LinkedIn is the ultimate professional social media platform, but is it worth paying for?
Sometimes I feel like my finances are chipped away at me each month without an end in sight. A fancy $5 coffee really adds up. My Verizon bill? Through the roof in hundreds of dollars. Marketing expenses for social media? Yup, a costly investment. Computer expenses and printer paper? Don’t get me started.
Hundreds of dollars each month and I haven’t done anything yet. Now more and more people are facing hefty fees for LinkedIn. What’s a person to do?
I used LinkedIn for years without a fee. I accumulated 2500+ connections without a fee. I grew my business and built relationships without a fee. Until now.
I was preparing for a speaking engagement about LinkedIn last April 2016 when suddenly I could not search. LinkedIn told me in no uncertain terms that if I wanted to see any search results at all that I needed to purchase the Premium service. Evidently in that month I exceeded a magical number of searches.
I tried to purchase the least expensive monthly package, the Job Seeker Package for $20 per month (a rate not even offered any more) but LinkedIn said no. After an unsatisfactory chat exchange with some poor fellow I learned that in order to use LinkedIn I needed the Professional package for $59 per month. No discussion. Just pay up. So I did. My business depends on it. Perhaps yours does too.
LinkedIn is in the process of a major user interface upgrade to bring their desktop interface in line with their mobile version. I get that. I recently wrote a blog about some of these changes.
Cost: In 2016 LinkedIn consolidated its pricing around four levels: Job seekers: $29.99/month, Business Plus: $59.99/month, Sales Plus: $79.99/month and Recruiter Lite: $119.99/month.
That is a LOT of money. Regular people like job seekers and general networkers do not need the Sales Plus or Recruiter Lite packages. Let’s put those plans aside right now. The question then is whether there is a good reason for a regular person to spend $30 or $60 per month for networking services through LinkedIn.
Services: According to a great article in The Undercover Recruiter, the free account offers a lot of services including:
- Build your professional identity on the web
- Build and maintain a large trusted professional network
- Find and reconnect with colleagues and classmates
- Request and provide recommendations
- Request up to 5 introductions at a time
- Search for and view profiles of other LinkedIn members
- Receive unlimited InMail messages
- View 100 results per search
- Save up to 3 searches and get weekly alerts on those searches
This is robust content for no fee. I agree with Undercover Recruiter’s suggestion that unless you do three or more of the above points regularly then you are well suited for the regular service. You don’t need a Premium account.
There are a few advantages for folks in active job search that are nice. I can see these services with my premium account.
I particularly like the Keyword suggestions found in ads. If you find a job ad you particularly like you can make sure your application materials include those keywords. But you can do that yourself anyway without the fee just by being observant about which words the ads are using for your ideal job.
I like these other features too:
- Being able to see the name of the person who posted the job. You can send a personal invitation to that person and have a discussion instead of just submitting your resume to the black hole.
- I like the Featured Applicant section where your profile is listed higher than a non-Premium person.
- You used to get additional search filters but I understand those are going away with the new user interface. I seldom needed to search using those additional filters.
- You get more InMails. However I never use InMail anyway. If you can find an email address (and it is possible to find most email addresses) you don’t need to use InMail at all to connect.
- You get more profile search results which is very nice if you happen to be doing a lot of search. However I bet most regular people don’t do nearly the kind of searching I do.
I have to balance the features I enjoy with the monthly cost. For the regular person who doesn’t fully and regularly exhaust the entire list of regular features, LinkedIn Premium is probably not worth the investment. In my honest opinion, for what it is worth. What do you think?