17th January 2019
2019 is finally here; time to set your goals and achieve them! But what’s the first step?
We recommend perfecting your LinkedIn profile. If you aren’t in the loop and don’t already have a profile set up, LinkedIn is a social networking site specifically designed for career development and business professionals to connect. It’s ideal for building connections for potential future work as well as for simply keeping up with industry best practice and insight. It has over 590 million users so it’s the best place for you to secure your next contract; 85% of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to shortlist their interviewees.
For just these reasons it’s vital that your LinkedIn profile says everything you want potential clients to know about you and your skillset. Imagine this scenario: you’ve sent in your CV to a new client, they liked what you had to say so they decided to check you on LinkedIn. Do they see someone with a partially completed profile, no photo and only a handful of employees or someone with a complete and well-written profile that compliments the CV you have just read, with 100+ connections and testimonials from former clients? With that in mind, here are our top tips for perfecting your LinkedIn profile ready to secure contracts in 2019.
If you haven’t set up a Linkedin profile, the best place to start is with your connections. By building up a network of good contacts, you will appear more reliable and approachable however it is important to consider who you connect with. Consider connecting with relevant individuals, such as contracting colleagues, former clients, and clients you’d love to work with. When sending a request, you are able to tell them why you would like to connect (use this space to tell potential clients what value you believe you could add to their company). You can also request former clients to write ‘Recommondations’ on your profile (we’ll come onto that a little later). You can also post things that interest you such and news articles or even stories of your own experience/contracts on your page to round out your profile.
It’s important to be conscious that everything you say matters. As a Contractor, you’ll be well aware of the challenges of IR35 and so, we recommend that you ensure your LinkedIn profile is updated in a way that reinforces your IR35 status. This can be done by always listing your limited company under ‘Current Position’ and discussing the different contracts you have been part of in the description box below. If you were ever to be investigated by HMRC, this could potentially help evidence your position.
Not only is LinkedIn a great place for you to find new potential contracts, but it’s also a great place to have your career questions answered. There are many groups, just for Contractors, where you can share your experiences and ask any questions. Contractor Advice UK is one of the biggest groups designed especially for people like you. Whether you have questions about IR35 or securing your next contract, there is a community of Contractors and Freelancers here who are able to help. Not only is this directly helpful in troubleshooting your concerns but there is also a number of contract recruiters, so you might just find your next client.
Recommendations can be written by former clients or colleagues and appear on your profile. According to LinkedIn, you’re three times more likely to be contacted about a contract opportunity if you have a recommendation on your profile than someone who has not. Off the back of this, make sure you build into your client management process a way to ensure any client provides you with a LinkedIn recommendation. If there were multiple people you worked with during your contract – ask all of them! You could even approach clients you worked with historically. More often than not, people are happy to help and direct testimonials of your work and character are absolutely invaluable.
The empty blue area behind your profile photo is designed to accommodate an image of your choice. It’s best to think of this area as your business card. Your profile will be more professional if you include a considered and visually strong banner, rather than leaving it blank. Think of it as blank advertising space – you could include a company logo or a relevant image to your skill set. You could even display a recommendation or client testimonial over your chosen image. For help with designing the perfect banner image, we recommend using Canva – it’s easy to use, free and has the perfect LinkedIn banner image dimensions ready to get designing.
There may be some challenges that Contractors face this year, with Making Tax Digital and IR35 in the private sector on the horizon, but by following these tips we believe that securing your next contract won’t be one of them.
All content is accurate at the time of publication
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