Photo by Alp Duran on Unsplash
A year and a half ago, I made the jump into the freelance world. It was probably one of the best decisions I had made (and I didn’t make it lightly – check out my podcast to hear about my journey). I planned meticulously for my new career, and I knew more than anything, describing and surfacing my skills and expertise adequately was vital to my success.
As a brand and communications strategist, I’ve helped my fair share of clients communicate their value, uniqueness and purpose with their customers, and I knew that I needed to do the same for my own profile. There are loads of great tools to support freelancers in articulating these points, but even then, we still need to consider one key point when designing our profile online: discoverability.
Alongside engaging your existing network, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter or client scanning your profile on a platform like LinkedIn. Consider these serendipitous encounters. They will have limited time to research dozens of candidates in a day, and therefore you need to grab them as they skim through.
So how do we do this? I’ve found that thinking in two levels has really worked for me:
HIGH LEVEL – WHAT’S MOST LIKELY TO GRAB YOUR READER’S ATTENTION?
The first thing I do is consider my Profile Summary as my elevator pitch. The key is to keep it simple and concise. You can apply the useful framework often used for elevator pitches – feature – advantage – benefit. So in the case of building your Profile Summary, it could look like this:
What experience do you have that gives you an edge?
How does that edge make you stand out from other candidates?
What does that mean for the client you are working with?
This is your opportunity to demonstrate your specific value but keep it snappy. Two sentences should be enough.
Then, consider writing an elevator pitch for each of the roles you’ve had to date. For me, I have one describing sentence for each role on my profile and I make sure that the language I am using reflects what I regularly encounter in job descriptions. When doing these additional sentences, try and illustrate an evolution that indicates your development and progress over time.
DETAIL – ONCE YOU’VE GOT THEIR ATTENTION
There’s nothing more important than being able to demonstrate the work that you have done that can back up your Profile Summary and show you’ve got the goods. If you’re able to, link directly to relevant work, add your portfolio in the summary and case studies of work under each role that you’ve completed.
For many recruiters, they’ll be looking to see how you’ve developed over time so make sure you consider this when writing up each role you’ve completed. Keep the content short and sweet, even though bullet points are out of vogue in CVs these days, they can still be your friend on online profiles.
As with in your Profile Summary, I always like to consider the language and keywords I see regularly in job descriptions and I try and weave these into my roles wherever I can. It’s definitely worth doing some research into the way your role is currently summarised in job descriptions, as it can regularly change!
I’ve always thought I had a pretty strong online presence with my background in strategy. But as a result of some conscious work, I’ve seen a real change in my inbound contacts. I now get contacted with roles that are very relevant to my skills and experience, as well as more regular contact more generally. Taking the time to consider how we are presenting ourselves online can really improve the quality of the leads we have coming in, and potentially open up new verticals we’ve never worked in before.
Finding your path