When is the last time a potential client asked for your resume? The answer is probably “too long for me to remember.”
That is because in today’s digital age, traditional outdated PDF’s are becoming a thing of the past and are being replaced by websites and LinkedIn profiles.
So if you thought until now that Linkedin wasn’t for you because you’re a freelancer, or that Linkedin is just for employees, thing again! Linkedin can be a great place to showcase your skills, establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, connect with other freelancers and potential clients and increase your revenue generation.
Invest in Professional Pictures
The first thing anyone will see when they visit your LinkedIn page is your profile picture. The picture you chose says a lot about you as a person and as a professional and as a result, should be a professional one you are happy with.
Choose a clear head shot and make sure no other people or objects are visible in the picture. You do not have to be in a suit and tie, but you also should not use a selfie or silly photo as your profile picture. Find a happy blend between pleasant and professional so potential’s take you seriously.
It’s all about the Header
After glancing at your profile, the next thing people will see is your headline. This will appear in searches and is the first opportunity you have to make an impression on potential clients. Think of it as your digital 30 second elevator pitch that has to be compelling enough to make people click on your profile.
Use keywords that are related to your unique skill set and avoid use of jargon and slang. Be sure to include the word “freelancer” or your company name in your headline so it is clearly visible to potential clients that you are a service provider.
If a potential client clicks on your profile, you have the chance to captivate them again with a profile background photo. If using the background photo option, make sure the photo is high quality, the right size, and relevant to your field.
Once a potential client or connection is in your profile, this is the time to really make your profile stand out and convince them to contact you. That is why it is important to use your profile summary to reflect exactly what you do, what your experience is, and what services you offer. Do not forget to mention that you are a freelancer since that is what will remind potential clients that you are available for projects and not only full time hire.
Essentially, your summary is your brochure, business card and sales pitch all in one, and therefore it is important to outline the problems you solve for clients, proof that you have the experience you say you do, and a way to clearly reach out to you.
Do not write long winded summaries here – this is a brief bio designed to captivate potential clients and validate you as a professional. Do list skills, accomplishments and rewards that make you stand out, and don’t forget to include a call to action (such as “contact me today to see how I can help you with ….”
Articles and Engagement
On Linkedin, users have the ability to publish original articles in the “Articles” section. This is a great opportunity for freelancers to establish themselves as thought leaders in their domain.
By writing about what you know best, you can establish yourself as an authority in your domain, generate interest in your profile, and increase your profile’s exposure to potential clients. You can also establish yourself through engagement in relevant Linkedin groups and sharing your content with individuals that may be interested to read it.
Following the articles is where to showcase your experience in depth. This section reads more like a resume, however can also be used by freelancers to increase their appeal to potential clients.
If you want to highlight clients that you provided services for, consider listing them in your experience section as projects. If you are a freelance writer for example, take advantage of the publications element to share your writing pieces.
Your contacts can validate your experiences by indicating your top skills in the experience keyword section at the bottom of your profile. This section lists off top skills contacts say you have and showcases their photos, increasing validity and trustworthiness.
Focus on Recommendations
Ultimately, word of mouth is the best way for freelancers to provide their experience, and fortunately, LinkedIn has a great way to get recommendations.
Since recommendations give you professional credibility, it is important to get your past clients to recommend your services.
Do not have a long client list yet? Not a problem! LinkedIn lets you get recommendations from anyone you worked with, so this can include colleagues, business partners, employers and so on. You can also ask freelancers you collaborated with to recommend their experience with you.
Managing Your Profile
Since the nature of your work changes frequently, it is important to routinely update your LinkedIn profile in order to remain relevant and ensure it accurately reflects your work, experience and services.
Be sure to double-check your spelling and grammar to avoid mistakes, and make sure the information you upload is not an exaggeration or fabrication.