LinkedIn is a powerful tool for freelancers and should be used wisely to ensure your profile appeals to clients.

If you’re not using LinkedIn, you should be. Here’s some of the most important things you need to do to ensure you can be found by potential clients.

  1. Be clear that you’re freelance. One of the keys here is to make sure that you make it clear right away that you’re freelance, and available for new opportunities. You can do this in your headline, your URL or your summary.
  2. Include a succinct headline. There’s no room for vague headlines on LinkedIn. Make sure you write a compelling headline that clearly describes what you do and how you help your clients.
  3. Summarise what you do. You need a well worded summary that enables clients to clearly understand your target market, what you do, how you work, and whether you’re the right freelancer for them.
  4. Group smaller projects. If you work on lots of smaller freelance projects for a range of clients, group these together into one experience entry. Title the entry with your business name, then use the description to describe the type of work you’ve done and the clients you’ve worked for.
  5. List larger projects. Your profile page can include long-term clients you’ve worked with, such as being a regular contributor to a media outlet, or working a day a week with a particular agency.
  6. Think of LinkedIn like a search engine. LinkedIn is a search engine just like Google. As a freelancer, you want to optimise your profile so it’s easy for people to find you. Then, once they find your profile, you can have samples of your work there.
  7. Add LinkedIn link to your email signature. Providing an easy link in your email signature makes it easy for clients to quickly find out more about you via your profile, in turn increasing the number of profile views you have.
  8. Complete your profile. According to LinkedIn, people who complete their profiles get 40 per cent more opportunities, so make sure all the information sections are completed.
  9. Update your pic. Haven’t updated your profile shot in a few years? Make sure you replace the pics with a professional-looking shot that reflects your freelance business branding.
  10. Add rich media: A video explaining what you do in your business can work wonders. If you’ve got one, add it to your LinkedIn profile.
  11. Be active. Make sure you’re always building your LinkedIn network. This means that every time you come into contact with someone new, that you invite them into your LinkedIn network.
  12. Look for connections. Don’t just wait for potential clients to find you. Make time to connect with people who may need your skills.
  13. Ask for referrals. A few times a year, make sure you ask clients for referrals. Do this by reaching out to people in your network and second them a quick note explaining that you’re freelancing, and to please forward your details to anyone who may need your skills.
  14. Update your profile. Worked on an impressive project for a few months or longer? Make sure you update your LinkedIn profile to reflect that.
  15. Congratulate contacts. LinkedIn will notify you when someone in your network changes jobs or gets a promotion. Take the 10 seconds it takes to congratulate them.
  16. Add articles. It could be easy to get sidetracked writing a stack of articles for LinkedIn, but it’s just not necessary. Just set aside time at least a few times a year to write a short article that will educate people about what you do, or your area of expertise. Publishing these on your own blog and LinkedIn can bring new eyeballs to your profile and put you in the spotlight.
  17. View relevant profiles. If you’ve done a lot of work in a particular industry, spend some time looking through that industry’s key leaders. Be sure they are the ones in the position to hire a freelancer. Instead of contacting them directly, do nothing. LinkedIn will show them that you’ve viewed their profile, and often they will reach out to you. This is a great little trick.
  18. Don’t accept unknown links. We’ve all been contacted by people we don’t know, but don’t be tempted. Stop and check their position and if it’s possible they’re interested in working with you. Also, check how many common connections you have. If you’re spammed with an offer soon after connecting, you’ve got the choice to ignore it once, or simply remove them as a connection.

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