Freelancing has become one of the most lucrative careers around but if you don't know how to sell yourself through your profile it could be the difference between building a career and not having one at all.
Below are 6 steps to build an online presence through your freelance profile:
Step 1: Create an effective headline – Your headline should be short and straight to the point. We recommend keeping it to one line, which is definitely possible because you only need to state three pieces of information.
- Position title
- Number of years of experience
Step 2: Upload a professional photo – It’s not all about the words you use, but the image you portray. A professional photo is a big plus. This doesn’t mean that you have to head to your local photo studio and purchase headshots. Simply find a blank wall in your home and have a friend with a good camera snap a few shots of you. Don’t forget to smile! A friendly smile and a warm expression will do the trick. If you’re camera shy, you’ll benefit from finding a way to get over it. Choosing not to include a photo on your profile is more likely to hurt you than help you, because clients will feel like you’re hiding something. If you don’t want to run a photo of yourself for personal reasons, you can consider another type of photo, image or avatar that appropriately reflects you and the service you provide. For example, if you’re an illustrator, an attractive illustration could work. If you’re a graphic designer, you could upload a professional logo that you’ve designed for yourself, rather than a headshot.
Step 3: Open your profile by outlining your qualifications and experience – Cut right to the chase. Immediately open your profile by telling the potential client why you are a qualified freelancer. You must tell them everything they want to know about you immediately to prove that you are qualified for the project. If you hit all of their checkpoints, they’ll add you to the shortlist. Open your profile with:
- Position title (i.e. Senior Graphic Designer, Junior Programmer, Entertainment Writer, etc.)
- Years of experience in the field
- Areas of expertise
- Technical skills and program knowledge
- Industry expertise (if applicable)
Step 4: Backup your qualifications with your academic background – Clients like to know that you have formal training and education in the field you specialize in. If you have academic credentials, mention them immediately after your qualifications and experience. Your academic background can either be related to the field you are freelancing within, or to the industry. For example, either of the following academic backgrounds and experience could apply to a freelance business writer:
a) A post-secondary degree in journalism or English or creative writing, along with an established portfolio of published work with several business publications
b) A Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Business Administration or a related field, along with extensive knowledge in specific industries
If you don’t have an impressive academic background, do your best to make up for it by focusing on the relevant experience you bring to the table.
Step 5: Always include your contact information – Many clients are drawn to hiring local talent. By mentioning where you are located, you could get the upper hand in local projects. Clients also want to be able to reach you. The easier you are to contact, the more reliable you will appear. After all, reliability is one of the most important factors for clients when hiring freelancers.
Step 6: Prove how great you are with samples and references – Clients want to know that you are capable of completing their project successfully, so prove it to them by showing them past successes. If you’ve worked for well-known companies or organizations, this is the time to name-drop. Even if your previous clients are small to medium-sized businesses, the client wants to know that you’ve been hired before. In the body of your profile, you can begin listing each of your major projects, starting from the most recent and working your way back. Include the client’s name, the project scope, the timeline, and the budget if applicable. If you encountered obstacles during the project, explain how you overcame them. If you received fantastic feedback from the client, include it in your profile. Using testimonials from the clients themselves is one of the best ways to show a potential client that you are worth hiring.
What shouldn’t be in your profile: By following these six steps, you’ll know what to include in your profile. But it’s just as important to know what not to include. The main thing to avoid is fluff. Fluff refers to weak or unnecessary sentences, such as sentences where you talk about your communication skills, your ability to work hard, and your personality. All of these are things that your client expects of you anyway or would come across in your profile. For example, if you’re a great communicator, your profile will speak for itself. And if you have a winning personality, that will come across too. But remember, the things your client cares about most are covered in the six steps. If you’ve done a good job there, you don’t need to add anything else.
Do you have any advice to add on how to create a solid profile that will grab attention online?