How To Improve Your Job Success Score on Upwork

How To Improve Your Job Success Score on Upwork

Upwork is the world's work marketplace. Clients come here to find the skilled talent they need, and independent professionals can build a career by offering their services through our platform

At Upwork, one way we measure talent success is a Job Success Score—this shows how satisfied clients have been with your work on the platform. Maintaining a high score can help you win more jobs and attract new clients by showing them you have the hard and soft skills needed to meet and even exceed your clients’ expectations.

Your Job Success Score (JSS) can go up or down based on a variety of factors, including client feedback. This article will dive deeper into how Upwork calculates the JSS and strategies for how to improve yours.

In this guide:

Understand the job success score

Your Job Success Score (JSS) shows up next to your name and any Upwork Talent Badges you've earned when clients search for talent, view proposals, or click on your profile. The JSS is a straightforward algorithm that measures overall client satisfaction, and it's calculated and updated every two weeks.

Instead of using a simpler rating system based only on client feedback, Upwork's JSS weights feedback differently based on factors like contract length, project budget, and overall user history on the platform. This makes it fairer for both talent who work primarily on short one-off contracts and those who typically have longer-term engagements.

As an independent professional on Upwork, you want to have a high JSS (ideally at least 90%) to attract clients on the platform. A high JSS shows clients that you regularly complete jobs on the platform and receive positive feedback. Your JSS can help you stand out against the competition and receive more job invites from clients.

Key takeaways to remember:

  • A JSS of at least 90% is needed to be eligible for and maintain Top Rated Status
  • You can start earning a JSS after working at least two contracts with different clients in a 24-month period
  • Upwork calculates your JSS every two weeks using your 3-,6-, 12-, and 24-month history on the platform and displays the best score on your profile
  • If one of your clients has been flagged for having a history of poor collaboration with talent, or has been suspended for violating the Terms of Conditions, their feedback will not count toward your JSS

Choose projects wisely

Clients post jobs every day to Talent Marketplace™ and send job invites to talent with the skills they need for their projects. As an independent professional, you want to be selective about the jobs you submit proposals to and always make sure you're setting yourself up for success.

Try to accept offers only for projects that you're confident you're the right fit for to avoid receiving negative feedback, especially when just starting out. This feedback can affect your JSS. Clients are more hesitant to work with talent who have a low JSS as it seems riskier—they want to make sure they're getting the quality of work they paid for.

While you may be tempted early on to apply to anything and everything that sounds interesting, you're often better off taking the time to be selective with your proposals. Choose the projects that most closely align with your skillset and niche, and then tailor your proposal to the job description.

When evaluating proposals, read the job description carefully. Make sure you have the skills needed for the project. Including these skills in your proposals and having them in your profile will help the Upwork algorithm rank your proposal more highly.

Choose projects

Clients on Upwork are often looking to hire specialists. Many freelancers find success by choosing a niche and then building their reputation in that area. When clients see your profile, they want to know exactly what type of work you do. Your past projects and portfolio pieces should match that niche.

Always be on the lookout for any signs that a client may not be the right fit before submitting a proposal or accepting an offer. Check their profile to see their public feedback and read the reviews past talent have left. This helps to set yourself up for success.

Deliver quality work consistently

When working as an independent professional on Upwork, building a reputation through your JSS, positive client feedback, and a strong portfolio is how you succeed. You do this by delivering high-quality work consistently and meeting client expectations.

Every project you take on deserves the same level of dedication and care. Client feedback affects your JSS. Because other clients can see negative public feedback on your profile, not meeting client expectations can hurt your business.

After setting yourself up for success by choosing projects that fit your skillset, you want to make sure that you fully understand the scope of the project and go above and beyond to make your clients happy. Part of this is learning how to create a realistic work schedule, manage your time effectively, and juggle multiple deadlines.

Strategies for maintaining high-quality work

When working as an independent professional, you get to choose the projects you accept and create a schedule that works for you. The quality of your work matters; it's how you maintain a high JSS and get repeat clients. Being mindful of your workload and carefully evaluating projects before accepting them to see if you have the time and right skillset makes it easier to deliver quality work that meets your client's expectations.

