How to optimize your LinkedIn profile when you are a freelance consultant

When working as a freelance consultant, LinkedIn is one of the best places to market your professional profile. In this article, you will get some tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and thereby your chances to be found for future projects.

By: Sami Bødker, Senior Sourcing Specialist at ProData Consult

Use a proper profile picture

Let’s take it from the top. And yes, a profile picture might seem a little irrelevant. How much can one really tell about your competences just from your picture? Maybe not much, but a professional picture gives a much better first impression and, to a greater extend, point to professionalism. Use the time and resources to have a professional picture taken - it is money well spent.

Are you a CEO or a freelance consultant?

As a freelance consultant, you are CEO in your own undertaking, and it can be tempting to decorate your profile with titles such as CEO, CTO, CIO, or other flattering abbreviations. Although it sounds impressing, it does not help you to get contacted for a project – far from it. This kind of title rarely gives an idea of what you are good at.

Instead, you should focus on bringing out the role you excel at. Are you a ’Project Manager’, ’Web Developer’, ’Test Manager’, or something else? Then that is the role you should bring out in your title on your profile. Make sure to use common role names, since these are most frequently used as search phrases by recruitment specialists.

Even if your native language is not English, I recommend that you use English titles. Use the English role names – it will increase your chances to be found through searches, as most requests from clients will have common roles in English.

State that you are a freelancer

Remember to state that you are a freelancer. If you only mention your role/title, you do not stand out from the number of permanent employees who share your title. This will make it more difficult for recruitment specialists to find you. If you do not care for the term ‘freelance’, you can also put ‘external consultant’.

Indicate if you are open to new projects

If you are looking for new projects or you know when your present contract will end, make sure to communicate it. There is nothing wrong with indicating that you are available and ready for new jobs. Indicate if you are available, what type of project you are looking for, and geographical preferences. This will also make potential inquiries more relevant.

Some choose to specify their availability in their title, others in their resume – both will work perfectly fine. Examples of common ways to demonstrate your availability could be: “Open/available/ready/looking for new opportunities/assignments”.

Set the scene in your profile summary

A lot of people omit a summary on their LinkedIn profiles. But it is an important tool to create a direction for your profile. The summary is your starting point for positioning your professional profile, and, other than your picture and title, your summary is the first thing people see when they visit your profile. Use the opportunity to set the scene of your profile by writing a catchy and strong summary. Keep it short, consistent, and objective, and get to the core of your profile. Further, avoid long and complex descriptions.

Point out your previous projects and clients

Spend time and energy on a description of your previous projects. It is not satisfactory to write that you have been employed in your own company for the past 15 years, without elaborating what projects you have worked on and what clients you have worked for. Also, it is not enough to just state the client, your title, and the period of time you worked there – the description of your projects should be detailed. It does not have to be a long essay. 5-6 short and precise points on your responsibilities in the projects can be plenty.

Make sure to have a credible coherence between your experience and the competences you emphasize in your summary and in your competence section. Again, use common terms when stating your role, technologies, platforms, etc.

Create coherence from top to bottom

When scrolling through your LinkedIn profile, there should be a coherence from top to bottom. And yes, it sounds simple, but it can actually be a tough discipline, as it is all about cutting to the bone and omitting information that could create confusion on your profile.

Basically, you should have the same approach to your LinkedIn profile as you have to your consultant CV. Here, you can read our advice on how to best communicate your competences in your CV

Use LinkedIn actively

Obviously, the prerequisite for the above is for you to want to use LinkedIn actively to market your professional profile. And we recommend that you do this. Be proactive and expand your network – it will most definitely be beneficial for you in the long run.