The benefits of LinkedIn for contractors
As all contractors know, having a steady stream of contract opportunities coming in is essential to ensure a healthy income, especially if some of the engagements are short term. To help make your skills and experience visible to potential hirers and agencies in the marketplace, one of the most useful ‘must haves’ for a professional contractor is a LinkedIn profile. The latest figures from LinkedIn show there are now over 313 million accounts in 200 countries and territories around the world. Over 16 million of these are in the UK alone. That’s a huge pool of potential recruiters and valuable contacts that you could be missing out on if you’re not making the most of this powerful professional networking tool.
How to maximise your professional visibility with LinkedIn
There are a few basics which will help your LinkedIn profile really work for you and maximise your visibility and impact.
- Make sure your profile is 100% complete. LinkedIn, like Google, works on algorithms. If your profile is only partly complete it can’t fully integrate your data. This will mean that you may rank lower than others if someone searches for a skill set, or industry sector.
- Have a profile photo. According to LinkedIn your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo. In many cases a professional one would be preferable, but not always. Think about your industry and target market and have an image that would appeal to these.
- Choose your skills and experience keywords carefully. Make sure you use the kinds of words and terms that a potential recruiter in your industry would look for. This makes it much easier for them to find you.
- Include recommendations. Don’t be coy about this. Ask for recommendations from clients and colleagues and make use of them. As you would expect, this will immediately raise your profile ranking.
- Join LinkedIn groups. There are literally thousands of groups to choose from, with some also organising face-to-face networking opportunities as well. For contractors, some are more news related, or geared towards job boards. Others are more industry specific, such as Oil & Gas groups. Look around and see which appeal to you. Making comments or giving answers to questions can also help as this not only raises your profile ranking, but also gets you noticed within these communities.
- Keep your profile updated. It’s not a one-off process. Treat it more as a real-time CV. Also, if you’ve done anything genuinely interesting or novel, let your connections know. Keep things flowing, but relevant.
- Get connections. Ideally, you should actually know the people you’re connected to or have a known connection in common. The more connections you have the higher the profile ranking, but do think in terms of the quality of your contacts as this can also be relevant.
Remember – business relationships can be sociable
Although you can keep your contacts pool up date with your professional activities it’s important to remember that both current and potential clients are real people too. Try to maintain appropriate levels of LinkedIn contact on an individual basis too, even if you’re not currently working with them. This could be as simple as asking them if they’ll be attending an industry relevant event and suggesting a catch up over coffee if they are.
The appropriate level of contact will depend on the relationship you have, of course, but direct contact keeps you and your skills ‘in mind’. This factor alone could open the doors for your next contracting role and help keep the fees flowing in.
This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.