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How I Became a Top-Rated Upwork Freelancer

Upwork top rated
Table of ContentsUpdated Oct 12, 2022

I wasn’t certain that being a “top-rated” Upwork freelancer would make a difference. I figured that everyone on that platform is treated the same way. But it turns out that being an Upwork top-rated freelancer makes more of an impact than you might expect.

My business has become more viable since I became an Upwork top-rated freelancer. I’ve enjoyed plenty of benefits for being top-rated:

  • It costs less for me to set up a Featured Jobs posting.
  • I get faster payments on my hourly contracts.
  • I get invitations from Talent Specialists who want me to send proposals for various jobs.
  • It’s also easier for me to find new jobs thanks to the Job Digest emails made available to top-rated freelancers.
  • My top-rated badge shows people that I’m trustworthy, as I have gathered years of positive reviews and feedback from my clients, including one-off and recurring customers.

Having a top-rated badge is critical for anyone who wants to be on Upwork. Having such a badge shows people you have a positive track record. People will be more likely to trust you when they know you’ve been doing your work the right way for years.

This guide is about how to become top-rated on Upwork. You will learn about many things you can do to succeed on this outstanding platform.

How Do You Achieve Top-Rated Status on Upwork?

Becoming a freelancer on Upwork is easy, as Upwork can help you sign up for a plan that fits your needs. Upwork also offers a simple search interface.

Upwork has posted a few specific requirements for becoming a top-rated Upwork freelancer on its website. Here’s a look at what Upwork is asking from its users:

  • Users must have a Job Success Score of at least 90%.
  • You’ll also need to maintain a high Job Success Score for an extended period. This point entails a score of 90% or greater for 13 of the last 16 weeks or maintaining Rising Talent status.
  • Your profile on Upwork must also be complete.
  • Your availability should be listed on your profile.
  • There should be no account holds on your account.
  • You should have earned at least $1,000 with Upwork in the past twelve months.
  • Your first job with Upwork should have come at least ninety days ago.
  • You must have been active on Upwork within the past 90 days.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can become an Upwork top-rated user and qualify for the benefits you deserve.

Job Success Score of 90% or More

The first thing you need to become an Upwork top-rated freelancer is a high Job Success Score. This ranking feature is part of what makes Upwork different from other websites like it.

But what is this score all about, and how can you improve it?

The Job Success Score is a measure of how satisfied clients are with your work on Upwork. It reflects customer feedback, job outcomes, and other factors.

Upwork calculates your Job Success Score with a simple calculation:

  1. The number of negative contract outcomes is subtracted from the successful contract outcomes you have.
  2. The result is divided by the total number of outcomes on your profile.

Your score is calculated every two weeks. Your profile will include scores for the past six, twelve, and 24 months. Your Trending JSS will also show your average scores for the past six months and the last three months added together and then divided in half.

You can boost your Job Success Score with a few steps:

  • Be polite and prompt toward your client, so your customer will be more likely to leave positive feedback.
  • Make sure your work is of the best possible quality. Let your clients see your talents at work while showing how unique you are.
  • Be very specific when completing your work. Always follow whatever instructions your clients provide. Be willing to ask for further details if you have questions about those instructions.
  • Be ready to handle whatever disputes or concerns your clients have about your work. Resolve whatever problems they have as soon as possible.
  • Meet whatever deadlines people impose. Your customers will expect you will send your work on time.
  • Be open to your client. Make yourself available on the Upwork platform. Check your account on occasion to see what messages people are leaving, and respond to them as soon as possible.

Make Sure Your First Upwork Job Was At Least 90 Days Ago

The next part of being an Upwork top-rated freelancer is to have enough experience on the platform. Your first Upwork job should have been at least 90 days ago.

But why is Upwork so concerned about this point?

Upwork wants to ensure its users actively attempt to find work on its platform. It will give ratings to people who are more active and have been consistent in getting jobs. People with more projects under their belts will be more likely to receive ratings.

I get that this can be a frustrating challenge, but finding your first job on Upwork is easier to manage than you expect. You can stick with smaller jobs at the start and stick with the clients that give you the best feedback. You’ll also have an easier time finding jobs after you complete your profile.

Maintain a High JSS Or Rising Talent Status

The next way to attain top-rated freelancer status on Upwork is to maintain a high Job Success Score or JSS. You must either have a JSS of 90% or more or maintain Rising Talent status for at least 13 of the last 16 weeks.

Rising Talent status is the second-best status you can attain on Upwork behind a top-rated ranking. Rising Talent members are professionals with good backgrounds who have had early success on the platform. They have experience in their industries and are starting to show their talents to satisfied clients.

