Update June 4, 2014: $10 premium plan launched.
Using LinkedIn to find jobs is a no-brainer. The question is should you pay for LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium? For job seekers, LinkedIn offers three monthly plan options: $16, $25 or $40 ($5 more if you pay monthly, instead of annually). Below are six rationals they offer for the paid version and our recommendation as to whether you are better off paying or staying with the free version. There are multiple points of view, decide for yourself.
1. Badge – You get a badge on your profile announcing that you’re looking for a job. Only recruiters can see this suitcase styled badge, not your boss or regular LinkedIn members. It’s like having a ‘I am open to other career opportunities ’ beacon on your profile. This is a great way to have your online resume stand out from other profiles and get noticed by job recruiters. The counter argument is that there remains a bias against people who are out of work or actively looking for a job. By having a beacon that says “hey, I am unemployed” you could look desperate. While it’s a good way to attract headhunters, its debatable if the price is worth it. Instead we recommend that the best way to get noticed is optimizing your profile with a relevant keywords and connecting to a large number of colleagues. This will get your profile to the top of recruiter search results without a monthly fee. The $300 you would pay for an annual LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium account is better spent hiring a LinkedIn profile writer to create a professional profile that will attract opportunities your entire career. Advantage: Free Service
2. Featured Applicant – Your LinkedIn profile will be given priority above other candidates when you apply for jobs posted on LinkedIn, and in searches by hiring directors. For hiring managers and recruiters looking for candidates on LinkedIn, it’s like looking for a plumber on a search engine. Your professional profile could come up on the tenth page of job applicants if you’re not a job seeker premium member. It’s critical to come up on the first page, ahead of other job applicants. We like this feature and think anything that can place your profile or digital resume at the top of search results is critical. Advantage: Job Seeker Premium
3. Who Viewed Your Profile – You get a complete view of the people who viewed your profile. If you’re a free member, you have probably seen the box on the right side of your profile page that says something like, “Your profile has been viewed by 5 people in the last 3 days.” Free members click through this link and see vague information, like “someone in the legal and law industry in Washington D.C.” Drill down and you get several profile links with description, “one of these people viewed your profile.” It is interesting to see who looked at your profile. If it turns out that someone at a company where you want to work has checked you out, then you can contact that person. This tool may satisfy your curiosity but will it help you get an interview? Probably not. It’s not a productive use of your limited time. If a hiring director or recruiter has looked at your profile and decided not to contact you, then it’s likely not worth contacting that person. Advantage: Free Service
4. InMail Messages – Contact people via LinkedIn’s internal email service: InMail. This option isn’t available to the $16 month job seeker basic, but for $25 a month you can send five InMails per month, and if you don’t get a response it is not counted towards your monthly allotment. This is an efficient way to reach people whose contact information you don’t have. This feature is a unique niche for LinkedIn however many people attach a personal email they rarely check to their LinkedIn profile – not the work email you need. Therefore its worthwhile to invest an extra 10 minutes to reverse engineer the target persons work email. It’s usually first initial dot last name @ the website domain or for larger companies first name dot last name @ the website domain. In situations where you cannot determine the target persons work email or phone number, the LinkedIn email is good option. Of course you can email your LinkedIn connections for free. One of the nice features of LinkedIn is that you can often find that a contact knows the contact you’re trying to reach. It’s helpful to use LinkedIn as a reference point, and then send a personal email outside of LinkedIn, either directly to the person, or to a mutual contact asking that they write an introductory note. If you have no connections to the person and you can’t dig up their email address, you can spend $10 to send one InMail. Advantage: Job Seeker Premium
5. Salary Data – See detailed salary info for each job you apply for. Advantage: Job Seeker Premium
6. Job Seeker Group and Webinar – Get support and advice on landing your dream job. There are a lot of career websites offering free job search tips. Its hard to justify paying for it; however its a nice feature if you are looking for a one stop shop. Advantage: Free
Our Story: We are leaders in LinkedIn consulting. Our services help sales professionals and job seekers utilize the strength of B2B social networking. Contact us with your challenge. We are happy to help.