When I’m walking through a neighborhood, I love to look at the houses—the houses that catch my eye the most are unique and have their own easily identifiable personality. That first impression you receive from a nicely kept house is called, “curb appeal”. As a guru, it’s best to craft a profile that has “curb appeal”.
You could also think of your profile as a poster advertising your services amidst a wall of similar posters. You want your poster to catch the eye of anyone looking at that wall. Here are a few tips to make your profile prominently stand out.
Add “Curb Appeal” to Your Profile
What do we see first when we glance at something? For me, the broad details make up my first impression.
Keep your content organized and consolidated and make sure that, within the first 30 seconds of someone landing on your profile, they can skim through it and get a pretty clear idea of who you are. Once they have an idea, they should want to dive deeper into what you can do for them. I would suggest making your profile as visually pleasing as possible, even if you’re not a graphic designer. In this day and age, everyone has access to tools that can help them add graphics to their profile.
Use a Striking Profile Cover Image and a Professional Screen Icon
Literally the first two things an employer will see when viewing your profile are your screen icon and your profile banner. Two great ideas for a screen icon are a high-resolution image of your company’s logo or a nicely lit, high-resolution photo of yourself. Here’s my screen icon:
I took this photo with my iPhone and the only lighting used was the midday sun outside. I think everyone can agree that the photo is decent and it took very little effort.
Your profile banner should be at least 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels in size. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. I’d recommend simply choosing or creating an image that is much wider than it is tall (like a panoramic photo). For my cover image, I chose a panoramic photo I took on my iPhone during a recent vacation.
I think it’s a visually striking image. If you are a visual art-oriented guru, you may want to craft your own graphic for your profile banner. Otherwise, I think it’s great to use a photo you’ve taken (remember that most smartphones have a panoramic mode) to keep it simple and give yourself some immediate and unique profile flair.
Give Employers Something to Look at When They Browse Your Services
Having a variety of descriptive services that describe your skills is the most essential aspect of a good profile. However, did you know that you can link work collections to services? Linking a work collection to a service is like saying to the employer, “This is what I can do and this is what I’ve done.” Going a step further, linking a work collection to a service will attach a thumbnail of your choosing (the thumbnail is whatever you chose as the “cover image” for your work collection) to that service, giving it a visual distinction with endless possibilities.
Here are a few examples I came up with:
I think this would be a great cover image for a writer. Rather than design an image I simply took a screenshot of something I’ve written to give my “Blog Writing” service some easy visual appeal.
As a graphic designer, I thought it would be neat to create “buttons” for each of my services. There’s no way an employer would skip over this service and it looks cool! Each one of my design services could be a big, bold button with the title of the service.
If one of your services is Photography, why not just show off one of your photos? Since the thumbnail is small, I think it’s most effective to zoom in on a photo to give people something to focus on. You can zoom in on photos by cropping them closely.
Of course, you can mix and match these ideas depending on your tastes (there’s nothing wrong with a writer making “buttons” for each service) and there are many more ways to use our cover image feature to your advantage.
Before you tell me that there’s no way you can afford photo editing software, I’d like to point you to the free software I used, Pixlr. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it but all of my cover images were created in a few minutes once I figured it out! To take a screenshot of my writing sample I used another piece of free software called Jing.
Whatever you do, make sure your profile embodies you and your business. As a freelancer, you know how important a first impression is. Let us know if you have any other suggestions in the comments!