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8 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

8 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

Building your personal brand through an online portfolio has never been as important as it is today. More than simply showcasing your latest works or achievements, it’s a way to stand out among a sea of talented, go-getters.

An online portfolio is recommended not only for freelancers but also for career shifters, college students and basically anyone who wants to make their presence known on the Web. Now, it’s easier than ever to be discovered through your personal blog or website. So easy in fact, that a LOT of people are doing it.

But competition doesn’t stop with the hundreds of domains being created every minute. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there are more than 53 million Americans who are entering the freelance industry. That means one in every three.

So how do you ensure maximum success with your online portfolio if you’re competing with millions?

The answer is simple: make it search engine-friendly.

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1. Pick a Suitable Platform for Your Online Portfolio

It all begins with the platform you choose.

  • First, identify your NICHE and search for suitable platforms in that industry.
  • Second, check for FEATURES – especially for mobile compatibility.
  • Third, see if it fits your BUDGET and unique CONTENT requirements.

For example: if you’re a blogger or researcher, sites like Contently would suit your needs best, because it was built specifically with this type of content in mind. For artists (i.e. designers, photographers, graphics creators, etc.), try Foliodrop or IM Creator. Don’t forget to check if the platform offers a FREE version (with the ability to upgrade anytime).

2. Decide on a Simple, Readable Domain Name

The K.I.S.S. rule always applies, especially when it comes to choosing domain names OR creating URLs for inner pages of your online portfolio. Simple, readable URLs perform better because:

  • People know immediately what to expect.
  • Search engines (like Google) prefer them due to usability.

The rule of the thumb is to go with your name or initials (i.e. algomez.com, alanson.contently.com). But if you want to spice it up, you can include your expertise or related terms that give clues to what you do (i.e. seoexpert.algomez.com, ask-al.com). This is recommended if you have a common name.

3. Optimize Text AND Images

Keywords are NOT obsolete – you just need to know HOW and WHERE to use them for maximum effect within your online portfolio. To know which keywords are being searched within your industry, use Google’s Keyword Planner tool. Download the results, and pick the ones that are most relevant for use in your site.

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keywords-google-planner

    But don’t limit yourself to keywords. Long-form relevant terms sprinkled in strategic places around your portfolio can help increase chances of better visibility on the Web. For instance: if you’re an SEO consultant, try scattering ‘SEO consultant services’ or ‘what does an SEO consultant do’ within your blog.

    You may also use these keywords as filenames and alt-tags for photos in your online gallery. Optimizing images is a basic SEO technique that will help boost chances of your own images being found on search results.

    4. Include Proper Tags and Categories (for Blogs and Galleries)

    If you have a personal blog or a photo gallery, grouping posts under the right category with appropriate tags does several good things, such as:

    • Help users easily and quickly find your content
    • Help search engine crawlers properly align your content with relevant search terms

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    blog-category-tags

      It’s a small act, but it has a big impact in the long run. Keep posts and photos organized for faster archiving as well.

      5. Submit Your Online Portfolio for Indexing

      With all the content that’s being created every minute, it’s not surprising that sometimes, search engines take a while to include your online portfolio (and its updates) in their database. Help Google out a bit by submitting new pages to the Search Console.

      google-console-submit

        If your portfolio is a full website, you can also make and present a Sitemap for faster indexing. Once your page has been indexed, it will appear on the search results.

        6. Include Your Link in Author Bios

        Are you writing or contributing content to other websites? Make sure to promote your online portfolio by including a link in your author byline, along with your social media accounts. This helps spread the word about your work best projects.

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        7. Share Your Portfolio on Social Media

        Of course, don’t forget about social media! Pin your online portfolio link to your Twitter page for maximum visibility. Do the same on Facebook if you have a business account (you can’t Pin on a personal account). Add a link to your LinkedIn profile as well.

