Is LinkedIn Premium Worth It? 🤔 Career Coach POV

Inside: Is LinkedIn Premium worth it as a job seeker? Do I need to pay to get the most out of LinkedIn? Find out inside with the pros, cons, and what to consider.


I’ll tell you right off the bat, I love LinkedIn. As a Career Coach, I’m on LinkedIn all the time.

But when people ask me, “Is LinkedIn Premium worth it?” my answer is not an immediate yes.

To test out my own thoughts on this and give the best advice to coaching clients, I did an experiment. Six months with a LinkedIn Premium account and then six months back with my unpaid LinkedIn account. Here’s what you should consider.

Is LinkedIn Premium Worth It? – First Things First!

Before we answer “Is LinkedIn Premium worth it?”, the obvious question is “Is LinkedIn worth it at all?” And by “it,” I mean your time and energy.

Answer: Yes

Here’s why in a nutshell:

Virtual Footprint: LinkedIn has strong SEO juice. If someone searches your name, your LinkedIn profile is going to be on page one, whether you have optimized that profile to showcase all of your awesome or not. That’s a very good reason to have a profile you’re proud of!

Visibility: Recruiters (i.e., people looking to fill jobs) can find you on LinkedIn! Over 97% of recruiters are on LinkedIn on a regular basis looking for candidates. You want to be visible.

Networking: LinkedIn has a robust job board, but it’s also a powerful online directory of people you can network and connect with! Cold applications will only get you so far (read: generally not very far), so connections matter. To loosely borrow some Little Mermaid here, LinkedIn is where the people are. If you’re looking for a job, you need to be there too.

What Can You Do Without LinkedIn Premium?

If you start out your LinkedIn journey with a basic LinkedIn account, you’re going to find that you can do A LOT for free.

As you start your job search, you can…

  • Research companies to build a target list
  • Follow thought leaders and companies to gain new insights
  • Identify job titles of interest by reviewing the job board and the People tabs on company pages
  • Connect with friends and colleagues to link up with potential 2nd and 3rd degree connections (read: introductions!)

To gain more visibility with your target audience you can…

  • Optimize your profile with a strong headline, about section, photos, media, skills, and recommendations
  • Join groups of professionals in your industry, function, location, etc.
  • Post your own thought leadership to gain visibility
  • Network at scale by engaging with content on the newsfeed
  • Contribute to collaborative articles

And, of course, you can…

  • Set up search alerts for job titles and companies of interest
  • Apply for jobs!

Cost: $0

What Can You Do With LinkedIn Premium?

Some of the key features you’ll get with your LinkedIn Premium account include:

  • LinkedIn Learning access (tons of courses included in your account for leadership, time management, technical skills, etc.)
  • 5 InMails a month (to send messages to people you aren’t connected to)
  • Full visibility into who is viewing your profile
  • Enhanced interview prep (sample answers to common interview questions)
  • Access to AI writing tools that will help you write your headline, about section, or posts.
  • AI feature that will give you feedback on if you are a good fit for a role you are interested in and how to position yourself for that role

Cost: For LinkedIn Premium Career the current cost is $14.99/month when billed annually. You can also get a one-month free trial period.

Is LinkedIn Premium Worth It as a Job Seeker?

To answer the big question here – is LinkedIn premium worth it? – let’s break down some of the premium features so you can understand the potential workarounds and decide what value these Premium features hold for you.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning offers a ton of resources, and the courses offered can help you fill a skills gap as you make a career transition.

Before diving in, though, get clear on your target role and the necessary qualifications and/or reflect on any feedback you’ve gotten as you’ve been working to make this change. Then, compare that gap with the courses available in LinkedIn Learning to make sure what you need is there!

With skill enhancements in your back pocket, it’s important to then know how to market those skills. For example, include skills on your LinkedIn profile or add a Self-Directed Learning section on your resume to show how you’ve proactively made some moves.

Overall, LinkedIn Learning is a great benefit of LinkedIn Premium – just make sure you a) need it for what you want to do and b) will actually use it!

InMails

I understand that it’s nice to be able to message someone before you are connected, but I don’t view this as the most valuable feature of LinkedIn Premium. That’s because you can include a note when you ask to connect with someone on LinkedIn so you aren’t coming in totally cold. You only have 200 characters, but we can make the most of them!

