An easy way to get more freelance work
More clients are using LinkedIn to search for freelancers and to check us out before deciding whether to hire us. Colleagues use LinkedIn too to check us out before deciding whether to make a referral to us for freelance work.
So LinkedIn has become a great tool for finding freelance work.
Use The Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Checklist for Freelancers to develop a complete, client-focused profile and you’ll stand out in the sea of freelancers.Download a PDF of the checklist.
1. Create a complete profile.
Profile completeness is the most important thing in LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
A complete profile has:
- Industry and location
- Profile photo
- Current position (under Experience)
- Two past positions
- At least 3 skills.
2. Create a compelling, client-focused headline.
You have up to 220 characters for your headline. Use them to attract clients and make them want to learn more about you:
- Clearly say what you do and how you help your clients.
- Use the keyword “freelancer” or “freelance writer” (or “freelance ADD YOUR FIELD HERE”), because that’s how clients search.
- Use other keywords related to your services that clients will search for.
But you DON’T have to use the full 220 characters. The old LinkedIn limit of 120 characters is usually plenty for a good headline.
3. Use a professional photo.
Profiles with a professional headshot are 14-21 times more likely to be viewed than profiles without a photo.
Recommended profile photo size: 400 x 400 pixels
Maximum size: 10MB
4. Use an effective banner image.
The banner image, sometimes called the cover photo, is the bar at the top of your profile that includes your photo (on the left). The default banner image is fine. If you use a custom image, make sure it’s clear and looks great as part of your profile.
Recommended banner image size: 1,584 x 396 pixels
Maximum size: 4MB
5. Include your contact information.
Include at least your email address and website in your contact info (below your headline in what LinkedIn calls the introduction card). It’s a good idea to include your phone number too.
6. Include your industry.
Add your industry in the introduction card. It’s a key part of LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
7. Add or revise the Featured Section.
LinkedIn’s Featured section lets you display your best work to anyone who looks at your profile. Below About and above Activity, you can use Featured to display your:
- Work samples
- LinkedIn posts or articles.
You can add, delete, and move items under Featured. If you had any media in About before, LinkedIn moved them to Featured. Review what’s there and revise as necessary.
If you don’t have samples or anything else that’s relevant to add yet, that’s okay. It’s better to have no Featured section than one that doesn’t make you look good.
8. Create a compelling, client-focused About introduction.
Only the first 220-270 characters with spaces (about 102-167 characters on mobile) in About show before the reader needs to click “see more.” Make sure the first 220-270 characters flow with your headline and offer a clear, concise message. About is also called the summary.
9. Include just enough key content in the rest of About.
Focus the rest of About on how you help your clients meet their needs. Briefly summarize your services, and your relevant experience and background. Use bulleted lists for your services and anything else that works well in a list.
10. Include a call to action in About.
Tell clients what you want them to do with a call to action at the end of About (e.g., call
or email, visit my website, connect on LinkedIn, or any combination of these). Include contact info and your website.
11. Be conversational and interesting.
Your profile is a marketing tool, not a resume. Make it easy to read (conversational) and interesting. Use:
- Short, action-oriented sentences
- Short paragraphs
- Subheads (in all caps)
- Bulleted lists.
12. Highlight your experience.
Your freelance business is your current position. Include “freelance” in your title followed by what you do (e.g., freelance writer or editor). Repeat some of the information from About here. Include relevant keywords.
LinkedIn says a complete profile needs 3 positions, including the current position. If you’ve had professional jobs before freelancing, list at least 2 here. Focus on what’s most relevant to your freelance work. If you haven’t had professional jobs, include other relevant work experience, such as college internships or part-time jobs.
13. List your skills.
You need at least 3 skills for a complete profile. And listing skills helps you rank higher in search results.
14. Proof your profile for errors and on mobile and computers.
Make sure your profile is error-free, and that it looks great on smart phones, tablets, and computers.
15. Make your profile visible to the public.
Set your profile to public visibility so clients can find you on LinkedIn.Download a PDF of the checklist.
Using LinkedIn for Finding Freelance Work
Want to learn more about using LinkedIn for finding freelance work?
Get details on each step in the checklist. See examples of complete, client-focused LinkedIn profiles.
Rank higher in search results when clients are looking for a freelancer on LinkedIn by building a big, relevant network.
LinkedIn has chosen 500 as the “magic” number of connections. Once you reach that, your profile will say “500+ connections.” No one knows whether you actually have 500 or 30,000—the maximum—1st-degree connections. Relevant connections are people who work in your industry(ies), do similar work, or are related to you and your work in another way.
Rank higher in search results when clients are looking for a freelancer on LinkedIn by being active.
Being active means sharing content and engaging with other people on your content and their content. The more active you are, the more people who will see your content. Along with ranking high in search results, this will help you build your network and enhance your professional reputation.