In a tough economy with so many people out of work, finding a job can be a mind-numbing process, and finding a freelance writing job is no different. The problem, though, does not lay in the job-finding part; any website you browse will list hundreds of open positions. These common websites are flooded daily with overqualified applicants who are hired before you even click the posting. Because of this, you may need to consider finding an alternative way to job search in this job market. The key: networking.
If you are or want to be a freelance writer, you may already be a part of the social networking site, LinkedIn. As a member of this site, you can link with old co-workers, high school and college buddies, and people in your field that you may not even know yet. This is a haven for networking. The intricacies of the site can help you connect with CEOs of businesses and hiring managers. Using this network as a tool for job searching is your key to fending off the job thieves and getting ahead in the application process.
Why use LinkedIn instead of Facebook or Twitter?
LinkedIn is primarily a professional networking site. It’s designed to help professionals connect with each other, showcase their skills and experience, and find job opportunities. LinkedIn is used by recruiters, hiring managers, and professionals across various industries to network, find talent, and share industry insights.
Facebook, on the other hand, is a general social networking site that is used for personal and social purposes. It’s a platform for people to connect with friends and family, share photos and updates, and join groups related to their interests. While businesses can also use Facebook to promote their products and services, it’s less focused on professional networking.
Twitter is a microblogging site that’s used for real-time news updates, conversations, and sharing short messages (tweets) with a large audience. It’s commonly used by journalists, celebrities, politicians, and businesses to share breaking news, promote their brand, and engage with their audience.
Additionally, LinkedIn now has more than 900 million members with over 58 million registered companies! Imagine the possibilities of finding new connections.
One of the “issues” job seekers face is the “college degree requirement.” The good news is this: 1 out of 5 jobs on LinkedIn don’t require a four-year degree.
Also, 77% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. So, whether you are looking for a freelance/contractor position or a full-time job (and everything in between), your chances of finding a job are high.
But you need to know how to use the site properly.
The 5 “Beings” of LinkedIn
1. Being in Touch
Simply being in touch with friends, old coworkers, and school pals in a professional environment can bring you more opportunities. When you have drinks with a friend, you don’t always talk about jobs and unemployment. It’s an uncomfortable topic and doesn’t fit into the fun happy hour discussion. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is just the place.
Make LinkedIn work for you:
- You should fill out as much information as possible. Include any previous work that is relevant, your specialties, and your technological capabilities. Some people use social networking sites as part of an informal background check, so let everyone know that you have nothing to hide.
- More information will allow friends to see your professional history; something they may not know.
- This will also allow the casual passerby to immediately assess your employable potential. If a position is open, the opportunity for you to qualify before you even know about it is likely.
2. Being Involved
Using LinkedIn is all about being acquaintances with people you would have previously never had the chance to speak with. LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to be involved, and taking advantage of these can increase the possibility of discovering job opportunities.
Put yourself out there:
- Invite others to connect with you. You can (and should) write a blurb about yourself in the invitation as an introduction.
- Ask old co-workers and bosses for recommendations. Who knows, reaching out to people you haven’t spoken with for some time could also lead to job opportunities.
- If someone you want to connect with is out of your network, see if any friends are in that network. If so, you can be introduced through mutual friends.
- Don’t be shy. The more people you talk to, the higher your chances of finding a suitable position.
3. Being In Groups
Groups give you the opportunity to talk with more people at one time. Everybody knows someone else, who knows another person, who’s looking to hire. Groups can greatly enhance your chances of finding job opportunities.
Joining a group:
- This can put you in a place to talk with others about career opportunities.
- As a group with a common goal, there is camaraderie that can make the job search less stressful.
- You can post questions to your group, and you will almost always get an answer back. Where are they searching? Do they have a plan of attack? What is working for them?
Creating a group:
- This can be a smart way for you to cater the group to what you’re looking for because you can invite people from within your established network. If anything, this can be a way to get bulk information from people who might know the business. You can create an open group. This way, if others are interested, they can ask to join. As someone looking for information, this would be a great idea.
4. Being Aware
With many of these social networking sites, users don’t always know the extent of their abilities. LinkedIn offers tutorials that can show you the extensive capabilities it has.
Knowing about features:
- You can see profile views. Following up with people who browsed over your site can lead to interviews and other opportunities.
- You can also find your site views. If you are finding that the amount of views is chronically low, research other ways to put your profile out there. For example, Higher Visibility outlined how to use keywords to optimize a social networking page. Adding applications like WordPress can allow you to display your personal or professional work while giving onlookers a tangible feature. You can also use the Portfolio Display application to showcase other media you have created.
5. Being You
Just like in an interview or around the workplace, you should always be yourself. This is your best bet at getting the position that is right for you. When a company can see you have more to offer than a good-looking resume, you move higher on the list.
Flaunt your assets:
- Use a good headshot for your profile picture. It is important that potential employers see you the way they will in the office or out in the field.
- Include your interests. Your liking to hike and camp could make a difference in who you connect with.
- Show your personal contributions. If you keep a well-written blog, display that. If you have taken part in a lot of volunteer work, make it a part of your profile.
How to use LinkedIn to find freelance writing jobs
LinkedIn can be a great platform for finding freelance jobs. Here are some tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively for this purpose:
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile: Make sure your LinkedIn profile accurately reflects your skills, experience, and expertise. Highlight your freelancing skills and experience, and make sure your profile is complete with a professional photo and a compelling summary. Read our article on LinkedIn profile tips to increase your chances of getting clients.
- Build your network: Connect with other freelancers, potential clients, and recruiters in your industry. Join relevant groups and participate in discussions to build your network.
- Share your work: Share your portfolio or work samples on your LinkedIn profile, and regularly post updates about your recent projects, achievements, and industry trends. This can help you showcase your skills and attract potential clients.
- Use LinkedIn job search: LinkedIn has a job search feature that allows you to filter job postings based on location, industry, and job type. Use this feature to find freelance job opportunities that match your skills and interests.
- Reach out to potential clients: Use LinkedIn’s messaging feature to reach out to potential clients and introduce yourself. Be polite, professional, and personalized in your messages, and provide a brief overview of your skills and experience.
- Consider upgrading to LinkedIn Premium: If you’re serious about finding freelance work on LinkedIn, consider upgrading to LinkedIn Premium. This will give you access to more advanced search filters, the ability to send InMail messages to anyone on LinkedIn, and other features that can help you find freelance opportunities more easily. In fact, 39% of users pay for Premium. As a freelancer, you’d go for the LinkedIn Premium Career option, which costs $29.99 per month.
Overall, by leveraging the power of LinkedIn, you can increase your visibility, build your network, and find more freelance job opportunities.
Getting a job as a freelance writer can be a difficult task, and setting yourself apart from the unemployment crowd is even harder. LinkedIn can provide support, networking opportunities, and a way to put yourself in the limelight. Sometimes an interview is a make or break for a position because you can show yourself off. When you wouldn’t normally get the opportunity, LinkedIn can make that possible.
About the author
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small businesses and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from Google Analytics How-Tos to AdWords best practices. She works as a ghostwriter and freelancer at amandadisilvestro.com and Coastal SEO Consulting, and works as the Marketing Manager for a Travel Company, Discover Corps, full-time. Visit her website to learn more!