Ever tried to use LinkedIn Profinder to get writing jobs?
When it first launched a few years ago, I had my doubts. In my experience, the best writing jobs don’t show up on job boards or listing services like LinkedIn Profinder.
Plus, to get the full benefit of LinkedIn Profinder, you have to pay. In order to break even, I needed an easy job worth $60. Is it worth it?
I decided to give it a shot. Initially things were slow. Some LinkedIn Profinder leads I received were decent.
But far too many were from clueless business owners who wanted a dirt-cheap copywriter or the person with an “incredible story” who wanted to write a memoir.
I got frustrated. But before giving up, I decided to take a closer look at how to use LinkedIn Profinder to get the right jobs. And it was worth the effort.
In the last two years, I’ve made nearly six figures writing for clients I’ve landed through LinkedIn Profinder.
Want to know how to use LinkedIn Profinder? These 4 hacks will help you get more writing jobs.
1. Improve your LinkedIn profile
Before you can start cashing in on LinkedIn Profinder leads, you need to beef up your LinkedIn presence.
Your profile is the primary way LinkedIn Profinder is going to recommend you to potential clients looking for a writer.
Here are some things to consider to improve your LinkedIn profile:
- What’s your niche?
- What industries do you want to work in and write for?
- Are you connected with people in the niche industry you write for?
- Does your profile showcase relevant writing samples related to your niche?
- Have you updated your skills and experience to stand out as the writer in your niche?
- Does your profile include testimonials or recommendations from your clients?
How the LinkedIn Profinder process works
One of the first things that happens with a LinkedIn Profinder lead, if it is a legitimate one (more on that in a moment) is the potential client looks at your profile.
They want to see if you really have the niche writing skills and experience they’re looking for. And they usually consider your profile and your connections, before inviting you to submit a proposal for their project.
- Your connections matter: If you have 100 connections and they are all in the same field as your day job (if you still have one), new clients are much less likely to hire you, unless you are writing in the same field as your day job.
- Full-time or part-time freelancer? Also, if your day job is listed as your job title, you won’t get offered the gig either. LinkedIn Profinder prospects want to hire freelancers who have the bandwidth and flexibility to meet their content needs. If you still have a day job, consider listing it as your second job, with freelancing as your full-time gig.
Tip: Follow Carol’s advice on how to set up your LinkedIn profile, and change your thinking about what LinkedIn is. If you use it as a platform for your writing career, it can be a useful tool to make connections and land more freelance work.
2. Master the LinkedIn Profinder proposal
When a LinkedIn Profinder user lists a job they want to hire a writer for, you may be invited to submit a proposal. What you say and how you respond can make the difference between landing a new client and getting passed over for another writer.
How to write an effective proposal
A lot of writers treat LinkedIn Profinder like a simple job board. They reply to proposals with a standard pitch that’s pretty boring. Don’t do that, OK.
I made the same mistake until I realized the template format doesn’t work for letters of introduction, and it doesn’t work for LinkedIn Profinder either.
Here’s what your LinkedIn Profinder proposal should include:
- Your specific qualifications. Start by telling the prospect why you’re right for the job. Be specific. A list of your general qualifications isn’t enough. Keep it brief, and only highlight your skills and experience most relevant to the job.
- A call to action. If you’ve ever worked in marketing, you know this is critical. In your proposal, tell the LinkedIn Profinder prospect what you want them to do (for many, it’s their first time using the platform to hire a freelancer). For example: Contact you with questions, provide additional project info for a more detailed proposal, set up a call to discuss ideas, etc.
- Rates? Some LinkedIn Profinder requests want you to disclose your rates or bid on a project as part of your proposal (usually with very little information). My suggestion: Pitch yourself as the writer for the prospect without disclosing rates. When you get a bite, set up a call, get more details about what they want, and then negotiate your rate for the project.
3. Evaluate every LinkedIn Profinder offer
Writers often tell me they get nothing but crap jobs from LinkedIn Profinder. It’s true that a lot of them are bad, but sometimes the person posting the job has no idea how to write a job posting.
They need a writer for a reason, often more than one, but they don’t know enough about the writing process or content marketing to know what to ask for.
Here’s an example of how to evaluate an offer:
- Review the LinkedIn Profinder lead. I got a LinkedIn Profinder offer for a single blog post for $100 about a health-related topic. It looked like a ho-hum one-off job, which isn’t ideal (you want clients with recurring content needs).
- Take a closer look who posted the job. Then I realized the job was posted by a marketing manager for a fairly large health company. Their blog was anemic, and they were looking to beef it up.
- Ask a few more questions. What this marketing manager really needed was a long-term writer and an overall content strategy, both things I knew I could provide.
- Submit a detailed proposal. I sent a detailed proposal for the article, including some observations I’d made by looking at their website. As a result, I got the job, along with a few more assignments.
- Develop the relationship. Eventually, they asked me to help them develop a content strategy for the company. This client ended up paying me around $3,000 a month for over a year, and I still write for them occasionally.
Don’t waste time on these types of leads
You should evaluate every LinkedIn Profinder lead you get. At first you might not receive very many. But as you develop your profile and make more connections, you’ll get more. And many of those will be low-ball jobs from people who don’t have money to pay pro rates and won’t use you long term.
Dismiss these types of leads right away:
- A college student who wants someone to rewrite their resume
- A first-time fantasy writer looking for someone to “help them finish their book”
- A student who wants someone to write and/or edit their dissertation
4. Develop relationships
How do you develop relationships with LinkedIn Profinder prospects and clients like I did with the marketing manager for a health-related company? It’s pretty simple.
- Pay attention and ask questions. Talk to the client about what they need, and things you see that would be helpful to them. Learn about them and their company.
- Be available. Answer their emails and phone calls within a day or two. After a project is over, check in and follow up. Ask about the next project.
- Offer advice, but be careful not to offer too much for free, or to be condescending. Sometimes clients really don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to content. Be gentle and kind, and share your expertise at the same time. It’s a great way to establish long-term clients and get referrals.
Move up, earn more with LinkedIn Profinder
LinkedIn Profinder can be a great source of income for you. It’s one source of marketing that helped me earn nearly six figures over the last two years.
To get the most out of it, work it like you would any networking event. Make connections. Master your elevator speech. Introduce people in your network to each other. Evaluate and respond to proposals.
Think long term, and it can be a great tool for increasing your income and improving your cash flow.
Do you use LinkedIn Profinder to get writing jobs? Let’s discuss in the comments.
Troy Lambert is long-time freelancer and author of “Writing as a Business: Production, Distribution, and Marketing” available early this fall. He works, lives, and plays in Boise, Idaho, with the love of his life and a few very talented dogs.