A deep dive into the features and their uses
Since launching in 2003, LinkedIn has evolved from a mere social networking business platform to a veritable structure of intricate services professionals and businesses can access through an assortment of web and mobile apps.
Whether you’re using LinkedIn to build a network, find a job, hire talent, market your business, or make a sale, there’s an abundance of value to be derived from LinkedIn–much of it free to access.
However, some of LinkedIn’s most powerful services and features are only accessible through LinkedIn Premium, the subscription-level variant of the site.
Four LinkedIn Premium Tiers
There are four tiers of LinkedIn Premium:
- Career – $29.99/month: For professionals who want to accelerate their career by increasing their chances of recruiters finding and hiring them for competitive positions
- Business – $59.99/month: For professionals who want to expand and develop their network with key connections to promote their business
- Sales Navigator – $79.99/month: For businesses and sales professionals who want to build relationships with customers and widen the net for potential customers
- Recruiter Lite – $119.95/month: For businesses and recruiters who want to find and hire high-caliber talent that is a targeted match for their company
While Sales Navigator and Recruiter Lite certainly could be useful for professionals, these are more enterprise-level premium services a company would enable employees to take advantage of. LinkedIn Career and Business are services intended for individual professionals to take advantage of through their own means.
Even so, of the 39% of LinkedIn users who are paying for LinkedIn Premium, according to Kinsta.com, it’s easy to assume LinkedIn Career is the most common service people will upgrade to, based on price and need. Therefore, we’ll focus on exploring this LinkedIn Premium option in more depth here to help you understand if it’s worth shelling out $30 a month for.
What You Already Get with LinkedIn
If you spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, you know how comprehensive of a professional network you can build just be connecting with people you know or with people who are relevant to your network. You can also find specific job listings through extremely precise searches that include advanced filtering.
In essence, LinkedIn provides a powerful two-in-one offering, combining the best characteristics of a social media platform focused on professionalism with the best job listing and job search functionality found on sites like Glassdoor. So, why would you start paying for LinkedIn Career?
What You Get with LinkedIn Career
With LinkedIn’s free access already being so powerful, you might wonder what LinkedIn Career could do much better. In essence, LinkedIn Career is like LinkedIn “basic” on steroids.
To begin with, LinkedIn Career provides in-depth, anonymous insights on how you measure up against other applicants of jobs you’re interested in.
Rather than going in blind applying to a job, LinkedIn Premium’s competitive intelligence will help you understand how much more or less qualified you are than others (e.g., you’re in the top 10% of applicants) based on your experience, skills, and current job. It will also show you what level of seniority other applicants currently hold, what level of education they have, and where they’re located.
Gaining this competitive insight through LinkedIn Premium gives you a leg up on other applicants by helping you understand who and what you’re up against. By measuring your competitiveness against others, you can more effectively determine which jobs to apply for as well as understand what kind of strategy you need to pull together to highlight your strengths or bolster your weaks spots in the event you secure an interview.
Expanded ‘Profile Views’ Visibility
One of the interesting things about LinkedIn that makes it much different than other social media platforms is that you’re alerted when someone views your profile. Depending on preference, people can keep this information:
- Public, allowing others to see their name, role, company, etc. when they view a profile
- Private, by masking their name and limiting others to only seeing their company and role
- Anonymous, hiding all revelatory information
How you choose for others to see you when you view their profile also determines what you see when others view your profile. But, regardless of how public or private you choose to be, LinkedIn only gives you a limited history of profile views, i.e., the last few people who have viewed your profile.
While this certainly can be helpful, it’s not as helpful as what LinkedIn Premium offers, which is an unlimited history of profile views. You can go back weeks and months to see who has viewed your profile.
You can also delve deeper to see from which companies multiple people may have viewed your profile, which views are deemed “interesting,” and whether you’re being viewed by someone who could tip the scales in your favor of securing a job, like a recruiter or hiring manager.
LinkedIn isn’t just a place to connect with others and find a job; it’s also an excellent place to learn. People are constantly sharing professional advice based on their experience or through curated content like articles, videos, eBooks and more that shed a light on important aspects of industries, roles, and professionalism.
It can be difficult to take this information and extract specific information that may be applicable to your current goals or career path, though. After all, the content people are sharing isn’t actually tailored to you.
That’s where LinkedIn Career helps. A featured called LinkedIn Learning gives you an easy way to learn specific things based on your career, skills, and goals through content created by experts.
As you learn new things through on-demand courses, you can add new skills to your profile to help you increase your chances of landing an interview for a particular job or to help you accelerate your career, the advancement of which, today, often rests on your ability to continuously learn and improve.
LinkedIn is all about networking, but it’s also easy to abuse. If you’re a frequent user of platform, you’re probably familiar with the practice of influencers or other professionals who are irrelevant or only semi-relevant to your industry or interests asking to connect, with the intention of either increasing their number of followers, getting their content on your feed, or messaging you if your messaging is blocked from people you aren’t connected with. These connections aren’t really useful and only add clutter to your network.
Given this poor practice, it was smart of LinkedIn to limit users’ ability to direct message others unless they’re connected or unless users enable messaging from people they aren’t connected with. However, LinkedIn Premium offers a gateway through InMails. InMails are powerful in that they allow you to message anyone, even if you aren’t connected.
This is powerful in that it gives you the ability to reach out to people–employees, hiring managers, recruiters–associated with a job or company you’re interested. As you probably know, making personal connections with others increases the likelihood of you having your application reviewed, securing an interview, and landing a job in today’s incredibly competitive job landscape.
What’s more, LinkedIn still governs InMails to ensure they aren’t abused. You’re given a limited number of InMails per month to use; however, these InMails will also accumulate from month to month for 90 days, and you can also purchase more InMails if you need them. In sum, you’ll be equipped with an ideal number of InMails that can be used to help you improve your job search or networking process.
Do You Need LinkedIn Premium?
Ultimately, whether you do or don’t need LinkedIn Premium to help you boost your career is a personal decision based on your financial circumstances and the level of need you have as an individual. If you haven’t had much luck for a few months in regard to securing your next dream job, it might be worthwhile to invest in technology that gives you an advantage.
The nice thing is LinkedIn gives you a one-month free trial of Premium to see if it’s for you. It’s the perfect amount of time for a trial period to determine if LinkedIn Career–or any of the other Premium services for that matter–are what you need to excel.
Just don’t assume paying for LinkedIn Premium will automatically change your outcomes. These are tools; you have to be willing to learn to use them well. However, once you do, there’s a good chance you’ll see a difference in results. Give it a try!