LinkedIn is one of the most widely-used social media platforms in the world. With over 830 million users and 58 million registered companies on the site, it is perhaps the most useful place to find your next job and make networking connections.
A little less than half of the users – 39 percent – opt for LinkedIn Premium, a paid version of the free networking site. Most executives choose LinkedIn Premium Career, which costs around $39.99/month ($26.99/month billed annually) or LinkedIn Premium Business ($59.99/mo).
LinkedIn Premium offers many more job search, networking, and company research tools than the free version of the site. Still, the price for the site is higher than many other subscriptions.
So, is LinkedIn Premium worth it? Here, we’ll investigate.
LinkedIn Premium makes you stand out from other applicants – literally.
If you use the free version of LinkedIn, you may discover that you’re at a functional disadvantage over paid users. Specifically, companies see premium users first on a list of candidates who apply directly through the networking platform’s list of Jobs You Might Be Interested In (JYMBII). This means that premium users have a chance to stand out from the applicant crowd.
Similarly, premium users’ profile photos are easier to spot than non-paid users: they are both larger and customizable. So, if a hiring manager is scrolling through applicants’ profiles, they will be able to more easily see premium users’ photos. Customized backgrounds also let candidates tailor their profiles to specific industries and recruiters.
LinkedIn Premium helps you compare yourself to other job seekers.
Another powerful feature for premium accounts is Competitive Intelligence, which considers how you stack up against other job seekers based on your LinkedIn profile.
This tool helps you in several ways. First, you’re better able to decide if you’re interested in spending your time applying for a position you may not be well-qualified for.
Second, it helps you decide in what ways you stand out from the crowd. For instance, if only seven percent of candidates have MBAs, then you will likely want to highlight this qualification in your resume and cover letter.
“Creating a custom cover letter and optimizing your resume can take a lot of time (if you don’t know how to do it), so checking out how you compare to other applicants before applying can save you a lot of time and energy,” said Bogdan Zlatkov.
If you’re not actively searching for a position, the How You Rank feature also lets you see how you compare to more than 100 “professionals like you.”
This is a useful tool for determining the education and skills you might need to build before applying for your next role. It also may help you decide how to re-tool your LinkedIn profile to highlight the qualifications and positions others in your field emphasize most.
Premium gives you tools to optimize your job research.
Another useful feature includes Applicant Insights, which guides you towards “open roles where you’d be a great fit based on your skills, past experience, salary requirements, and education,” LinkedIn promises.
In addition, you’re given access to a more-tailored Advanced Search using LinkedIn Premium. You can search by job or recruiter, company size, Fortune 500 ranking, geography, and other individualized parameters.
InMail Messages are more effective for networking than email – and without Premium, you can’t send them.
LinkedIn Premium Career offers more features than the free platform, including five InMail messages each month, which let you reach out to others on the site. Premium Business offers 15 InMail Messages per month, along with these other features.
“It is nice to have the ability to send a message to anyone without being connected to them. They are more effective than a cold email because it’s coming from within LinkedIn, showing that you are a real person…A LinkedIn InMail, according to LinkedIn, is 2.6X more effective than a normal email,” said Neal Schaffer.
It can help you research opportunities – and negotiate your salary appropriately.
When you’re starting your job search, you don’t want to arbitrarily apply to open positions. Instead, you want to research companies that inspire you – so you can start networking with people who work there before they have an open role to which you’d like to apply.
LinkedIn Premium gives you the tools to search through companies to view specific information like “trends in headcount, geographic expansion, employee turnover and other information useful for competitive analysis,” said Matt Kapko and Sharon Florentine.
Candidates can also link this information to the “Who’s Viewed My Profile” feature on LinkedIn Premium, which lets you know what recruiters or potential contacts are perusing your profile. Then, if you discover a company that sounds appealing to you is visiting your page, you can decide to connect with them.
What’s more, LinkedIn Salary can help jobseekers have a basis for negotiation when they’re given a salary offer for a new role. This feature can also help you in your current position.
“Subscribers who may not actively be seeking a new job could uncover gaps in pay for their profession and use data from LinkedIn Salary to negotiate a better salary in their current position, for example,” Kapko and Florentine argue.
Is It Worth It?
If you are an executive looking for a new role, then the answer is yes, LinkedIn Premium is worth the subscription cost. Not only does the paid version of the networking site simplify your job matching, but it also gives you the tools to consider how you stack up against other applicants. Premium also helps you build your network by giving you opportunities to message other users directly.
So, while LinkedIn Premium isn’t dirt cheap, its value is clear, especially when you’re searching for your next position.
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