LinkedIn is the best social network for professionals to build relationships, find jobs, and recruit talent. For the vast majority of LinkedIn members, the free Basic LinkedIn account offers all of the features they need, but for some members, a paid account makes sense.
Is a Premium LinkedIn account that comes with a monthly fee right for you? The answer depends on your reasons for using LinkedIn and your goals. If you’re trying to find a job right now, then a paid account might make sense. If you’re a salesperson who is trying to find leads, then a paid account is probably worth it. If you’re a recruiter who needs to find passive job seekers, then a paid account can help you discover hidden talent.
Here are ten features that a paid LinkedIn account offers which might make the monthly fee worth it to you. Keep in mind, LinkedIn offers free trials of its Premium accounts to Basic account holders from time to time, so you can experiment with a paid account before you commit to paying for it each month.
1. View Expanded Profiles
A Premium LinkedIn account lets you view expanded profiles for all of your first, second, and third degree connections on LinkedIn. Free account holders can only view expanded profiles of 1st and 2nd degree connections. This feature can help you better determine who you want to build relationships with and save time doing it.
2. See Who’s Viewed Your Profile
The Who’s Viewed Your Profile tool on LinkedIn shows you other LinkedIn members who have looked at your profile, but you can only see a small list of these people with a free account. To get a full list and view expanded profiles of people who have taken the time to visit your LinkedIn profile, you need a Premium account.
3. Categorize Your Connections
A Premium LinkedIn account holder can use the Profile Organizer tool to categorize all of his connections on LinkedIn. This is particularly helpful for sending bulk email messages to targeted audiences.
4. Use More Search Options
If you want to search for LinkedIn members and filter your results using criteria like years of experience, Fortune 1000, and seniority level, then you need a Premium LinkedIn account. This feature alone might make a paid account worth it to you.
5. View More Search Results
Free LinkedIn account holders are provided with 100 profiles when they conduct a search. If you want to view more (up to 700), then you need to pay for a Premium account.
6. Create More Saved Search Alerts
If finding new LinkedIn members who match your specific search criteria is important to you, then you might want to pay for a Premium LinkedIn account, which gives you up to 10 daily search alerts rather than the three weekly alerts that Basic account holders get.
7. Get More Free InMails
If you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn, but you don’t know that person, nor do any of your connections know that person, you can send an InMail to her. This message is delivered to her LinkedIn mail box. Free account holders do not get any InMails, although you can buy them. Paid account holders can get up to 25 InMails per month depending on the type of account they have. This feature is particularly useful for job seekers, recruiters, and salespeople.
8. Allow Anyone to Send You a Message
You can allow anyone on LinkedIn to send you a direct message without publicizing your personal email address by paying for a Premium account. That’s because a paid LinkedIn account holder can use OpenLink, which enables any LinkedIn member to send the account holder a LinkedIn direct message whether or not they’re connected or know each other. If you’re looking for a new job and you want to make sure that a hiring manager can contact you easily, then paying for a Premium account with OpenLink might be worth the price.
9. Become a Featured Job Applicant
If you’re actively looking for a job, the Premium LinkedIn Job Seeker account is very useful. Not only does it give you access to OpenLink, more search criteria, more saved search alerts, more InMails, and the ability to see more expanded profiles, but it also enables you to become a Featured Applicant when you apply for a job through LinkedIn. That means your application gets put on top of the virtual pile and is more likely to be reviewed by the hiring manager.
10. Find References
If you’re using LinkedIn to find talent to recruit and hire, a Premium account let’s you identify people in your network who can provide references for applicants. No need to ask applicants to provide a list of references, because you can find them yourself on LinkedIn.
To view current pricing and features for paid LinkedIn accounts, log into your LinkedIn account and click the Upgrade Your Account link.