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 LinkedIn can be a tough platform to crack for freelancers and contractors. With it fast becoming one of the most actively used social media platforms, it can feel almost impossible to stand out from the crowd.

As expert contractor accountants, we have a wealth of experience when it comes to helping our clients improve their presence on LinkedIn – especially freelancers and contractors. There are a few simple tips you can follow to ensure you’re getting noticed for the right reasons.

Get The Basics Right

It’s essential to have all of the basics in place before building a presence on LinkedIn. We have provided a quick overview of some of the main things you must do to properly optimise your LinkedIn profile:

Upload A Profile Picture

A simple but extremely effective step that any contractor or freelancer should take when using LinkedIn. It’s essential that prospective employers can put a face to the name and quickly identify that you are in fact, a real person.

We are quick to judge people based on pictures, so to be sure that you’re making the right first impression you should follow these top tips:

  • Use a professional picture and ensure you’re dressed smartly.

  • Always use a solid background and try to avoid any distracting backdrops in your picture.

  • Always pose solo in your LinkedIn profile pictures and be sure to place emphasis on your face. We’d recommend cropping anything below your shoulders out.

Add Headline & Current Position

The headline is probably one of the most important parts of your profile, as when people search on LinkedIn, the results are pulled in from here. Therefore, it’s essential to optimise your headline to include important keywords that are closely related to what services you provide.

When you input your current position, it will immediately autofill your headline with the same information, so we advise you to take the time to change this to a more targeted key phrase related to your field of expertise.

Ensuring that your profile is visible to those who are in your field is important, as your profile needs to be among the first to show up in search results when prospective employers type in the services you provide.

Add A Detailed Bio

The final step you need to take to guarantee your profile is fully optimised is adding a detailed bio. We recommend keeping it as concise as you can, adding only relevant skills and experience.

You want to ensure you are selling yourself in your bio, whilst steering clear of wordy sentences. Short and snappy is definitely the way forward for this section, so be sure to keep things to the point; show prospective employers the confidence that you have all of the skills required to complete work for them.

Connect With Key Individuals In Your Sector

Now that your profile is perfectly optimised, it’s time to start connecting with the right people. Taking the time to connect with people that are genuinely in line with your sector is essential, as it can help you forge meaningful relationships with prospective employers.

Cheerful man using laptop working at home

Make a list of all the skills you have or services you can provide and search for these on LinkedIn’s search bar. You’ll likely find plenty of relevant professionals to connect with this way, and you can be absolutely sure you’re finding the right kind of people who will be open to building a mutual business relationship with you.

Drop them a courtesy message if they do choose to connect with you, but don’t push your services right away. Just engage in general chat instead of launching straight into your services and expertise, as this can help to gain a rapport with your new connection prior to selling yourself. Most people on LinkedIn are quick to offer up their services, and whilst this can work from time to time, it usually results in new connections ignoring your messages from the off.

Prioritise Key Jobs You’ve Carried Out

When going through your previous experience, more emphasis should be placed on your more recent and relevant projects and work to highlight the current experience you have in your industry. We would recommend spending a good amount of time on your last 1-3 years of experience, adding in plenty of detail about the jobs you have worked on, and providing examples of work where appropriate. When it comes to freelance and contract work, employers will want to see your most recent work to get a feel for what you can do, so be sure to focus on this when optimising your LinkedIn profile.

Whilst you should place plenty of focus on your more recent projects, don’t completely neglect previous experience from years gone by. Whilst you shouldn’t be expected to provide a huge amount of detail on older projects, it’s still a good idea to list these in your experience and have a couple of bullet points detailing your main responsibilities during those roles.

Consider a Portfolio

Now that you have your key roles listed on your LinkedIn profile, it’s time to think about putting together a more detailed portfolio to really sell yourself and your services to LinkedIn users.

