If you're freelance or the owner of a small business, it can be extremely difficult to get noticed by prospective clients--especially if the services you offer are offered by many other freelancers or small businesses. Fortunately, there's a new tool that will separate you from the rest of the pack and help get you noticed.

Today, career networking site LinkedIn announced the roll out of a brand new feature specifically meant to enable members who are freelancers and small business owners to show their individual availability, industry expertise and skills, and geographic location--all indicating that they are "open" for business and ready to offer their services.

They will be able to do this by adding the services they provide to their LinkedIn profiles. These services will be highlighted in a new box that will appear in search results.

This is potentially a very big deal.

According to LinkedIn, small businesses comprise 99.7 percent of all United States-based companies, and LinkedIn counts at least 10 million small business leaders who use the site's tools and services to reach out to clients.

Further, LinkedIn research indicates that small businesses are heavily dependent on word-of-mouth advertising. LinkedIn's new feature will provide members with a way to create digital word-of-mouth advertising with prospective clients using their existing profiles. 

Explains LinkedIn:

From now on, members looking for help will be able to filter their general LinkedIn searches for service providers. When you add services to your profile, you'll show up in these search results. For example, if you've noted that you provide accounting services, and a member searches for "accountant," they'll now be able to see you in their search results with a highlight about the services you provide. From there, we encourage members to message you directly to inquire about your services. 

Beginning this week, LinkedIn is rolling out this new feature only to freelancers and small business leaders who have a U.S. Premium Business subscription. However, the company anticipates making it available to all U.S.-based freelancers and small business leaders sometime this fall.

If you decide you would like to give the new feature a try, here's how:

  • Visit your profile page from your mobile app or desktop, and if this feature is turned on for you, you'll see a box under your profile photo/headline that talks about how to showcase the services you provide. 
  • Click "Add Services," and then fill out the form to provide details about the services you provide. Be as detailed as possible so members who view this section have a good sense for what you provide. 
  • Click "continue" and this will automatically be added to your profile. 

When you're done, your profile should look something like Sarah King's below:

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