Do you want to hear a secret? You can get your next big freelance writing gig on LinkedIn.
About 95% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to find talent. More and more people, including freelance writers, have been landing jobs after jobs using the professional networking site.
Just about six months ago, four people were hired every minute via LinkedIn. But today, that stat has increased to 6 people hired every minute. That’s 360 new hires every hour via LinkedIn, or 8,640 new hires per day.
You can become a part of those stats. However, you stand a chance only if you craft a LinkedIn profile that attracts clients and proves that you’ll be a good hire.
Don’t know how to do this? Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll give you some of the best LinkedIn profile writing tips for freelance writers. At the end of this article, you’ll be able to create a killer LinkedIn profile that will help you land more clients.
5 LinkedIn Profile Tips Freelancers Should Follow to Get New Clients
1. Get a professional profile picture (and cover photo)
It is true that your skills, not your face, will get you the job. However, it is also true when they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Remember that your profile picture is one of the first things that potential clients will see when they visit your page. If they see an interesting photo of you looking professional and employable, they may take a better interest in the rest of your profile.
For your professional LinkedIn headshot, you don’t need to get a photographer. (Though that may be a good idea if you are able and willing to invest in one.) You can take the picture yourself, but make sure of the following:
- Use a plain background. Unlike busy sets, simple backgrounds provide enough contrast with your face, placing the emphasis on you.
- Use good lighting. Always avoid harsh lighting or direct overhead lighting as that will blur your facial features.
- Put on business attire that matches your desired industry/professional brand. You want to look as professional as possible, according to whatever that means for the field you’re primarily going to be writing for. (I.e., you don’t need a full business suit if your primary audience is young photographers and graphic designers.)
- Wear a smile or look welcoming. It’s only natural – clients will want to meet a smiling and friendly person over an unpleasant and intimidating person.
- Use the right crop. The picture should capture from the top of your head to your chest region. However, allow some space around the sides so that when LinkedIn “crop circle” is implemented, it does not cut off the top of your head.
BONUS: In addition to your professional profile photo, spend a bit of time selecting a cover photo that aligns with your personal brand and target audience, too. This isn’t as vital as your profile photo, but it can make a great impression when people first click on your profile since so many people don’t even bother adding a cover photo at all.
2. Use a catchy headline
The headline is the brief subhead that comes after your name and headshot. When someone sees your LinkedIn profile in search results (before they even click on it), they see your face, your name, and then your headline. So, your headline is your first opportunity to tell the person what you can offer.
Your headline is also essential for appearing in LinkedIn searches. It’s one of the most natural places to include keywords recruiters will use to search for people like you which increase the chances of your profile coming up in searches.
By default, the LinkedIn headline is your current job title and company, like, “Content Creator at ABC Hub.” Don’t leave it like that! That wastes an opportunity to include more information that will set your profile apart.
One of the best ways to optimize your headline is to include keywords. These should be words that describe your core competencies and are relevant to the freelance writing community.
You have 120 characters to work with in the headline. So, you can edit the plain default headline to something more enticing and keyword-rich like this:
Content Creator | Blog Writer | Freelance Writer for Healthcare Organizations
Here are some important things to note in the optimized headline that you can use for your own:
- Use of the word “freelance.” This ensures that you do not waste time with recruiters trying to put people in full-time jobs that you may not want. Remember that you can and should set your profile as Open to New Opportunities for only “Contract” and “Part-Time” opportunities, too.
- Use of longer key phrases as opposed to popular single-word keywords. Single keywords (like “Author”) are already saturated, so it’ll be very difficult to rank for these. Look at the different types of freelance writing jobs for inspiration. For example, you may rank faster for “corporate copywriting” or “blog writer” than for “copywriter” or “writer” respectively.
- Add names of industries. Clients do not have the time to introduce writers to the ins and outs of their industry. So, you can stand out as a freelancer writer by showing knowledge of particular industries. Identify at least two industries you have significant experience with and include these into the headline. For example, “Freelance Writer for Saas and eCommerce platforms” or “Freelance Healthcare Writer.”
