Welcome to episode 211, this week’s episode is dedicated entirely to understanding LinkedIn ProFinder.
I haven’t used ProFinder as it is currently only available to users in the United States so I found an experienced (and award-winning) user who could tell us all about it.
Let me introduce Marjorie Kavanagh
What is LinkedIn ProFinder?
ProFinder is LinkedIn’s own professional service marketplace where users can search for freelancers, small business owners or interim executives who can provide expertise in a variety of specialist disciplines.
You can access ProFinder by going to the ‘More’ menu on the LinkedIn desktop
Freelancers can apply to be accepted as a ‘Pro’ in up to 10 of the 140 categories available in ProFinder. These are broken down into 17 broad categories.
These are then broken down into subcategories
How to become a ‘Pro’
To be a successful applicant your main LinkedIn profile must satisfy five key requirements;
- A good, professional profile photo
- Experience and a headline that reflects the categories you are applying for
- A clear summary that explains what you do
- Strong recommendations appropriate to your application
- Have published several articles relevant to your specialism
Once accepted, LinkedIn will create your ProFinder profile (you can’t amend this other than by changing your main LinkedIn profile).
Here is Marjorie’s profile;
You will then start to receive Request for Proposals (RFP). You are under no obligation to respond but you are advised to respond quickly as up to 5 ‘Pro’s will be sent the RFP and not all are sent at the same time.
What does it cost?
ProFinder is free for those who wish to appoint a Freelancer.
As a Pro, you get your first 10 RFP’s for free (not assignments, just proposals) after that you will need to upgrade your LinkedIn account to a Business Premium Account (currently $60/month)
As someone looking for services, you can simply search for specific categories or go to an individuals page (strangely there is no link in their main LinkedIn profile).
If you click on the ‘Get free proposals’ link in Marjorie’s profile it takes you to the same predetermined questions for the category you have selected and that RFP will also be sent to 4 other people (despite starting this process from her profile!)
If there are more than 5 suitable pro’s then the algorithm will select what it considers the best ones (presumably taking into account the number of recommendations).
As a Pro, you will receive a notification by email and in your ProFinder Inbox – this is separate from your main LinkedIn inbox and there is no other way of knowing you have an RFP (this is very poor design in my opinion).
There is currently not a mobile app for ProFinder.
When responding to an RFP you have to provide a cost estimation or hourly rate and indicate whether you are happy to provide a free 15-minute consultation. Following this you have up to 1500 characters to present your credentials – LinkedIn’s advice is that short and concise works best. You can include links which could be a video introduction or an example of your work.
LinkedIn does not require that a client indicates that they have appointed you so it is not currently possible for LinkedIn to assess how successful you have been with your RFP’s, in addition, your recommendations are from your main LinkedIn profile and not specifically related to your ProFinder work.
LinkedIn ProFinder offers a fantastic opportunity to a wide range of small business owners and freelancers. There is no doubt that it is still a beta product and in just one conversation with Marjorie, I can see several obvious improvements that could be made.
ProFinder has been in existence for a couple of years now but there is currently no word on LinkedIn as to when it will be expanded beyond the US…if ever.
If you are in the US, I strongly recommend you check it out to see if any of the categories fit with your business. It could be a great way to outsource certain specialist projects and if you provide such services, an untapped source of business!
That’s it for this week, until next time.
Have a great week everyone.
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