Why LinkedIn is Not the Only Answer for Freelance Career

Why LinkedIn is Not the Only Answer for Freelance Career

In the wake of recent changes in the world economy, many of us have found ourselves searching for a new job. It feels like now is the time to endorse that idea of the freelance career you’ve been toying with for a while. And although this might bring to light some uncertainties you might have with plunging headfirst into self-employment, without a thorough and well thought out plan – both strategic and financial, there is no time for quiver hearts. You can do this.

There are several paths you can take to begin your career as a freelancer. A word to the wise, whatever path you choose to jump-start your freelance career, building your online presence is essential to your career success. 

Traditional CVs are no longer enough to set you apart from the crowd. And if you have not been on a hunt for a job recently, you might be surprised to see that most of the job applications ask you to submit your personal website – online portfolio aside from the usual requirements. So what is the best way to start your freelance career right now?

Why you should not focus all your attention on building your LinkedIn profile

Here’s the thing. LinkedIn has 610 million users, of which 303 million are active monthly users. Surely, your first reaction would be to sign up immediately (if you have not already done so). And then start looking for a job opportunity. While this might seem like a sound judgement at the start, and it is, think about how fierce competition is on LinkedIn.

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Even with your careful targeting of specific employers who could be a good mutual fit your success is not guaranteed. Add to that extensive research of targeted employees and identifying the specific keywords you should use for the purpose of discovering the right set of skills and qualifications you might need to land a certain job. Still, keep in mind that your competition will be doing the same. 

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Optimising your LinkedIn profile headline for a better SEO will not put you above the rest. Millions of people around the world are using the same tricks to get ahead of the competition. Besides, if all the advice is based on using the right keywords (the trick used by everyone) where the results are sorted by the AI, and the recruiters have no taste of your personality and who you really are, aren’t you essentially running the rat’s race?

Focus on building your brand through your personal website which will set you apart from the competition.

So, what is there to do? 

Keep your LinkedIn profile. But focus on building your brand through your personal website which will set you apart from the competition.

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The importance of your personal brand and why you need a website to start freelance career

It might be that you think of LinkedIn profile as an appropriate substitute for a personal website. Thus, you forgo making your personal online portfolio in favour of the networking social media such as LinkedIn. So you decide to place all of your chips there. But, do take our words to heart. LinkedIn might be an answer when in search of a new employment opportunity, but you’ll see that you being active on LinkedIn only is not enough. Instead, we urge you to make your personal website. After all, LinkedIn was not intended as a platform for freelancers.

While this might seem like a sound judgement at the start, and it is, think about how fierce competition is on LinkedIn.

Keep in mind that anyone who is looking for a job, whether it’s freelance or not, is on LinkedIn. Because the competition is severe, people try to stand out in every way possible. However, when you use a platform like LinkedIn, you are limited by a very defined form of the platform. Because of that, people resort to huge amounts of keywords and the same tips and tricks everyone is already using.

why you need a personal website for a successful career

In such a situation, having your personal website is the best way to stand out.  With a personal website, you give people more than a mandatory form dictated by platforms such as LinkedIn. In fact, thought personal website others can get to know you and see what you can do. Most importantly, it portrays you as someone who is not afraid to go the extra mile and put an effort into their presentation. Your personal website depicts you as tech-savvy; as someone who knows how to express themselves; and someone who controls the format in which they do so and choose the content that suits them. 

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How to Use Personal Website to Your Advantage

Here are just a few examples of how having a personal website can put you at advantage over other job applications.

1. Your skills speak for themselves

Rather than just listing your skills, a personal website gives you space to showcase what you can do. Depending on what you do, you can use a website to link the articles you’ve written; show awards you’ve received; link certificates you’ve acquired and so on. Make sure you choose the format that depicts you in the best possible light, instead of simply using a standard LinkedIn or traditional CV format that does not give you the room to tailor your resume to your needs.

2. You give a preview of who you are before the interview

A great thing about having a personal website is that an interviewer can get to know you better before you even walk in an interview. The about page of your website along with your projects, past experiences, skills and achievements can introduce a prospective employer to who you are on your terms – by accentuating your personality along with your skills and other qualifications. 

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3. You control the google search

We are all aware that prospective employers and recruiters google us before deciding whether we are an interview material or not. Having a personal website means that when they google you, the first result they get would be the one controlled by you – your website. First impressions are important, as they can make or break the deal, so make sure you capitalize on that. 

4. If shifting careers, a website allows you to focus on your future career not only listing your previous experiences

When changing your career, past experiences and your qualifications, although relevant, might not paint the right picture of your future path. That’s where the website comes in handy. Use the website to tailor how the recruiter or prospective employer sees you. Use the blog section to share your opinions, ideas and projects you are developing or would like to develop. 

5. You can build your network through the Blog section

The blog section on your website is a powerful tool, often overlooked by many. Posting regularly on your blog and sharing ideas and opinions can attract the attention of people you have networked with. Or, if you share your articles on your social media accounts, Medium and other platforms, people can reach out to you, share their opinions and your network will expand. 

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6. Recruiters will find you more easily

By optimising your website using relevant keywords for your profession, skills and qualifications, you have a higher chance of being scouted by recruiters seeking new candidates. Sure, you can achieve the same results simply by having a LinkedIn profile. But the difference between the personalised and professional website and the standard LinkedIn profile that everyone else has can set you apart from the competition. 

7. A personal website speaks volumes about you

We all need to have a good pitch ready for when the opportunity comes knocking on our doors. And that’s a great thing about having a personal website. Your pitch is ready and working for you, even when you are asleep or helping your kids with their homework. Besides coming across as professional, ready to go an extra mile and tech-savvy, a website can set the groundwork for your interview with a prospective employer. 

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One Last Thing on Freelance Career

Freelance career might seem like a big step to take if you’ve never had any experience with it. Recently we spoke about how to start your journey and jump-start your career as a freelancer. We mentioned different paths you might take, and urged you to consider scouting for local opportunities before (and while) you search for job possibilities on freelancing websites. 

Whether it is LinkedIn or any freelancing platform, remember not to do a bare minimum and be like everyone else. Give your prospective employers and clients a chance to see that you are professional and driven by submitting your website as well. 

We wish you the best of luck!

Author:

Tijana Ostojic

Tijana Ostojic

Most likely you'll find her planning her next summit with a bunch of books in her hiking backpack. Keen on a written word, she's working hard on writing a book for children.

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