Online freelance CVs - why you need one and how to build it

The world is moving online. Freelancers are clients increasingly do business entirely within their browser. So why are we still emailing or (gasp) posting CVs?

An online CV is a great way to advertise your services. It saves clients the effort of downloading a document, and it provides them with an easy way of learning more about you. Even better, online CVs are still relatively unusual – so they provide a great way to help you stand out from the crowd.

Register a domain

Your first step is to register a domain. This is a pretty simple process, and need not be expensive. You can normally register a .com or .co.uk domain name for less than £10, and hosting can be found for a couple of pounds a month.

You should think carefully about the domain name you choose. Do you want your web address to say something about what you do, or who you are? Many freelancers try to register their own name, which can be a great idea if you are trying to build a personal brand. But you should also consider adding something about your profession. For example, if you are an illustrator try looking for joebloggsillustrator.com as well as simply joebloggs.com.

Decide on a design

Design is a vital consideration when building your online CV. The CV needs to be attractive and eye-catching, but readable at the same time. The rule is, generally, the simpler the better; prospective clients simply will not have the time to go trawling through pages and pages of information. Instead, they just want to find out whether or not you are suitable for the job.

Of course, the design you choose will depend on the nature of your work. If you are a web designer you will probably want to show off some of your prowess in the field. But if you are a copywriter or accountant, content will be king.

If your background is not in design, you might want to consider buying a website template. These are available relatively cheaply in a number of formats. Similarly, content management systems (CMS’s) like Wordpress enable you to keep your content updated easily, rather than having to write code every time you want to change something.

Include the relevant info

There are few things more irritating for a potential employer than finding a great freelancer with all the relevant qualifications – but being unable to get in touch. It is vital that your contact details are displayed prominently on your online CV.

As well as contact information, you should make sure that you include everything that a potential client might want to see. For example, where did you train? Who are your key clients? Where can they see a portfolio? Do you have a set day rate, or are your costs up for negotiation?

Remember that the purpose of the CV is to sell you. As such, make sure that you concentrate on your key achievements – but try not to appear boastful or arrogant.

Be unique

As more and more people make the plunge into the world of freelancing, competition for appointments is becoming ever fiercer. Simply being qualified for a position is not enough. Instead you need to make yourself stand out from the competition, and give potential clients a reason to choose you.

First impressions are a big part of appearing unique. Think about ways that you can do something that no-one else in your field is doing. You might like to have a look at this unusual CV for inspiration:

Think about SEO

SEO is a vital part of the struggle to get noticed. Make sure that your website is properly optimised for the keywords that potential clients are likely to be using. This can be achieved through a combination of good, keyword-focused copy, carefully crafted page titles, and canny development of backlinks. Remember that Flash websites are particularly poor from an SEO point of view, so avoid them where possible.

You might also want to consider taking out pay-per-click adverts. Buying adverts for carefully chosen keywords can yield fantastic results.

Don’t forget social media

Finally, you should remember the growing importance of social media. Freelancers find jobs every day on services like Twitter, and these tools can benefit you too.

Make sure that you are signed up to Twitter and LinkedIn, and that you are engaging with potential clients and competitors – but not spamming. You might want to read our recent article on Twitter for business for more information on this.

An online CV is a great way to drum up interest in your freelance services. By spending some time creating a carefully crafted online CV you can increase leads and raise awareness amongst potential clients – and save yourself the hassle of sending dozens of CVs out by email every day.