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What is LinkedIn Premium, and is it worth it?

LinkedIn is one of the top social networks, with over 610 million active users across 147 industries, in over 200 countries.

More importantly, it’s the only social network built with professionals in mind.

It’s been designed from the ground up to be a public professional profile, specifically for career-minded individuals who want to put their best foot forward online, and rub shoulders with like-minded professionals.

It’s like a window into your professional life, giving a prospective employer or client an opportunity to learn more about you. 

However, if you’re reading this particular article, it’s likely you’re already an active user and are thinking “duh, I know this already”, and are in fact toying with the idea of upgrading to LinkedIn Premium and getting that slick golden badge.

But here’s the big question you’ll see all over Google search results and Quora discussions: is LinkedIn Premium worth it? If you’re asking this, you’re definitely not alone.

So let’s break it down, Barney-style.

What is LinkedIn Premium?

LinkedIn Premium is the umbrella term for LinkedIn’s paid account plans that give you additional functionality to help you achieve your goals quicker, be it getting a new job, finding new employees, finding investors or reaching new customers.

When most people think of LinkedIn, they’re probably familiar with the main features:

  • Creating a profile
  • Adding/updating your work experience
  • Getting Recommendations from colleagues
  • Sending connection requests
  • Applying for jobs
  • Discussions in LinkedIn Groups

That’s enough for most people but if you’re reading this, you’re probably not most people. You might be using LinkedIn for sales prospecting, recruitment or investor relations, and you’re thinking about adding that shiny gold badge to your profile to differentiate yourself from the masses.

What are LinkedIn Premium’s features?

LinkedIn Premium has 4 different plans, and whilst they share common features like InMail, profile view and more in-depth search, each has its own specific features that are definitely worth checking out.

All the LinkedIn Premium plans have a number of common features that tie them together in near-perfect harmony. Here’s a break-down of the benefits of LinkedIn Premium plans, plus the monthly prices:

FeaturesFreeCareerBusinessSalesHiring
Profile viewsLimited
InMail MessagesNone3 per month15 per month20 per month30 per month
Premium Search Filters
Unlimited People Browsing
LinkedIn Premium Price
(with annual billing)
£24.98 per month£39.99 per month£49.99 per month£79.99 per month

Now, let’s do a deep-dive into what each of those are, and how they’ll benefit your LinkedIn experience.

1. See who’s viewed your profile

The most popular LinkedIn Premium feature is probably the ability to see who’s viewed your profile.

You’re probably thinking “but I’ve got that on my free account” – that’s because the free plan has a restricted version that only gives you a rough overview.

LinkedIn Premium Profile Views

With the Premium account, you’ll be able to see every person who views your profile, plus which keywords they used if they found you via Search.

Much like optimising your website for Google by using the right keywords, permalinks and images with alt tags, you can use keywords to tweak your profile headline, summary and experience to rank higher in the search results.

Alternatively, you might want to rank lower for certain keywords (bet you didn’t see that one coming!). Years ago, I used to do freelance web development, so my headline, summary and experience all described a web developer.
Even after I switched to a career in social media and switched out my headline, I was still being found and contacted by development recruiters!

2. InMail

InMail allows you to send a message to anyone, regardless of whether you’re already connected or not, and is probably one of the most popular and sought-after features on the platform.

It lets you reach out to people who aren’t in your network (yet), but are of interest to you for some reason. With LinkedIn’s standard free account, you can only message people who are 1st degree (direct) connections.

InMails work on a credits system, and you get between 5 and 30 credits per month, depending on which type of LinkedIn Premium account you have. Sending one InMail costs one credit.

When you actually send an InMail, the recipient will be given a short summary of your profile along with your message.
Once the recipient reads your message, they can choose to accept or decline your request. If they accept your message request, you can continue talking as normal, but if they decline, your InMail credit will be refunded.

LinkedIn Premium InMail

InMails are a great way to reach out to potential sales prospects, people you may want to recruit, or people who you’d like to work for, but aren’t directly connected with (known as a 1st degree connection).

3. Premium Search Filters

Another handy LinkedIn Premium features is the ability to filter your searches with super-specific criteria. Unfortunately, this is only available to Sales and Hire plans at this stage.

Years of Experience

This lets you filter people by how many years of experience they have in their role or career vertical.

Function

This allows you to filter people based on the function they’re part of in their company. For example, marketing, human resources, finance, sales and so on.

