As of May 2016, LinkedIn offers four premium subscription plans, one of which is designed specifically for job seekers. Many users wonder whether or not this paid option is worth it.
The additional features of the Job Seeker plan fall into three main categories. The first we call Getting Noticed. This collection of features helps your profile stand out. The second, Connections, enhances communication by allowing more messaging. The final category is Analysis, which allows you to get insight into your standing, particularly when ranked among the competition.
Before we begin, let’s answer the burning question that LinkedIn hides behind its 30-Day free trial advertising: LinkedIn Premium Job Seeker costs $29.99 per month, a surprisingly nominal fee.
So for a dollar a day, here are the benefits from the additional features you receive when you upgrade your LinkedIn account.
The Premium badge shows up on your profile page itself and as a small icon next to your name in search results. This is a minor perk that essentially shows others that you’re more serious about your LinkedIn networking.
90-Day Viewer History
Free accounts only show you the last 5 people who visited your page. The premium plan shows you everyone in the past 3 months. This means it’s easier to find out when a recruiter or hiring manager viewed your profile so you can then reach out to them for a follow-up.
Keyword Insight & Suggestions
In order to spruce up your profile content and make you easier to find in LinkedIn searches, LinkedIn premium will offer help with your keywords.
The first is what they call Keyword Insight, which will tell you which keywords are leading others to your profile. They can obtain this information from their internal search engine; a recruiter searched “X” term that brought you up in the search results and then clicked on your profile. Make sure to note these top words and make sure you don’t delete them when revising your page.
The second way your profile is helped is through Keyword Suggestions. When you try to edit your summary, for example, LinkedIn will tell you which keywords similar professionals in your field are using in their profiles. It will also give you a cheery green checkmark to indicate good keyword choices. Try to use as many of these keywords as you can to attract more profile views and demonstrate your competency.
Featured on Job Applications
When you apply for a job through LinkedIn, a Job Seeker subscription pushes your application to the top of the list and highlights you as a premium LinkedIn member. This not only makes your name stand out but shows that you are serious and ready to play ball rather than casually applying.
Highlighted in Search
A normal search result on LinkedIn shows your name, photo, location and field, as well as number of mutual connections. Premium accounts show a snippet of your résumé, including your current and past 3 job positions and companies. Your image will also appear larger, a subconscious trick of appearing more confident and capable.
3 InMails per Month
With a free account, your messaging ability is limited to people within your network as determined by LinkedIn’s “Connections” algorithm. Your paid Job Seeker account allows you 3 InMail messages each month, which can be sent to anyone regardless of how many Connections you have in common. That means you can reach out to recruiters and hiring managers.
Reversing the above, with your now “Open Profile,” any member can contact you free of charge, whether they’re paying members or not. Additionally, everyone can view your whole profile versus just the snippet they see if they’re outside your network. This can be helpful in being found by smaller businesses that are not paying thousands of dollars per year to have a Recruiter account.
“Professionals Like You”
This feature compares you to 100 of your most similar industry peers. LinkedIn analyzes others in your field who have had similarly timed education, promotions, company changes, etc., and allows you to view their profiles. According to LinkedIn, checking out these industry peers can help you find what continuing education and skill building you may need to get hired at your next dream job.
If you submit an application through LinkedIn, you’ll encounter the Applicant Insight feature. Here you’ll see how you compare to the other applicants by education, years of experience, etc. LinkedIn will even rank you, letting you know “You’re in the top 25% of applicants for this job.”
Additional Search Filters
Part of networking toward a new job is finding the right people to connect with. Now that you have a few free InMails, you can begin searching for those key contacts. The 8 additional search filters will help you narrow down who to message. (You can also you this search feature for industry research.)
- Years of Experience
- Fortune Level (Is their company Fortune 100, Fortune 500?)
- Seniority Level (Find those more likely to be in a position to hire)
- Company Size
- Interested In (Find a shared point of interest to begin connecting)
- Function (Helps narrow down specialties)
- Groups (Can help you find new, relevant groups to join as well as finding a point of common interest)
- When They Joined LinkedIn (Newer users tend to be more interested in building up their Connections)
Most Viewed Connections
Free accounts can view the top 10 most viewed profiles among their current network. With your upgrade, you have access to the top 100. Why does this matter? You can read the profiles that are most viewed to find out what in their profile is helping them take advantage of LinkedIn the best.
Free 30-Day Trial
If you’re unsure how much benefit you’ll get from the Job Seeker plan, you can sign up for a one month free trial. But make sure to set a reminder to come back after 29 days to decide whether you want to continue the service for $30/mo. Otherwise, LinkedIn will begin automatically billing you. However, note that you can cancel your paid plan at any time—there’s no contract.
So Should You Pay for LinkedIn?
Yes! The price is incredibly reasonable when you consider your potential to network your way to a better paying job, or even just a similar position with better benefits.
However, you don’t want to pay for the plan and then log-off and await the flooding of your inbox. There are a few other things you should do to get the most bang for your buck.
One, you should work with a LinkedIn profile consultant to make sure your personal page is in tip-top shape. After all, what is the point of drawing all this attention to your profile if it doesn’t encourage that person to message, connect, or offer you a chance to apply for a job? These LinkedIn profile experts will know how to “close the sale,” so to speak.
Secondly, you need to take advantage of LinkedIn’s social media side. Stay active and engaged by liking, commenting and sharing others’ posts. Make sure to do this on high profile accounts by clicking “Follow” on their page. You will also want to spend a little time creating your own content. You can do this by posting long-form written content on LinkedIn Pulse, the blogging platform, or by sharing shorter thoughts, images and article links on your Feed.
So while we highly recommend using a premium account, you don’t want to just rely on your boosted visibility to turn into a pay raise overnight. There is always a little bit of legwork that you should be doing, regardless of whether you’re paying or not, to get the most out of this professional networking opportunity.
The other reason we emphatically say yes is, truthfully, you don’t have anything to lose. Even if you cancel after a month or two, you’ll still have gained valuable insight into your LinkedIn strategy, including what parts of your profile work and what changes you need to make.
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