The jobs and freelancer market of today is vastly different than it was even 10 years ago.
If you’re lucky enough to have an uncle who’s a CEO that can fast-track you into a new job, that’s wonderful. If you have a friend who can you refer you to new clients for freelancing, that’s great too. But most people don’t have that luxury.
As a digital worker, there are two main challenges that you have to overcome. Firstly, you have to market yourself to the world. Then, you have to convey credibility.
Marketing Yourself To The World
You can be the best computer programmer, designer or writer in the whole world. But if no one knows about your amazing skills, it doesn’t matter.
LinkedIn is basically Facebook for professionals. It’s a place where you can brag about your accomplishments, connect with other professionals in your industry, and most importantly, have a public profile where employers, recruiters and businesses can find you.
The beauty of having a public profile is that it’s pretty much free marketing for yourself. You don’t have to actively reach out to other people on the social network. They’ll find you- at least if you target the right audience.
Targeting The Right Audience
To take it a step further, the right people have to know about your skills. Shaping your profile to attract the right audience is key because the internet is a big place with a lot of people. Don’t try to satisfy everyone. If you want a piece of the pie, you need to hone in on what specific value you can provide and what results you can achieve.
Here’s a personal example. I’m a Software Engineer. You can also call me a “software developer” or “computer programmer”. It’s all the same, but “engineer” implies bigger responsibilities than just writing code.
Once you’re ready to go public for the world to see, then there’s another important aspect of an online presence to consider: credibility. If someone wants to hire you for a job or contract, they need to trust you.
So how can you fake your way into gaining their trust? You don’t. You actually have to be the highly skilled and reliable worker that you claim to be. If your skills aren’t there yet, that’s perfectly fine. Keep learning and building your experience.
A Personal Story About Honesty
A few years ago, a friend of mine wanted to become a computer programmer like me. So he started learning how to code from a coding bootcamp. He was learning at a great pace, making progress every day, and putting in the effort.
Then one day he asked me to look at his resume and give him advice on how to improve it. Even though he had just learned how to start programming, I saw several years of experience on his resume. He had added skills to his resume that he hadn’t yet learned (which I think is actually great for setting goals, but not for publication). This habit of giving half-truths kept happening throughout the years.
Guess what happened? He was sly enough to get away with it. He had gotten several jobs as a programmer. But he was always nervous and anxious during work. He’d be completely exhausted by the end of the day from the anxiety. He never felt like he deserved a job as a programmer. He had imposter syndrome. The longer he would cling onto the lies and become dependent on them to make a living, the harder it was to escape and come clean.
Don’t lie on your resume. Don’t inflate your resume. Even if you land the job, people will quickly find out where your skill level actually stands. If there’s an important skill that’s missing from your resume, then go and learn the skill. Once you’re confident enough to talk about that skill in an interview for several hours, then it’s probably time to add the skill to your resume.
Being honest isn’t just something you do for others- it’s something you do for yourself. For your own confidence and integrity. It pays dividends in the medium and long term.
Your Most Important Asset: Portfolio
This doesn’t just apply to employees, but also freelancers. As a remote worker, your resume isn’t the only important thing. Your portfolio is just as important. Your portfolio shows what projects you’ve worked on and gives prospective clients and employers a tangible indicator of your skill level.
- If you’re a web developer, your portfolio should show websites you’ve made….
- If you’re an app developer, your portfolio should show iPhone or Android apps you’ve made…
- If you’re a designer then your portfolio should show various products that you’ve designed….
- If you’re a writer, your portfolio should show articles that you’ve written…
Your portfolio- especially if you’re a freelancer- should be treated like gold, because it’s how you show the world “this is what I can do.”
Having an online presence isn’t a secret trick to improve your results. It’s mandatory in the 21st century to get any results at all and it’s how you survive as a digital worker in the digital age. It’s also how you gain upward mobility in your career.
It’s a big world out there. If you do great work and and publish it online, then thousands of people can see it. You’ll find that that you’ll become “luckier” as you gain more exposure. But it was never luck- it was part of the plan all along.
So let’s recap:
- Start a public LinkedIn Profile with all of your accomplishments.
- Label yourself as specific as possible so that people can find you.
- Be honest- both on your resume and in person. If your resume isn’t ready, keep learning and building experience.
- Build your portfolio so people can see the things you’ve done.
What do you think about LinkedIn? Is is a good platform to invest yourself into or is there a better way? Let us know in the comments below.