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How to Unlock Hidden Gems: My Best Job Search Strategies for Upwork

upwork Mar 14, 2024

As a freelancer earning over $1 million on Upwork, I get asked constantly — “How the heck do you find great jobs on there?”

Most people use the same old tactics which deliver low paying gigs and dead ends. They allow Upwork’s algorithms to drive what jobs appear instead of taking control to dig deeper for hidden gems. Don’t leave it up to Upwork to choose the jobs you see in your search.

After years of experiments to crack Upwork’s code, I’ve created frameworks for where to search to unlock opportunities other freelancers overlook.

Ready to access the higher paying clients and projects hiding in plain sight? Here are my top job search hacks:

Use Search Filters Strategically

Upwork’s open search bar lets you enter specific keywords and filters results based on your terms across ALL listings.

This is invaluable for targeting prospects perfectly suited for you! For example, if you were a Webflow website builder, you would type “Webflow” or similar types of search terms. Listings with those words will show up, even if Webflow isn’t a standard Upwork category.

Don’t rely solely on Upwork preset categories — be more strategic with creative search and keywords to find hidden opportunities.

Tweak and Update Categories Often

In addition to searches, Upwork shows you job listings in categories related to the services you offered at registration.

As you gain clarity in your niche, revisit and revise your categories to align with your ideal client. Turn off irrelevant ones diluting your options.

Frequently check “Recommended” for fresh additions, and use filters for budget, duration etc. Tailor to your preferences.

Curate and Customize Your Feed

Be picky about what jobs appear in your feed! Upwork starts making assumptions after a while about what you want.

Go through and “love” or “dismiss” each job posting so you can get better results.

Additionally, save jobs that DO look interesting to you, even if not applying. Something magical happens behind the scenes when you engage with the platform. Freelancers swear they see more invitations and better job postings in their feed.

Research Prospective Clients Thoroughly

Never apply blindly without investigating who the client is! Upwork includes so many little details that will allow you to dig a bit deeper before applying.

What past projects have they offered? How long on Upwork? What’s their payment speed score? Feedback rating?

Feedback from past freelancers working with them goes a LONG way in determining compatibility. Thoroughly review this info upfront and avoid headaches later!

Upwork can be a noisy platform and sometimes even the best gigs fall through the cracks. Don’t give up in the first few minutes…try to think like a prospective client would think, and search for terms they might be using themselves.

Lastly…ever heard the saying, “You get what you think about?” or “You create your own reality?” I highly recommend getting your mindset and energy in a positive, high-vibe state when you get on Upwork and search for jobs.

With a negative or skeptical attitude, you’re going to find all the jobs and clients who aren’t worth wasting money to apply. Search for the rose between the thorns and trust that the clients who are meant for you…won’t miss you!

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