Before awarding a project to any freelancer, a client does a background check to see if he has done many similar projects so far and if he has experience in that matter. He checks the freelancer’s portfolio to go through the uploaded samples before coming to a decision whether the freelancer can do that project or not. Although there are some projects where the client may not ask for the experience but these are few and far between.
If the client is looking only for experienced freelancers then it means his project is of critical nature and he has a generous budget to hire experienced freelancers. But there are other clients out there whose projects are no less important than others but they are not able to pay generously so they are willing to hire a freelancer without experience. For judging the freelancer’s abilities, he may give the freelancer a test job in the beginning. Any freelancer that completes this test job to his satisfaction is hired by the client.
So this way it is possible to get jobs without any experience but for a freelancer, it is essential to get some experience as soon as possible. Once the freelancer has some experience of doing a particular job, he can send his job proposal and bid for the job with confidence and appear for the interview with some assurance. His conversation will have an air of self-belief and he will be able to answer the interview questions much better, which will play an important part in getting him that project.
Friends, you can use the following methods or any other methods you think are right to get experience. I have used the below-mentioned methods during various stages of my freelancing according to the project, time, and situation. Whether it was getting projects from freelancing platforms websites, or getting my first offline job as a computer teacher, or getting my first website design project or even getting my first assignment as a content writer.
I used all these methods to the best of my abilities with honesty. To this date, I have worked on various types of projects in my IT career and I have successfully completed them with profit. My failure rate has been less than 10% till now so I am sharing my experiences with you through this article. I hope it will be helpful for you:
Let’s find out how you can get some experience without having done any job or project till now and how to make a portfolio:
1. Photo Editing Freelance Profile Experience:
Read the job description and project posted by the client carefully, analyze it to understand what exactly the client is looking for and what kind of projects he is putting up for bidding. For example, if your freelancing profile title is Photo Editor and the client’s job description says he needs photo retouching, image editing, etc., there is a chance that the client will hire someone who has experience in this. If he is looking for a fresher to complete the job then he will most probably like the freelancer to complete the test job for him. So if you have just signed and made a fresh profile then it is not a good idea to start applying for jobs immediately. First, you should create a few samples of what you can do. Yes, while doing this keep in mind what kind of samples a client may be expecting and then create customized samples that match his requirements. Consider the following example:
- Photo retouch sample: Before and after retouching
- Logo rebranding sample: Before and after the redesign
- Website redesign sample: Before and after the redesign
- Self-designed personal website
You can find the raw material such as images from free images websites. You can also create your own original designs and images to show your creativity and then upload these designing concepts to your profile portfolio.
2. Work experience ideas for social media marketing profile
If you are a Social Media Marketer then you can add screenshots of Social media pages that you have managed. You can also add screenshots of your page insights to show how your efforts resulted in increased traffic for the page. For example, you can display a post that has received a lot of likes, comments, and shares along with an explanation of how you created these posts and how you boosted them through promotional efforts. You can display how many followers you have on Facebook and Twitter to show your popularity and reach among people by adding screenshots or even by giving them direct links to the pages you have created or managed.
3. Ideas to gain work experience for new web design profile:
If your profile title is website designer but you haven’t made any website as yet, then you will have to show that you can make a good website to become a freelance web designer. The best way of doing this is to make your own personal website. This can be your professional—personal website where you can show your profile and information, the services that you provide, designing samples in your portfolio. While making your website you will go through many steps of creation, keep screenshots of these steps during different stages of construction and add these screenshots in your profile. When you write your job proposal or cover letter to send to a client, don’t forget to add a link to your website so that he can see these screenshots you saved during the website construction process.
4. Content Writing or Copywriting profile experience:
If you want to make a mark as a freelance writer, share some samples of your articles or books you have written. These could be from the blog of your personal website or from other sources where you have written something for someone. If you have some posts or articles that have received a lot of likes, shares, and comments then make sure you highlight this fact in your portfolio. Another thing that you can do is to share screenshots of Google search results if your writing features in the top 10 results. It can make a positive impact on the client you on your awareness of SEO and keyword research.
Remember that at the end of the day, your aim is to get projects. To make this happen you, as a fresher, will have to use whatever little knowledge, creativity, and earlier success you have as evidence of your capabilities. You should collect these and prepare impressive samples to prove your skills and knowledge.
5. If you have any offline work job experience or evidence or appreciation or feedback then use that:
I am talking about offline projects and ways to get work offline so that you can add these offline work samples to your website and create a portfolio from these. For example, let’s say you met a small to a medium-sized business owner who is interested in having his own website. You can keep a track of your progress while making this website and then add screenshots of this process to your portfolio. One important thing that you must consider here is that if you are a website designer then it is crucial that you have your own website. Similarly, if you are a writer then it is always a good idea to have your own blog where you can showcase your writing skills and prove yourself.
So I suggest that before diving headfirst into the online freelancing world to look for work, you should try to look for sources of offline work. Offline clients do not have too many options and it is much easier to convince them. Do your first offline work even if you don’t get paid much or not at all, be it website design, blog, content writing, or anything else. Do it for the experience. Do it for feedback from clients because it will help you improve. You can even take a handwritten note from a client if he is not willing to write the feedback online and then you can scan it and add to your portfolio.
6. If all the above methods don’t work and not able to get your first freelance project then try the below method:
Start by trying to find a job in a company or business where there is a shortage of staff and the process is new. Work in a startup not just for money but for the experience. Walk into the office of a startup or small company and tell them that you are interested in working with them. Tell them what knowledge you possess and what are the areas that you are skilled in. If you fit the requirements of the company and they agree to hire you but can’t afford to pay you for your services, tell them you don’t need a salary and will work for free. You are willing to work with them for a preset amount of time and if they feel that you have become profitable for the company then they can decide further as they see fit.
In this manner, you keep working for those people, be a valuable asset for the company with your contributions, and help them out in any way that you can. Try to become the most productive employee for that company. This will add to your knowledge and you will also get to know the worth and effectiveness of the work that you do. There is a possibility that you may get rejected by such companies but you have got to try with honesty.
One more thing that I would like to tell you is that if someone praises you and is willing to put it in the form of a testimonial, get it on paper with signature. Keep collecting feedback, be it good or bad.
Apart from all these things, whatever old jobs you have done and whatever offline projects you have finished till now, make sure you get a completion or experience certificate from your employer. You can use a scanned version of this certificate and add it to your portfolio on your website. You can also upload your educational degree/diploma to prove your skills and knowledge.
So, friends, this section was about getting some much-needed experience, making samples, and adding a portfolio by making use of the information in Job descriptions and online tutorials. If you feel that you are not that good or your samples are not that impressive then keep practicing, again and again, watch some video tutorials or research on the internet about this but whatever you do, don’t stop. You will have to prove yourself to the world and for this, you will have to use your creativity, determination, and imagination in equal measure.