How To Get the Rising Talent Badge on Upwork

How To Get the Rising Talent Badge on Upwork

Earning talent badges can help you stand out to clients and win more proposals. When you're just starting out on Upwork, the first badge you can be eligible for is Rising Talent. This badge lets clients know that you're a highly skilled professional or agency with in-demand skills and an impressive background. Only the top new freelancers and agencies to the platform earn this badge, which can make landing those first few clients easier.

If you're new to Upwork and want to try to earn the Rising Talent badge, make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements below and follow these strategies to increase your chances.

In this guide:

Understand the Rising Talent badge

The Rising Talent badge is how Upwork highlights some of the exceptional talents who have recently joined the platform. This badge lets clients know that while you're new to Upwork, you have an accomplished background and have shown promise on and off the platform. Clients can start working and building relationships with Rising Talent professionals before their schedules start filling up.

People decide to start freelancing at different stages in their careers. Some may be switching from a full-time role and have years of experience working in their field, while others are just starting out and still developing their skills.

The Upwork Rising Talent badge helps recognize talent who are further along in their career and have in-demand skills that clients are looking for.

Rising talent badge

Agencies that were started by Top Rated Upwork professionals or have strong backgrounds and work histories before joining the platform can also earn Rising Talent badges. When an agency earns a talent badge, it is displayed on each member’s Upwork profile rather than the agency itself.

Once you have Rising Talent status, the badge will show up on your Upwork profile, proposals, and Project Catalog projects. You also get a one-time bonus of 30 free Connects and have the ability to offer consultations as a service. You'll keep the badge as long as you remain eligible or until you earn the Top Rated badge.

Learn how to get the Rising Talent badge

Upwork considers a variety of different elements when evaluating talent for the Rising Talent badge, including profile, skills, background, and any feedback from clients. While earning the Rising Talent badge isn't an exact science, creating a strong profile and making sure that you meet all of the basic criteria can give you a headstart.

For individuals

If you have an individual freelancer account on Upwork and want to be eligible for the Rising Talent badge, make sure that you:

For agencies

If you've recently started an agency on Upwork and want to be eligible for the Rising Talent badge, you'll need to meet all of the individual criteria and also:

  • Have two or more team members
  • Maintain a 100% complete agency profile
  • Maintain a 100% complete agency owner profile
  • Maintain a 60% or higher average profile completeness across all agency members

Other factors

The Upwork talent badge assessment analyzes many different factors when determining which talent and agencies to award Rising Talent badges. Your specialty and the skills you list on your profile, along with your education and past experience before joining Upwork, are taken into account. Some skills are in higher demand than others, and Upwork compares this to the current opportunities available on the platform.

If you've already completed projects on Upwork, having positive feedback from clients is important. Some agencies and talent can earn the Rising Talent badge before taking on any clients if they have certified skills that are in demand. For example, an agency that a Top Rated freelancer started with a history of success on the platform may not need to complete any projects before earning Rising Talent status.

Follow strategies for earning a Rising Talent badge

After making sure that you meet all of the requirements for the Rising Talent badge, you can work on establishing yourself on the platform and building your reputation. Rising Talent are freelancers or agencies with impressive profiles and backgrounds who quickly show success on the platform.

The first couple of projects you accept and take on matter. You want to make sure they align with the specific skills you want to offer clients and deliver high-quality work to gain positive feedback. Consider these strategies to help you work toward earning Rising Talent status.

Rising Talent strategies

Build a strong freelancer profile

When you're just starting out on the platform, one of the ways you can set yourself up for success is by building a strong freelancer profile. Clients use these profiles to evaluate which talent is the right fit for their projects and teams. Your profile is the place to showcase and market your skills.

You’ll want to make sure that your profile is 100% complete, a requirement for earning talent badges. Spend time on every element, from your title and overview to your profile picture. Your profile is often the first impression you make with clients and should be professional, while also showing your personality and explaining why they should choose you.

Clients hire talent when they need highly skilled professionals to fill skill gaps. Compared to a full-time employee working in a role, freelancers typically have a unique niche and more specialized skills. When a client looks at your profile, they should know exactly what to hire you for.

Try to tailor your profile to the top skill that you want to offer clients. Make sure that you choose the right categories and skills; this will help Upwork match you with relevant jobs and clients. Outline your past experience with these skills, including any courses you took or certificates you earned.

If you have more than one skill, you can create up to two specialized profiles on Upwork. Each profile has a separate title, overview, and rate. You can choose which relevant portfolio pieces and work histories to show for each.

Keep in mind that you can request testimonials from past employers or clients you had before joining Upwork by making requests through their LinkedIn account. Until you complete projects on Upwork, you won't have any client reviews, which can make winning early jobs somewhat challenging. Testimonials are a great way to endorse skills you’ve demonstrated outside Upwork.

You can learn more about creating your profile in the Upwork Academy Learning Path.

