How to optimize your LinkedIn profile when you are a freelance consultant
When working as a freelance consultant, LinkedIn is one of the best places to market your professional profile. In this article, you will get tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and thereby increase your chances of being found for future projects.
By: Sami Bødker, Senior Sourcing Specialist at ProData Consult
Use a proper profile picture
Let’s take it from the top. A profile picture might seem a little irrelevant, because how much can one really tell about your competences just from looking at your picture? Maybe not a lot, but a professional picture does give a much better first impression and, to a greater extent, point to professionalism. Use the time and resources to have a professional picture taken - it is money well spent.
Are you a CEO or a freelance consultant?
As a freelance consultant, you are arguably the CEO of your own business, and it can therefore be tempting to decorate your profile with titles such as CEO, CTO, CIO, or other flattering abbreviations. Although it sounds impressing, it does not help you get contacted regarding a new project – far from it. These types of titles rarely give an idea of what you are good at.
Instead, you should focus on bringing out the role you excel at. Are you a ’Project Manager’, ’Web Developer’, ’Test Manager’, or something else? Then that is the role you should emphasize in the title of your profile. Make sure to use common role names, since these are most frequently used as search phrases by recruitment specialists.
Even if your native language is not English, I recommend that you use English titles. Use the English role names – it will increase your chances to be found through searches, as most requests from clients will have common roles in English.
State that you are a freelancer
Remember to state that you are a freelancer. If you only mention your role/title, you do not stand out from the number of permanent employees who share your title. This will make it more difficult for recruitment specialists to find you. If you do not care for the term ‘freelance’, you can also put ‘external consultant’.
Make it clear if you are available for new projects
If you are looking for new projects or you know when your present contract will end, make sure to communicate it. There is nothing wrong with indicating that you are available and ready for new jobs. Specify that you are available, what type of project you are looking for, and with any geographical preferences. This will also make potential inquiries more relevant.
Some choose to specify their availability in their title, others in their resume – both will work perfectly fine. Examples of common ways to demonstrate your availability could be: “Open/available/ready/looking for new opportunities/assignments”.
Set the scene in your profile summary
A lot of people omit a summary on their LinkedIn profiles. But it is an important tool to create a direction for your profile. The summary is your starting point for positioning your professional profile, and other than your picture and title, your summary is the first thing people see when they visit your profile. Use the opportunity to set the scene of your profile by writing a catchy and strong summary. Keep it short, consistent, and objective, and get to the core of your profile, and do avoid long and complex descriptions.
Point out your previous projects and clients
Spend time and energy on a description of your previous projects. It is not satisfactory to write that you have been employed in your own company for the past 15 years, without elaborating what projects you have worked on and what clients you have worked for. Also, it is not enough to just state the client, your title, and the period of time you worked there – the description of your projects should be detailed. It does not have to be a long essay. 5-6 short and precise points on your responsibilities in the projects can be plenty.
Make sure to have a credible coherence between your experience and the competences you emphasize in your summary and in your competence section. Again, use common terms when stating your role, technologies, platforms, etc.
Create coherence from top to bottom
When scrolling through your LinkedIn profile, the goal is to make it coherent from start to finish. It might sound simple, but it can actually be a tough discipline, as it is all about cutting to the bone and omitting information that could create confusion on your profile.
In other words, you should have the same approach to your LinkedIn profile as you have to your consultant CV. Here, you can read our advice on how to best communicate your competences in your CV.
Use LinkedIn actively
Obviously, the prerequisite for the above is for you to want to use LinkedIn actively to market your professional profile. And we recommend that you do this. Be proactive and expand your network – it will most definitely be beneficial for you in the long run.