In this section, we discuss some strategies to help maintain high-quality work when freelancing.

1. Avoid overfilling your schedule

While accepting every offer may seem like a good idea at first, getting in over your head can lead to a drop in work quality. When freelancing, you may be working on multiple projects at once. You need to be realistic when agreeing to deadlines to maintain quality and avoid burnout.

Overestimate how much time each project will take, leaving room for edits and changes that a client may unexpectedly need—especially with fixed-priced projects. You don't want to feel rushed and sacrifice work quality to meet a deadline.

Keep in mind that you'll need to set aside time to look for new projects and other administrative tasks. While you may want to work a full schedule, committing yourself to 40 client hours a week may not be realistic.  

2. Understand the project scope

Before accepting an offer or new milestone, set up a meeting with the client to go over the project in detail. You want to make sure that you understand its full scope. This can help you avoid scope creep—when clients add more work than what was in the original project description and offer.

Making sure that you're on the same page with the client before starting also helps to manage expectations. Some clients, especially those who are new to Upwork, may not have experience writing job descriptions and hiring independent talent.

You don't want to accept an offer and then realize after talking with the client that the project is more work than you thought or needs additional skills that you haven't developed yet. Ending contracts early can negatively affect your JSS.

3. Double-check for errors and mistakes

Every deliverable that you send to clients should be ready to publish. Even if you're looking for feedback on a draft, check your spelling and any other obvious errors before sending. Simple mistakes can seem unprofessional.

As an independent professional, you often have a great deal of autonomy and independence over your work. This may mean that you have to learn to be your own editor and quality control. If you've been at a task for a while, try stepping away or moving on to another and give yourself time before coming back for the final review. Taking a break can make it easier to spot mistakes.

4. Ask clients if they're satisfied

Putting in the extra effort with clients can pay off with repeat customers and positive feedback. Check in with clients frequently to show your progress and make sure you're on the right track. This can help you save time and avoid having to go back and make changes to your work because you misunderstood what the client wanted.

When working on fixed-price contracts, you will need to submit the final deliverable for each milestone. Once the client approves the milestone, the funds will be released to you. Before submitting your final deliverable, ask the client if they're happy with your work or if you need to make any changes.

While this may create a bit more work on your end, going the extra mile to make sure the client is satisfied can help you earn more positive feedback and improve your job success score. You may have the chance to resolve any issues that may have resulted in fewer than five stars in your review.

Example of a message you can send:

Hi [Client name], before I submit the final deliverable or the project, I wanted to see if it meets your expectations. I am happy to make any changes or edits if needed.

Foster excellent client communication

Managing client expectations starts with communication. After accepting a milestone and starting work on a project, you should be checking in and giving your clients regular updates on your progress. Communicating with clients helps to build relationships and deliver a great experience.

You can ask new clients about their communication preferences. See how often they would like updates and offer to schedule planned check-ins. Some clients like to be hands-on and get regular updates, while others prefer to only meet as needed.

Let clients know the hours you're typically available to respond to questions and give updates. Try to always respond quickly within those timeframes.

As you're working with clients and sending drafts and mockups for approval, you'll need to be able to accept feedback and make revisions. At first, feedback can seem like criticism, but you can use it to help you grow as an independent professional.

Your vision may not always perfectly align with your client's. Explain why you made certain choices if you feel they are in your client's best interest, but let them have the final say.

Tips for effective and professional communication include:

  • Asking questions if you're unsure what the client is looking for
  • Adding the Upwork mobile app to your phone and turning notifications on so you don't miss any important client messages
  • Using Upwork Messages to communicate with clients for added security and protection
  • Sending progress updates to make sure you're on the right track
  • Being upfront and honest with your clients
  • Maintaining professionalism

If you haven't worked with clients before, you can dive deeper with these communication techniques from an Upwork coach.

Encourage feedback from clients

After you submit your work and the contract ends, clients can leave you public and private feedback. This feedback is a significant part of how Upwork calculates your job success score.

