Freelancers: You, too, can work at LinkedIn Top Companies

They’re big and well-established, but they need our nimbleness

On Thursday, LinkedIn released its list of 50 “top” U.S. companies, based on site engagement, job applications, and employee retention. (There are also lists for Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, and the U.K..)

LinkedIn mostly focuses on salaried employees, but there are also freelancing opportunities at these companies — if you know where to look. Here are some tips I’ve collected from freelancing at such companies as Apple, Wells-Fargo, and Qualcomm. (I cover many of these topics in my LinkedIn Learning course, “Freelancing Foundations“.)

  • Target departments, not companies. Only companies with at least 500 employees made the LinkedIn list. That’s way too many people for the H.R. department to know what everybody’s doing, so a pitch sent there is likely to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, target your efforts at departments that are likely to need your skills. That takes research — and possibly sending a few InMails.
  • Get your house in order. Companies often turn to freelancers to complete short-term projects: They want straightforward professionals ready to just walk in and do the job. The more you can show that you’re such a person — for example through a web portfolio, business cards, and client endorsements — the better your chances of attracting their attention.
  • Be prepared to do paperwork… and wait. Big companies have big bureaucracies. They might require freelancers to have business insurance, or be contracted via purchase order, or submit expenses through some arcane system. Then you might have to wait for all that paperwork to be processed before you ever start work (or see a check).
  • Be diligent and patient. Approach large companies as long-term investments of your time. But in turn, they can turn into clients who come back to you for years. (They don’t want to go through all that paperwork again for someone else!)

Are you a freelancer who’s had success with big clients? Share your tips in the comments below.

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