Use Your Linkedin Profile to its Fullest Potential

How Freelance Writers Can Prevent Themselves from Getting Lost in the Shuffle

Use Your LinkedIn Profile to its Fullest Potential, by Jenn Greenleaf

If you’ve been freelance writing for a few years, chances are you’ve set up a LinkedIn profile by now. You may have gone through all the basics including adding a summary, skills, contact information, work history, and education. You may have taken things a step further by adding a professional headshot, writing clips, and links to your portfolios. However, despite these efforts, are you using your LinkedIn profile to its fullest potential?

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Embrace the Power of SEO

Don’t underestimate the power of keywords. Potential clients are searching for you and, unless your profile optimized, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. Therefore, it’s critical you’re using powerful keywords that showcase your skills, talents, and abilities. Remember, in addition to conducting searches within LinkedIn; potential clients are also using search engines. These keywords will help optimize your profile, so you’re easier to find.

Jack from Forbes reminds us that “The goal is to design an SEO-friendly bio that will attract hiring managers and recruiters to your profile when they conduct searches for candidates in your field of expertise.”
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Add Pdf Documents And Links

In each section of your work history, you have the option of adding supporting material. In doing so, you’re furthering showcasing your abilities. Take this opportunity to upload links and .pdf samples of work you have the right to share. If you go to each section, pick coordinating materials that match with that work history. Then, in the summary section, add details about why the addition of those samples makes sense in that section. You can see an example of how to do this on my profile here.

Brandon Timinsky, Co-Founder of GasNinjas also suggests when writing for Inc.com, “Lastly, make sure to expand your network and connect all of your existing contacts from your phonebook and email accounts. You never know knows who. In business, connections are everything.”
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Show Why You’re Valuable

Take a step back and think about your skills. How can they benefit potential clients? What are you doing to show them your work is worth their time and budget dollars?

Here are some tips:

● Write long-form status updates, between 230–300 words, to increase your reach.
 ● Write LinkedIn articles featuring your strengths with a call to action at the end.
 ● Share links to articles and blogs you’ve written for other clients but, instead of posting them directly, put the link in the first comment with a call to action in your post.
 ● Share posts from your blog similar to the scope of your LinkedIn articles with a call to action at the bottom.
 ● Re-share content from your network contacts, as well as other influencers, as “new” posts with a call to action to click the links in the first comment.

Each of these materials shows up in the “activities” section of your profile. So, the more often you’re sharing and tagging valuable content on LinkedIn, the better chances you have of being found by potential clients.

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Keep Everything Actionable

Potential clients want to see what you’ve done in the past, as well as what you’re good at now. That means making sure the sections of your profile contain action words. Instead of writing that you used to manage the content for an online magazine, for example, consider writing about how you’re skilled at managing online content for online magazines or something to that effect. That way, potential clients can get a taste of what your current talents and straights are instead of wondering if that’s all part of your past experiences.

Marc Nation is a talent scout for The Hired Guns, and he talks about the mistake some of us make when writing our LinkedIn profiles regarding passive voice. He writes, “This is a subtle misstep, but a damaging one nonetheless. Passive voice makes you sound unassertive and, well, passive. It makes you sound like an observer rather than an active participant.”
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Continue Optimizing

Yes, we’ve already talked about the importance of having a well-optimized profile. It doesn’t stop there. It’s essential to continue keeping your information current. What this means is, each time you have writing samples that are more up-to-date than the ones you’re featuring, switch them out. That way, potential clients always have the opportunity to see your most recent work. In your most recent work history section, be sure to add a call to action to visit your website to view more samples of your most recent work.

Kailynn Bowling from Forbes writes about how joining groups is another powerful way of optimizing LinkedIn profiles. However, her advice isn’t to join hundreds of them. She suggests “Instead of joining every group you see, join two to three groups that resonate with you. This ensures you protect your time while making the most of new opportunities.
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Reach Out to Your Network

It doesn’t hurt to talk to your network, especially those whom you have the closest connections with, and ask for recommendations. These efforts also help keep your LinkedIn profile actionable, relevant, and up-to-date. Remember, if you’re asking for recommendations, it’s customary to give one in exchange. These recommendations can be in the form of skills or a review.

Vanita D’souza, one of the writers for Entrepreneur, suggests, “Additionally, ask recommendations from contacts working in the company you are planning to apply for, as it serves as a reference.”
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Avoid Being Spammy

No one wants to receive messages from members of their network that are unwanted, unwarranted, or contains information they don’t need. If you’re sending numerous messages to your network regarding your services, need for work, or desire to boost your business, you’ll lose connections. Sending an initial inquiry or introduction email is acceptable. If it goes unanswered or if your connection shows disinterest, then they’re not a solid lead.

Peter Caputa from Hubspot wrote an excellent article on HubSpot about how to avoid being spammy on LinkedIn here:

Take This Information and Run!

The ball is in your court now! Take this information and run! If you currently have a LinkedIn profile, are you ready to give it an overhaul? If you don’t have one yet, are you prepared to set it up? Now is the time to conduct research, gather your materials, and launch these efforts. Good luck!


Jenn Greenleaf

Jenn Greenleaf is a freelance writer hailing from the great state of Maine. She launched her career in 1999 and, since then, her specialty has been content writing and SEO. Follow Jenn on Facebook or Twitter, or Working Freelance Writer’s Facebook page.