3. Write an About section that tells a story
The “About” section is the summary of your LinkedIn profile. It’s the centerpiece where you should highlight your personality, skills, and competencies. (It’s also an easy place to link to your portfolio so potential clients can quickly and easily see samples of your work.)
You have up to 2,600 characters to do so. So, use most of them to highlight your motivation, your most in-demand skills, significant career achievements, and high-profile clients that you’ve worked with.
To write a LinkedIn “About” section that attracts potential clients, the following tips are worth noting:
- Determine your audience. The language and tone that you use will depend on who you are trying to reach. For instance, you’ll want to sound a bit more formal and business-like if you’re trying to attract legal or finance clients, while you might instead use more casual language if you’re trying to write for energetic, young startups.
- Tell a story. This is an opportunity to pitch your competitive advantage to potential clients and let them know why they should employ you.
For example, instead of simply showing that you are passionate about a writing type (say resume writing), you can explain why you have that passion. This might sound something like, “There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing people finally land a job after months of frustration when all they needed was a little writing help. That’s why I am passionate about giving people killer resumes that help them land their dream jobs.”
- Show off your personality. Being overly professional may paint you as too stiff. So, the About section is an opportunity to loosen up a little and let your personality come through. This is where you may want to include some hobbies or values, but make sure to use only those that reinforce your skills and accomplishments.
- Optimize for LinkedIn SEO. The About section is yet another great place to include relevant keywords so that your profile ranks and is called up as a first result in LinkedIn searches. In addition to integrating keywords throughout your story, you can add some keywords at the bottom of the section such as a list of industries you’re interested in writing for, skills you specialize in, etc.
4. Make the Professional Experience section very detailed
This section is where you show potential clients that you are “tested and trusted.” Make sure to include all the relevant writing jobs that you have done recently, as well as any other related jobs.
To make your experience section shine, take note of the following:
- List all the notable, recent clients that you have written for. If you’ve completed a multi-year gig for one particular client, you can list that as its own professional experience. For periods of working for multiple short-term gigs for many clients, on the other hand, you can instead list one position titled something like “Freelance Writer” or “Content Writer (Contract)” and list all the notable clients in the description of the experience. You might link to your portfolio in an entry like this, too.
- Describe the work you did. Instead of simply stating the topic of your writing, you can use the opportunity to tell potential clients that you know your art. For every job you describe, you can and should state the niche/industry, the structure of the content, the writing style you used, the level of research you did, etc.
- Add measurable results. This is a crucial part of a job-winning LinkedIn profile (and resume). For example, if a piece of content that you created got 2,000 tweets and 1,200 reposts, including this info will prove your skills much more than simply stating that you create quality content.
- Include keywords. The Professional Experience section is also very important when it comes to the LinkedIn search algorithm. So, just as in the headline and About section, include keywords that will help your profile rank.
5. Always include your Education
Many freelance writers may feel that their education is not relevant to their careers. However, do not leave out your education in your LinkedIn profile. No matter what you feel about your education, it is important in your LinkedIn profile for two reasons – networking and search filtering.
Networking. One interesting feature of LinkedIn is that it shows you what people in a particular company went to your school. So, when reaching out to a writing agency for a job, you can see if the responsible people in the agency went to your school and maybe use that as an icebreaker.
Search filtering. Recruiters can narrow down their search using different options, including education level. If a recruiter wants to see only candidates with a degree, not including your degree in your profile automatically rules you out.
Start landing writing gigs on LinkedIn!
With so many active professionals on LinkedIn, your next client might be waiting for you there. Why not improve your profile to attract as many clients as you can? Start with these LinkedIn profile tips, and see what happens.
As with any platform, leads won’t just roll in overnight, but if you apply these five tips and devote yourself to continuously improving your profile and expanding your network, more opportunities will start coming your way.
About the Author
Chris Villanueva, CPRW is the founder and CEO of the award-winning resume service Let’s Eat, Grandma (because proper writing is important enough to save a life!) With a highly trained team of writers, Let’s Eat, Grandma has helped thousands of professionals get closer to their dream job with better resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.