Word reaches us today that professional social network LinkedIn is testing a new feature that could prove a tremendous boon for freelancers and contractors – the ability to add availability to your profile when you’re on the hunt for more work.

LinkedIn’s options for the self-employed have been rather limited in the past, and the requirement to list a company for all your roles often results in rather unwieldy job titles such as “Freelance writer at Freelance”. For both freelancers and recruiters alike, being able to advertise your availability could make the site an even more productive offering for finding work.

linkedin_contract_button

Although not the largest social network by sheer numbers (LinkedIn sports about 200 million members compared to Facebook’s over 1 billion and Twitter’s 500 million) LinkedIn’s positioning as the ‘professional’ network means it is often the go-to destination for job hunters and recruiters alike. LinkedIn’s “Talent Solutions” arm, which is used by recruitment agencies and companies looking for new blood, accounted for over half of LinkedIn’s $303 million in revenue in the last quarter of 2012.

The new “available for contract work” button is currently in a closed beta with a selection of candidates who have previously listed contract work on their profiles, but we’ll hopefully see it rolled out wider in the very near future.