        A clever tip? Include a link when creating social media headers for your profiles.

        twitter-header-online-portfolio

          This is a beautiful and creative way to promote your portfolio without putting in a clickable link. Plus, it’ll be more noticeable as it’s usually the first thing people lay eyes on whenever they visit a social media profile.

          8. Stay Consistent

          Ensure that your contact details and URLs are correct. Keep them up-to-date and consistent. This is especially important if you’re managing multiple accounts (your website, blog, social media, etc.). Whenever you can, link them together so that search engines can recognize them as belonging to the same person.

          Basic SEO will make your online portfolio user- and search engine-friendly. Don’t worry about NOT being active everywhere. Focus your attention on your online portfolio (count your personal blog, if you have one) and maybe two to three social media accounts. This ensures maximum output from every platform you’re maintaining.

          Now, you’ll be ready to be seen on the Web, across any device, anytime.

          More by this author

          Al Gomez

          SEO Expert and Entrepreneur

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          Last Updated on April 25, 2019

          How to Write a Career Change Resume (With Examples)

          How to Write a Career Change Resume (With Examples)

          Shifting careers, tiny or big, can be paralyzing. Whether your desire for a career change is self-driven or involuntary, you can manage the panic and fear by understanding ‘why’ you are making the change.

          Your ability to clearly and confidently articulate your transferable skills makes it easier for employers to understand how you are best suited for the job or industry.

          A well written career change resume that shows you have read the job description and markets your transferable skills can increase your success for a career change.

          3 Steps to Prepare Your Mind Before Working on the Resume

          Step 1: Know Your ‘Why’

          Career changes can be an unnerving experience. However, you can lessen the stress by making informed decisions through research.

          One of the best ways to do this is by conducting informational interviews.[1] Invest time to gather information from diverse sources. Speaking to people in the career or industry that you’re pursuing will help you get clarity and check your assumptions.

          Here are some questions to help you get clear on your career change:

          • What’s your ideal work environment?
          • What’s most important to you right now?
          • What type of people do you like to work with?
          • What are the work skills that you enjoy doing the most?
          • What do you like to do so much that you lose track of time?
          • Whose career inspires you? What is it about his/her career that you admire?
          • What do you dislike about your current role and work environment?

          Step 2: Get Clear on What Your Transferable Skills Are[2]

          The data gathered from your research and informational interviews will give you a clear picture of the career change that you want. There will likely be a gap between your current experience and the experience required for your desired job. This is your chance to tell your personal story and make it easy for recruiters to understand the logic behind your career change.

          Make a list and describe your existing skills and experience. Ask yourself:

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          What experience do you have that is relevant to the new job or industry?

          Include any experience e.g., work, community, volunteer, or helping a neighbour. The key here is ANY relevant experience. Don’t be afraid to list any tasks that may seem minor to you right now. Remember this is about showcasing the fact that you have experience in the new area of work.

          What will the hiring manager care about and how can you demonstrate this?

          Based on your research you’ll have an idea of what you’ll be doing in the new job or industry. Be specific and show how your existing experience and skills make you the best candidate for the job. Hiring managers will likely scan your resume in less than 7 seconds. Make it easy for them to see the connection between your skills and the skills that are needed.

          Clearly identifying your transferable skills and explaining the rationale for your career change shows the employer that you are making a serious and informed decision about your transition.

          Step 3: Read the Job Posting

          Each job application will be different even if they are for similar roles. Companies use different language to describe how they conduct business. For example, some companies use words like ‘systems’ while other companies use ‘processes’.

          When you review the job description, pay attention to the sections that describe WHAT you’ll be doing and the qualifications/skills. Take note of the type of language and words that the employer uses. You’ll want to use similar language in your resume to show that your experience meets their needs.

          5 Key Sections on Your Career Change Resume (Example)

          The content of the examples presented below are tailored for a high school educator who wants to change careers to become a client engagement manager, however, you can easily use the same structure for your career change resume.

