6 reasons why your freelance proposals get rejected

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As with my bad experience with submitting proposals recently, I was pondering why my proposals get me no project at all. I strongly believe I had the right skills to do a  good job for that specific client. I don’t apply for a position where I think I’m not suitable. So let’s see why I think they were rejected maybe you find yourself in the same boat too.

1. The bid is too high

Freelancing is a very competitive market so you’re actually fighting with freelancers whose cost of living is less than yours. Cost of living is higher in Poland than Egypt for instance. After all, if I, as a beneficiary, I can pay less for the same service, why shouldn’t I miss the opportunity? It’s human nature after all. We’d all like to pay less for anything. Even get if for free if possible!

2. Client is too sophisticated

Some clients have different non-technical requirements to which they rigorously stick. There are clients who prefer to hire freelancers only in US or they want the freelancer to speak Russian for example. Some want you to have at least 100 hrs of actual working with the freelancer platform, some want you to have a programming test passed with a high grade. Regardless of their reasons it’s advisable not to apply to jobs where you don’t meet these type of requirements as you’ll most likely end up rejected. So save your connect points as much as possible.

3. Proposal was submitted too late

I’ve noticed that the odds of winning a bid are higher when you submit your proposal as early as possible. Most determined clients wait for the right candidate and hire him right away, so if you show up early chances are you get a project. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to check for new postings quite often and have some customizable templates which you can adapt to the specific job. I recommend you to have 2-3 templates in which you can emphasize different area of your expertise. This way you can quickly react to new postings.

4. Job was overfilled with proposals

This is somehow linked to the previous one. Basically, when you apply for a job later, there are big chances that the job received so many applications, that it’s harder for you to stand out. The client might have already started an interview with someone else. However this is not always true because some clients prefer to wait a couple of days to review candidate profiles and then they’ll analyze each one. Tip: well established companies with proven record of hiring online might be among those who meticulously check the applications in order to select the right candidate.

5. Lack of experience ranks you low

All of the freelancing platforms have a kind of mechanism that ranks you according to your skills, job success, money earned through the portal or membership kind. For instance, Upwork has a mechanism that based on the required job skills and yours, the clients receives the most suitable freelancers for his posting. This way it’s very easy for them to hire people without spending too much time analyzing the profiles. More than that, based on how much you earn through the portal you’ll rank higher or lower. This way Upwork makes sure that freelancers who already earned money will earn more money through them.

6. Proposal too long or generic

None of us was born thought, so it means that your proposals won’t be perfect from the start. If you see it as an opportunity to learn, you’ll notice that a common problem causing applications to be rejected is that your proposals are too generic or too detailed. It’s important to avoid sending a generic template in the hope you’ll pick up something. Clients want to receive tailor-made proposals to suit their needs. It the first stone of building a trustful collaboration. Another caveat to avoid is sending a too long and detailed text. Almost nobody will read it entirely! In the context of this fast-paced globalized world, you need to catch up the people’s attention very fast. So make sure you keep your proposals neat, relevant and customized to the client’s needs.


Jumping to conclusions, I’ve exposed a couple of ways you can improve your job hunt as a freelancer. These will help you win the projects you’ve dreamed about and will make clients happy. Moreover, the world will become a better place where remote working will be prevalent and enjoyable!

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this article useful and interesting. If you have any suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. If you found my content useful please consider a small donation. Any support is greatly appreciated! Cheers  😉

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Author: afivan

Enthusiast adventurer, software developer with a high sense of creativity, discipline and achievement. I like to travel, I like music and outdoor sports. Because I have a broken ligament, I prefer safer activities like running or biking. In a couple of years, my ambition is to become a good technical lead with entrepreneurial mindset. From a personal point of view, I’d like to establish my own family, so I’ll have lots of things to do, there’s never time to get bored 😂

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