LinkedIn has a dedicated area for helping users showcase their work in a portfolio, so you need to take some time pulling all the most impressive pieces of work you’ve put together into this section.

If you have a website, be sure to add a link back to it in this section, as the chances are that your connections will want to take a closer look at more work you have produced on your website.

As vastly experienced limited company accountants, we can’t stress enough just how important filling the portfolio section of your LinkedIn profile is. It genuinely helps to add some weight to the statements you mention in your description, showcasing the incredible work that you have already put together for other employers.

We believe that having a strong portfolio can be the difference between securing a job and not in some cases, so it always pays to invest your time into optimising this section of your LinkedIn profile.

Push Endorsements

If you have recently just carried out a contract with an employer, it’s a great idea to ask them to endorse you for some of the key skills listed on your LinkedIn profile. This is a quick and easy way to show prospective employers that you are trusted by other businesses and provide high-quality work.

Alongside LinkedIn endorsements, why not ask for a testimonial from any employers you have worked closely with? Testimonials are a fantastic way to highlight your previous work, with the backing of a former employer. They’re also a great shareable asset that you can utilise on your LinkedIn profile, further highlighting how prospective employers can be sure you are the right person to pick up any contracts they have put out to tender.

Keep Active

This may sound obvious, but it’s essential that you’re active in the LinkedIn community on a regular basis. It’s important that you post valuable updates and comments, as well as being quick to react to the latest industry news. You should also give updates on your services or availability among other noteworthy posts.

Remember to mix up your post styles where appropriate too; we’d consider switching between the following styles of LinkedIn post on a regular basis:

  • Service-based posts

  • Reaction to industry news

  • Picture/video led posts

  • Testimonial posts

  • Portfolio showcase to highlight recent projects you’ve worked on

Cheerful young freelancer is smiling typing on his laptop in nice modern work station at home

Posting anywhere between once a day and once a week is more than enough, as essentially you are looking to show that you’re an active presence within your industry. Whenever you post, you’re simply reminding your connections that you are ready and able to help should they need assistance from a contractor or freelancer.

The biggest piece of advice we can give you is don’t post for the sake of it. Always make sure that any post you are putting on LinkedIn is adding value to your profile and your connections. If you’re consistently getting no interaction with any of your posts, it’s probably time to consider changing your approach.

Stand Out From The Crowd

If you’re struggling to secure work and all traditional avenues of LinkedIn aren’t working for you, then it’s time to start thinking out of the box.

If you’re not camera-shy, make some videos, that you can post directly to LinkedIn, of you discussing anything industry-related that’s on your mind. Showing you are confident enough to put yourself in front of the camera is a fantastic way to showcase your abilities to prospective employers. You could also utilise videos to get in touch with your connections, as this will definitely stand out in their inbox from other messages.

Joining in discussions on topics relevant to your field and adding your expertise is also a fantastic way of helping you to stand out from your competition. This is especially true when you have some real hard-hitting insight that can really get people talking.

There are plenty of ways to really make your profile stand out from the competition, but instead of scouring the internet looking for inspiration, we’d recommend that you take some time aside to brainstorm and think what may work for you.

Professional designer woman

So, there you have it, you’re ready to take LinkedIn by storm and start securing more work as a freelancer or contractor. We hope that you can implement these changes to your profile and begin to find more businesses actively seeking work from you in the near future.

If you do require any assistance from sole trader accountants, Gorilla Accounting are here to help. We have vast experience providing accounting for contractors and take great pride in ensuring that you take home as much of your pay as possible from each project you work on.

We utilise FreeAgent accounting software to ensure that all of our customers have access to an industry-standard cloud-based accountancy portal. You can rest assured that, when you work with Gorilla Accounting, we have your best interests at heart, and utilise our technology-driven approach to ensure we always provide you with unbeatable levels of service all year round.

Want to find out more about how we can help you? Feel free to get in touch today by either calling us on 0330 024 0406 or by using our simple online enquiry form. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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