Last week I saw something terrible happen. A freelancer friend of mine lost a $10,000 contract because of one tiny detail. His LinkedIn profile was empty. The client wouldn’t admit it, but the lack of work experience on LinkedIn was the reason they decided to eliminate my friend. This tragic story was completely avoidable. In fact, it only takes a few minutes to dial in your LinkedIn profile if you’re a freelancer or independent contractor.
But you need to know how to list contract or freelance work on LinkedIn effectively so that clients, recruiters, and hiring managers can look at your profile and get an an immediate sense of your work experience.
Therefore, know that the recommendations on this page are specifically written to help you land contract jobs. I believe making these changes to the experience section of your LinkedIn profile can be some of the biggest wins you can make in your freelance business today.
If you’ve ever wondered about things like what to include in your job title, how to write bullet points that sell your work, or listing contract positions on LinkedIn this post will show you how. It only takes about 15 minutes to apply the tips on this page, but you can literally see a six-figure increase in your LinkedIn profile’s earning potential.
So next we’ll walk-through how to list freelance and contract work on LinkedIn and other social media platforms in a way that helps contract job seekers get more opportunities with less effort. Once you implement these tips, you can also confidently go out and find clients on LinkedIn. We even include a trick for how to feature freelance testimonials if you don’t already have one in your “Recommendations” section. So read on.
Here’s are the best ways to list freelance work on LinkedIn:
1. Attach PDF work samples directly to your job history
This is a quick tip that almost no one knows about or uses. You can easily attach a PDF or image that can serve as a lead magnet or work sample directly on your profile. It should look like this:
This is great if you do client work because you likely already have PDF’s with case studies.
Simply attach them to your profile and show them off potential clients who visit your profile. (To do this click on Add to Profile > Featured > Media).
2. Create a company profile for your contract work
A lot of people list their company name under Experience, but don’t create a company profile page for it.
This extra 10 minutes of effort uploading your logo, location, specialization can go a long way in beefing up your credibility. So don’t skip it! Compare how these two look profiles would come off to a client:
As an added bonus, people can also choose to follow your company which will mean your posts show up in their feed.
3. Describe your value proposition in your headline
Next to your name and location, your headline is one of the most visible and important components of your profile.
It can draw potential clients, and even staffing agencies in with a quick summary of what you do, with keywords that are relevant to your work while still being human and free of business jargon.
Focus on addressing your prospects biggest pain point, paint the dream of what fixing this would feel like. We go into detail on how to find this out in Endless Clients.
4. Give 5 recommendations to clients today
This is a hack for getting recommendations on LinkedIn: give some out. I recommend giving 5 out today to get 1 by next week.
This lets you take advantage of the reciprocation effect by giving recommendations to freelancers and clients you’ve worked with, or by using the “Ask for a Recommendation” feature.
If you opt for the latter, be sure to personalize the request and provide some helpful pointers on what should be said.
5. Use your About Summary list accomplishments
Your summary is a text box at the top of your LinkedIn profile, that lets you write up to 2,000 characters about yourself.
Describe what you love doing while showcasing your communication skills with clear and concise writing. Include any keywords that you couldn’t weave into the introduction. Don’t forget to provide a brief description of your services.
6. Add Client Testimonials to your About Summary
If you don’t have any “recommendations” you can still add past testimonials to the about section of your profile.
When it comes to testimonials, the best way to get more of them is to do the work for the client.
Literally write the testimonial you want then email the client and ask if you can use it.
7. Put contract work in your Featured Section
One of the best ways to make your profile stand out to clients is to show them what you can do directly on the platform. Don’t try to get them to go anywhere else.
In fact, pretend your website doesn’t exist. How can you bring all of the information and work samples prospective clients need to your LinkedIn profile?
Remember to play on what works for your industry. For instance, the creative portfolio display is best for designers and artists who want to showcase visual work. Publications are better for writers and freelancers who use content marketing.
8. Write posts and comments that sell your contract work
One of the most prominent profile elements is your recent activity. These are any recent comments or posts that you’ve created.
