There are a lot of factors to think about when choosing to become a contractor, not least how to market yourself and find assignments.
LinkedIn is a one-stop-shop for contractors to create a professional portfolio, identify assignment opportunities and form connections to help you to find your next contract. And all for free, we hasten to add!
In this blog, we’ll go through 4 ways to make the most of LinkedIn to help you to find your next contract.
Keeping your profile up to date
Your LinkedIn profile is essentially an online CV for you and your contracting business, as such, it’s important to keep your profile up to date. Including information such as key skills, professional qualifications and a portfolio of your work makes it easy for prospective clients to see your expertise.
A photo increases the credibility of your profile, so even if you’re camera shy, having a LinkedIn profile photo increases your chance of having connection requests and messages accepted.
To boost your visibility further, why not consider adding a personalised banner to your LinkedIn profile? This can include contact details, a brief sentence outlining your skills and expertise, and a logo if you have one. The good news is, you don’t have to spend your hard-earned cash on a designer. You can easily create this yourself using a tool like Canva. (The size for the LinkedIn banner is: 1536 x 768)
Top tip #1 – Set a calendar reminder to update your profile every six months with your latest skills and experience. Even if there hasn’t been any significant changes, a simple tweak to your “About” section will be enough to keep it refreshed.
Make yourself visible
Whether you want to find assignments independently or would rather use a recruitment agency, it’s important to make sure that you can be easily found on LinkedIn. If you’re looking for your next assignment, be sure to make yourself “open to work” – depending on the settings you choose, you can enable recruiters or all LinkedIn members to see this information. You can even add that you are looking for a new contract in your headline so this can be easily seen.
Top tip #2 -Using keywords throughout your profile can help you be at the top of the list when LinkedIn users search for particular keywords on the platform. Why not add a list of your key skills within the “About” section to help to strengthen your profile.
It’s not what you know…
It’s who you know. LinkedIn, by definition, is an online platform that connects the world’s professionals so as a contractor looking for your next assignment, make the most of it! The more relevant connections you have, the higher your chances are for finding your next contract.
There is a level of strategy involved in building your connections on LinkedIn so here is a simple 3 step guide to attracting new connections on LinkedIn:
- Publish a post with a helpful tip or piece of advice
- Keep an eye out for any likes, comments or shares from someone who you’re not connected with and send them a connection request
- On the connection request, add a separate note thanking them for the interaction, and briefly tell them about you and your contracting business
By doing the above, you will be connecting with more relevant people who may evolve into clients, rather than just sending out random connection requests.
Top tip #3 – Don’t forget to leverage your connections too by asking for recommendations if you have previously worked with them.
Engage and Stay Active
Following on from building your connections, engaging with your network is just as important. That’s not to say you have to like or comment on every post on your LinkedIn feed, however, it will help your visibility to others if you get involved with conversations and industry discussions.
It’s not just public engagement that matters, be sure to reply promptly to direct messages and send a thank you note to people who have sent a connection request. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way.
For more information
Once you have secured your next assignment, take a look at our top six ways of mastering the art of negotiation as a contractor.