As a freelancer, you need to create an online profile that stands out. Remember, it’s the very first impression potential employers will get of you. More than a great portfolio and feedback from past clients, your profile is the tool that makes potential employers decide whether or not to contact you further. So think of it as your sales pitch. Even if you have no previous experience in the field you’re planning to work in, you can set up an effective profile that will make employers start to work with you right away. Investing time and research into creating your profile will pay out in the long run.
In order to be truly unique, your profile should express your personality. No matter which online job board you decide to use, you can make yourself stand out by focusing on the following areas:
•1- Your company name or professional name:
The first thing you’ll need to choose is a name for your company (or yourself if you’re an individual freelancer). Your name can be anything from Mary virtual assistant to Tom’s writing factory to AM Benett. Try to include a description of what you do in your name. For example, Mary’s writing services or Mary Designs or Artistic solutions are more effective than Mary’s Solutions or simply M Phillips. A name that’s easy to remember and includes a description of your work will most likely be memorized by a potential client. It will also become effective when using other marketing methods, such as giving out your business cards later.
If you still decide to use a non-descriptive name such as AM Services (or have already done so and are unable to change it now), then you still have a chance to fix things — your tagline.
•2- Your tagline
A tagline could be defined as a catchphrase, or as Wikepedia puts it, “a variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of a brand or product (like a film), or to reinforce the audience’s memory of a product.” You might think this doesn’t apply to you, since you’re no big company selling a product. Wrong. You are indeed selling a very important product: Yourself. Most job boards will ask you to enter a tagline; and if you’re promoting your services offline, you’ll want to print them on your business cards too. Make sure your tagline effectively and creatively summarizes what you do, especially if your company name is vague and doesn’t give any real info about your services. Don’t try to come up with a tagline in a few minutes. Think about it for a few hours or days. Think about the market you’re targeting and the type of service you want to provide. Use your imagination and get out of the common. If your company name already summarizes your services, then maybe a tagline such as When good isn’t enough or Effective, flexible and fast is acceptable. But if your company name is Red Patch, then make sure your tagline summarize your core values and your services.
•3- Your summary or ‘about me’ section
Most job boards have a ‘summary’ or ‘highlights’ or ‘about me’ section. It’s one of the most important sections of your profile. It’s your chance to really sell yourself to potential employers. So needless to say this section should be as perfect as possible. Browse though other provider’s profiles, and notice the summaries that catch your attention. Don’t copy them word by word (you could end up being accused of plagiarism), but get some ideas from the ones you like. All the while, keep these two things to keep in mind while writing your summary:
•a- Don’t try to be modest. They won’t know what you offer if you don’t tell them. Of course, you shouldn’t lie or invent anything; neither should your summary be all hype. Give true, proven info but while highlighting your skills and experience as much as possible. List all your major work experience that is significant to the category(ies) you have chosen. If you’re good at something, then say it and back it up.
•b- Stand out of the crowd. Be original; avoid generic statements, such as “I am well organized and detail oriented.” Employers want to hear your unique voice while reading your ‘about me’ section. Using generalizations about your abilities will only make them believe that you’re either a poor communicator or are using such statements to fill up space. So be as specific as you can. And talk to your prospective employer as is he was sitting in front of you; that will make him more interested in giving you a try.
For example, let’s say you’re a prospective employer and are considering two profiles. Profile one’s summary is:
“I’m an experienced secretary with great grammar and editing skills. I also have a background in customer service, where I’ve worked for more than 3 years. I’m able to effectively handle phone inquiries, write emails, set up appointments and more.”
And the summary for the individual in profile 2 reads:
“If you’re looking for a professional secretary to effectively handle your work, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been working in this field for more than 3 years and possess great grammar and editing skills. From writing emails to handling phone inquiries and set up appointments, no job is too small or too much for me. I’ll definitely be a real asset to your or your company. “
Which one captured your attention more? Then craft your own summary the same way.