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LinkedIn is increasingly the place to be if you’re looking to find new work. Put a little time and effort into your LinkedIn profile, and freelancers, contractors, and the self-employed can boost their chances of landing a new client or contract.
With the help of some of the members of our supportive self-employed community, Crunch Chorus, this article runs you through the must-haves when refining your LinkedIn profile, ensuring you’re more likely to be discovered by recruiters and companies.
The headline section is more than just listing your job title. Treat it as a way to clearly explain what you do. Don’t say “numbers magician” when you could say “accountant,” explains WordPress Developer Irune Itoiz. Consider also listing that you’re a contractor, freelancer or self-employed here.
Content Executive Nammie Matthews adds: “Your LinkedIn headline should be exactly that – use keywords (so recruiters can find you!) and imagine it follows on from ‘I am a…’ like you’re introducing yourself to someone you’re networking with.”
The summary (or About section) is the place to sell yourself. Clearly lay out your background and skillset, and absolutely avoid buzzwords (such as ‘passionate’, ‘specialised’, ‘creative’ to name a few)! “Write about the problem you solve for your potential client! Not yourself,” explains Helen Ball, Director of Social Know-How.
Software Developer Matt Mecham adds: “Use the ‘About’ section to speak directly to your ideal customer. Outline the problem they likely have, press a few pain points and then outline how you will help them.”
This might seem obvious, but it’s probably best to avoid a holiday snap of you on a sun lounger as your profile picture on your LinkedIn profile. Instead, pick one that clearly shows your face – one that even your dear old grandma would be proud to display on her lounge shelf, for example.
You’ll want to choose an image which is between 400 (w) x 400 (h) pixels and 7680 (w) x 4320 (h) pixels – it can then be easily cropped via LinkedIn. Also consider uploading a background photo – usually 1584 (w) x 396 (h) pixels. This image sits behind your profile photo. It could be an example of some work you’ve done, the city you work in, or maybe even one of you beavering away on a project.
Get this right and get discovered. Here you can outline the job titles that suit you best, the locations you’d be willing to work, how soon you can start, and the type of position you’d be open to taking: contract, remote, etc.
You also have the choice between having your availability for new work displayed publicly or just to recruiters. For most freelancers, the former would be absolutely fine – selecting this will even pop an ‘#OpenToWork photo frame’ on your profile. If however, you’re still in full-time employment, you might just want to show your availability to recruiters rather than your current boss, so bear that in mind!
Pretty simple change, this, but with just a few clicks you can customise your profile URL so it looks that little bit more professional, rather than including some jumbled numbers/letters.
Treat this section as if it were a search engine. What might people type in when looking to recruit people with your skills? Think keywords! Take time to search through LinkedIn’s options and then pin three skills you’d like to feature in your profile.
Connecting with the right people can be key. But there’s a balance to be had when sending invitations. You don’t want to be going overboard and ultimately coming across like a bot. That said, connecting with decision-makers in business or industries that suit you can be hugely beneficial.
Should they accept your invitation request, sending them a private message is an option, but be careful not to come across spammy – it’s best to try and engage with content from your connections on your timeline to help warm up the relationship. Enjoyed an article someone posted? Tell them about it. Make yourself known.
Proud of some work that you’ve produced? Share it!
Senior Concept Artist/Illustrator Emily Abeydeera says: “Something I have found to really help my engagement is to post my work to the feed, this is slightly easier in creative fields (I’m an illustrator/concept artist). But I feel it would work well with other creative media – or anything directly related to your work! If it gets shared around a few peoples networks it can really catch the eye of recruiters!”
So, there you go! Now that you’re armed with this info, get your profile updated and hopefully opportunities will come flooding in. We’ve also got loads of other great resources to help you grow your business: from jargon-free business guides to a self-employed jobs board.