Linkedin is an invaluable resource for job searchers, career-minded professionals, and general networking but is paying for Linkedin Premium worth it? In this post, we’ll analyze whether or not Linkedin premium is worth the investment, what features are included in the paid upgrade, and whether or not your premium account makes a difference to hiring managers and recruiters.
Is Linkedin Premium Worth It?
As a former executive recruiter and instructor on Linkedin profile optimization, networking strategy, and branding, I get asked this question a lot. In my years of teaching courses on Linkedin to hundreds of job seekers at all levels, I’ve observed something fascinating: People think Linkedin Premium is necessary to successfully manage their job searches and land jobs. This is absolutely false and there are several reasons why…
Linkedin is Great for Your Career but You Don’t Have to Use Every Feature to Reach Your Goals
Linkedin, while designed to help with career advancement, is first and foremost, a business. This means it must make money to stay afloat. Linkedin has business objectives that aren’t necessarily aligned to the hiring manager’s objectives. It’s important to remember this because this will help you to think through your actions when visiting Linkedin instead of acting on autopilot – in response to Linkedin’s prompts. You should be aware that Linkedin makes the rules about its platform. However this doesn’t necessarily mean everything you do on Linkedin or pay for will increase your chances of landing a job.
Most People Respond to Website Prompts Instead of Proactively Navigating Linkedin
Many of my clients make the mistake of clicking all the buttons Linkedin presents. This is quite common because the career-minded individual believes that Linkedin is steering them in the best career direction. Linkedin is great for your career for a lot of reasons. However, this doesn’t mean you have to use all of Linkedin’s features to optimize your career potential. A lot of Linkedin newbies will accidentally click the button that sends a Linkedin invite to all of their email contacts. Then the client becomes confused when he/she receives Linkedin notification emails. This is one example of how Linkedin subtly places a button in the sign-up process so that you unknowingly increase member engagement to benefit Linkedin – not necessarily your career. This example illustrates the fundamental reason why I don’t recommend Linkedin Premium for job searchers.
Remember: Linkedin Is a Business, Not a Hiring Manager – And Linkedin Premium is a Product
How does Linkedin make money? Like any membership model, it makes money through paid memberships as one source of revenue. Linkedin is the largest real-time talent database. This makes it a goldmine for recruiters and hiring managers when it comes to finding talent. To ensure hiring managers and recruiters keep coming back, Linkedin has to provide a lot of talent and realtime data. By offering a basic or free account, Linkedin can continue to grow its member base quickly. This quick member growth ensures that they will remain the largest database and therefore be an attractive offering for companies/hiring entities.
What Hiring Managers Really Care About When Searching for Talent on Linkedin
A hiring manager doesn’t care how many connections you have. A hiring manager definitely doesn’t care whether or not you were savvy enough to upgrade to Linkedin Premium. A hiring manager only cares about whether or not you are qualified for their job. Therefore, you need to distinguish between the hiring manager’s objectives and Linkedin’s objectives before you act. Linkedin is looking to increase member engagement and revenue. A hiring manager on the other hand, is looking for a very specific person to fill their job opening. That person may or may not be on Linkedin and may or may not have a Linkedin Premium account. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what kind of account you have. If you’re the right person for the job, you will be hired.
Before working with Noelle I really had no idea what aspects of my resume and LinkedIn were keeping me from getting noticed. She helped me to remove the clutter and replace the fluff with a true story of my success. After working with Noelle I gained the insight and techniques needed to communicate with the right people. – Alex, Creative Director, San Francisco
Which Linkedin Premium Features – Will Help Your Job Search and Which Features Won’t Help
1. Applicant Insights
One of the biggest challenges for job seekers is finding a job that fits. This is where Linkedin Premium Applicant Insights comes into play. Linkedin offers to direct you to open roles where you’ll be a fit based on your skills, past experience, salary requirements, and education. Of course this is one of the ways it slices and dices your profile data – and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. By knowing where you’re a fit, you can better focus your job search efforts to the right opportunities. If you’re someone who struggles to find fit, this may be a worthwhile investment. The only catch is that you would have to have optimized your profile so Linkedin can collect true data.
2. Who’s Viewed Your Profile
This is one of those ego-booster features that serves zero purpose in your job search. Linkedin will reveal who has viewed your profile. Linkedin claims that this will help you to know whether or not your job search is on track. I’ve been on Linkedin a long time and I’ve worked with a ton of job seekers. I can tell you that in all my years, I’ve never had a client experience job search success based on the people viewing their profiles. This feature is a nice way of tickling the same part of our brain as does the Facebook “likes and shares.” People are viewing your profile because they were prompted by Linkedin or they are randomly searching you. Even if you can see a hiring manager viewing your profile after you apply, there is no appropriate way to follow up. The ball is in the hiring manager’s court. One could even argue that this is more harmful to the job search in that it creates a sense of false hope in the applicant.
