According to a recent Jobvite survey, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn. Yet, interestingly, only 36% of job seekers are members.
If you are looking for a job, simply using LinkedIn’s free basic membership could put you ahead of the competition. On the other hand, if you really want to “seal the deal,” a LinkedIn Premium Job Seeker account ($29.99/month) might be worth considering. Here’s What’s Free
To understand the value of a LinkedIn Premium account, it’s important to know what comes with a Basic (free) account.
With a basic account you can:
- Create and maintain a professional identity online.
- Build a network that includes other professionals.
- Receive recommendations from other LinkedIn members and provide recommendations for them.
- Request up to five introductions at a time.
- Search for people, jobs, companies and more, including a limited number of advanced search features.
- Save your search results and receive weekly alerts about them.
- Receive (but not send) unlimited InMail messages.
(For more, see: How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job.)
What You Get With LinkedIn’s Premium Job Seeker Account
The Premium Job Seeker account (one of four premium accounts available on LinkedIn) offers several important additional and expanded features:
This feature allows for a larger profile picture and a customizable background. As a premium member, you can turn this feature on through the settings page. The advantage of a larger profile picture is that it helps you stand out from the rest of the job-seeking crowd. A customized background lets you target certain professional sectors or even specific recruiters.
Featured Applicant Status
As a premium member, your job application automatically sits above those of nonpremium members when you apply for a job via Jobs You Might Be Interested In (JYMBII). This is similar to sponsored search status on Google.
Full List of Profile Views
Basic members can only see the last five views of their profile. By purchasing a premium membership, you will see all the people who have viewed your profile over the last 90 days.
More importantly, you receive information telling you how those people arrived at your profile. This allows you to personalize any contact you may wish to make. This would also let you strengthen the avenues that seem to be used most often by recruiters.
InMail is LinkedIn’s personal message system that lets you communicate with people outside your individual LinkedIn network. This can be invaluable when you are looking for a job. LinkedIn members trust InMail and the likelihood of a response is higher than with traditional email. The Job Seeker Premium account lets you send up to three InMail messages per month. Additional InMail messages can be purchased.
How You Rank
The How You Rank feature (available to basic members) lets you see how you compare to a limited number of your own connections and even provides suggestions on how to improve your rank. By becoming a premium member, you unlock the ability to see the top 100-plus rankings for “professionals like you.”
The premium search filter lets you fine-tune searches and save time looking for the right job or recruiters likely to be interested in your skill set. Parameters include the ability to search for people based on company size, Fortune 500 ranking, seniority and much more.
Job Listing Breakdown
When you search for jobs, you can use this feature to analyze your fellow job applicants by level of experience, skills and even the degrees they have. Having this ability lets you make a decision about whether to apply or not – based on where you fall in the applicant pool pecking order.
OpenLink allows anyone to contact you without needing to be introduced or connected. Basic members have to either be connected or become connected through an introduction. The benefits of this feature may not be immediately obvious but over time, the fact you can be more easily approached may prove to be a real plus.
And These Benefits, Too
Built-in features available on LinkedIn’s Job Seeker account are only part of the picture. Observations by those who have used Job Seeker reveal a few additional advantages.
Connecting With Busy Executives
Top business leaders often tend to insulate themselves through privacy settings. InMail, mostly because it is trusted, can help facilitate connections to people you would not otherwise be able to contact. While you can receive an unlimited number of InMail messages with a basic account, you can only send them with a premium membership.
Higher Response Rate to InMail
Another advantage of InMail, again due to the trust factor, is that the response rate is higher than with traditional email. The actual response rate varies – mostly with the degree to which the InMail is personalized – but in general, many job seekers find that the likelihood of a response goes up when using InMail.
Increase In Profile Views
Something as simple as “profile views” can have a major impact on your ability to connect with the right employer. After all, as with ad views, more profile views put your product (you) in front of more people – with a greater likelihood one of them will want to hire you.
Recruiters note that when someone has gone to the trouble (and expense) of obtaining a premium membership that indicates they are more serious about a professional presentation and that makes it more likely they (the recruiter) will take time to view the profile. (For more insight into how recruiters use LinkedIn see: Top Recruiting Tips for Using LinkedIn.)
The Bottom Line
Whether LinkedIn’s premium features are worth the extra price is something you won’t likely know until you try the service. Fortunately, a one-month free trial is easy to set up. At the end of the trial, if you don’t feel you’ve gained enough benefit to justify the cost, you can drop back to the basic free membership service.
It’s important to note that great features are only valuable if you use them. If you sign up for LinkedIn Job Seeker, take the time to explore all available features and make an honest attempt to use them. Otherwise, you’ll never know which feature may have helped you land that dream job.