In a tough economy with so many people out of work, finding a job can be a mind numbing process, and finding a freelance writing job is no different. The problem, though, does not lay in the job finding part; any website you browse will list hundreds of open positions. These common websites are flooded daily with over-qualified applicants that are hired before you even click the posting. Because of this, you may need to consider finding an alternative way to job search and in this job market. The key: networking.
If you are or want to be a freelance writer, you may already be a part of the social networking site, LinkedIn. As a member of this site you can link with old co-workers, high-school and college buddies, and people in your field that you may not even know yet. Needless to say, this is a haven for networking. Intricacies of the site can help you connect with CEO’s of businesses and hiring managers. Using this network as a tool for job searching is your key to fending off the job thieves and getting ahead in the application process.
The 5 “Beings” of LinkedIn
1. Being in Touch
Simply being in touch with friends, old-coworkers and school pals in a professional environment can bring you more opportunity. When you have drinks with a friend, you don’t always talk about jobs and unemployment. It’s an uncomfortable topic, and doesn’t fit into the fun happy hour discussion. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is just the place.
- Make LinkedIn work for you:
- You should fill it out as much information as possible. Include any previous work that is relevant, your specialties, and technological capabilities. Some people use social networking sites as part of an informal background check, so let everyone know that you have nothing to hide.
- More information will allow friends to see your professional history; something they may not know.
- This will also allow the casual passerby to immediately assess your employable potential. If a position is open, the opportunity for you to qualify before you even know about it is likely.
2. Being Involved
Using LinkedIn is all about being acquaintances with people you would have previously never had the chance to speak with. LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to be involved, and taking advantage of these can increase the possibility of discovering job opportunities.
- Put yourself out there:
- Invite others to connect with you. You can (and should) write a blurb about yourself in the invitation as an introduction.
- Ask old co-workers and bosses for recommendations. Who knows, reaching out to people you haven’t spoken with for some time could also lead to job opportunities.
- If someone you want to connect with is out of your network, see if any friends are in that network. If so, you can be introduced through the mutual friends.
- Don’t allow yourself to be shy. The more people you talk to, the higher your chances are of finding a suitable position.
3. Being In Groups
Groups give you the opportunity to talk with more people at one time. Everybody knows someone else, who knows another person, who’s looking to hire. Groups can greatly enhance your chances of finding job opportunities.
- Joining a group:
- This can put you in a place to talk with others about career opportunities.
- As a group with a common goal, there is a camaraderie that can make the job search less stressful.
- You can post questions to your group, and you will almost always get an answer back. Where are they searching? Do they have a plan of attack? What is working for them?
- Creating a group:
- This can be a smart way for you to cater the group to what you’re looking for because you can invite people from within your established network. If anything, this can be a way to get bulk information from people who might know the business.
- You can create an open group. This way, if others are interested, they can ask to join. As someone looking for information, this would be a great idea.
4. Being Aware
With many of these social networking sites, users don’t always know the extent of its abilities. LinkedIn offers tutorials which can show you the extensive capabilities it has.
- Knowing about features:
- On the side of your profile you can see profile views. Following up with people who browsed over your site can lead to interviews and other opportunities.
- Here you can also find your site views. If you are finding that the amount of views is chronically low, research others ways to put your profile out there. For example, Higher Visibility outlined how to use keywords to optimize a social networking page.
- Adding applications like WordPress can allow you to display your personal or professional work while giving onlookers a tangible feature. You can also use the Portfolio Display application to showcase other media you have created.
5. Being You
Just like in an interview or around the workplace, you should always be yourself. This is your best bet at getting the position that is right for you. When a company can see you have more to offer than a good-looking resume, you move higher on the list.
- Flaunt your assets:
- Set your profile picture to be a good head-shot of you. It is important that potential employers see you the way they will in the office or out in the field.
- Include your interests. You liking to hike and camp could make a difference in who you connect with.
- Show your personal contributions. If you keep a well written blog, display that. If you have taken part in a lot of volunteer work, make it a part of your profile.
Getting a job as a freelance writer is a difficult task, and setting yourself apart from the unemployment crowd is even harder. LinkedIn can provide you with support, networking opportunities, and a way to put yourself in the limelight. Sometimes an interview is the make or break for a position because you can show yourself off. When you wouldn’t normally get the opportunity, LinkedIn can make that possible.
Photo Credit: smartonlinesuccess.com, businessknowledgesource.com, michaelneaylon.com
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to small business loans. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including document software to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.