7 tips to Help You Use Upwork Connects Wisely

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In this post, we’re going to cover how you can use your Upwork Connects wisely to apply for work ensuring that you get hired or get to the interview stage.

Let’s get started!

Until a few months ago, freelancers had the option to opt into a membership plan or get by with 60 free connects per month.

On Upwork, to apply for work, you need connects. 

As I write this post, the free membership plan has been scrapped off and freelancers have to buy connects to apply for work.

When Upwork mentioned that freelancers would start buying connects to apply for work, many freelancers were up in arms and rightfully so.

Unfortunately, Upwork rarely goes back on their word.

Here's a breakdown estimate of how much connects will cost.
How to Estimate your connects cost.

With this in mind, let’s dive into effective ways that can help you use your Upwork connects wisely ensuring that with each application you get hired or at least, get to the interview stage.

How To Buy Upwork Connects.

Each job posting on Upwork requires 1-6 connects to apply and this majorly depends on the size of the project and the budget associated with the job.

This means that with each job application your connects reduce significantly and if you’re not getting hired or getting invites, you’ll have to purchase connects to keep applying.

There 3 ways to purchase Upwork connects.

  1. Using your Upwork Available balance.
  2. Using PayPal Balance
  3. Using a valid credit or debit card.

By default, your Available Funds will be used to purchase extra connects or membership.

If you opt to use a credit or debit card or PayPal, you’ll need to add these payment methods from your settings page.

To add a billing method navigate to your settings page.
Here’s a link to Billing & Payments Section

Add Billing Method on Upwork

Click on Add Method and a pop-up window will load with the option to add a credit card or debit card and PayPal.
Add the payment method that suits your needs.

Add a Credit or Debit Card as a Billing Method on Upwork
Add PayPal as a Billing Method

Once you’ve added your preferred payment method, it’s time to buy connects.
Navigate to the Membership and Connects tab in your settings section.

From this page, you’ll see what membership plan you’re on, the available connects and you’re billing cycle.

Membership and Connects on Upwork

Click on Add More Connects.
This will open the page below.

Buy Connects

From this page you’ll be able to buy connects from as little as $1.50 for 10 connects to 62 connects for $9.30

Select the amount of connects to buy

If you attended an Upwork event and have a promo code, you can use that to purchase connects and get a discount. 

Once you’re satisfied with your selection, click on add connects and you’ll have purchased your desired connects to keep applying for work. 


“Your billing method will be charged only when your available balance from Upwork earnings is not sufficient to pay for your monthly membership and/or Connects.”

“ Connects will expire 1 year from today. Unused Connects rollover to the next month (maximum of 140). Learn More.

Here's a video to help you save your Upwork connects.

Here are the 7 tips I use to avoid wasting Upwork connects.

1. Apply to ‘SURE’ work.

What ‘SURE’ work means is work that you know without the shadow of a doubt you can complete, go over and above in terms of quality, communicate effectively and deliver work that will awe the client.

If you use your Upwork connects to apply to this type of job, it’s very easy to get hired.
You also need to have relevant samples to get hired for the ”SURE’ jobs.

2. Check when the job was posted.

Many freelancers waste their connects by applying to work that was posted several days ago and with no client activity at all.
Before you decide to apply to a job that is a few days old, always review client activity on the job.

Is the client viewing the applications?

Is the client interviewing anyone?

Has the client sent any invites?

It doesn’t matter whether a job is a “SURE” job to you, but when a job was posted and client activity on the job plays a very critical role in helping you make a decision.

Activity on a Job Posting on Upwork

3. The Number of Applicants.

It is going to be extremely difficult to get a job posting with hundreds of applicants now that freelancers have to pay for connects.

I think paying for connects will keep the applications minimal and relevant for Upwork clients.

If a job posting will have many applications, it means that most of the applicants have the relevant samples/portfolio, have a job history and most importantly applied before you.

Personally, I don’t see the point in applying to this kind of work because on most occasions you end wasting connects.

Save your connects by using that job posting to polish up on your samples or better yet to be on the lookout for such opportunities.

Very many proposals for one job posting.

4. Client Activity on The Job.

It’s important to always check the ‘Last Viewed by Client’ feature on Upwork. It can help you bid on a job that is days old and you as the freelancer still get hired.


If a client has not hired anyone and the job is a few days old and there’s active viewing of the proposals, then this is a clear indication that the client is still looking for the right fit.

This can help you get hired and at the same time save connects by deciding the client has already found the right freelance talent.

5. The Number of Invites and Freelancers Interviewing.

The higher the number of invites/interviews, the higher the chances that you will waste your connects.

Truth be told, when a client invites a freelancer to apply for their work, it means that the client has;

  • visited the freelancers’ profile,
  • they know what skills and the portfolio the freelancer has,
  • the feedback the freelancer gets from other clients
  • most importantly a relevant job history.

Should you waste your Upwork connects on the job? I don’t think so.

The only time when I recommend you apply to this job is when the client has invited freelancers and no one is interviewing and it’s been a few hours since the job was posted.

This happens mostly to jobs posted by newbie clients.

If you get to see this kind of work, apply.


6. Shoddy Job Applications.

Applying to jobs with scanty job details is a waste of time and connects.
Most of these jobs end being scam jobs.

Avoid them if you can but if you see that the client has hired and spent a substantial amount of money on Upwork, that’s a job that you can apply to.

If you notice that the client has been on Upwork for a long time or a short time with a ton of jobs posted without any hires, keep off that client.

Most of the time, they’ll waste your connects.

Here's a sample of a scanty job application.

7. Has the client hired anyone?

This is my final tip to help you use your connects wisely and there are 2 scenarios.

Scenario 1:
You see a job posting from a client that has been on Upwork for a couple of months or years and they’ve never hired anyone, do you think they’ll hire you?

Even if you have the best proposal and samples, most of these clients will end up wasting your connects.

These clients tend to accept your proposals and ask you if you have Skype for communication. They want to hire you and pay you monthly.

Please note that not all clients that request you to communicate via Skype are there to scam you or waste your connects. Most of them are legit and that’s their preferred mode of communication.

Scenario 2:
You see a job posting but the client has already hired someone.
This happens a lot on Upwork and is because of clients forgetting to close the job application.

If you see this kind of work, there’s no need for applying and wasting your connects especially if it has been days since the hire was made or the client last viewed the job.

Here's an example of a job posting with a hire but sill open.

RELATED: Easy Jobs For Beginners on Upwork

Deciding whether to apply or not to apply really depends on the freelancers doing due diligence on the jobs posted and weighing your options on whether a job will waste your connects or not.

That’s it!

Those are some of the tips I use to avoid wasting my Upwork connects. What’s your favorite?

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10 thoughts on “7 tips to Help You Use Upwork Connects Wisely”

  1. I was on this platform up to 2017, then I came back this year. I have been trying to figure out what the issue was to no avail.

    I just applied to 2 jobs and my balance of connects was almost gone. This seemed strange.

    Thanks to you, now I understand.


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