Are you one of the many entertainment industry professionals that works primarily on a freelance basis? If so, you may have experienced some frustration when trying to craft your LinkedIn profile. When you've got a list of 20 credits, it's really hard to align your experience with a LinkedIn template. Your instinct might be to keep your profile as thin as possible, and that’s certainly an option -- but if you’re looking to transition from freelance to full-time, if you’re pursuing jobs outside of the industry, or if you’re looking to build more of an online presence, you’ll probably want something more robust.
There are a few ways to go about this, but the key is that the most important information must be at the top. Meaning, your professional summary is critical in setting up your work history and goals. Highlight a few key skills and achievements in this section, and consider name-dropping your most impressive credits. If you're looking for a job, you can say so, or take a moment to note what type of content you're most passionate about. Many people won't read past your summary and first couple of entries in the experience section, so make sure this part shines.
As for the experience section, if you’ve primarily worked on projects that might not have name recognition, you can organize everything by job title or job function -- i.e. "freelance story producer." In each section, you can list credits and your main job responsibilities. It's also helpful to give a little description of the projects for context.
If you’ve worked on notable content, you’ll want to highlight those bigger credits more clearly. We suggest putting your job title and the show name together as your “Title” (for example, Story Producer, REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS) and the production company name as the company. Your instinct might be to include the network here because it’s more recognizable, but don’t! By linking yourself to a production company, you’ll become more searchable when people look for connections at that company, and you’ll pop up as a suggestion to more people you may know. Too many people work at a network or studio for that to be useful for you.
When it comes to dates, you’ll want to lump all seasons of any given show together, even if there’s overlap. Your profile will be too long and confusing if you separate each season of a show as its own job and intersperse those credits with jobs you took over hiatus. If you’re seeking entertainment industry jobs, you can rest assured that people understand the seasonal nature of your jobs -- and if you’re looking outside of the industry, you just need to be clear in your job descriptions.
Often, freelance job descriptions will get repetitive, because you’ll have been hired to do the same thing on multiple shows. We find it’s best to include some top-level skills in your first few jobs and offer some highlights about working on the show. But as you get deeper into your work history (and into the “Show 5 more experiences” section of your profile), it’s okay to get more fragmented and just list high level information about the show itself.
Overall, don’t let the LinkedIn template freak you out. Your freelance experience is no less valuable than that of someone working a more corporate job -- it just takes a little more creativity and finesse to display online!
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan