Edit your freelance profile now to stand out from the competition
Putting your best foot forward begins with making sure that your profile represents you in the best possible light. You must be accurate and honest, while simultaneously helping others perceive you as you wish to be perceived. Here are a few tips to make sure your profile gets noticed.
Know Your Audience
How you present yourself to a large corporation may very well be different than how you do so before a mom-and-pop shop operation. What tone is appropriate? Do you want to be casual or formal – or somewhere in between? (There is no right answer, of course. In some settings, “formal” will be seen as stuffy, and in others, “casual” will be seen as rude, so pay attention to your target clients and present yourself accordingly.)
Factors to consider when taking stock of your target audience include:
- Size of company
- Estimated age of managers or hiring staff
- Role of contact in the company (Do you deal with HR? Do you speak to technical staff? The cultures in each component of a company tend to differ.)
First Impressions Count
Whether we like it or not, people make judgments based on first impressions. Things like physical stance, our attire, hair and makeup, and approachability all play an important role in shaping that first interaction. The quality of the work you do may matter more in the long run – as it should – but if the first impression you make is not pleasing, you may not book the gig.
Make the most of your appearance by ensuring you do not stand out in any negative way. In general, go for a clean, neat look. A few tips:
- Make sure that your hair is brushed, your makeup and jewelry are simple, and your clothing is professional.
- Choose a background that is non-descript so potential clients can focus on you rather than your hobbies or decoration preferences.
- A photograph with a friendly smile helps showcase you as well-mannered, confident and professional,
Proofread Your Profile
In an online profile, the first impression is made with the photo, but what you write is the difference between getting a job or not. Read the profiles of your industry peers. You should be able to find some common key words for your industry and get a sense of what potential clients are looking for. Note that regardless of your industry, when taking a casual tone, professionalism is expected. That means spelling out words fully (and correctly) and using proper grammar. Have a friend or colleague review your profile before you submit it to make sure that you haven’t missed anything. Working with English speaking companies? Have a native English speaker glance at your profile to make any corrections. Remember, you can also work with freelancers on various marketplaces to accomplish this simple task!
What to Include
Each site has its specialties, so it is important that you take note of the requirements. In general, follow the principle of KISS: Keep It Sweet and Simple (originally, “Keep It Simple, Stupid). Your potential clients see many profiles, and you want yours to capture their interest. Using too many words means that the important ones won’t jump out at your reader. Instead, they are likely to click “Next.”
Ways to showcase your skills and work history include:
- A display name that is memorable in a professional way (a brief play on words, for example), or otherwise, simply a version of your name or what you do).
- A clear summary of your background and what you aim to do professionally.
- A portfolio with samples (or links to samples) of your best, most representative work.
- A list of any awards you have won, and links to positive online reviews of your work.
- Regular updates. As your work experience grows, add your accomplishments to your profile.
Your profile is the clients’ first encounter with your work. Set the tone for a great working relationship and make it count!