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LinkedIn can be a gold mine for freelancers, with a wealth of business owners, marketing agencies and individuals all looking to hire freelancers. Before jumping in and firing off requests to connect, we go over the mistakes that we see on a regular basis.

The copy-and-paste pitch

If you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while the no doubt you’ve received one of these already. Usually, someone will connect and then immediately send over a copy-and-paste sales pitch.

With no attempt to get to know you or network, they jump straight into the sales pitch. How many times has this worked on you? Whilst cold pitches can work, we’re generally pretty tired of seeing them. At the very least, introduce yourself first, and build a rapport with your new connection.

An incomplete profile

Are there a few neglected sections on your LinkedIn profile? Leaving out vital info such as your bio, work experience or links to your website may mean you miss out on opportunities.

Spend some time making sure your LinkedIn profile is as clear and complete as it can be. If you already have all the sections filled in, are they up to date? For example, updating your current position to show that you’re a freelancer might encourage people to contact you asking for a quote.

A headline that mentions the word “aspiring”

Even if you are a brand new freelancer, avoid putting the words “aspiring job title” anywhere on your profile. It may be accurate, but it’s probably not going to get you hired.

Unless you’re on LinkedIn just to network and learn, it could even be a red flag that you don’t know what you’re doing. Rather than “aspiring web developer”, try “junior web developer”, instead.

Unprofessional headshot, or none at all

Step one in any LinkedIn profile is to have a photograph – but not just any one will do. A clear, professional photograph is such a simple yet effective way to win trust immediately.

Avoid those holiday snaps you use for Facebook, you need something that says you mean business.

Missing call-to-action or contact information

Say someone stumbles on your LinkedIn profile and wants to talk, what do they do next? They might direct-message you for more information, but might also want to look at a website, portfolio, or make contact another way.

Having a call-to-action in your bio or clear contact information is a great way to point a business owner to the next step. Even something as simple as “check out my website” is better than nothing. Don’t leave them hanging.

A vague bio

Vague bios are pretty common on LinkedIn because bios are really hard to get right. No one likes writing them, so they say something vague and uninspiring. As a freelancer looking to impress, you need to do better than say “I’m a graphic designer/writer/web developer”.

One way to stand out is to mention your niche or specialisations. This can attract attention from specific clients who want a specific freelancer. For example, don’t just say “freelance writer”, say something like “freelance science writer”. Yes you may turn away people looking for something different, but you’ll also catch the eye of the very clients you’re looking to attract.

Another thing to include in your bio is how you help people get results. Rather than talking about how great you are, rephrase it to say how you help people. What results can you give them? How can you make their life easier? Marketing yourself is all about providing value.

LinkedIn can be such a fantastic resource for winning new clients and business. It’s not all about job hunting so if you have previously used your profile for that reason, give it a bit of a freelance makeover. Make sure every inch of your profile says what you do and how well you do it.

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