The art of writing a sales message that is irresistible to clients is covered in detail in Endless Clients, and honestly outside of the scope of this post, but I will say it might be easier than you think.
You don’t want to write something that looks like it was copied and pasted a thousand times over. It’s okay to be brief or simply introduce yourself. An even better idea is to mention a mutual contact or share some other kind of information that’s uniquely relevant to the client and shows that you’re serious about connecting with them.
You can talk about a current matter, but you don’t want to appear insensitive. For instance, mentioning the current crisis can be a tricky one. Check out our COVID-19 freelance template to get the rundown on how it should be done. From here, get straight to the why. Explain what you can do for the client and why you’re the one who should be doing it.
It’s similar to writing a cold email, which means having an attention-grabbing headline and being genuine in what you say. Fortunately, it also means that you can leverage a template to save time and effort. Here’s a guide to writing great cold emails.
But wait, is LinkedIn even worth it?
I’ve seen so many clients and hiring managers eliminate candidates over their LinkedIn profile that I have to be definitive here.
The answer is YES, creating a LinkedIn profile and listing contract work on it is worth it.
Not being on LinkedIn (or having an empty profile) will disqualify you from consideration at some point. You will lose jobs without a good profile. Guaranteed.
Any business opportunities that come from the platform itself are an added bonus.
Note: For a full rundown of how to find 10+ $10,000 client leads every week on LinkedIn, get on the waiting list for my upcoming course Endless Clients.
Now, how do you list contract work effectively on LinkedIn?
How do the different LinkedIn accounts work?
To most people LinkedIn is a bit of a black box. I rarely see a breakdown of how LinkedIn works or what types of products they offer. So first lets walk through the five different accounts you can get currently on the platform:
This is your typical free account you get when you sign up. You can message prospects, attach work samples to your profile, get endorsements and a lot of other things. Most of the tips in this article will apply to this type of account.
Premium comes in two flavors: Careers ($29/month) and Business ($59/month). You get access to a range of features including a Resume Builder and the ability to see who’s viewing your profile.
You’re also given access to competitive intelligence about applicants for jobs and the ability display the Premium badge on your profile.
Probably the biggest Premium account feature is the ability to get prospect’s emails when you’re not connected with them.
The higher priced Premium Business account includes three times the amount of InMail credits (15 per month) which is basically LinkedIn’s own currency used to message other users.
You can also browse without restrictions and gain access to business insights that include industry trends. It isn’t necessarily worth the higher price unless you find the features important.
Sales Navigator starts at $79/month. It’s designed to let you create lead lists with advanced search filtering options on LinkedIn’s big data platform. You also get 20 monthly InMail credits to message people. This is more of a cold call sales tool.
This is a somewhat newer account type which has seemingly been rolled into the Premium feature, but I thought it was worth mentioning here because ProFinder matches you to users who request your type of work. You’re able to submit 10 free proposals before committing to a $59 monthly fee.
There you have it. As mentioned above, you don’t need a paid account to apply anything I’m about to share below. However, I find most people don’t know what LinkedIn’s paid account types have to offer because, well, they make it super confusing.
Tips for Getting Leads on LinkedIn Beyond Your Profile
- Search Keywords and Sort by Content: This is something we go in-depth on in Endless Clients. You can use keywords like RFP or seeking freelancer to find opportunities in your niche by decision makers behind the project.
- Curate and share other peoples posts: Curating relevant and informative content that’s considered valuable to people in your niche is an easy way to get a huge following on LinkedIn.
- Create your own content: You can also create your own content or share that which you created elsewhere. Remember to avoid self-promotion and be consistent with your messaging. Don’t forget to respond to any comments.
- Connect With Prospects: LinkedIn has a solid messenger tool that makes it easy to chat with potential clients.
- Pulse and Slideshare: Pulse is the new version of LinkedIn Today, and it’s the ideal place to follow “influencers” in your industry, including relevant publishers and channels along with individuals. This is where you can come across prospects, as they’re likely to be following the same people. These are useful tools for freelancers who use content to market themselves.
