Elance Blog

Creating a Great Elance Profile

In addition to being able to write great proposals, one of the most effective ways we’ve discussed in our Freelancer's Guide to Earning More on Elance is to have a great Elance profile. According to our 2011 Freelance Talent Report, the value of an online profile is increasing, with 65% of respondents stating that digital portfolios and online resumes are more effective than traditional resumes in landing a job.

If you’re just getting started on Elance, there are a variety of things that you can do right now to build up your profile to create the best representation of yourself to clients worldwide. If you have not yet familiarized yourself yet with the Elance profile, please visit our User Guide here.

Clients using Elance realize that there is often more to selecting a contractor for work than their Elance Level ranking or total earnings. As a contractor, it’s important to create a profile that best showcases your skills and qualifications, regardless of whether you’ve been using Elance for five days or five years. In this article, we’ll be reviewing the follow key areas: Skills, Portfolio, Keywords, Service Descriptions, Groups and Photos/Logos.



Skills 
On Elance, skills play an important role in differentiating yourself by demonstrating your actual skills and expertise to prospective clients. Based on your membership plan, you can enter up to a particular number of skills to your Elance profile. They are an excellent way to showcase your standing in a particular area, whether it be HTML5, English to Dutch translation, Microsoft Excel 2007, or any of the you may have in your arsenal.

Skills can either be self-rated, meaning you can evaluate yourself, or tested with one of our over 300 Skill Tests, which show how a candidate scored relative to all the other individuals who took the same test. Once you’ve completed the Skill Test of your choice, you can see your percentile and rank among everyone who has taken that particular test, and if you score well as a top performer, that’s another part of your profile that stands out as a  highlight and as a key differentiator. Lastly, if you’ve posted a high score, you can share your results on your favorite social media outlet or email. Remember, over 76 percent of clients are more likely to hire a contractor with tested skills that are relevant to their job.

Tip: Determine your strongest skills and take the Skill Tests for them. Also, taking language skill tests like English Speaking/Writing/Grammar/etc. tests is something you may want to consider if you believe you are qualified to do so.

Portfolio



In today's evolving workplace, portfolios are not limited to graphic artists and visual designers anymore, and they don’t only come in leather-bound presentation cases either. On Elance you can build an online portfolio of your standout work, everything from a series of articles you've written to a website you’ve developed or mobile applications that you’ve built.

Elance provides a filmstrip-like interface that gives you the ability to quickly skim through portfolio items and jump to individual pieces with a simple click. Additionally, you can switch to a “Gallery” view that shows thumbnails of all items for even more convenient browsing. Workers on Elance have uploaded over 1.4 million assets to their portfolios, and that number is growing each day as more contractors are seeing the advantages of having their work samples ready for instant viewing.

Tip: Have at least two (preferably more) examples of your work for each major skill you have advertised in your profile. For example, if you are offering content writing and graphic design, have at least two articles and two visual design pieces in your portfolio.

Keywords
One of the first things a client will do is to utilize keywords, which are the skills they are looking for in contractors (and vice versa) through search. This is one of the most important elements of your profile; including particular keywords can ensure that you appear in certain search results, and can posititvely affect your rank in searches that come up. There should be a handful of important keywords related to your particular skillset, which will be visible to potential clients. Don’t leave it to chance and make sure you make the effort to build your keywords list.

For details on how to add keywords to your profile, please visit the Help article here.

Tip: Don’t overcompensate by adding too many keywords—that may affect your perceived credibility. Spend some honest time compiling 10-15 essential keywords to your particular skillset.

Service Descriptions



This is where you market yourself as a complete package and cover items that may not fit in the other profile sections—the open-ended “essay” portion, if you will. You can give clients a better feel for your professional background, range of services, personality, and communication and work preferences, while also giving them a better feel for who you are as a person.

Mention any credential or achievement that reflects positively on you – graduating from a prestigious university, working for/with a Fortune 500 company, achieving something noteworthy in your field. If you wrote an article for a national publication, make sure to mention that as part of your description. If a website you designed gets millions of hits, make sure you bring that to the forefront. As jobs become competitive, each and every little plug for your skillset can make a huge difference.

Tip: Don’t go straight into bullet points about your accomplishments. Start with at least a one paragraph summary of you, your talents, and your overall work philosophy before you start listing things. Summarize yourself as if it was the only thing potential clients could read about you.

Groups
Potential clients appreciate someone who demonstrates expertise in their field, and Elance Groups are among the most prominent ways to show off your skills on your profile. There are over 80 different groups on Elance, each sponsored by a different company or organziation, and each with their own membership requirements. Requirements range from passing the Elance skill test for a particular area, to achieving a specific level ranking on Elance, so clients can be assured that group members are among the cream of the crop.

Photos/Logos
While it may not seem like it to some, uploading a photo of yourself adds credibility to your profile. Clients are looking for online talent with qualified skills, but despite great collaborative tools available (like Workroom messages) a human connection can ease their concerns about remote work.

Tip: If you are particularly camera shy, consider hiring a graphic design professional on Elance to create a logo for you/your company. It won’t be free, but it at least shows that you are serious about your “brand” and ultimately the services you are offering.

Sample Profiles
If you happen to need some inspiration, here are some more examples of great contractor profiles:

Nix Solutions (Web & Programming)
Jenifer Toussant (Admin Support)
The NetMen Corp (Design & Multimedia)
Synapse India (Web & Programming)
The Write Genie (Writing & Translation)
Media Financial Consulting (Engineering & Manufacturing)
Rebecca742 (Writing & Translation)

Do you have any suggestions to on creating and improving your profile? Drop us a comment below and let us know what tips you have. Good luck!

Comments

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