As a freelancer, it is often challenging to locate those freelance job opportunities that fit with what you can offer.
You need unique resources you can count on to help you along the way.
Fortunately, LinkedIn can be one of those valuable resources.
The benefits of being a freelancer include having more control over what you work on and who you work for, and LinkedIn is perfect for helping you achieve your goals.
Yet, you’ll need to do more than simply throw your LinkedIn profile together, expecting leads and jobs to come to you.
Instead, you’ll need to effectively network across the platform for the potential of finding and having access to more freelance job opportunities.
How to Network on LinkedIn: 5 Tips to Help You Get More Freelance Work
To benefit from any social media today, you need a strategy and a beneficial way to interact. Use these five tips to help boost your networking efforts on LinkedIn and open yourself up to more freelance work.
1. Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile
Your profile on LinkedIn plays a vital role in reaching more people and locking down freelance work for you.
It is how you can make a dynamic first impression and also remind connections of how valuable your services are and why you’re the right person for the job.
Make it stand out and serve you in the best possible ways. Here are some ways to do that:
Make sure your profile is complete.
Ensure you provide enough information in your profile for those looking for freelancers while also remaining search-engine friendly,
Insert a professional profile photo.
Add a background banner that is unique but not overly distracting.
Be direct in your headline (e.g., Freelance Legal Writer).
An important mention here is to use your headline to differentiate yourself from an employee role. Always include the word “freelance.” That way, you’re not wasting their time, and they’re not wasting yours.
Write a concise “About” section. This is where you summarize who you are and what you offer. Highlight project types, skills, and whatever makes you unique.
Fill in all the following sections, including Work Experience, Education, and Licenses and Certifications.
Optimize with Keywords
Optimize your profile with searchable keywords.
By doing so, your profile is more likely to show up in search results when a company or recruiter uses the LinkedIn search feature.
Add Samples of Your Work
LinkedIn allows you to include samples of your work within your profile.
You can do this by adding PDF versions in the work experience section and also in the “Featured” area found near the top of your profile.
Another option is to add website or blog post links for examples of your published content or freelance service work product or provide a link to your digital portfolio.
Add recommendations, if you have them already, as social proof. These may be from past freelance clients, former supervisors, or co-workers.
Reach out to satisfied clients and former co-workers and ask them to recommend you as well.
2. Expand your LinkedIn Network
By growing your LinkedIn network, you’ll have more chances to connect with those that need your services and also increase the number of referrals coming your way.
Here are some tips to help you expand your network.
Connect with people you already know. This includes:
Past co-workers (even if they are in completely different fields or industries, and regardless of whether you worked directly with them or not)
Previous freelance clients
Alumni from attended schools, universities, and volunteer organizations.
Any others you know through professional or personal ties
Seek out other freelancers in your field and related fields and build strong relationships.
Conduct your own search on LinkedIn to locate those who may potentially need your services now or in the future (e.g., Marketing or content managers who may need freelance writers)
Whenever you do send out a connection request, be sure to personalize the message each time.
The more LinkedIn connections you have, the more exposure and potential for reaching their connections as well.
3. Utilize the “Open to Work” Section
An effective way to increase your visibility and exposure to potential freelance clients is to fill out the “Open to Work” section offered by LinkedIn.
Under your profile photo, you’ll find the invitation to let the world know you are available and looking for jobs. Switch this feature on.
Add the type of positions you are looking for, such as “freelance graphic designer.”
Next, add your geographic locations (including “remote”) and also your job type (contract, part-time, temporary).
Since you are a freelancer, you don’t want to give the impression you are looking for a full-time job as an employee.
So, be sure that you convey the message that you are a freelancer here and also throughout your profile.
Finally, you can choose to only allow recruiters to know you are open for work or select the option for all LinkedIn members.
4. Interact in Select LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity to join various groups on its platform.
This act alone can help you increase your exposure and find leads to approach for freelance job opportunities.
Look for those groups that are most relevant to you, what you offer, and the industries you cater to currently.
Groups for Freelancers
Start by joining freelance groups and actively participate.
These groups are valuable for keeping you up-to-date on trends, opportunities, and issues in the freelancer’s world.
You may also receive referrals or information on jobs that other freelancers have to pass on for one reason or another or for a client looking for additional services.
Industry and Niche Groups
Select groups in your industry or niche.
Search for them by entering an industry keyword and reviewing the results.
You can also lookup an ideal client to see what groups they are in and join one or two of those.
So, if you are a freelance writer specializing in human resources, you may want to find groups where these professionals hang out.
Once you find the groups that relate to your skills, interests, or niche, become active in those groups and get noticed.
Ways to participate include:
Liking posts of other group members
Commenting on other group posts that interest you
Asking questions so you can learn more from the group’s professional members
Posting your own updates, whenever it seems relevant
Sharing engaging content you find, which can be from thought leaders in the field or industry, and believe group members may enjoy.
Becoming part of the conversations, such as those around a particular trend or pain point.
Share any specialized training, workshop, or conference you’re attending, and ask if anyone else in the group will be there also.
5. Research Specific Companies
Another way to network on LinkedIn and find more freelance job opportunities is to research those companies that you would like to work with.
To help with this, first, determine which industries or niches interest you the most.
For instance, if you are a freelance writer, ask and answer the following questions
What is my writing style? (scientific, academic, conversational, etc.)
What types of projects do I want to offer? (blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, etc.)
In what areas or industries do I most like to write?
With your list of industries or niches in hand, now find companies that are in them and are interesting to you.
Follow their company pages so you can see what they post and when. Get to know as much about their LinkedIn presence as possible, including what their executives and employees post.
Determine who the organizational decision-makers are when it comes to the type of services you offer.
Look at what job opportunities they post. If they don’t specifically post for freelancers, don’t despair. You may still be able to find a way in.
For example, if you see that they are in need of a Content Creator or Social Media Marketer, you can reach out to them and ask if you can help out in a freelance capacity until they find a full-time employee.
Even if not, ask to connect with them, so that if any future opportunities arise, you can stay up-to-date.
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Wrap Up: How To Network on LinkedIn and Increase Freelance Opportunities
As a freelancer, you are responsible for continually finding new work and new clients. To help with this, you can use LinkedIn to cultivate a network of potential leads and eventual clients.
Boost your networking efforts starting with a dynamic and optimized profile, then expand your network to help find more freelance job opportunities.
Providing samples of your work for potential clients to see your capabilities first-hand is essential for freelancers today. Utilize one of these free portfolio websites to make that happen!