- Freelancer Marketplace: These features make LinkedIn particularly suitable if you’re just starting off as a freelancer. It may take some time to get yourself established, but once you’ve set up your profile and started building your network, you’ll only need to spend a few minutes per day growing your presence.
- Join LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn Groups seems to be dying, but some people still swear by them. Be sure to make genuine connections and avoid being spammy or hopping between groups.
- Add outside leads on Linkedin: Whether or not the client you’re pitching came through LinkedIn, I recommend adding them on the platform.
- Don’t be salesy: There’s an art to sending a winning proposal, and it’s one that far too many people don’t know. Employers on LinkedIn are no strangers to spammy sales tactics and users who put minimal effort into their messages. Don’t be one of them. Start by giving your connection requests a human touch. Make yourself visible and relevant, such as by commenting on your prospect’s blog or referencing a post in your message. Remember not to make it all about you and how amazing your work is. Focus on what you can do for the client and how they will benefit from the relationship. Try to reach out only once you’ve made a meaningful connection. That will set you apart from the crowd.
- Get Traffic to Your LinkedIn Page: One of the main ways that LinkedIn ranks search results is by your level of activity. Being active helps to improve your visibility while making your profile more relevant to prospects. You can share posts, articles, and videos here.
However you do it, aim to find the balance between posting quality work and not draining all your time into the endeavor. I like to refer back to Document, don’t create by Gary Vaynerchuk which has some excellent advice on achieving that balance.
Like any social network, remember to engage with people by commenting on and sharing their posts to bring them to your page.
Don’t forget that you can also share industry insights and reports if it’s relevant to your niche. These tend to perform particularly well on LinkedIn.
Getting all of this in place can take some time. Our new course, Endless Clients, walks-through on how to find 10+ $10,000 leads on LinkedIn in under 30 minutes. It can also help you create an ideal profile to target your LinkedIn searches.
How Long it Takes to See Results on LinkedIn
When will your LinkedIn efforts produce results? It mostly depends on where you currently are in your career.
If you’re more established, building a reputation on LinkedIn will be much easier because you already have a network.
Even newbies should be able to setup a profile that gets leads using these tips in a week or less.
From there, you won’t have to spend more than half an hour per day during the week staying active and communicating with prospects. If you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, it’s worth taking a moment to look at your strategy and consider what you can change.
There are many ways that you can save time, as well. Automation tools, for instance, are useful for taking some of the load off of your hands and simplifying more complicated or tedious tasks.
How to Automate LinkedIn Lead Generation
One of the last points I wanted to touch on when it comes to your Linked Profile is some automation tools that you use on the platform.
- Aeroleads LinkedIn Email Finder: This lead generation tool helps you find relevant business contacts and emails from LinkedIn, with all the necessary data points required for a personalized message, such as the prospect’s name, location, company details, and phone number. Dux-Soup is another great tool in this category.
- Lead Cookie: is more of a service than a tool, as it teams you up with outbound experts who work to identify your target prospects and write them messages. Before that, they can even go through your LinkedIn profile to show you how you can improve it. Once they’ve linked you up, you can take the conversation from there.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator: is made by the social network in question with the aim of making it easier to connect and collaborate. Key features include useful sales insights and relationship building tools to help you close sales with a quickness.
- Salesloop.io: Another automation tool, Salesloop.io stands out by being safe, efficient, and highly effective thanks to its modern, cloud-based web-app. This is one you can “set and forget” with confidence.
I haven’t personally tried any of these, but they seem to work for some people.
What To Do Next
LinkedIn has surprisingly been one of the most consistent way I find great $10k+ leads for my private referral newsletter.
But I don’t do what everyone else does. I approach LinkedIn slightly differently.
Wanna know how I uncover thousands of big budget projects on LinkedIn every year? Sign up below and I’ll share more with you in the coming weeks.
How to Find Clients on LinkedIn in 5 Minutes
Step-by-step tutorial on how to find high paying clients on LinkedIn. Great for agency and freelance web design clients.
How to Generate Leads from LinkedIn for Freelancers
Detailed breakdown of how to generate leads on LinkedIn if you're a freelancer or agency including how to generate leads with your profile, search, and other services.