Here are some connection request sample notes that fit the bill:

  • Great to meet you at the XYZ conference! Looking forward to staying in touch.
  • I really enjoyed your post on XYZ and your perspective on XYZ topic. Would love to connect!
  • I came across your profile when researching X company and saw we’re both alums of XYZ College! Your team is doing incredible work, and I’d love to connect.

You can send up to 5 of these personalized notes a month. Then, you can follow up with a longer message after connecting. Concise messages are great, though, so I don’t mind that you need to get right to the point in these connection requests. It gets you in the habit of being thoughtful in how you write for future messages.

Another option for messaging: if you are in a LinkedIn group with someone you want to speak with, you can message them directly without being connected!

Visibility into Views

Okay, this feature is going to be one where I put my career coaching foot down!

Is it interesting to see who views your profile? Sure!

Is it NECESSARY to see who is viewing your profile? I would say no.

Too often, I see coaching clients get caught up in the dance of “Oh, but so and so viewed my profile! What do you think that means?” And the truth of the matter could be that the company is interested in you for a role. Or they happened to click on your profile when searching for their cousin. Or their cat stepped on the keyboard. We just don’t know!

I love using LinkedIn for networking and connections, but the key here is being proactive. Reach out to the people you want to talk to. Engage on the platform to get in front of people at your target company. Don’t sit in the worry rocking chair thinking about what *might* happen next because someone viewed your profile. That’s not the best use of your time!

Plus, if you want to see analytics, you can still see the number of people who viewed your profile and how many searches you appeared in using the LinkedIn Dashboard (available for free). Just don’t get too caught up in the vanity metrics of views!

Enhanced Interview Prep

The Interview Prep tools in LinkedIn Premium can be really helpful. Sample answers are useful as you craft your own, and receiving AI feedback on your written responses is powerful.

The important thing to remember here is the “enhanced” word in the header. You can still access some LinkedIn Interview Prep tools with a basic level account, including the list of sample interview questions, tips on answering those questions, and the ability to request feedback on your written or video answers from your first-degree connections.

Also, keep in mind that while you would need to go outside of LinkedIn, there are other AI tools you can use in connection with LinkedIn Interview Prep. ChatGPT, for example! If you want to stick with a basic LinkedIn account, you can use ChatGPT to generate a list of sample interview questions for your target role and to give you feedback on your answers.

Don’t forget about human help, either! If you’re working with a career coach or considering one, an experienced coach can give you direct feedback and continue to help you hone your interview style and strategy.

AI Tools

I love that LinkedIn is incorporating more AI, both for interview prep and for writing. For some people, writing is just not their jam, and AI tools are great for getting you unstuck. Also, the headline and about section are such important parts of your LinkedIn profile that it’s great to get some help in getting these right.

All that being said, keep in mind that you can use outside AI tools for free to integrate with LinkedIn. It’s an extra step, but having a free ChatGPT tab open on your browser to help you brainstorm ideas for your resume and LinkedIn profile might be worth it as you’re considering what to include in your monthly budget.

The AI tool in LinkedIn Premium that compares your background to a job is more compelling to me than the writing tools since no copying and pasting is required. It also offers some solid feedback about what you might need to emphasize more on your profile or resume to stand out. Still, it is possible to do this with the human eye looking for keywords in the job description or with an external AI tool.

Also, LinkedIn Career Explorer is a fabulous resource that many people don’t use or know about. Use this tool to type in the title of a job you’re interested in, and you’ll get a list of key skills needed for that role based on LinkedIn data. It’s free, and it’s great for making sure you’re using the right keywords!

So, Yes or No? Is LinkedIn Premium Worth It?

Truth in advertising: I do not currently have LinkedIn Premium. As much as I enjoy the platform, I have found that I can do what I need to do without a paid account.

As for my career coaching clients, at least 75% of them do not have a Premium account either or have only used the one-month trial.

But is LinkedIn premium worth it for you? Maybe! If LinkedIn Learning is super valuable to you then, yes, absolutely worth the money. If you love having AI tools integrated into the platform, for sure it could be worth the cost.

But if you are looking for ways to cut costs, use some of the workarounds above to get the most out of your LinkedIn experience. (Again, PLEASE use LinkedIn as a tool in your job search. It’s important!)

And remember that working with a career coach can help you accelerate your search with tools and resources, but also the power of accountability and human interaction that the robots haven’t quite covered. I’ll be here if you need me!

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