The most important task for being successful in obtaining new work as a freelancer is to market your skills. Since most of the work for freelancers comes through online resources, then it makes sense that you should have a virtual resume available for the public to easily access. A mere website just won’t do – you need to have something that provides full examples of your work, and the ability to obtain references.
Find a Hosting Site
First things first, you need to find somewhere to host your website/virtual resume. There are several free hosting sites available if you’re not a web designer and need something easy and inexpensive. I highly recommend WordPress, which has several templates available. If you’re not already aware, many of those templates provide the opportunity to add “Pages” and make your blog look just like a website. In fact, I just did one myself.
Many freelancers, especially photographers, are using blogs to promote their work rather than a full on website. You can still easily provide all the necessary information for your virtual resume through a blog and allow potential clients to get to know you better, too.
One important aspect of your virtual resume is a page that introduces who you are. Briefly explain how and why you started your freelance career, so potential employers understand your passion for the industry. Just like with a regular print resume, touch on your educational background and list relevant past employment, complete with contact information for references where possible.
Give a glimpse into your personal life, such as a snippet on your family and your hobbies. Add a couple of nice pictures of you and even your immediate family. This makes you seem more like a real person, rather than just a name on a website.
Create a Portfolio
Whether you provide graphic design or writing services, a portfolio is the most crucial element of your virtual resume. Potential clients want to see your work. Don’t just provide thumbnail shots of the websites you designed, but link directly to those websites, so potential clients can see your work in active use.
In the same regard, if your writing resume includes articles published online, provide links directly to those articles. For example, I link to my “member page” for websites I wrote many articles for, so a full list of my articles is available to easily find and view.
List Your Fees
This can be a blatant list of what you charge for each type of project, or a simple statement that what you charge depends on the particular job (which is usually more relevant to freelance writers rather than graphic designers). Although, if you go this ambiguous route, it’s a good idea to at least provide a range, so that potential clients know off the top if they can even afford you.
At the very least, be clear as to whether your fees are by job, by hour, or by the amount of work (such as per word). Note if you require any deposits or payments upon completion of certain milestones. If your prices are negotiable, say for the production of bulk content, make it known.
Provide a Way to Contact You
Be sure to provide either a contact page on your freelance website, or include your contact information on every page of your website if a contact page isn’t available. In addition to obvious contact information, such as phone number and email address, you might also consider providing your mailing address, since you never know when someone will need it.
Continue Building Your Portfolio
Even if you don’t have work currently available, you can continue to build your portfolio. After all, the more expansive it is, the more potential clients will trust that you do a great job. Freelance writers can submit guest posts on blogs relevant to topics they have experience in. While this generally doesn’t pay anything at all, it is a great way to keep your portfolio strong. Website designers can offer to update or design websites for friends and family at little or no charge, just to get more examples of their work active online.
Check CraigsList, too, which always has many “build your portfolio” writing gigs listed, often offered by companies just getting started and unable to afford hiring someone. The best option is to utilize CrazedList, which allows you to search ads for all cities, rather than just the one you live in.
Having a virtual resume in place will give you a web presence when your work might not have one otherwise. There’s no harm in starting a Facebook business page, too… but that’s another post entirely.
All content is originally authored by Michelle L. Cramer, although portions of this article were first posted on LinktoPro.com.