Four quick-wins to boost LinkedIn visibility as a contractor

Getting noticed on LinkedIn is a bit of a dark art and getting your posts seen by your network often seems nigh on impossible.

Here, exclusively for ContractorUK and ahead of my inside-outside IR35 LinkedIn profile writing webinar this Thursday, I want to reveal some quick-wins for increasing your visibility, boosting your search rankings, and attracting contract opportunities, writes contract work-winning adviser Matt Craven, founder of The CV & Interview Advisors.

LinkedIn mastery -- not just a dark art, it's also a well-guarded secret

Before we start, it's important to note that LinkedIn's algorithm is proprietary and only LinkedIn’s software engineers will totally understand it’s full inner workings.

Nevertheless, based on known best-practices, anecdotal evidence from ‘power users,’ and occasional insights shared by LinkedIn itself, these tips are a good starting point for most contractors seeking better visibility to their network.

Results, or being read and engaged with?

Firstly, contractors and any other LinkedIn user should acknowledge that appearing in search results is one thing, but getting someone to read your profile and engage with you is another. That’s a whole different ball game, and how to write a LinkedIn profile is just as much of a dark art as the whole algorithm-optimisation-thing! If the latter interests you, it’s the sort of thing my upcoming webinar on the anatomy of a contract-winning LinkedIn profile writing will cover, with formulas for both inside and outside IR35 roles.

So, what are my top tips to increase visibility on LinkedIn?

Well for starters (more will be revealed at Thursday’s webinar), try these four to boost LinkedIn visibility quickly as a contractor.

1. Use relevant keywords

As you would expect, LinkedIn’s algorithm matches user-search queries with relevant profiles. By including specific, industry-relevant keywords in various sections of your profile, you increase the likelihood of appearing in searches related to those terms. This points to the fact that less is not more; if your profile is threadbare with very little information, it’s unlikely to contain sufficient keywords to trigger your appearance in searches, and it’s also unlikely to engage your audience if they do happen to start reading your profile.

As well as adding content and keywords to each section of your LinkedIn profile, make sure you add all fifty skills into the Skills and Endorsements section, and assigning these to various Positions and Projects is also worth your time and effort.

2. Complete your profile

You may have been convinced that brevity is the best course of action, but LinkedIn's algorithm actually prioritises profiles that appear complete and genuine.

A fully fleshed-out LinkedIn profile is perceived as more credible and is likely to offer searchers more value.

With this in mind, the section behind your photo is not meant to be left blank – make sure you have included a professional banner image that represents your professional brand. It should go without saying, but a decent picture is also crucial.

Your About section is the focal point of your profile, so make sure it contains at least four decent-length paragraphs.

Finally, the Experience section should contain all your more recent contracts or positions in a reasonable amount of detail – maybe not as much as your CV, but at least give an overview of the role and your key projects or achievements within it.

3. Engage with your network

LinkedIn values engagement. By actively commenting, liking, and sharing, you signal to the algorithm that you're an active user. This not only increases the visibility of the content you engage with but can also amplify your profile's visibility.

Think of it this way; LinkedIn wants users who ‘use’ their platform, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that professionals who are more active are rewarded for being so. You don’t need to spend hours on LinkedIn, but 10 minutes a day of strategically engaging with the platform is worthy of your efforts. After all, it should be a significant source of business if you are doing things right.

4. Post regularly

Regular posts keep your profile active and your network engaged. It’s hard to get your posts seen far and wide, but different types of media can appeal to different segments of your audience.

While there isn't definitive public evidence from LinkedIn stating that varying post types directly boosts your algorithmic ranking, diverse content can increase overall engagement. More engagement signals to LinkedIn that your content is valuable, which in turn can make the algorithm more likely to prioritise your content in others' feeds.

Perhaps it’s wise not to overthink this one, so each time you have something useful to share with the world, whether it be a blog, article, whitepaper or video, then do so, safe in the knowledge that it’s not going to do any harm.

Conversely, LinkedIn will probably reward you for being ‘active’ and maybe, just maybe, a key decision-maker will see and engage with your content, leading to a rewarding contract opportunity.

As Drew Pritchard from the TV series Salvage Hunters always says, “It’s about putting yourself in the way of luck.”

If you think about it, this quote is incredibly insightful and a great mantra for those times where you might be overthinking things and thus stranded in LinkedIn indecision – taking some form of action is almost always better than inaction!

How else to get more out of LinkedIn?

So, there you have it; four tactics to help you get seen by more professionals online, which in turn should increase your chances of securing contract work from your LinkedIn endeavours. Building on this with a solid networking strategy and embracing the concept of Thought Leadership would be great next steps.

A word of caution though, and just to echo what’s advised above -- all this effort will go to waste if your LinkedIn profile doesn’t resonate with your target audience. Each section needs to be carefully crafted and aligned with what marketeers would call ‘buyer psychology’. When it comes to wordsmithing sales content, businesses usually turn to experienced copywriters, which is another one of these dark arts we’ve been homing in on today.

Lastly speak, get appraised, and register for my LinkedIn optimisation event

If you would like to speak to an expert LinkedIn profile copywriter, you can take advantage of a free LinkedIn profile appraisal provided by my team over at The CV & Interview Advisors. And don’t forget to register for the upcoming webinar all about writing a contract-winning LinkedIn profile no matter what IR35 status of assignment you’re going forward for.

Wednesday 27th Sep 2023
Profile picture for user Matt Craven

Written by Matt Craven

Matt is the Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and Incredibly Linked. He is considered to be a thought-leader in Personal Branding and is regularly engaged as a public speaker to deliver advice and guidance to global audiences on all things related to CV authoring, career advancement, LinkedIn, personal branding and thought leadership.
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