Freelance jobs help you get tech work experience.
But how do you land your first freelance job?
Here are 3 mistakes to avoid - including a bonus tip + resources at the end!
Psst: check out the first part of the freelancing series here: https://blog.entrylevel.net/p/get-tech-experience-freelancing-5-tips
“You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience.”
Freelancing helps you break out of that cycle.
It’s lower-risk for the company (projects can last as little as 1 week), and can lead to a full-time job after.
Plus, you’ll get experience with soft skills like communication, stakeholder management, and negotiation.
If you’re considering freelancing now, make sure you don’t make these mistakes…
(Note: it’s usually better to take a course like EntryLevel’s so you have a portfolio you can use to get hired as a freelancer.)
“Wait…but don’t you NEED to talk about your experience to get hired?” you’re probably wondering right now.
Yes, but here’s what you SHOULDN’T do:
Talk about all your previous projects - every single one of them, including irrelevant ones
Only mention what you’ve done for previous companies or projects, like you’re listing out a requirement rather than the impact of your work
Do this instead:
Tailor your projects to the company or industry (i.e. if they’re in education, ensure your previous projects are education-related. The best way to do this is to pick a few industries you’re interested in pursuing a full-time career in, and work on projects related to that)
Ensure the company knows why you’re the best fit FOR THEM specifically, not just listing your previous experiences at them
Here’s a ChatGPT prompt to get you started (because using AI to speed up your work makes you more efficient):
You’re an expert recruiter who is coaching me on how to best tailor my application for a freelance job. I’m going to copy paste the job posting and details about the company (from their website). Please list out what projects I should showcase (include success metrics) and help me write a compelling cover letter to get hired.
Make the cover letter focused on how I am the best person to help the company achieve their goals of [insert goals here].
Here is the job posting and company details: [Copy paste job posting and company details here.]
The metrics are especially important to show how you can get the company the results they’re looking for.
For the cover letter, ChatGPT will probably write something like “I am writing to express my deep enthusiasm…”
Scrap that and be creative. Focus on the company’s problem and how YOU are the best fit to help them solve it with your experience in solving their specific problem.
The company cares about how YOU are the perfect person to help them solve a specific problem.
If you can demonstrate you’ve solved that problem effectively, they’re more likely to hire you.
Remember: don’t make them do work to decipher why you’re the best hire.
Make it CLEAR that you are.
You can do that by only listing the most relevant projects.
If a fintech company is hiring for a newsletter writer, don’t list your other writing jobs (unless you really think it’s relevant).
They’re not looking for blogwriting samples from healthcare or other industries.
Instead, share some newsletter writing samples - preferably in the finance industry.
Even better if you can WOW them with results, which brings us to the next mistake…
Even if you have relevant experience, you need to take it one step further.
Don’t just list what you’ve done.
Impress the company with the results you got.
Instead of telling them you “wrote 23+ newsletter articles,” tell them how that impacted success metrics they care about (open rates, clickthrough rates, conversions/app signups, etc.).
You can ask ChatGPT to generate success metrics for you based on the job posting.
I’ve hired 35+ freelancers. Around 80% of them had a portfolio, whether it was an attached PDF file of previous work or a website (I prefer websites, so I don’t have to download any files).
Your portfolio will give the company more confidence that you’re the right person for the job.
Here are some platforms you can make a portfolio on below.
I’ll dive deeper into each of these resources in next week’s article.
EntryLevel (teaches you how to make a portfolio, including templates and examples)
Carrd (easy site builder)
Notion (a document you can turn into a website)
Wix / Squarespace
UXFolio (mainly for UX designers)
Tilda (more complex, but still easier than Webflow)
Webflow (drag and drop website editor with more functionality)
You can also have your portfolio (with all your work samples) on:
PowerPoint / Google Slides (use SlidesGo for beautiful templates)
Share how you can help the company, not just listing your qualifications/experience
Show relevant projects instead of all your projects
Include metrics and the impact of your work instead of just listing what you’ve done
Have a portfolio website