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          Don’t forget to write a well crafted cover letter for your career change to match your updated resume. Your career change cover letter will provide the context and personal story that you’re not able to show in a resume.

          1. Contact Information and Header

          Create your own letterhead that includes your contact information. Remember to hyperlink your email and LinkedIn profile. Again, make it easy for the recruiter to contact you and learn more about you.

          Example:

          Jill Young

          Toronto, ON | [email protected] | 416.222.2222 | LinkedIn Profile

          2. Qualification Highlights or Summary

          This is the first section that recruiters will see to determine if you meet the qualifications for the job. Use the language from the job posting combined with your transferable skills to show that you are qualified for the role.

          Keep this section concise and use 3 to 4 bullets. Be specific and focus on the qualifications needed for the specific job that you’re applying to. This section should be tailored for each job application. What makes you qualified for the role?

          Example:

          Qualifications Summary

          • Experienced managing multiple stakeholder interests by building a strong network of relationships to support a variety of programs
          • Experienced at resolving problems in a timely and diplomatic manner
          • Ability to work with diverse groups and ensure collaboration while meeting tight timelines

          3. Work Experience

          Only present experiences that are relevant to the job posting. Focus on your specific transferable skills and how they apply to the new role.

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          How this section is structured will depend on your experience and the type of career change you are making.

          For example, if you are changing industries you may want to list your roles before the company name. However, if you want to highlight some of the big companies you’ve worked with then you may want to list the company name first. Just make sure that you are consistent throughout your resume.

          Be clear and concise. Use 1 to 4 bullets to highlight your relevant work experiences for each job you list on your resume. Ensure that the information demonstrates your qualifications for the new job. Remember to align all the dates on your resume to the right margin.

          Example:

          Work Experience

          Theater Production Manager 2018 – present

          YourLocalTheater

          • Collaborated with diverse groups of people to ensure a successful production while meeting tight timelines

          4. Education

          List your formal education in this section. For example, the name of the degrees you received and the school who issued it. To eliminate biases, I would recommend removing the year you graduated.

          Example:

          Education

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          • Bachelor of Education, University of Western Ontario
          • Bachelor of Theater Studies with Honors, University of British Columbia

          5. Other Activities or Interests

          When you took an inventory of your transferable skills, what experiences were relevant to your new career path (that may not fit in the other resume sections?).

          Example:

          Other Activities

          • Mentor, Pathways to Education
          • Volunteer lead for coordinating all community festival vendors

          Bonus Tips

          Remember these core resume tips to help you effectively showcase your transferable skills:

          • CAR (Context Action Result) method. Remember that each bullet on your resume needs to state the situation, the action you took and the result of your experience.
          • Font. Use modern Sans Serif fonts like Tahoma, Verdana, or Arial.
          • White space. Ensure that there is enough white space on your resume by adjusting your margins to a minimum of 1.5 cm. Your resume should be no more than two pages long.
          • Tailor your resume for each job posting. Pay attention to the language and key words used on the job posting and adjust your resume accordingly. Make the application process easy on yourself by creating your own resume template. Highlight sections that you need to tailor for each job application.
          • Get someone else to review your resume. Ideally you’d want to have someone with industry or hiring experience to provide you with insights to hone your resume. However, you also want to have someone proofread your resume for grammar and spelling errors.

          The Bottom Line

          It’s essential that you know why you want to change careers. Setting this foundation not only helps you with your resume, but can also help you to change your cover letter, adjust your LinkedIn profile, network during your job search, and during interviews.

          Ensure that all the content on your resume is relevant for the specific job you’re applying to.

          Remember to focus on the job posting and your transferable skills. You have a wealth of experience to draw from – don’t discount any of it! It’s time to showcase and brand yourself in the direction you’re moving towards!

          More Resources to Help You Change Career Swiftly

          Featured photo credit: Parker Byrd via unsplash.com

          Reference

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