Job seekers frequently ask me whether they should upgrade to LinkedIn Premium. If you’re actively job hunting, the added features could be well worth the expense.
First, you need to assess what LinkedIn Premium offers over the free membership, and determine whether you need those added features.
As of this writing, there are 4 versions of LinkedIn Premium – Career, Business, Sales and Hiring.
The various versions range in price from $30/month to $100/month, and come with varying features. Take a look and compare all 4 versions.
What does LinkedIn Premium offer over free membership?
Two useful features come with all 4 levels of LinkedIn Premium:
- LinkedIn InMail messages to contact anyone on LinkedIn – from a hiring manager who just posted a job that interests you to someone at a company you want to learn more about.
- Who’s Viewed Your Profile – See who’s viewed you in the last 90 days, not just the last 5 viewers standard members see. You’ll be able to follow up and introduce yourself – perhaps to the recruiter who just viewed you.
LinkedIn InMail Messaging
If you’re following executive job search best practices, and networking your way into the goldmine of “hidden” jobs at your target companies, then the InMail credits should be very useful.
You’ll be able to email anyone via LinkedIn . . . whether or not they’re connected to you.
That includes people who work at your target companies.
LinkedIn InMail gives you an advantage over emailing people outside of LinkedIn, when you’re “cold emailing” people you don’t know.
In my experience, people are more likely to respond to a LinkedIn InMail message than personal email. It carries more weight and credibility.
Who’s Viewed Your Profile
There’s also great value in the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature.
Think of it this way. A good percentage of the people viewing your profile are probably at least somewhat interested in you . . . so they could be hot leads.
They’re people who may be sitting on the very kinds of opportunities you’re seeking, and possibly people who work at, or are associated with the companies on your target list.
For instance, when a hiring manager at a company where you applied for a job views your profile, take it as a good sign that they’re interested.
More about this in my post, A Clever LinkedIn Personal Branding Tip to Accelerate Your Executive Job Search
Each of the progressively more expensive levels above Career Premium come with more robust features – like more InMail credits – and they all have a free no-obligation 30-day trial.
Added features you get with each of the 4 LinkedIn Premium versions.
LinkedIn Premium Career
The Career version at $30/month – seemingly the most likely choice for job seekers – offers the following extras over free membership:
- Direct messaging to recruiters – Reach out directly to any recruiter or job poster with 3 InMail credits (Premium members can purchase additional InMail)
- Applicant Insights – See how you compare to other candidates
- Online video courses – Get the most in-demand business, tech and creative skills taught by industry experts with LinkedIn Learning
- Top Applicant Jobs – See jobs where you’d be a top applicant and may have an edge over other candidates
- Instant access to salary insights – See salary details when browsing jobs without sharing your personal data
LinkedIn Premium Business
The Business level kicks up the features and may be a better bet for executive job seekers.
It includes 15 InMail messages and adds on the following, which would be very helpful for researching your target employers, an integral part of executive job search best practices:
- Unlimited people browsing – View unlimited profiles from search results and suggested profiles – up to 3rd degree
- Business Insights – Get deep insights into a company’s growth and functional trends
TV host and social media strategist Amber Mac noted a big benefit of Premium Business in a FastCompany article,
“You can perform detailed queries. For example, you can perform a search that includes Fortune 1000 companies (or be even more specific, and simply include results for Fortune 50 companies). This reduces your search time immensely and allows you to search for people based on company size, seniority level, and more.”
What about the 2 priciest LinkedIn Premium levels?
Though the pricier Premium levels are not specifically directed towards job seekers, and consensus among career professionals seems to be that they don’t offer a good enough ROI, they should at least be considered.
LinkedIn Premium Sales or (Sales Navigator)
LinkedIn Sales includes 20 InMail messages and adds on the following:
- Sales Insights – Get insights on your accounts and leads, like job changes, company growth, and more
- Advanced Search with Lead Builder – Zero in on decision makers and create custom lead lists with advanced search filters
- Lead recommendations and saved leads – Quickly discover the right people and save them to stay up to date
LinkedIn Premium Hiring (or Recruiter Lite)
LinkedIn Hiring offers 30 InMail messages and adds these recruiter-focused features:
- Smart Suggestions – Use dynamic suggestions as you search to uncover additional talent
- Integrated hiring – Manage your whole candidate pool in one place
- Automatic candidate tracking – Track candidates and open roles with Projects
- Recruiting-specific design – The LinkedIn experience, enhanced for recruiting
A common sense approach to upgrading to LinkedIn Premium
Here’s a strategy that may make sense.
Give one of the LinkedIn Premium levels a go. It will be free for 30 days, so plan to devote some time to noodling around with the features to see if it makes sense for you to continue with Premium.
If you do continue with Premium, you’ll only be making a month-to-month commitment. You can quit at any time.
So you can use it for several months – or until you land a job – and then go back to whatever LinkedIn membership level you were at before you upgraded.
A compelling reason to go with LinkedIn Premium at whatever level.
Energy and Utility Industry Leader David Coher said, in a CIO.com article:
“I noticed a marked increase in the number of viewers of my profile once I signed up for the LinkedIn Premium service. I notice when someone — a vendor, a job applicant, a connection otherwise — has a LinkedIn Premium profile, and it does make an impact on me. That person cares about appearing professional in their online presence.”
LinkedIn Premium members are identified by the gold “in” button at the top of their profile, to the right of their photo.