Upwork Rising Talent: What It Is and How To Get It

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If you are serious about being successful on a platform like Upwork, then it really helps to delve into the inner workings of the site, and understand what steps you can take to get you ahead of the competition.

You may have noticed the Upwork Rising Talent badge, which now highlights some of the best new freelancers in the Upwork marketplace.

Potential clients see this, and it acts as a solid seal of quality and trust – giving people confidence in your work, even if you are relatively new to Upwork.

In this article, we explain what the Rising Talent badge is, how it is awarded, and how much of an impact it will have on you as a new or seasoned freelancer on the platform.

All Upwork users, AND those contemplating opening an account should definitely read on!

What is Rising Talent on Upwork?

Rising Talent on Upwork is a status that the platform automatically awards to freelancers that meet certain criteria. Accounts that have achieved the status will have a badge displayed on their profile.

It is a really useful initiative on the part of Upwork. It allows new users to build credibility quickly and stand out on a platform that has more than 14 million users.

Upwork Rising Talent Badge shown on profile

How to Get Rising Talent on Upwork?

In order to get Rising Talent status you need to take your profile and work on Upwork seriously enough to meet the platform’s criteria.

It’s not actually that difficult to achieve this status, but plenty of aspiring freelancers do NOT take the process of joining the platform seriously enough. In particular, they fail to understand the importance of doing outstanding work on their first gigs.

The simple truth is that all you need is a great profile, to stick to the rules, and do great work. If you look closely at the seven criteria that Upwork uses then you will see that they all essentially boil down to acting like a professional on the platform.

WHILE YOU’RE HERE: Check out our course, Freelance Kickstarter, which guides you step-by-step through making a success of your Upwork career.

The Seven Criteria You Must Meet

1. Create and Maintain a 100% Complete Profile

If you have happened to follow our advice on how to get approved on the platform, then you should be at 100% or relatively close to it already. If not, that it’s worth taking a look at that article for guidance.

You can see your profile completion rate by going to the “Find Work” page:

Upwork profile completion

If you click on your image and then “Settings” you will find a section called “My Profile.” This is where you can go to add any missing information or periodically update your profile.

Having a great profile is crucial as there are some extraordinary cases where a strong enough profile will allow an account to qualify for Rising Talent without ANY work history on the platform!

2. Keep Your Availability Status Up-to-date

There is little point in hanging your “Open For Business” sign on the platform without letting potential clients know what your availability is.

This really isn’t complicated as you do not need to provide a schedule of availability. There are three simple options to choose from:

  • As Needed – Open to Offers. This indicates that you are already basically fully-booked but might be interested in new contracts if they are appealing.
  • Less than 30 Hours / Week. This is best for those that have some work already but are able to take on more.
  • More than 30 hours / Week. This is a good way to show clients that you are highly available and can perhaps take on larger or more long-term contracts.

3. Be Selective With Your Proposals

It may be tempting to just start sending proposals for everything you see, but that is absolutely the wrong approach to take on Upwork.

All it will do is quickly burn through your Upwork connects, lead to disappointment, and do the very opposite of establishing you as a reliable expert in your field.

Instead, use your time and energy to find work that matches your skills and submit thoughtful and well-targeted proposals. The more closely the proposals you submit match your skill set, the more likely you are to get the work, do a good job, and qualify for Rising Talent.

4. Adhere to the Upwork Terms of Service

Upwork has a Trust and Safety team that is constantly monitoring activity on the platform to keep users safe. (It doesn’t mean there are no scams on the platform, sadly, but that’s another story).

Failure to adhere to the Terms of Service could cause you to receive a notification, a warning, or even be restricted or blocked. It certainly won’t help you to gain a Rising Talent badge!

5. Deliver Projects on Time and as Promised

This should really go without saying if you want to have any success as a freelancer on or off the Upwork platform. Bad work and poor communication = bad feedback and no repeat business.

6. Be Active in the Past 90 Days (or Have Joined in the Past 30 Days)

Upwork is looking to reward active users with the Rising Talent status so make sure that you are applying for jobs, answering clients, and getting work done.

Gaining “Rising Talent” isn’t something that’s exclusively for new Upwork users. If you’ve been dormant on the platform (read about cancelling or being unavailable here) and then start using it again, your new flow of work can contribute to you earning the status.

Upwork tracks and displays a lot of metrics. One that you want to pay particular attention to is your Upwork responsiveness score.

Clients hate it when they send out invitations and freelancers do not reply. Upwork will therefore collect data on how quickly you respond.

This is one of the key areas where you can demonstrate your professionalism – so make sure to always respond quickly.

Remember, you can change your availability status if you have started to get too much work.

7. Pass the Upwork Readiness Test

New freelancers who meet the other criteria but have not taken the Readiness Test will be invited to do so in an email so that they can get the badge.

This test is really the only element that you would not be doing naturally if you are putting in a solid effort to make the platform work for you.

Seasoned platform users could probably pass this test without any problems, but as a new user you are probably going to want to go to the Upwork Help Center and read up on some of the following topics:

  • The Upwork Responsiveness Score and how to increase it.
  • The Job Success Score and how it is calculated.
  • The payment protection program.
  • Unacceptable means of communication and client requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will It Take For a Rising Talent Badge to Appear on Your Upwork Profile?

It may take up to 48 hours from the time you meet all of the qualification requirements for the badge to appear.

Is The Criteria For Rising Talent Different For Agencies?

Yes. In addition to all of the criteria for freelancers, agencies must have at least two team members, maintain a 100% complete agency and agency owner profile, and maintain a 60% or higher profile completeness across the agency.

Are There Any Exceptions To The Criteria for Obtaining Rising Talent Status?

Not really. However, having a strong background in your industry prior to joining Upwork can help. Agencies started by existing Top Rated Upwork freelancers also get special consideration.

Will Upwork Rising Talent Status Improve Your Chances of Getting Gigs?

Having the Rising Talent status will certainly help you stand out from other freelancers in the marketplace and get you off to a good start.

Once you have enough work history on the platform your Rising Talent status will be replaced with a Job Success Score. This is really the first step in working towards the highly coveted Top Rated and Top Rated Plus Statuses.

Other Benefits

Most people focus on the visibility that the badge gives you and forget that this program comes with other benefits as well.

You get the following perks once you are awarded Rising Talent status:

  • A one-time bonus of 30 free connects.
  • Access to a specialised customer support team.
  • Reduced fees on Featured Jobs.

What’s Next?

If you have found this article useful and are looking for more ways to boost your success on Upwork, then I suggest you check out the following

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