8 tips to make the most of your LinkedIn profile as a contractor
Most of us have a LinkedIn profile sitting there, but an awful lot of us just use it as a glorified online CV – often one that is woefully out of date at that. But LinkedIn is a great resource for contractors that can help you network, find jobs, and promote yourself – you just need to make the most of it.
The best part is, it’s a relatively low-effort activity that, if done well, can yield great results. We’ve pulled together eight top tips that break down making the most of your LinkedIn profile into manageable chunks so that you can just devote half an hour or so each day to getting it up to date and then maintaining it.
Complete your contractor LinkedIn profile
This might sound a bit obvious, but make sure your profile is actually complete. LinkedIn’s algorithms favour complete profiles so the more sections you have filled in the better. This doesn’t have to be a big task. Just take it a section at a time and do a little bit each day if that’s what suits you. At the very least, your profile should include:
- Your current position;
- Two past positions;
- Your education history;
- A personal summary;
- A list of your specialisms;
- A profile picture;
- At least three recommendations from clients and/or colleagues.
You can have more than one current position on your profile at a time so, as a contractor, you could have a general one for your contractor business detailing what you do, and then a second one for your current (or most recent) contract. Your previous positions could be contracts you’ve worked on or previous jobs if you’ve come from employment.
Upload a profile photo and cover photo
A profile photo and cover photo are essential to help your profile stand out. Having your face on there gives a personal element to your page and will help people recognise you if they’ve met you before through work or networking. A cover photo gives your page a bit more personality. It could be the banner from your website, including your logo, or it could be an image related to your work. It can give an instant sense of who you are and what you do.
Add in licenses and certifications
There is a profile section specifically for licenses and certifications, and it’s a great place to show off those specialist qualifications that set you apart from others. This also means if recruiters filter their search by a specific certification that’s required, they’ll be sure to find your profile. This is particularly good for contractors in areas such as IT and finance where specialist, niche licenses and certificates make a vital difference in whether or not you are awarded a contract.
Make connections in your industry
Making connections is what LinkedIn is all about – and there are a couple of ways to do this. First of all, search for people you know. This might be former clients, colleagues, recruiters, or simply people you have met through networking. Simply send them connection requests and away you go. It’s also advisable to connect with people more generically in your industry. Think specialist recruiters, hiring managers in your field, and thought leaders. Not only does this create opportunities for you, but it also amplifies your voice as if they, for instance, like a post you’ve written, it will also be shared with their networks.
The LinkedIn algorithms reward those who post regularly. So, the likelihood is that if you only log in every few months to put up a post saying you’re looking for work, then hardly anyone will see it. However, if you make regular contributions then the algorithm will put your posts in front of more people. Posting a few times a week – or even daily – can reap rewards, and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You can:
- Share news and features about your industry;
- Write posts about contracting more generally;
- Post updates on projects;
- Make thank you posts to clients you’ve enjoyed working with;
- Or anything else you think fits well in your sector.
Engage with other contractors, potential clients and industry experts
You’ll get more engagement on your own posts if you’re engaging with others as well. Like and comment on posts by potential clients and industry experts on a regular basis. This will get you seen more by the people you want to be seen by. And well thought out comments will allow you to position yourself as an expert in your field as well.
Ask for recommendations
If you scroll down to the Recommendations section and click the ‘+’, there’s an option to ask for recommendations. You can search for people in your network who you’ve worked with or for (and have a good relationship with) and request a recommendation. People can then choose to give you a testimonial that will display on both of your profiles. You can also give recommendations if you so wish – and quite often you’ll find people will give one in return.
Link back to your website
If you have set up a business page for your limited company (which can be a great idea to give your business more of a LinkedIn presence) then you have the option to add a button that links to your business website. From the admin screen, choose ‘edit page’ and select ‘buttons’ in the left toolbar. From there you can create a custom button with a link that will sit at the top of your business page. It’s a great way to drive traffic.
As you can see, LinkedIn can be so much more than a glorified CV, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort to make it work for you. Just take it a bit at a time.