Tuesday, February 8, 2011

7 Tips for Using Your LinkedIn Profile to Land Great Projects

LinkedIn may not have the name recognition of Facebook or the popularity of Twitter, but what it does have is the reputation as one of the most effective social networking services for freelancers. Boasting more than 80 million users and counting, LinkedIn has something for everyone, from writers to designers, from podcaster to vbloggers.
Thanks to LinkedIn’s huge, active network of professionals, many seeking the perfect freelancers for projects of all shapes and sizes, you should make your LinkedIn presence just as important as your Twitter account, and probably even more so than your Facebook profile. In fact, LinkedIn can mean all the difference between you seeking out work, and having the work come to you.

Land Great Projects Using LinkedIn

Here’s how to land solid projects with your LinkedIn profile:
  1. Build your profile to 100% completion. A complete LinkedIn profile is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. It carries the same weight as a college degree does by showing that you stuck things out to the finish line, rather than going in, signing up, and getting out when the going gets rough (or boring). As a freelancer, that’s the worst reputation to have. Period. To start, make use of the basics such as the summary and experience fields, as well as new features like the Skills and Publications sections. According to LinkedIn itself, a completed profile increases your chance of successful networking by 15 percent, meaning you have a greater chance of establishing connections, generating leads, and finding gigs that pay well.
  2. Pick a custom URL. If you’ve ever used LinkedIn (or Facebook for that matter), you’ve seen the person with a URL that looks something like: www.facebook.com/8297328Z028BZ. In other words, their URL is complete gibberish, and anyone who lacks a photographic memory would never, ever remember it. Instead of going down this road, you should personalize your URL to reflect what you do. You could change your URL to include your name, for example: www.linkedin/joeshmoe, but a better idea is to set it up so that it shows exactly what you do for a living and what you’re looking for. A LinkedIn URL like www.linkedin.com/freelanceeditor4hire will grab more attention than one that simply lists a name.
  3. Add lots of apps. Apps have become a huge part of the social networking universe, and LinkedIn has jumped on this train by adding more and more on frequent basis. With LinkedIn’s present set of apps, you can share presentations with SlideShare, show pictures of where you’ve traveled via Flickr, and even cross-promote your blog through the BlogLink app. The BlogLink app connects your blog to your LinkedIn site, so that any time you blog, posts are automatically published to your LinkedIn profile. In a nutshell, installing applications is a great way to make your profile stand out and gives you exciting ways to share content.
  4. Build an army of connections. If you’re stuck with just a few dozen LinkedIn connections, a group that may or may not include family members, it’s time you kicked things up a notch. Connections not only show that you’re active on LinkedIn, but they give the appearance–at least in the Web world–that you’re the person pressing palms and passing out business cards at the cocktail party and not the sullen person parked by the door. When building your connection pool, size matters, but remember that quality is also a major consideration. If you need to enlarge your pool by including your local dog groomer or cable repairman, you’ll probably need to uncouple yourself from them as you build up more connections with people working in your general field.

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