Submit winning proposals

When you find a job that fits your skill set on the Upwork Talent Marketplace™, you can submit a proposal. Your proposal is your cover letter and includes the rate that you'd charge the client for the job. While you can use a template to help structure your proposal, each one should be personalized to the job and client.

Make sure that you carefully read the client's job description and understand the problem they're having. Think about why they’re looking to hire an independent professional. What does the client need? Once you understand the problem, you can outline how you'll solve it in your proposal.

A compelling proposal speaks to the client's needs. Often, clients are more interested in how you'll solve their problem than in diving into your background and work history. They can learn more about your experience and past projects in your profile. The goal is to explain why you're the best freelancer for the job.

When submitting proposals, make sure that the jobs closely align with the skills in your profile. Upwork scans talent profiles and proposals and compares them to the job description to see who is the best fit. Talent who are closer matches show up first to clients, which can increase the likelihood that the client will view your proposal.

Ace your first few jobs

The first few jobs that you take on Upwork should be ones that you're confident you can complete successfully. You want to use these projects to build your reputation and gain positive feedback from your clients. Carefully read the job description and meet with potential clients to talk about the project to make sure it's a good fit before accepting an offer.

Many freelancers choose to submit proposals for smaller projects in the beginning of their freelancing efforts. Accept jobs in your niche that you know you can knock out of the park and impress clients. These initial projects should be some of your best work. Receiving positive feedback early on can help you earn the Rising Talent badge.

Provide consistent, quality work

As an independent professional, your reputation is everything. Clients want to work with talent who have a high Job Success Score and positive reviews on their profiles. You can build a positive reputation by making sure that you consistently deliver high-quality work.

Every job you accept deserves the same level of dedication, regardless of the project's size or budget. Go above and beyond to make sure that your clients are happy with your work. A project that seems like a one-off can turn into a long-lasting relationship with a client if they like working with you.

When you do receive feedback, use it to improve your business. Negative feedback is constructive, helping you recognize opportunities for growth. Reflect on the experience and think of what you could have done differently. Learning how to work with clients and developing the right processes can take time. You may need to make adjustments, especially in the beginning, and that's OK.

Aim for client satisfaction

Before you hand in your final deliverables and the contract closes, check to see if your clients are happy with the results. Making changes or edits can take more time on your end, but getting things right pays off in the long run with positive feedback and repeat clients. If they aren't 100% satisfied, you want to find out before the project closes while you have a chance to make revisions.

Feedback and reviews from clients are a significant part of how Upwork calculates your JSS,  contributing to being able to earn Rising Talent status. As a freelancer, your business is heavily dependent on this feedback, too. Clients may see negative reviews and a low JSS as a red flag, which can make winning projects more challenging.

If a client has a great experience working with you, they'll be more likely to hire you again or refer you to another client. Engaging in long-term contracts and having repeat clients can help you build a steady workload.

Tips for keeping your clients satisfied:

  • Communicate clearly
  • Give your clients progress updates
  • Request feedback on your drafts and mockups to make sure you're on the right track
  • Set realistic deadlines
  • Establish "working hours" and respond quickly to questions in that timeframe
  • Follow up when needed
  • Ask questions and clarify any uncertainty

Keep track of your account health

Once you take on at least two projects with different clients, you'll earn a Job Success Score. Upwork recalculates your JSS every two weeks. You'll want to keep an eye on your profile to monitor your score. Make sure that it's at least 90% so you stay eligible for the Rising Talent Badge. You can find your JSS on My Stats.

My stats

On your My Stats page, you can also see:

  • 12-month earnings
  • Proposals sent, views, interviews, and hires
  • Profile views, impressions, and job invites
  • Average client relationship length
  • Connects balance
  • Account holds (if any)

This data can be helpful for seeing what's working and what isn't. For example, you can modify your profile and check if the changes increase the number of job invites and views you receive.

As a new freelancer, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the Upwork terms of service to avoid any accidental violations that can result in account holds or suspensions. Common violations like getting paid off the platform (circumvention) or feedback-building can have serious consequences.

If you want to learn more about how to succeed on Upwork, you can join the Upwork Community. You can get help from Upwork coaches or take courses in the Academy. Learn from the experiences of other freelancers in Forums and even join Groups to connect with other independent professionals.

Showcase your talent on Upwork

On Upwork, you can build a career doing what you love. As an independent professional, you get to create a schedule that works for you, choosing what projects and clients to accept. Work from the comfort of your home, co-working space, or coffee shop at your latest travel spot.

The more work you put into your profile, portfolio, and making sure that your clients are happy, the easier it will be to win projects as you gain experience, positive feedback, and talent badges. Find jobs that match your niche right now on Talent Marketplace and send proposals for your best matches. A rewarding career starts with landing those first few clients.


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Author Spotlight

How To Get the Rising Talent Badge on Upwork
Cassie Moorhead
Content Writer

Cassie is a storyteller and content creator with over eight years of experience helping brands communicate to their customers through different channels. She enjoys finding new coffee shops to work from and spending time in nature with her dog, Sweeney.

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