Company size

This filters people in your results based on the size of the company the person works for. This is useful if you’re selling solutions to companies over a certain size, like enterprise HR software.

Seniority

This filter lets you narrow your results based on the level the person occupies in his or her workplace, or their seniority title, such as Manager, Director, CEO, intern, etc. If you’re an executive recruiter, you probably won’t want office assistants or low-level managers appearing in your search results.

When Joined

This lets you filter by how long they’ve been in their current role. This could be useful if you’re a recruiter, and want to find people who’ve been in their role for 1-2 years. At that point, potential candidates will be going through their annual reviews, and may be looking to jump ship.

Bonus filters for LinkedIn Sales Navigator users

Additionally, if you go for LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator product, which confusingly is separate to their LinkedIn Premium Sales plan, you can do even more in-depth searches and filter by crazy-specific things like:

  • Company Type (filter by non-profits, public, private etc)
  • Group membership (filter by groups they’re a member of)
  • Leads with recent job changes
  • The size of their department
  • The location of their headquarters, by region or postal/zip code
  • Companies with recent leadership changes
  • Whether or not they’re hiring LinkedIn

The list really does go on! You can find all of the available filters on their Sales Navigator Advanced Search Filters page.

4. Unlimited People Browsing

Search results on a standard LinkedIn plan is limited to a few results (currently 100 at a time), but with Premium you get unlimited results.

Need I say more?

What about the plan-specific LinkedIn Premium features?

On top of the standard features, each plan has its own unique features that really compound the benefits of LinkedIn Premium:

Career

Stand out and get in touch with hiring managers, see how you compare to other applicants, and learn new skills to advance your career. The plan-specific features are:

  • Featured Applicant: When you apply for jobs on LinkedIn, your profile will be at the top of the applicant list.
  • Applicant Insights: See how you compare to other applicants for the role, broken down by skills, years of experience and so on.
  • Salary Insights: See salary details when browsing job openings, without sharing your personal data.
  • Access to LinkedIn Learning: their online video course platform (formerly Lynda.com)

Business

Find and contact the right people, promote and grow your business and learn new skills to enhance your professional brand.

  • Business Insights: Get deeper insights about a company’s growth and functional trends from their Company Page.
  • Career Insights: See how you compare to other job applicants and get instant access to salary details (I’ve been told it’s the same as is available in the Career plan) 
  • Access to LinkedIn Learning: the online video course platform (formerly Lynda.com)

Sales

Find leads and accounts in your target market, get real-time insights for warm outreach and build trusted relationships with customers and prospects.

  • Sales Insights: Get insights on your accounts and leads, like job changes, company growth and more.
  • Advanced Search with Lead Builder: Identify key decision makers and create your own custom lead lists (which in turn generates lead recommendations based on existing list members) with advanced search filters

Hiring

Find great candidates faster, contact top talent directly and build relationships with prospective hires.

  • Advanced Search: This is similar to the unlimited people browsing feature, but is built with recruitment in mind. I haven’t used this before, so don’t know what the extra features are, but I’m sure they’re worth having!
  • Automatic Candidate Tracking: A feature that lets you track candidates and open roles
  • Integrated Hiring: A system for keeping all your candidates in one place
  • An interface designed specifically for recruiting, with more candidate insights.

Note: if you’re trying to get more out of your hiring strategy on LinkedIn, check out my earlier article on Social Recruiting.

So, is LinkedIn Premium worth it?

I’d love to give you a yes or no answer, but it depends entirely on what your goals are, and whether you think the features offered by Premium are worth paying £25-80 per month.

At the end of the day, there’s a one month no-commitment trial, so you can always give it a go and see how you get on.

This is especially useful for people looking for a new job. You can sign up for one month for free, then spend every waking hour of those 30 days applying for roles and tidying up your profile to ensure you’re differentiating yourself from other applicants.

Unless you have the world’s worst CV/resume, you should be able to bag at least a few interviews in that time! If you want to get into social media, like me, I’d recommend checking out my non-nonsense guide to getting a job in social media.

If you’re convinced, or even still on the fence, head on over to the LinkedIn Premium upgrade page: linkedin.com/premium/products to see all the plans in their glory.

Now, over to the audience! Based on all the above, are you more or less likely to give LinkedIn Premium a go? Tweet me @TristanBacon and let me know why!