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How to raise your freelance profile

Choosing a freelance career instead of a regular 9-to-5 job might feel like a leap of faith, but being a niche specialist who knows how to create a standout freelancer profile will help you succeed. All it takes is a little bit of time and research to figure out what freelance employers like, and how they search for new hires on Upwork and other platforms.

This is extremely important since you are going to face some serious competition out there. Reports show that there are almost 60 million freelancers in the U.S. alone.

Here's how to optimize your freelance profile in nine simple steps.

1) Add the right job title

Freelancing platforms function like search engines, so you can expect potential clients to find you (or your competitors) using keywords. This is exactly why you need to optimize your job title and come up with something that really matches your skills and experience. Check out the following examples:

Although they seem similar, each option is different and you have to select the one that perfectly corresponds with your level of knowledge and professional background. And here’s an extra tip – don’t go for generic options such as “Freelance Writer” because it really doesn’t say anything about your scope of work.

2) Write a concise overview

A freelancer’s overview goes hand in hand with the job title. It gives you more room to present your skills and professional experience, but be careful not to bombard potential clients with too much information. Keep the overview concise and simple, avoiding broad terms such as “goal-oriented” or “team player.”

Of course, it is essential to proofread and edit the overview as even the smallest mistake can prove that you are not so reliable and detail-oriented after all. You can do it manually, but there are also digital platforms to help you out: Grammarly, the best writing company, Hemingway, etc.

3) Add the best pieces of work to your portfolio

Freelancing networks like Upwork encourage online professionals to fill in the portfolio section and showcase their knowledge through practical examples. It is your chance to prove the points mentioned in the overview, so make sure to seize the opportunity.

If you are a web designer, you can add links to the websites you’ve created. If you are a content creation expert, don’t forget to include a few examples of your writing. Freelancers who follow this tip and support their claims with real-life examples can count on more job invitations and projects.

4) Upload a good-looking profile photo

This is a simple tip, but it’s very important for the overall credibility of your freelance profile. You should upload a professional and good-looking image because it shows that there is a real person behind your profile.

All it takes is a nice close-up of your smiling face. Of course, your clothes should also look neat and clean, thus making you look more credible and trustworthy.

5) Create a list of professional skills

Freelancing platforms don’t take anything for granted, which is why they invite freelancers to create lists of professional skills. For instance, you can add up to 10 skills to your Upwork account.

It’s yet another critical step because the skills you mention will serve as keywords, based on which the recruiters can find you. Keep in mind to mention the most relevant skills first and then move on to the less interesting job skills, but don’t include anything that doesn’t fit your actual knowledge and experience.

6) Complete relevant tests

Another way to prove your authority and professional value is by completing relevant skill tests. For example, the vast majority of Upwork skills tests will take you less than 20 minutes, so there can be no excuses for not giving it a try. The best thing about it is that you get to choose whether to display test results on your profile.

7) Add more details to the freelance profile

The features described above are critical to the optimization of your freelance profile, but there are a few more details you should pay attention to:

  • Experience level: Make sure to state your level of experience (beginner, intermediate, expert).
  • Hourly rate: Choose an hourly rate that you consider good enough for your skill set. Don’t be afraid to make it high enough if you really are an expert, but also compare your peers’ rates and adapt accordingly.
  • Employment history: Freelancing platforms allow you to present the real-world employment history, so make sure to do it.

The last suggestion is to add links to other online resources or social profiles. This can be a URL leading to your personal website or a link to the Facebook or LinkedIn account. It can help you to support the freelance profile and augment it with other personal and/or professional details a potential recruiter might consider trustworthy and important.

Sharon Hooper Sharon is a Manchester, UK-based marketing and technology specialist, and an academic writer and blogger.

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