LinkedIn is not specifically for freelancers, but there are lots of freelance job opportunities on the site. LinkedIn's mission is to provide a place for professionals to network, look for employment, and find employees. The company was launched in 2003 and claims to have 380 million members across the globe, including executives from all the Fortune 500 companies. LinkedIn provides a job search feature that allows its members to search for jobs by keyword, company, and location. Members can apply for some jobs via LinkedIn. For other jobs, members may have to go to the companies' websites to apply. LinkedIn does not handle payroll, track assignments, or resolve disputes for freelancers.
Free to Join:
- Free to join
- No fees for jobs
- Large membership
- Guaranteed applicants
- Branding assistance
- Varied networking opportunities
- Mobile app
Individuals can join LinkedIn for free. There is also a premium membership offered for individuals for $29.99 per month. The Premium membership has a 30-day free trial and allows you to:
No Fee for Jobs:
- Send message to recruiters
- Be placed at the top of application lists as a "featured applicant"
- See who viewed your profile and the search they used to locate you
- Show you how you rank compared to other job applications based on experience, skill level, and education
LinkedIn does not track who is hired for specific jobs advertised on its site and does not charge a fee or percentage on any work a freelancer receives.
LinkedIn claims to have 380 million members in over 200 countries. LinkedIn calls itself "The world's largest professional network."
LinkedIn members post a lot of freelance jobs for a variety of fields. A recent search using only the keyword "freelance" showed 258,757 available jobs spanning multiple industries, including writers, web designers, software designers, photographers, and project managers.
LinkedIn has blogs, articles, and slideshow presentations from its members about how to improve your chances of getting hired and how to recruit employees.
For a company that posts a job on LinkedIn and chooses from a drop-down list of available companies and industries, LinkedIn guarantees at least 10 applicants will apply for that job.
LinkedIn tracks who viewed your profile and provides tips for increasing your outreach to potential employers/customers. The site also gives you key milestones for the people in your connections list, such as work anniversaries and promotions, which allows you to increase your communication with potential employers.
Varied Networking Opportunities:
LinkedIn has over one million members who post articles or blog on the site to connect with other members of their industries and to attract new customers. You can add links to your profile on LinkedIn to your work, including any articles or blog postings you have online, so recruiters and companies can see what you do. Members can follow companies to find out the latest news about their growth and hiring prospects. There are also multiple discussion groups on LinkedIn for freelancers that members can join.
LinkedIn has an app that allows members to access their profile and network of connections, plus search and apply for jobs from their smart phones.
No Oversight or Tracking of Jobs:
- No oversight or tracking of jobs
- Difficult to contact
- No company ratings
LinkedIn is not set up specifically for freelance workers or the employers who hire them. The company does not keep track of job progress, provide a way to securely pay freelance employees or provide dispute resolution. LinkedIn's User Agreement states you access other members' websites and content at your own risk and that LinkedIn is not liable for the activities of third parties. Unlike some other freelance sites, you will not be able to track your earnings or view your history of in progress, or completed projects. Having the ability to track the number of jobs they have done and their earnings is very helpful for freelancers who have to pay taxes on their earnings.
Difficult to Contact:
Locating the Help section on LinkedIn's website takes some searching. Once you do find it, you have to make at least one search through the help center's topics before you can contact customer support. The only option to contact support is via email. There are no phone numbers listed to reach someone should you have an issue with a member or a company on the site or should there be a technical problem. Recent postings in the Help Forum of LinkedIn's site also point to an issue with members' postings being moved from discussions to job postings when they are not job related. Glitches in the system that create inaccurate postings for jobs may slow job seekers down in their search for employment.
No Company Ratings:
LinkedIn members do not have an option to rate or review their experience working for companies that post job openings on the site. If members could rate companies on whether they pay promptly and how their rates compare to other companies hiring for similar work, applicants could use the ratings to target the best companies to approach for freelance work.
The Bottom Line
LinkedIn is an excellent resource for networking and searching for job opportunities. With 380 million members and hundreds of thousands of job postings, it provides a means for freelancers to network with colleagues and prospective employers. Freelancers can also post links to their work in their profiles and contribute articles, slide shows, and post to discussion groups to broaden their reach to potential customers.
Although LinkedIn has the membership and the job listings that make it an attractive resource for freelancers, you are on your own when negotiating with potential employers, or if there are issues with payment or disputes over your work product. Because LinkedIn provides no assistance for freelancers should problems arise with a customer, this site might be best for experienced freelancers who know how to set up contracts with customers, arrange for secure payment options, and negotiate favorable payment terms. If you are new to freelancing, you may want to start with a site that provides more support and will assist with dispute resolutions rather than using LinkedIn to find work.