Having spent a good few weekends honing my freelance profile (that’s a resume for our US friends!) I thought I’d share some of my killer tips for getting your freelance profile right.
When you freelance, you’re always on the look out for new clients and your profile is at the heart of that search. It’s what sets you apart from all the other freelancers that do that same as you do and it’s what gets you a foot in the door.
The problem is, that no two jobs are the same, and many of us find it quite difficult to nail our colours to the mast and box ourselves into one type of position. We are often ‘jacks of all trades’. So here’s how to get around that.
1. Getting the style right
What you do for a living will determine how you style your profile. Clearly, a web designer will take a different approach to a retail consultant. But by and large, your clients are looking for a clean, traditional format where the quality of your experience shines through with examples, rather than something overly clever.
Your freelance profile can work much like a CV, and I tend to see better profiles where a list of achievements is used to illustrate a core skill. This format works better than a chronological list of your clients, and explains what you actually bought to the party.
Try to include a photo of yourself. It’s less anonymous, and looks more professional. Many people also include a headline that summarises the skills and aptitudes you’ve got, but it’s not essential.
Your office software should have some free ‘themes’ that you can use. But if not, just do a quick search online and you’ll find plenty of template. Save your profile in pdf format to send via email.
2. Tailoring is key
There’s nothing worse than a resume that looks like you haven’t bothered. It takes time, but I always tailor my profile, whether speculative or not, to the client and job that I want.
You should pick the most impressive roles that you’ve held first. Those are the ones with the highest profile companies and then the most interesting jobs. Why in that order? Well let’s face it. It will impress your prospects more! Even if the project for that small company was the best piece of work you’d ever done.
Again. List your achievements rather than the tasks you completed. You should also include any niche experience that you’ve got if it’s relevant – this is where it’s super important.
Don’t forget your keywords. This is super-important in a world where people are searching for specific skills and experience online.
3. It’s all about you
The big difference between a standard resume/CV and your freelance profile is that you are completing this as a business, not as an individual. So it’s all about what kind of service they can expect and how you do business.
That’s because your client prospects are looking for someone who is going to fix a problem or tell them what and how to do something. It’s the critical difference between hiring permanent staff who they can train and mold and hiring you because you will not only have the experience, but you can execute fast and professionally from day one.
4. Are you qualified?
Thankfully, for most of us, our school grades are not as relevant. That is, unless you are a freelance academic or your services are based on your qualifications.
But it is important to say how you are qualified to give the advice or support that you are selling. As is listing your professional memberships, especially if you are in finance, medicine or alternative therapies.
5. Getting yourself found online
Whatever you do, you need a professional profile online. So no nonsense about not being on Linked in for example. Simply put, your clients will search for you. And if they don’t find you fast, they’ll move onto someone else.
So you should have a website that works as your profile online. Go on, it’s not that hard nowadays! It should give your visitors a real sense of who you are and include samples of your work and testimonials.
Think of your website as a hub for people to find your other relevant social media profiles and portfolios.
If you want to be really whizzy, get yourself some google adwords and think about how you promote your skills to help people find you when they search for certain types of phrases.
5. Show your true colours
The wonderful thing about freelancing is that you are able to dabble in lots of things. It all adds to your experience, and skill base. So include these where you think they’ll add value. For example, I’m a beekeeper, and I sometimes sell my honey. In fact, I am responsible for my own marketing of the products. That means that understanding how small businesses work and how to make the best of free tools is something that I can credibly talk about.
Once you’ve got over your core experience and skills, your clients want to know that they will like working with you. So be human and authentic!
Along with a few testimonials, include the name and email address of two or three of your clients. It’s expected, and it’s another way to add credibility to your profile.
And there you are. That’s all there is to it. Now get yourself a list of people to target with your new enhanced profile and get it out there!