Freelance Best Practices: Creating a Standout Profile
by Laura Bauml, on Dec 14, 2017
As a freelancer, your profile—whether on LinkedIn, your website, or the freelance marketplaces you work with—plays a crucial role in building trust with potential clients and positioning yourself as the expert you are.
Here are a few tips and tricks for creating a standout profile.
1. Beef up your bio
A well-written bio is your business card come to life, yet many freelancers don’t do their experience and skills justice. Think of your bio like a brief, super-succinct resume that hits on how you provide value and where you gained your experience. It should only be 4 to 7 concise sentences and written in the third-person language, using your first name as if you are a friend, introducing you to a potential client.
To get started, write the answers to these questions:
- What is your mission in your current role -- What problems do you solve for clients? Or, what is one or two main benefits you have provided in the past that would be applicable to a new client?
- Do you specialize in certain industries or have knowledge or experience in a type of business, software app, or service?
- What education do you have? Or, how many years of experience?
- Any other awards or association memberships?
To tie it up, add a personal statement that humanizes you. It could be about your family, where you live, or what you like to spend time on outside of work.
It’s important to think of your bio as a living, breathing document. Sure, you have the version that sits in your profile for everyone to see, but when you’re pitching to a specific client or project, it’s important to focus on specific benefits that apply to that potential client, adding industry or project relevant experience to make it clear why you’re a great fit. These personalized touches can be the key to winning projects. It’s more than okay to have different versions of your bio that highlight similarities to a potential client’s concerns. The main thing is being truthful and being yourself.
Here are a few samples of good foundational bios:
Laura is certified as a Professional Bookkeeper and QuickBooks ProAdvisor. She has over 15 years’ experience working with owners and managers to establish sound accounting practices and increase their financial confidence. She received training from Universal Accounting as well as Intuit and completed an Associate’s degree in Information Technology emphasizing the current web-based processes. As a native of Kansas City, MO she now enjoys rural family life with 3 spoiled dogs and using Pinterest as a home design enthusiast.
Lance applies strong accounting and analytical skills consulting with construction companies and providing insights into revenue projections, customer satisfaction measurement, and implementing budget reductions. Administrative expense reductions have resulted in a 30% increase in profits while improving overall staff morale and client confidence. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, and is fluent in Spanish. Working remotely with clients nationwide, he lives in Vail, Colorado to be near his favorite stress-buster, snowboarding.
Kim has nearly 30 years of experience in Payroll Management and Payroll Tax and Compliance. She has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, and her experience extends to small companies and startups. Kim holds an MBA and undergraduate degrees in Accounting and Finance. She currently lives and practices in Philadelphia, and is an avid Flyers fan.
2. Take a professional photo (with your phone camera)
Your headshot is a critical part of your profile. Especially in remote positions where meeting in person is unlikely, a picture improves the trust factor that is necessary for clients to have when deciding to work with you. Don’t sweat about making it model material – it won’t be scrutinized. Our industry is traditionally white-collar professional, although more casual dress and appearance is standard today. Just don’t make it vacation style casual, because you want to be taken seriously.
National chains like Target and JC Penney’s have reasonable photo packages. If you don’t have a professionally done photo, take one with your phone. Here are some tips:
- Take it in a well-lit area. Natural lighting is best and outdoor surroundings turn out well. If bright sun is a factor, it should be shining mostly towards you, the subject.
- A distance of 2 to 4 feet from you to the camera is ideal. Let your upper torso fill the largest percentage of the whole frame.
- Have eye contact with the camera.
- Think friendly thoughts. Like smiling when you answer the phone comes through in your voice, a positive outlook will come through as approachable in your picture.
3. Complete your profile
Many freelancers never take the time to complete their profile, but it’s so important for potential clients to get a full picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.
In LinkedIn, this means getting your profile to All-Star status, which makes your profile more searchable. On Paro’s freelancing platform it means not only filling out your bio, work experience and adding a photo and resume, but making sure you add in your specific skills to make sure you’re being considered for relevant projects.
Think about a client’s experience viewing two profiles: One has a two-line bio that reads: “I am a CPA with business and CPA firm experience. Can do accounting and tax.” with no headshot, no work experience or education listed. The second one has a robust bio, headshot and fully detailed work experience and education. Who do you think they’ll choose for the project?
As freelancers, we live in a world where perception is reality. Don’t let potential clients develop a negative perception of you by showing your best colors from the get-go: on your profile!
Laura Bauml is certified as a Professional Bookkeeper and QuickBooks ProAdvisor working remotely with the Paro network. She has over 15 years of experience working with small business owners to establish sound accounting practices and increase their financial confidence. She received training from Universal Accounting as well as Intuit, and completed an Associates degree in Information Technology emphasizing the current web-based processes. A native of Kansas City, she has always had an interest in security, and was an over-protective mom getting her 3 children safely to adulthood along with her husband who holds a Masters Degree in Industrial Safety and Security.