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How can contractors win work through LinkedIn?

Master LinkedIn to grow your freelance business

LinkedIn now has over 660 million members worldwide, yet I still regularly chat with contractors who haven’t embraced it simply “because they don’t like social media.”

Before I go any further and outline ways contractors can win work through LinkedIn, I would like to make one thing clear: LinkedIn is not a social media channel. It is a professional networking site where professionals can network, build their reputation in relevant circles and make themselves visible to other professionals (or companies) that might want to buy their services.

The largest candidate base in the world

The fact that LinkedIn generates more than 60% of its revenue from its talent solutions offering is the vital statistic for contractors to take into account. It means the platform earns most of its revenue from recruitment orientated services. LinkedIn is now the largest candidate base in the world – a hugely diverse talent pool that agencies and businesses fish for the best available contractors.  

Recruiters and hiring businesses pay LinkedIn to access what is a vast number of independent workers, which in simple terms increases the chances of them finding the right workers to place and engage. 

But why is this relevant? Well, the point I’m making is that LinkedIn – as the biggest recruiting platform in the world – needs to be one of your primary channels for winning new contracts. 

In a competitive marketplace, to neglect your profile or worse – ignore the site altogether – will mean you are less visible to potential agencies and businesses interested in your services. 

LinkedIn is a ‘due diligence’ tool

85% of recruiters and hiring teams at companies will check contractors out on LinkedIn as soon as they have compiled a shortlist of potential candidates. In other words, LinkedIn is a due diligence tool as much as it is a platform to find contractors in the first place.

So it should go without saying that having a well thought out and well written LinkedIn profile is as important as having a compelling CV. A cobbled-together profile will not only lessen your chances of securing a role but perhaps even mean you miss out on an opportunity altogether. 

LinkedIn tips for contractors 

Taking all of the above into account, here are some simple steps you can take to improve your LinkedIn profile as you hunt for new contracts…

1. Describe what you do in the ‘Headline’ section of your profile. Don’t just drop in your title, like ‘Java Developer’, and leave it. Create a value proposition statement, such as…

Personal Branding Specialist – helping contractors win more work at higher rates 

2. Include your key skills and service offering in the ‘About/Summary’ section. In doing so, you will tell the interested party exactly how your abilities will benefit them. Choose the most relevant and in-demand skills in your marketplace, touch on your experience and emphasise the value you bring to the businesses you work with. Give examples when you can and include a call to action. 

3. Every previous position you describe on your profile should give a summary of the role and in which department it sat. Detail your responsibilities, the role you were engaged to do and the success you had, when possible. 

4. Speak to your LinkedIn connections and past clients for testimonials. The statistics tell us that someone with recommendations in their profile is three times more likely to be contacted by a recruiter or client than those without them.

5. Bear keywords in mind. Add a list of key skills into the ‘Summary’ and ‘Skills’ sections. Again, the statistics show that a profile with a healthy selection of skills is 13 times more visible than one without. In short, it helps optimise your profile, so it appears in LinkedIn and Google searches. 

These are just some basic tips.  For in-depth advice on how to create a compelling LinkedIn profile, how to use it to win work and safeguard your outside IR35 status, please sign up to our free webinar. More information can be found here.

By Matt Craven, The CV & Interview Advisors

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