If you recognize that LinkedIn is an important networking tool, then you probably realize that your profile could be working better for you. But what’s the best way to improve your freelance LinkedIn profile? Well, if you concentrate on just a few key areas, you could find your profile making a big impact on your growing business!
First, we need to establish why your LinkedIn profile is so important in the first place. Just because “everyone else” has one is by no means a good reason to have one yourself. The value of your profile—especially if it’s done right—goes far beyond following the crowd.
Just as recruiters and employers check out candidates’ profiles, many of your would-be clients will do the same thing when they receive your pitch or proposal. They’re looking for specific things: how you define yourself and your work, who else you know, and whether others recommend working with you.
As freelancers, we aren’t applying for traditional jobs, but many decision-makers will refer to LinkedIn to help them figure out whether you’re worth the investment.
Your profile can also help you in the opposite case. If your potential client is looking for someone who offers your service, you definitely want your name to come up in their search results. When they come across your profile, they should find a compelling reason to reach out to you.
So let’s talk more about how to make sure your profile can help you land the work in either scenario.
1. Make Your Title Work for You
Even though this part is often overlooked, the title is one of the more important parts of your freelance LinkedIn profile. You may think it’s sufficient to put in your literal job title and your current company, but you could be using this section so much more effectively. Pro Tip: Include your website URL, since you want to make it super easy for people to find—and visit—it!
It’s an open field, so you can put whatever you want in here. Be intentional and make this section work for you.
2. Include Your USP in Your Summary
Here’s your big chance to really sell yourself to your prospective clients! Rather than a dry list of your previous experience, use this space to highlight how your clients in your freelance career benefit from that experience. Pro Tip: The reader should know exactly what your USP is by the end of this section.
A word of warning, though: it’s not enough to copy your bio from your website. Since you’re ultimately hoping to drive them over there anyway, give them something unique to read here.
Read More: Stand out from Freelance Competition with Your USP »
3. Select Which Experiences to Highlight
This is not the same as the experience section in your resume. Although other professionals focus on their past jobs, that may not be as relevant for your freelancing career. Whatever experience you choose to include, frame it in such a way that it highlights how it benefits your clients.
Pro Tip: Make sure to include any project work you’ve done for past clients or employers, explaining how you solved the problem. It’s your goal to help people understand how various experiences work together to make you the right person to hire!
4. Highlight Your Website
Even though LinkedIn offers space for a portfolio on your profile, LinkedIn cannot take the place of your own website. You’ll want to put a few pieces here, but we don’t recommend using this space exclusively.
The reason is that, on LinkedIn, you don’t have control over the user’s experience. They might be looking at your profile and then randomly get diverted by an ad or a sidebar. But on your website, you are better able to dictate what they see and how they see it. Pro Tip: Put 2-3 portfolio highlights up on LinkedIn, and then create an image that directs people to your URL.
Have you noticed a pattern? Your website should be prominently displayed throughout your freelance LinkedIn profile. Include your URL in each section:
- Experience section
- Portfolio section
Direct people over to your site so you can impress them with your work—and make it super easy to contact you.
5. Ask for Recommendations
This is another key section of your profile. It’s probably the most influential section, next to your bio and your portfolio samples. Recommendations are proof that real people have benefitted from your services.
No recommendations so far? No worries! Start contacting people you’ve worked with before, even if the job wasn’t in exactly the same field as your freelancing gig. Just let them know that you’re working on your LinkedIn recommendations. If you highlight for them the crossover between your work with them and the work you’re doing now, you can guide them to write an extremely compelling recommendation.
The catch with this section is that each person has to use the LinkedIn platform to complete their recommendation (you cannot do it for them). Pro Tip: Ask for their permission to use their recommendation on your business website, too.
Having social proof on your profile goes a long way! Asking colleagues for recommendations is an excellent investment in your business.
6. Add Key Skills
This final section is fairly easy to complete, so even though it’s not especially important in terms of how LinkedIn functions, it doesn’t hurt to list your relevant skills. LinkedIn provides options to choose from; simply search for and select your particular skills from the list. As you build your network, people can endorse you for these skills. It’s just one more way to provide some social proof that you really are as talented as you say.
It probably won’t take you very long to update your LinkedIn profile. Put a little extra thought into each section, and make sure you polish your writing. People will be lined up to work with you once your profile sparkles!
Bonus: One more Pro Tip
By default, LinkedIn will notify all of your current connections when you make any changes. Turn this feature off if you’ll be making several changes over a period of a few days and you don’t want your connections to be notified of every edit.
On the other hand, if you’ve recently redone your website, why not let your network know?
Your turn! What part of your freelance LinkedIn profile are you going to change first? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on December 12, 2022 by Craig Galo