As a freelancer on Guru.com, you really are one in a million. One in 1.7 million, to be more precise! How can you stand out to employers and win more jobs? Start by avoiding these common profile mistakes and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
Mistake #1: Viewing Your Profile As An Afterthought
Providing employers with an accurate profile is the first step of getting hired. If your profile is lacking, employers have no way of judging whether you have the skills and experience they need. In fact, if you don’t add any services, you might as well not have an account because employers won’t be able to find you on Guru!
Help clients get to know you as easy as possible by providing a profile that has character. Upload a quality profile photo (logos are OK but not as effective). Introduce yourself and your company, and spell out what you can do for employers by adding services. Remember to include keywords so your services show up for relevant searches.
Mistake #2: Letting Your Profile Get Stale
Once you’ve completed your profile, you can’t simply let it set. Your profile should reflect your current skills and best work at all times. If you haven’t updated it in over a year, it’s probably out of date.
Keep your profile fresh to attract new employers. Add new work collections to your portfolio and attach them to your services. Revisit your work terms regularly. Ask employers to leave you feedback every time you finish a job. Expand your offerings by identifying current in-demand skills and taking skill tests to prove your knowledge.
Mistake #3: Writing Generic Titles & Descriptions
If your services look identical to everyone else’s, you will have a difficult time getting hired. Focus on why you’re different or unique. How do the services you offer relate to your unique vision? Anyone can master a skill, but not everyone can offer the expertise that you’ve built up in your body of work.
Put yourself in an employer’s shoes. Use the same language they would when looking for a freelancer like you. Search for jobs that interest you, and see what keywords employers use in the descriptions. Make sure you include those terms in your service descriptions. The more you use a given keyword, the higher you’ll rank for it!
You can also take a look at what other freelancers are doing. Search for services that are like yours, and study those that are ranking well.
Finally, attach work collections to your services so employers see an image alongside your services.
Mistake #4: Lack of Personal Brand
Your profile is where you get to express who you are and how you work. The language you use is important when developing your brand, and pitching incorrectly will cost you clients. Too informal and you could come across as unprofessional, while too formal could prove too impersonal for some employers’ tastes.
Keep your intended audience in mind. How do they want to be talked to? Try to write in a way that speaks to them and their needs. If you want to work with larger companies, a formal tone is a safe bet. However if you work in a creative industry you can use a more informal tone.
Mistake #5: Empty Portfolio
Unless you show examples of your work, an employer may not feel confident in hiring you. The work collections in your portfolio help attract attention to your services. Attach a work collection to a service and its cover image will show next to that service in search results.
If you don’t have any previous freelance work to show, get creative. You can create work examples just for your portfolio. For example, if you are starting a freelance writing business you can write a sample blog post even if an employer didn’t hire you for it.
If the type of work is not visual, you can create a work collection and upload a word document, PDF or video explaining the work you did. Talk about the employer’s needs and how you met (or exceeded) their expectations. For the work collection’s cover image, design a simple image that spells out your service or represents it. For example, if you offer accounting services you could upload a photo of coins on top of a book.
Mistake #6: Cluttered Portfolio
On the other end of the spectrum, putting everything you’ve ever done in your portfolio isn’t the best strategy. If you show too much, employers could be overwhelmed and miss your best work.
Select the work you display in your portfolio with care, and organize it by project or client. Try to represent each of your services with at least one work collection. You should be equally proud of each and every piece you add. Quality over quantity!
Mistake #7: Grammar Errors
The quickest way to scare off an employer is to use poor grammar on your profile. They might assume you are as careless in your work as you are in your writing. Not to mention, poor grammar can make it hard for employers to understand you. Communication is key to success as a freelancer, so you need to be able to clearly state your work terms and expectations.
Proofread everything you write on your profile and check for these common grammar mistakes. Not a native English speaker? Consider asking a fellow freelancer who specializes in English translation to help.
Mistake #8: Lack of Confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Employers want to work with freelancers who assure them that they will deliver quality results.
While you shouldn’t pretend to have skills you don’t, never talk down about your abilities. Prove your skills by taking skill tests and adding your best work in your portfolio. Avoid using phrases like, “I’m just getting started” or, “I hope to one day achieve…”.
Mistake #9: Charging Too Little For Services
It is a common misconception that freelancers have to price their services low to succeed. Many freelancers begin by undercharging for their work — and then get stuck in an endless cycle of mediocre gigs.
Charge what you are worth! To start, take a look at what other freelancers are charging for similar quality and type of work. Then figure out what you need in order to support the lifestyle you want using this handy calculator. As long as you’ve completed your profile, an employer will have plenty of proof that you can do what you say. The more information and work collections you add to your profile, the easier it will be to justify your fees.
Mistake #10: Marketing Yourself as “We”
If you are a one-person shop, make sure your employers know this even if you run your freelance business under a corporate name. You don’t want to give the impression that you have an entire staff working on various roles when it’s just you. Be clear on who you are, what you do, and what you don’t do.