There are currently tons of options for freelancing profiles: Fivvr, Upwork, Hubstaff Talent, not to mention LinkedIn and other popular social media networks. While this makes it easy for anyone to start a side hustle or work from home, it also means the market is more saturated than ever. I’ve been on both sides of the online hiring process and there is no doubt that making yourself stand out for the crowds is essential for getting the job. These seven tips will help make your online freelance profile pop.
1. Profiles must be error-free.
This isn’t so much of a tip as a warning: having typos or obvious mistakes on your profile automatically disqualifies you. Employers want to know that you are detail-oriented. If you’re sloppy with your own content, it is hard to convince them that you will be thorough with theirs. Triple check your profile and update it as your writing skills become more sophisticated.
2. Link them! The hiring manager will thank you.
Hiring is time-consuming and people are lazy, including hiring managers and recruiters. Make it easy for anyone to reach your profile! Include links anywhere and everywhere that you can. Many candidates don’t put links in their cover letters on sites like Upwork because their profile is supposedly attached to the message. Don’t make this mistake! I can’t stress how lazy humans are—if there is a big blue hyperlink that says, “Here’s my profile”, you bet I’ll click it. It’s possible your link will only save hiring managers 5 seconds, but those seconds might make all the difference. It is best if links are hyperlinked or super short (what up bit.ly) and your work is centralized on one page.
3. Show your personality.
Hiring managers want to know what skills you have, but they also want to know if you are easy to work with. Think about the type of bosses you’d like to work for and write for them. You can’t and won’t attract everyone, so make sure you’re attracting people who you’re compatible with. Are you funny? Laid-back? Formal? Is there anything you consider a “deal breaker”? Make sure this comes through in your written profile. You should always be professional, but humor and style go a long way! At the end of the day, we’re all just people, and we want to work with others who are like-minded.
4. Find a new way to say “Hello.”
Hey there. Good morning. Howdy. All of these are better than a simple “Hi” or “Hello”. When you are messaging a potential client, your greeting is the very first word they read. Keep tip #3 in mind here—write a greeting that fits your personality. Bonus tip: find fun ways to say “thank you” and “goodbye”, as well.
5. Hit a bull’s eye.
We have all read profiles that are doing too much. “My name is Sally and I can walk your dog, plan your vacation, and juggle five bowling pins at once!” Thanks, but no thanks. Figure out what you do best and highlight the shit out of it. We all have multiple talents but spreading out too thin makes profiles seem incoherent. You should be offering a maximum of two services and they should be very specific. “Editor and Translator” is too broad. “Academic thesis editor and English-Spanish Translator” will help find a niche. Remember, a lot of work comes from referrals and you can divulge your other talents to your current clients. But you need to find those clients first and that is most easily done by being precise about what you’re offering.
6. Optimize your searchability.
Search Engine Optimization is a huge topic for websites right now, but did you know that these principles can also be applied to profiles? Having your LinkedIn or freelance profile appear at the top of a Google search can attract clients organically. The first step is to make sure your working name is both easily remembered and unique to you. Sorry to all the Sarah Smiths out there, but going by a name that employers will forget doesn’t make it easy to pick you from the line-up. Consider using your middle name or even a nickname. Other ways to increase your searchability are by using creative names for your title, adding tags to your profile, and using search words in your description.
7. Visuals are everything.
This is a no brainer for photographers or Etsy-types that sell objects that can be photographed. But, even if the service you provide is not visual, your profile needs to be visually appealing. Find a friend who can work a camera and take a few professional pictures in the sun (unless you can afford professional studio lighting, please, please use natural lighting. The sun is your friend.). Then, find relevant stock photos to attach to your work samples. If you’re making itineraries, add a photo of the location you’re writing about. If you’re making schedules, find pictures of busy people looking busy. When you engage people visually, you are drawing them in and subtly prompting them to check out your work.
Working online can be a real blessing when done correctly. The first step is making sure you have a profile that employers can both find and remember. Pay attention to your visuals and post your links frequently. But, most importantly, be yourself and attract people you will like working with. Good luck!