“Dear Pete: Is LinkedIn premium worth it? It’s not clear to me if the extra features provide much additional value.”
Here’s the short answer… Make sure you are maximizing your free LinkedIn account before you upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. I’d estimate that more than 95% of LinkedIn users fail to optimize their profiles. In addition, more than 95% of users are unaware of the features/benefits available to them through a free LinkedIn account. For example, with a free LinkedIn account, you can stay in touch with your network, participate in LinkedIn discussion groups and connect with new users, and you can conduct targeted, advanced searches.
If you are already maxing out your free account and looking for even greater functionality within LinkedIn, then LinkedIn Premium might be a good investment. Just don’t upgrade to LinkedIn Premium with the expectation that amazing opportunities will automatically find you. While that’s possible, you need to be proactive in your job search rather than passively waiting for people to seek you out. The best opportunities are usually those you create or learn about through your own networking, as opposed to those that fall in your lap as you sit back. Here are some more factors to consider about LinkedIn Premium:
PRICING FOR LINKEDIN PREMIUM: LinkedIn currently has 3 different packages for job-seekers (Job Seeker Basic, Job Seeker, and Job Seeker Plus), ranging from about $20-$50 per month. Packages are available on a monthly or annual basis.
MAIN BENEFITS FOR LINKEDIN PREMIUM:
- InMails. With LinkedIn Premium, you get the ability to send 5-10 “InMails” per month. InMails are emails sent through your LinkedIn account to the inbox of another LinkedIn user. With a LinkedIn premium account, LinkedIn guarantees that you will get a response from the other LinkedIn user within 7 days or you get your credit back for the InMail.
- More search results. With a LinkedIn premium account, you can see more detailed profile information on people showing up in search results, you can see more profiles per search, you can save your searches, and you can even receive updates when new people qualify for your saved searches.
- See who has viewed your profile. With LinkedIn Premium, you can see who has viewed your profile, along with stats for who has viewed your profile, including which keywords people used to find your profile. This can be useful because you can then optimize your profile around relevant keywords that hiring managers seem to be searching for on LinkedIn.
- Profile Badge. With LinkedIn Premium, you can display a badge on your profile. LinkedIn claims that people who display this badge get 15 times as many profile views as those who do not. However, this stat is probably very skewed since people displaying this badge are probably much more active (and therefore more likely to show up in searches anyway) than other LinkedIn users.
- Open Link. With LinkedIn Premium, you can give other LinkedIn users the ability to contact you at no “cost” to them (i.e. without having to use InMail credits). However, you could also just include your web site or email address in your headline and profile summary if you want to be more accessible to other LinkedIn users.
In summary, I do not believe that most job-seekers need to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. However, if you choose to make the investment, be proactive in leveraging the advanced benefits.