LinkedIn hasn't exactly been celebrated for having ground-breaking design aesthetics or a slick UI worthy of Silicon Valley fame. But, for freelance designers, there's a good chance it'll be the network that will land you your next gig. LinkedIn has long been recruiters' go-to source for tracking down qualified designers for freelance and full-time projects. With a little extra effort, designers can make sure their LinkedIn profile is eye-catching and job-landing.

Professional Portfolios were introduced to LinkedIn in 2013, but an early focus on posting PowerPoints didn't exactly appeal to the design world. Yet, from the start, LinkedIn suggested that this feature could work for designers and other creatives. The capabilities of this feature are perfect for a visually-oriented job history where portfolios and work examples can say more than a static job description ever could.

Let's look at the basics of how freelance designers can take advantage of Professional Portfolios on LinkedIn.

What can I share?

The possibilities are nearly limitless in what you can showcase on your LinkedIn profile:

  • photos
  • infographics
  • slideshare presentations
  • ebooks
  • blog posts
  • portfolios
  • videos ... and more!

Anything that you can link to online, or upload as a file can be hosted and shared on LinkedIn.

How do these files look on my profile?

Portfolio items can be shared in the Summary, Experience, and Education sections of your profile. Typically your profile Summary is near the top of the page, so curating your best work examples there makes them the most discoverable, while additional portfolio items added within previous jobs and education sections serves as an archive of what you have achieved.

Portfolio items follow a standard layout with two large featured cards of work and multiple smaller cards below that. Regardless of the content type, all portfolio cards include a visual component.

Screenshot of LinkedIn platform

When you upload a new portfolio item, it will also be shared with your network, allowing your connections to see the addition and "like" it or comment on it.

How much should I share?

LinkedIn allows you to add an unlimited number of files or link to your profile, enabling a portfolio that continually grows throughout your career. When you are adding projects associated with a specific job, 2-5 items fills out the space and adds a nice visual block to your work history. Make sure you're sharing a nicely curated selection of work—think about what you would feature on your own portfolio website or in a physical design portfolio and stick to the same level of quality.

Also, focus on showcasing a breadth of project work (for example, consumer vs. B2B, print vs. digital) and use multiple content types from the list above to capture the interest of recruiters.

How can I add content?

If you're planning to add lots of projects at once and don't want to flood your contacts' feeds, find the "Notify your network?" option in the right-hand column of your profile and toggle it to "No." When you have uploaded all of your projects, be sure to switch this back to "Yes" so your contacts will continue to see your regular updates and work that you'll add in the future.

Step 1. Log into LinkedIn, and navigate to your own profile. When you hover over a previous job title, you should see a file upload button (shown in blue, below). Click that button to launch the file uploader.

Step 2. In the field that appears, confirm that the correct position is selected so your work isn't added to the wrong job. From here, you can either enter a link to where the work exists online, or upload a file directly to LinkedIn.

When you upload a new portfolio item, it will also be shared with your network, allowing your connections to see the addition and "like" it or comment on it.

Step 3. LinkedIn will automatically choose a thumbnail image based on the link or file you add. When that loads, you have the opportunity to enter a unique title and description for this item. If the project was for a notable client, the Title is a great place to name drop a recognizable brand name. The description can go into additional project details, or provide other context that might be interesting to recruiters viewing it. When you're happy with your content, click Save (you can always edit this later).

Step 4. After you have added multiple items to a single job, you can drag and drop the thumbnail images to reorder the projects and prioritize your best work.

There you have it. Best of luck with all of your creative endeavors.

And, if you're looking for royalty-free photos or vectors for your projects, sign up for Bigstock's 7-day Free Trial. You'll be able to download up to 35 free images during the course of your trial. Get started today!

About the Author: Ashley Kemper is a marketing strategist who spends her free time traveling and pursuing hobbies in photography, web design, and blogging. Follow her on Twitter @theashleykemper.

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