3. On-Demand Learning
On-Demand Learning is the 3rd feature you receive as part of Linkedin Premium. Linkedin has a robust learning platform and offers to sharpen your skills so you can stand out in your next interview. Topping up your skills is never a bad thing – especially if you need to strengthen a particular skillset to compete for a role. However, there are tons of skills development platforms out there that you may be able to access for free. Youtube or your local library may even contain some of the content you desire. Skills development can also become a major distraction in the job search. Some job seekers are more motivated by online learning and believe that it will really help them land a job. Usually, the reality is that their efforts are best focused on branding or strategic networking instead of online courses.
4. Monthly In-Mail
Linkedin Premium’s In-Mail feature is probably one of the most attractive features for job searchers. Linkedin allows you to reach out to people outside your network and claims it is 2.6x more effective than emails when reaching out to hiring managers. I am not sure if this state is true. In my opinion, email is more effective. The reason job searchers don’t email hiring managers is because they don’t usually have an email address. This makes In-Mail very appealing. It’s a way to contact the hiring manager without having to find an email address.
Based on my personal experience as the message recipient, I am less likely to respond to an In-Mail message over a regular Linkedin message. They all feel the same from the recipient end. If anything, taking the time to find an email address, makes your outreach much more personal. Hiring managers know that you are paying for In-Mail. Anyone can do this. My advice? Take some time to find an email address. This will make the outreach seem much more personal.
5. Featured Applicants
One feature that appeals to all job searchers is that of standing out as a featured applicant to recruiters. This feature claims to boost your resume to the top of the pile when recruiters are reviewing applications received through Linkedin. Whether or not this is true, it’s important to know that the first resume on the pile doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most qualified resume. Since recruiters are looking for the most qualified resume, it’s very likely they will ignore the top resume if it’s not a fit for the job description. It’s the difference in Linkedin making you believe one thing and the reality being something totally different.
You Don’t Need Linkedin Premium But You Do Need an Optimized Linkedin Profile
As long as you have an optimized Linkedin profile, you are just as searchable as someone with Linkedin Premium. You may even be more searchable depending on whether or not the Linkedin Premium user has taken the time to keyword optimize their profile. The main reason you are on Linkedin is to be found for opportunities – right? And the only way to be found on Linkedin, is to have a robust well-written, keyword optimized Linkedin profile.
Instead of Using Linkedin Premium, Optimize these 4 Linkedin Profile Parts in Order to Be Found in More Searches
Linkedin can feel overwhelming if you’re someone who doesn’t like to write. The best way to tackle Linkedin is one part at a time. There are 4 profile parts that you absolutely can not compromise on if you want to be found in more searches. I’ve included links to more detailed instructions for each Linkedin part below in case you want to get started updating your parts today!
1. Linkedin Profile Photo
Your Linkedin profile photo is probably the most important part of your profile. People are attracted to visuals. Your photo is one of the components that will cause recruiters to click into your profile to learn more. You must have a clean, well-cropped photo in which you appear approachable. Omitting a photo or not following the Linkedin photo rules, will cause recruiters and hiring managers to move on to the next profile.
2. Linkedin Headline
Your Linkedin Headline is similar to the Linkedin photo. It is one of the few branding pieces that serves to draw recruiters / hiring managers to click into your profile and learn more. You have 120 characters to communicate your professional brand. You can’t afford to get the headline wrong. If you are not succinct and precise in your headline, the recruiter or hiring manager will not take the time to learn more.
3. Linkedin Summary
Your Linkedin Summary is the part that recruiters and hiring managers will see only after they have been enticed by your photo and Linkedin headline. This is the part of your profile where you get to share the details of your professional background. You have 2,000 characters to elaborate on your career history and professional brand in the summer section. While most people may not take the time to read every word you write, it’s still important to write a robust Linkedin summary for SEO purposes. Remember: Linkedin is a search platform (similar to Google). People will pick up your profile in their searches if and only if you are using keyword strategy.
4. Linkedin Vanity URL
The Linkedin Vanity URL or Linkedin Custom URL is a simple way to be picked up in Linkedin searches if someone is searching you by name. Every Linkedin profile includes a unique web domain or “free website” with your profile. Until you claim your vanity URL or customize it to your name, it will only contain a chain of randomized numbers and letters. Simply click into this part of your profile, and make an update to claim your name. This is especially important if you have a common first or last name.
Final Thoughts: You Need Linkedin for Your Career, But Not Linkedin Premium
I hope you found this analysis of Linkedin Premium helpful. Overall, Linkedin is my favorite career website for job searchers. Linkedin can be a game-changer for your career and most especially your job search. If you’re not on Linkedin and optimized, you will almost certainly miss out on career opportunities. However, even the best platforms can have features that aren’t totally helpful. Linkedin Premium contains many of these features – aimed at monetizing the site instead of truly helping job searchers reach their goals. If you keep hiring manager and recruiter objectives at the forefront of your job search, you’ll be able to more effectively navigate Linkedin and all its features going forward.
If you want to be found in recruiter and hiring manager searches on Linkedin, with fully keyword and ATS-optimized Linkedin profile, check out our Linkedin Profile Makeover. It covers all the bases—full branding of all key profile parts and a 30-minute phone consult with one of our career strategy experts—to give you the best chance at getting found and hired.