and certifications section

Most freelance sites do provide exams which you can take and these exams will give you a badge and ranking on how you scored. These exams go from free to a few bucks in cost. They are worth it though, as they do grant you credibility and scream out this guy knows what he is talking about - at least if you do and score well.

TIP 10 : Play by the book

Please do read the TOS of the freelance site you join and abide by those rules. A big no-no is exchanging personal contact details with the employer before you actually land the job. If you go around telling the employer, please email me at or my Skype ID is XYZ, you are telling the employer that you are a cheater, do not follow rules and have no ethics. Do NOT send out this picture, it will get you ignored in 90% of the cases.


On most freelance sites you do get a limited amount of initial bids, do NOT waste your bids on projects which are clearly out of reach. For example, where an employer/buyer is asking for at least 10 reviews, or where the budget of the project is $1000. Stick to the simpler stuff for beginnings. And always keep in mind you can get paid by paying NOTHING I did make my first $400 before I signed up for a paid membership at a freelancer site.

In short, follow these tips and you are almost guaranteed to get your first job. If you feel one of these tips worked better for you than any of the other tips. Please let us all know by dropping us a comment.

(originally posted on my blog:

Comments (1)

Jim HornSQL Server Data Dude
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Author of the Year 2015

Excellent read.  Voted yes.

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