So you’ve decided to give the freelance bidding sites a try. The first step, regardless of what site you have chosen, is to set up your professional profile. Your profile is important in two different ways.
The first is that employers can do searches on the sites for freelances that have the qualifications they’re looking for. If your profile is incomplete, or very general in nature, it is unlikely that your name will come up in a search for a specific topic or type of writing.
Avoid generalizations. “I can write about any topic” may sound great to you, but it doesn’t distinguish your talents from all the other writers out there. At the same time, you don’t want to be so narrow in expertise that it limits the types of jobs you are considered for. So, what’s the happy medium between the two? If there is an area of writing that you specialize in, such as grant writing or marketing materials, go ahead and state that in your profile description. If not, then decide what it is about your writing that sets it apart. Are you a great researcher? Are you clear and precise, or do you have a relaxed casual style? Use those writing skills to catch the attention of the type of client you are looking for.
The short profile description mentioned above is important, because it generally will show up in conjunction with your bids on projects. It needs to grab their attention in the first sentence. The next part of your profile to focus on is your experience. One of the key points here is not to limit this area to writing experience. List the different fields you have worked in: medical, educational, construction, retailing, real estate, etc. Also list other areas of experience or interest such as, homeschooling, crafts, fashion, automotive, etc. Employers are often looking for writers who have background knowledge in specific fields. Listing your fields of knowledge and experience can bring your name up in a limited search on one of those topics.
The third part of your profile is your writing samples. Make sure that what you post here has been carefully proofread for errors and well formatted. Provide a variety of article types as examples. A blog post and an informational article might be two different types. You might include a humorous piece and a news worthy piece, examples of the wide range of writing that you are capable of producing.
Finish off your profile with a photo. Seeing an actual face provides a comfort level when hiring a stranger over the internet. The photo doesn’t need to be professionally done, but it should be a clear simple head shot. You’ve completed the first step. Next week we’ll move on to the bidding process.