Why Leaving an Unfinished Job Open on Upwork Can Actually Hurt Your Ratings

When you accept a job on Upwork, you probably have the best of intentions of completing it. However, there are many different reasons why the job may actually fall apart and this could prove problematic for you as it relates to landing other jobs or your job success score.

Your job success score takes into account numerous different factors that Upwork uses to rank you as a freelancer on the site. Of course, part of this is developed directly from your client's feedback when you finish a project. 

Occasionally, however, you might have a client who seems to ghost on you a couple of days or weeks into the project. They may have had their own best intentions to pass things along to you, but simply were not organized enough or were not ready yet to hire a freelancer. Having an open job on your Upwork profile, however, can actually work against you.


Multiple open jobs give the impression that you are overbooked

First of all, if someone is viewing your Upwork profile and it indicates that you have multiple jobs open, they may hesitate to hire you or extend an invitation to you because they suspect that you are currently overbooked. If you have 12 open jobs, for example, an individual who is checking you out and considering hiring you for freelance services may be under the impression that you are simply too busy to help them. This means they may not even reach out to you at all and you wouldn’t even be aware of it.


Your Job Success Score is dictated, in part, by your ability to wrap up a job

Furthermore, your job success score is also calculated on the effectiveness of your ability to wrap up Upwork jobs and close them out successfully. In an ideal world, you will accept an Upwork job, complete the work associated with it, close out the job in a timely fashion and receive excellent feedback from your client. However, there are many different working parts to this process and you cannot always count on the other person in the process, the client, to follow through on their end of the deal.

If the client is simply not ready to have you work on this particular project or if you have since turned in your work, but the job is remaining open, I recommend reaching out to your client and asking if there is anything else that they need help with. The client may not understand the impact that having an open and inactive job can have on your profile. Over time, Upwork will automatically pause inactive contracts. If you have given the opportunity to the client, two or three times to reactivate the contract or to provide you with additional work, I recommend going ahead and closing out the job yourself.  


An unresponsive client is not likely to give you positive feedback anyway

There are a couple of different reasons for this. First of all, the client is unlikely to give you positive feedback anyway, if they have not responded to your last couple of messages, asking whether or not the work still needs to be completed. This means that there are no potential gains for you in terms of waiting for the client to return, but there are potential downsides associated with leaving the job open.

Other people may think you are simply too busy and you will look falsely busy because you have information on your profile that indicates that you are still completing this job. I like to go through and close things out on a regular basis because it also helps to clear my mind and my Upwork profile. Having fewer jobs open and only keeping my truly active jobs open, indicates that I am very aware of my Upwork profile and that I am constantly logging in and updating materials as necessary. Furthermore, there is no direct harm to me because there is a very slim chance that any one of these people who couldn’t be bothered to actually return my messages is actually going to leave me bad feedback.

In fact, it’s probably been days or weeks since they have even signed into the platform. It’s far better to close it out and have the 'no feedback given' notice against that particular job on my profile. Since inactive open jobs can have an impact on both your job success score and how busy you appear to be when other people view your profile, I recommend going through this process at least once a month, if you are juggling multiple projects. If you are not that active yet on the Upwork platform, do this on an as-needed basis. 

I recently closed out six different projects that had been sitting dormant on my Upwork profile for a while, paring it down to just the jobs I was actually working on. This helps me when I bid on other projects to indicate that I truly have the bandwidth as stated on my Upwork platform. It can be challenging to determine which clients are going to be the ones who will give you the materials you need to do the job and also allow you to finish the job quickly and give you good feedback. One way to increase your chances of a project going as smoothly as possible and avoiding the problem of an inactive job with a dormant client is to tell the client, how important these details are in tracking your overall Upwork success.


An up-to-date Upwork Profile sends out the message that you are active on the platform & as a freelancer

Share with them that leaving a five-star feedback is critical for you to land other jobs on the platform. Share with them that you close out the jobs that are inactive occasionally because it reflects poorly on your job success score. Marking that the job was completed successfully in the review phase on your end and on the client's end will likely have a better impact on your job success score. The bottom line is this: it's strongly recommended that you go through and clear out your inactive Upwork profile jobs on a regular basis. It shows that you are still active on the platform and that you are available for work from others. If you are unable to prompt your client to give you additional work to wrap up the contract, just mark 'job unsuccessfully completed' or 'client not responsive.' This indicates to Upwork that you gave your best effort. Sending messages on the workroom well in advance to request they provide additional information or let you know if the job is still active certainly supports your case.