During the last few years (and specially in the last few months), I’ve had the chance of helping people create their freelance profiles. Those who have been interested in freelancing for a while may remember a time when UpWork suspended some accounts systematically? Being able to get accounts approved despite these restrictions gifted me with an understanding of the keys to make a freelance profile shine. Setting up a freelance profile is an unavoidable first step before getting your first interviews and contracts.
Your Freelance Profile is not a CV
The way freelance profiles are structured on UpWork, Freelancer, People Per Hour or even Guru automatically makes you think of the standard CV. Actually, it makes sense that plateformes that promote independent workers would adopt that universally accepted format. However, your freelance profile is not a resume. That is one point that plateforms like Fiverr make abundantly clear pretty fast.
Sure, you will be asked to list your skills, certifications, previous work experience and similar things on various freelancing platforms. It can actually be useful for “Enterprise” type clients whose recruiting processes are still rigid. But, in order to make your freelance profile shine and attract clients, you will need to adopt a more “relevant” approach.
Add tangible proof of your know-how to your freelance profile
What interests a client, is not that you’ve worked with such and such company during the last 5 years. Even if they are the top reference in their field, there is no proof that you contributed anything to those results. You need to stop thinking in terms of job and start thinking in terms or projects.
In other words, briefly explain what you’ve brought to the table with the companies you’ve worked at. Be it as a full-time employee, as a contractor, as a consultant or even as an intern, you should present your accomplishments or, at the very least, what you’ve learned.
A content writer can showcase his understanding of editorial schedules, his mastery of natural SEO and his knowledge of copywriting if he worked with a web development agency for example. If his “meaningful” experience was with a traditional publication, he can present his research skills, adaptability, being able to deliver quality work despite short deadlines, etc. All in all, you need to know how to “sell yourself”.
Whereas the CV gives the reader the luxury of choosing the elements that hold weight for them, the freelance profile should guide them from start to finish.
Your freelance profile : your personal touch
One element that needs to permeate every section of your freelance profile, is your personal touch. Just like the freelance cover letter, it’s not enough to have a catchy personal presentation. You need to enrich your freelance profile with your own authentic signature. Besides the personal presentation, you’ll have the opportunity of doing so within sections like the “portfolio” and the “previous work experiences”.
With the portfolio, it’s pretty straightforward. You need to show some of your accomplishments. Obviously, you should choose accomplishments that are relevant to the freelance skills for which you want to be hired. If you have various skills to showcase, then take advantage of the specialized freelance profile feature that UpWork provides for example.
It should be noted that the portfolio shouldn’t be a simple list of projects and parameters. Here, your authentic touch means you should show how your implication made the project successful. In other words, you should present a proper case study. What were the mission’s parameters? what were the obstacles and constraints? What solutions did you come up with? And what were the results? This approach is also valid for the “previous work experience” section.
If building your freelance profile had to be summarized in one sentence it would be: “Don’t just show your knowledge, show your know-how”. When it comes to freelancing, diplomas are less important than proof of expertise. Having a certification in project management is a lot less meaningful than proving you’ve already managed complex projects.
As a general rule, place yourself in the potential client’s shoes. Use this perspective to showcase the skills, experiences and know-how that speaks directly to your future client. If we consider the CV to be a broad fishing net, your freelance profile should be more akin to a harpoon. More precise, a lot more specialized and with a specific target.
The illustrations on this page were provided by PixelTrue.