How to get the best out of LinkedIn as a contractor
LinkedIn can be invaluable for contractors, particularly in terms of advertising your skills and services and being visible to hiring managers and recruiters in your sector. However, there's more to LinkedIn than just uploading your CV, leaving it there and hoping somebody spots it. We've pulled together some top tips for making sure your profile is at the top of searches.
Complete your profile
So many people on LinkedIn have incomplete profiles, but the service itself favours those that are considered 100% complete. This means you should have at the very least your current position, two past positions, your education, a summary, a list of specialties, a profile picture and at least three recommendations from colleagues or clients.
You can have multiple current positions so, as a contractor, you could have a general overarching one detailing what you do, and then a second one for your current contract. Your two previous positions could be contracts you have worked on in the past or previous jobs if you have come from full-time employment.
Your summary is your chance to say a little about yourself and what you do, and is a good place to talk about any particular skills you have. Recommendations are the part no one likes as it can feel a tad awkward generally speaking you will need to ask for them so opt for clients or colleagues that you have had a friendly working relationship with. You can, of course, give them recommendations too so it's not just one-sided.
If recruiters are looking for particular skillsets for contract roles, they will search these specifically so make sure your profile is littered with relevant keywords that will get picked up on. To get ideas, take a look at the profiles of people who work in similar roles and make sure you include the same sort of keywords. You can also get tips on the correct keywords to use by looking at LinkedIn job adverts. LinkedIn seems to favour keyword use in its search results so you need to do this to make sure your profile is sent to the top of results pages.
LinkedIn search results tend to get ordered in terms of connections. So, if you are two connections removed from a hiring manager, your profile will likely be favoured above someone with the same profile strength who is three connections removed. For this reason, it's best to make as many relevant connections as you can. Connect with people you've worked with previously or have met at networking events and then review their connections to see if you know anyone they do and then invite them to connect. You could also let people know you are on LinkedIn by including the link to your profile in your email signature and on your website.
Be active and useful
LinkedIn also favours people who get involved. This can be as simple as updating your status, sharing relevant news stories or blogs, or creating specific LinkedIn posts. Status updates are a great way to advertise yourself and your availability. For instance, Current contract is finishing soon so I'm looking for opportunities in Birmingham next month. When people in your network like, share or comment on this, it will also be shared with their network. You can also just put details of conferences and expos you'll be attending, or simply comment on and like other people's statuses.
Following these tips and checking in with LinkedIn regularly can make it an incredibly useful tool for you in terms of networking and finding new roles. Just keep it professional and you can't go too far wrong!
If you are becoming a contractor or have been contracting for a while and want to speak to someone about getting the correct contractor insurance, contact our helpful team on 01242 808740 or take a look at our website. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us over on our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages.