Your freelancer profile is often the first impression people get of you - and as we know, there's no second chance for that. Potential clients or recruiters often decide within seconds whether you are the right person for a job or not. We'll show you how to create a great profile that stands out and quickly convinces people of your skills.
Freelancer profiles are different from employee resumes
If you're on a professional network like LinkedIn, you'll quickly notice: employees present themselves differently from freelancers. They often act in the name of their current employer and stand for the company’s topics. They present their previous career stages in detail, but their skills are often less in the foreground. In contrast, freelancers and other self-employed people focus more on what they specifically offer. They illustrate their successes in projects with figures, pictures or testimonials from customers.
The fundamental difference between the two groups: Employees primarily want to show their resume, which demonstrates competence and may make them interesting to recruiters. Freelancers are always looking for the next exciting project. They are always happy about new clients and therefore design their profile in detail and keep it up to date.
A freelancer profile is therefore more than a resume. Listing your previous professional stations is not enough. Let's take a look at what matters instead.
Adapt your profile to the platform
Adjust your profile to the respective platform. On LinkedIn, for example, you should emphasize that you are a freelancer, which is of course not necessary on a pure freelancer platform. Also, the portals offer different ways to present yourself. For example, you may be able to add a header image or even embed a video introducing yourself. Find out about the options and look at other freelancer profiles for inspiration.
Basics: title, profile picture, availability, hourly rate
The following elements should definitely be on your profile:
- Expressive title: instead of "Designer" or "Developer," list your areas of focus. Maybe you can even include an adjective that describes you and your work, such as "creative" or "results-oriented".
- Good profile picture: Choose a picture that shows your face well. Sunglasses and large caps tend to be suboptimal unless they are your trademark. Many clients value a personal impression, and you increase your chances if you appear likeable.
- Hourly rate: Give a realistic hourly rate so that clients can immediately see if you fit into their budget. You can find out how to calculate your hourly rate in our article.
- Availability: If the platform allows it, state whether you are currently available or when you will be available again. Keep this information up to date. For a potential customer, your quick availability can be an additional argument to ask for you.
In addition, one of the basics is proofreading! Pay attention to spelling and grammar, otherwise you will quickly appear unprofessional.
Align your skills and services
Think carefully about which services you want to prioritize, and list them first. Also, make sure that your stated skills match them exactly. Emarah Arif, Chief Profile Editor at 9am, explains, "It makes a big difference to optimize your freelancer profile for a specific skillset. Many people just add all the skills they've acquired over the years instead of focusing on the ones that are relevant to their desired projects. If someone wants to hire you as a copywriter, it's about research and writing, not teamwork or leadership."
Keep your freelancer profile short and clear
Keep your experience concise and to the point - whether it's previous positions as an employee or projects as a freelancer. Most clients or recruiters will skim your profile and not read it in detail. So use bullet points rather than full paragraphs. Recruiter Laura Menge recommends briefly explaining which industry the companies listed belong to. This makes it easier to assess the relevance of your experience for the customer.
Show your achievements
Don't just describe what you've done, list specific things you've accomplished. Recruiter Laura recommends: "Be specific and use numbers to describe your successes, for example, 70% more visitors due to the new website design or 150% increase in customer retention with the new app release." This way, you'll show that you know what you're doing and that you're adding real value to the client.
Find the right words
There are also a few things to keep in mind when wording the stages in your freelance resume:
- List accomplishments instead of responsibilities. This shows that you were successful in a task. Use terms like "completed", "increased", "introduced" or "created" rather than "responsible for".
- Avoid words like "supported" or "assisted with". Your contribution will not be clear. Instead, mention the things you actually implemented yourself.
- Give concrete numbers instead of "several" or "various". You will look more credible and your successes more convincing.
- Each part should contain a task and a result (ideally with metrics).
Customer testimonials as social proof
If the platform allows it, you should also include customer testimonials. You may be able to request and display feedback directly through the platform. Or maybe there's an area where you can add testimonials yourself. Ask some satisfied customers to write a few lines summarizing what you did for them and what they appreciated most about your work. Many clients will agree if you pre-write the statement, and they just have to approve it.
Convince with work samples
As a freelancer, it is especially important that potential clients can get an idea of your work. As a copywriter, for example, you can put together a selection of successful articles, and as a designer you can show your best work. There are special pages for portfolios that you can link to. Of course, it's even better if you can integrate your work samples directly into your profile, for example as a PDF.
The right freelancer profile for every level
The content in your freelance resume depends heavily on how much experience you have. Are you still at the beginning of your career? Then you probably don't have many stations to name yet. Many young freelancers list all the jobs they've had so far, even if they weren't relevant to their services. This can be okay, as Emarah explains, "Those who want to hire less experienced people usually know that they are still starting out and don't have that much experience. These freelancers should therefore emphasize their skills. For example, a part-time job at a fast food restaurant may have honed the ability to work efficiently in a dynamic environment - a valuable skill!"
If you have a few years of experience, your previous stations and projects are just as important as your skills. Focus on your most successful jobs and your core skills and give examples of them. Clients want to see the value you can bring to their company. This is how you attract exciting and challenging new projects that expand your portfolio.
If you've been in your field for many years, it should be mostly about your more recent experience. "What you did 10 or 15 years ago will seem outdated and irrelevant to many clients," Emarah says. "List what you've done in the last few years and use the about section to summarize your diverse and long experience."
If you want to learn more about creating a great profile on LinkedIn, check out this webinar recording, where Björn Brandt shares his top tips for freelancers who want to use the network for social selling:
Did you know that 9am doesn't require you to create your own profile? Just sign up on our freelancer platform and share your resume or link to an existing profile with us. Our team will create your optimized freelancer profile for you. Plus, it will automatically stay up to date by adding your latest projects.