You’ll need to maintain Rising Talent status long enough to reach a top-rated ranking. You can do many things to qualify for a Rising Talent badge and stay there:

  • Be sure your profile is fully complete.
  • Always finish your tasks on time and based on the instructions your clients request.
  • Submit regular proposals to projects that suit your skills.
  • Update your availability status as necessary.
  • Remain present on Upwork by being active in the past 90 days.
  • Agree to Upwork’s Terms of Service.

Complete Your Profile

Upwork top rated - Upwork

The next step for becoming an Upwork top-rated freelancer is to complete your profile on the site. Your profile will feature details on yourself and your skills. This feature is one part of using Upwork I enjoy, as it allows me to be more personal toward my clients.

Half of your profile will cover the following:

  • A profile photo of yourself
  • An overview of yourself
  • One or more employment history listings
  • One or more skill tags

Your profile will be 50% complete when you include all four of these things in your profile.

You can then finish the remaining half of your profile by including a combination of these:

  • Up to four portfolio items; each will cover 5% of your profile
  • Up to two employment history items, with each being worth 10% of your profile
  • Extra skill tags
  • Education history
  • A profile video
  • One or more additional linked accounts
  • Certification info
  • One additional Other Experience item covering other relevant work projects you’ve completed

Check the “Profile Completeness” listing on your account to see far you are in completing your profile.

$1,000 Earnings In the Last 12 Months

You must be active enough on Upwork to where you’ve earned at least $1,000 from Upwork projects in the last twelve months. You can set your hourly rate for work on Upwork by reviewing the services you provide and factoring your expenses into your work. You could also review your potential annual salary and how many hours it would take for you to get there.

Don’t forget to include the value you offer in your work. Incorporate your general skills and abilities into your price. People are willing to pay more for workers who have more capabilities.

You might be curious about whether you have to wait twelve months to become top-rated. The good news is you can reach that status sooner if you earn $1,000 soon enough and maintain your 90% or higher JSS or Rising Talent status for 13 of the last 16 weeks after reaching the $1,000 mark.

Up-To-Date Availability

One reason I hold top-rated freelancer status on Upwork involves how I maintain regular availability on the site. Upwork cares about this because they want to ensure people on the platform are routinely available for tasks. Upwork wants its clients to be assured they can find many workers on the platform who can help at any point.

Your availability is a listing of how much work you can complete. You can state one of the following:

  • You are open for at least 30 hours a week.
  • You are available for less than 30 hours a week.
  • You are open as needed and willing to listen to clients’ offers.

You can update your Upwork availability by going to the Find Work section on your Upwork panel and clicking the Hours Per Week section in your my Profile panel. You can then state whether you are available or unavailable and list how many hours you can work in a week. Be sure you keep this updated as necessary.

Have No Recent Account Holds

Another part of why I am a top-rated Upwork freelancer involves how I am always honest and direct with my clients. Upwork greatly values trust, and I want my clients to trust me with the work I complete.

My honesty and promptness have helped me avoid account holds. You can reach top-rated freelancer status on Upwork by having an account in good standing with no holds.

An account hold occurs when you do not comply with Upwork’s Terms of Service. Your hold will restrict you from accessing your account for a certain period. The timing will vary based on the severity of your actions and how many other holds you’ve had in the past.

Upwork imposes these account holds to ensure its users stay honest and responsible.

The best way to avoid account holds is to understand what triggers these holds. Some of the things that can cause Upwork to hold or limit your account include:

  • Receiving payments from clients outside of the Upwork system
  • Sharing your accounts with others, causing uncertainty among clients over who is on an account
  • Not performing based on the terms of your contracts
  • Using multiple logins when getting on Upwork
  • Sharing contact information, including making it where you’re communicating with clients outside Upwork
  • Harassment of clients
  • Spamming clients
  • Pressuring clients into giving you positive feedback

Be sure to avoid these issues to keep yourself from getting into an account hold.

Staying Active on Upwork In the Last 90 Days

Upwork top rated

The last way to become an Upwork top-rated freelancer is to stay active on the Upwork platform. You must have completed enough activity on the Upwork platform over the past 90 days to attain top-rated status.

Some of the things on Upwork that count as activity include:

  • Proposing work
  • Accepting work invitations
  • Earning money through your work


My work on Upwork has been very productive, as I have used the platform to find many jobs and build positive relationships with my clients. My ability to stay active, follow Upwork’s rules, and set a reasonable pay rate has helped me become popular here.

You can be as successful on Upwork as I have when you look at what you’re doing here and plan accordingly. Be sure you complete a thorough profile and that you follow all the instructions and needs your clients have on Upwork. Don’t forget to follow Upwork’s terms of use to improve your chances of success. All these measures will ensure you enjoy everything the Upwork platform provides.

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Written by Michael Fox

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Michael Fox is a writer based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University and holds more than fifteen years of writing experience.

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