Hello hello! Let me ask you, when was the last time you went on LinkedIn? If you’re like a majority of the population it was to update your resume and then you hopped off and went about your way. Let me tell you that is a HUGE mistake for both 9-5 employees, and freelancers.
LinkedIn is amazing because of what it really is….a social media platform all about furthering your career. And you’re telling me that you’re not on that 24/7?! Shame.
But navigating the recruiter filled waters of LinkedIn can be confusing. So here is how to use LinkedIn as a freelancer!
Why should I use LinkedIn as a freelancer?
Well! Let’s circle back to that statement above. LinkedIn is first and foremost a networking social site, they’ve just happened to brand themselves for business vs the musical ways of say Myspace. You can use this to create a profile that screams ‘Successful Freelancer’ in whatever your given niche and field is! If you need help narrowing down your niche you can always check out my blog post on that as well!
Here are some other benefits of using LinkedIn as a Freelancer, and how to make your profile stick out from the crowd!
Like every other social media site, LinkedIn has it’s own algorithm which then plays with Google’s algorithm as well. What does this mean for you? Well if you’re a freelancer that has no interest in creating a website, a killer LinkedIn profile can certainly stand in. By using keyword you’ll show up in potential clients, and recruiters searches. This is great because if you have a specific niche, by using those keywords your ideal clients will actually find you instead of you hunting them down! IE if you’re a beauty copywriter, by putting that in your headline or summary, someone searching for specifically that will run across your profile. If you had just used copywriter they probably wouldn’t have found you among the thousands of other copywriters!
So remember kids; completely fill out your profile! The more information the better. Also, don’t just use bullet points. Sure they’re good for quick listing skills and tasks, but your summary and tag line are where you can really shine. Put specifically what you do and say it in an eye catching way.
LackLustre: Construction Project Manager at Acme Corporations
Great: Project Manager Building Great Relationships and Structures (see that cheeky pun?) If you’re in a creative field you can have even more fun with it! Also don’t forget to include your contact information!
Portfolio Samples/ Articles
If you’re a freelancer, chances are you have a great deal of knowledge in your field. Make sure to showcase these on your LinkedIn profile. Now I personally think the LinkedIn structure for profiles is a bit weird, but you have to work with what you’ve got! You can certainly link to your portfolio website if you have one, but the best way to show things you’ve created is by uploading media or writing articles.
Now LinkedIn lets your write posts and articles. Articles are more for long form copywriting that really show your knowledge, vs posts that are more akin to Facebook. I like to either write LinkedIn specific content (Like this article I did on being an egg donor) or reuses a snippet from a blog post in the form of an article (Like this Funding22 article here). Yes, repeating the exact same content can hurt your ranking, but the click-throughs make up for it. So take that with a grain of salt. Having articles shows that you A. Know what you’re talking about. B. Stay up to date with creating content and keeping up with your niche and C. Shows that you take initiative to keep all of your stuff in one easy place!
Now this is extremely easy if you are a content creator of any kind to pimp out your profile. When you add a job you can upload media to it as well. I’ve personally uploaded copy writing projects I’ve done at each job, but you can certainly also upload pictures, profiles or links to other websites. If you happen to do something more abstract like consulting or project management, I would consider do a screen capture and talk through video where you showcase different projects you’ve worked on.
BUT WAIT! You’re a freelancer….so where do you put work you’ve done while flying solo? Easy, list that you’re self employed as a job and showcase them under that. In the information section flaunt all the companies you’ve worked with and types of projects you’ve done. Then the media just adds to that. This also allows you to showcase that you don’t actually have a gap in employment.
The best part of being a freelancer on LinkedIn is that it makes it super easy to ask for testimonials, feedback and endorsements from people. You can easily just send a request to former clients or employers. Sure, not all will take the time to fill it out, but even just one can make your profile that much better! It’s like having Yelp built in to your freelancing website/profile!
The skills section of your profile is your time to shine and use that SEO we talked about so much before. List everything that you focus on in you business and make sure to include niche specific things. The algorithm will pull from here in addition to your listed company, summary, headline and of course your name.
Engagement is the Name of the Game!
To summarize this section up real fast….it’s a social networking site get socializing!
Now I’ll be honest, I have taken SO MANY LinkedIn courses online (two of my favorite are listed below). They’ve taught me how to pimp out my profile, talk to people and showcase my work. Really this blog post is a roundup of everything I’ve learned and found useful!
Connect with People!
Now the SMU link below shows you how to increase your network on LinkedIn. First connect with people you know or have worked with in the past. In my experience the next step are people who have a common connect with you. I also suggest connecting with any CEO, Owner, HR or Recruiter you see. You never know what opportunity will come knocking just because you found someone online! Some people send messages with each connect, but I find that can sometimes be annoying. I personally only add a note when I’m connecting with someone who doesn’t know me but that is in my niche. So when I added a bunch of fertility doctors, they were the ones I sent a note to!
Once you have connected with people, it’s your time to shine! Leave thoughtful comments on people’s content and make sure to support your friends! Your activity shows up on your profile as well, so it showcases that you’re a team player and generally looks good. Also make sure to reply to all comments on your own posts, articles and updates!
Now that we’re at the end of my crash course on why you should use LinkedIn as a freelancer, I want to leave you with just a couple other tips.
1. Don’t forget that LinkedIn has a jobs section! I find the interface one of the easiest to use when looking for, and applying for jobs.
2. Appearances are everything. Use a professional picture for your profile! Selfies will not cut it, nor will a picture from 15 years ago folks. Also; you have the opportunity to add pictures to your profile as a header image. People RARELY do this, so take advantage of that fact! Use your logo, or somethign relevant to your niche.
Social Media University (SMU) https://joinsmu.com/crew