You can also leave your client feedback after completing a project. The review system works both ways. You can only see the feedback clients leave you after you've left a review or the 14-day feedback period expires.

Reviews and feedback are important for honesty and transparency on the platform. As an independent professional, reviews are motivating. You get rewarded for your talent and consistently delivering high-quality work. Having positive feedback on your profile can help attract clients and win projects.

Encourage feedback

As an independent professional, this feedback is also a valuable tool for you to grow your business. Review all the public and private feedback that clients leave to see if you have any areas you could improve on to help deliver a better experience.

Before accepting a contract, you can also see what other professionals' experiences were with the client. Consistent negative feedback can mean that a client is difficult to work with.

How to ask for client feedback

While this feedback is optional, you can send a message to your client after submitting your work and nicely ask them to leave honest feedback. Thank them for the opportunity and explain the importance of reviews for building a business on the platform.

If you're working on a long-term contract, you may be able to request mid-contract feedback (depending on the contract). This is helpful for freelancers who typically work longer engagements.  

Here is an example of a quick message you can send to your client asking for feedback:

Hi [Client],

I've enjoyed working with you on this project. I hope you have had a great experience and are happy with the final results. I would greatly appreciate it if you could leave your honest feedback after we close the contract. Client feedback helps me grow my business and build my reputation on Upwork.

How to respond to negative feedback

Sometimes, the client and talent aren't the right match, which can lead to negative feedback. While you want to try your best to have a great experience with every client, less-than-perfect reviews happen and that's okay.

Typically, when a client looks at your JSS and profile, they check to make sure that the majority of the feedback is positive. If multiple clients are complaining about the same issue, this may be a red flag and can affect whether or not you win a proposal.

On Upwork, you have the opportunity to respond to public feedback on your profile for future clients to see. You can leave one comment that is uneditable once you submit it. Responding to negative feedback can help clarify the situation.

You can share your side of the story if you think the feedback was unjustified or explain what you learned from the experience. Remember to always be professional and that anyone viewing your profile can see what you write in the comment.

Once you've earned a Top Rated or Top Rated Plus badge, you'll be able to occasionally request the removal of client feedback.

Learn from unsuccessful projects

Every freelancing project is a learning opportunity, especially those that aren't as successful as you had hoped. Each project may be different, and you'll need to be able to adjust and adapt to your client's needs quickly. As an independent professional, you also have to be resilient and able to handle rejection and feedback without giving up and taking it personally.

At the end of each project, analyze the overall experience. Think about what you could have done differently. Ask yourself what worked and what didn't. This is how you adapt your processes and learn from your mistakes.

Don't forget to give yourself credit for what you did right as well.

Monitor and analyze your score

Upwork calculates your Job Success Score every two weeks. Keep an eye on your score to check for any changes. Your score is an indicator of how happy clients have been with your work. If your score drops, you may need to make improvements to your processes or evaluate your work quality on recent projects.

You can find your JSS on your Upwork My Stats page. On that page, you'll also be able to see:

  • Percentage of clients who would recommend you to others
  • Percentage of long-term clients
  • Top Rated eligible weeks
  • 12-month earnings

If you want to earn talent badges, you'll need to maintain a JSS of at least 90%. This is a good overall goal to set for yourself.

You can see your public feedback by clicking on your profile image and name on your home page and then selecting “See public view.”

Expand your freelancing success

Freelancing is a business that can take time to build. On Upwork, your Job Success Score measures client satisfaction. This score takes into account your history on the platform, analyzing client feedback and weighting it based on the contract length and earnings.

When you're new to freelancing, you may have to learn from your mistakes and figure out the best way to work with clients and create processes to streamline productivity. If your score drops, you can bring it back up by being strategic about the projects you take on, setting yourself up for success, and going the extra mile to make sure your clients are satisfied with your work.

See what jobs fit your skillset right now on Talent Marketplace and start building your reputation as a skilled professional on Upwork.


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Author Spotlight

How To Improve Your Job Success Score 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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