LinkedIn is one of the best ways for job seekers to market themselves—in fact, it’s almost as important as having a resume, since they’re so closely related. But do you need a LinkedIn consultant to put your profile on the digital map?
We’ll explore what most profiles really need if it’s worth hiring one.
LinkedIn consultants can get pricey
Here’s the thing: consultants and freelancers can get expensive, especially if you’re a recent graduate or even just a young professional. You really need to understand what you’re getting out of a consultant before paying for one.
For example: yes, getting a job could start netting you $40,000 a year instead of $0 per year, so a LinkedIn consultant’s fees might pale in comparison to that. I make that same point about my job roadmap eBook about how to get a job—what’s $30 today compared to tens of thousands of dollars tomorrow, right?
But a LinkedIn consultant might charge $30-$60 per hour, and they can’t help you improve your profile until they learn about you. A single consultant would probably need to invest 5-10 hours into learning about your character and your work history as well as walking you through optimizing your profile in order to bring it up to speed.
That’s $300-$600 in total for the folks keeping score. Try optimizing your profile on your own before spending the cash. This consultant charges $500-$1,300 USD, depending on the service package. That’s steep, even for established professionals.
There are other LinkedIn consultants who price their services reasonably, but it’s still steep for anyone who doesn’t have a healthy income. Take a look at this pricing table from “Doctor LinkedIn”:
The prices are actually quite reasonable here. If I were an established professional with savings in the bank and no time to give my LinkedIn profile a makeover, then I would seriously consider this service.
It’s not that simple for young professionals, though. Take a closer look at the pricing table’s features. It’s essentially a resume writing service tailored to LinkedIn, and that can be a good thing—but it’s an exercise in reframing your experience.
Most recent graduates don’t have much experience in the first place, though. That’s why I dedicate an entire step to creating work experience in my eBook that explains how to get a job. You need work experience before you can brag about it, plain and simple.
You only need to create your profile once
70% of the effort you put into LinkedIn goes toward your profile. Improving your LinkedIn score with an all-star profile can take a day if you’re still learning how to do it. However, if you’re a recent graduate or an entry-level professional then spending some time to do it yourself is far more economical than paying a LinkedIn consultant to (sort of) do the work for you.
The quick way to improve your LinkedIn score with an all-star profile is to follow these steps:
- Upload a clean headshot.
- Write an effective headline and a clear summary.
- Quantify your work experience.
- Optimize your profile with the keyword for the role you want.
- Ask for recommendations and skill endorsements.
- Make your education and licenses sections.
- Include your volunteer efforts and add your professional interests.
The hardest part about creating your profile is quantifying your work history and writing a stellar headline—and you can read about how to do both of those things on this site:
- How to write the best LinkedIn headlines for students
- How to write LinkedIn headlines for the unemployed
At the end of the day, the consultant can only help to reframe your experience and show you how to add media to your profile. Try out this complete roadmap to your first job for $30 before paying somebody $500.
Are you developing an executive persona?
Building a personal brand is a huge part of leadership, and there’s hardly a better place to do that outside of 1:1, personal interactions.
If you’re a seasoned professional looking to climb the executive ladders then a LinkedIn consultant could be highly effective. The same goes for aspiring thought leaders and entrepreneurs.
If you have the money to spend on a coach who can walk you through creating a marketing persona, then that’s excellent—but it’s not the case for young professionals or recent graduates on a budget. Young professionals barely make enough money to cover rent, let alone life savings or LinkedIn consultant fees.
Following LinkedIn best practices is easy on your own
Seasoned professionals looking to evolve their brand for leadership positions might need a hand with coaching, but that’s going to cost money. It’s also more about interpersonal communication than LinkedIn itself.
If you’re in the early stages of your career or a recent graduate, on the other hand, then you can forget about paying a LinkedIn consultant. Use this checklist of LinkedIn best practices as a cheat sheet for what to do—and what not to do.
Here’s a quick preview:
- Optimize your profile (which we’ve covered already).
- Create a simple and memorable vanity URL for your resume.
- Engage with your network regularly.
- Manage connection requests with care (don’t add just anybody).
- Get comfortable with your voice before posting your own content regularly.
Not quite worth paying someone $30+ per hour for coaching when you don’t have much money to spare.
Engaging with your network isn’t difficult
LinkedIn consultants will tell you to start commenting on posts from your network, and they’d be correct (social networks put a lot of thought into their engagement algorithms). But commenting doesn’t call for grand strategy. It’s just something you do a few times per week. You can’t plan how you’re going to engage with people because you have to connect with them about what they’re talking about.
If you plan ahead, then you’re just making a social media schedule. That’s not the same as engaging, though—it’s more like using a megaphone than using a conversation.
The good news is that engaging with other people’s posts isn’t just easy and fast, but it can show real results, too. After just commenting 2-3 times in a week, my profile views increased by 250% in a week. You can increase your LinkedIn profile impressions by doing the same thing.
You don’t need to pay someone $30 per hour to show you how to do that, in my opinion—just learn the appropriate tone and level of personalization from reading what others post.
That’s all there really is to LinkedIn when you’re starting out in your career. Save yourself $500 and optimize your profile before seeking out a LinkedIn consultant. You might just be surprised with the results!