LinkedIn is a valuable professional social media network. Individuals display what amounts to their resume on their profile, and connect with others in their personal and professional life, amounting to an online network of peers. There are many ways individuals use LinkedIn, such as keeping up with peers, sharing professional news, announcing job openings, reading publications from industry titans and professionals, and even to search for new employment or business opportunities.
Most individuals are satisfied with these features, which are free to use. However, LinkedIn also offers several paid plans, called LinkedIn Premium.
What do these LinkedIn Premium plans include? Are the LinkedIn Premium features worth it?
First, a Bit on How LinkedIn Works
LinkedIn has minimal amounts of advertising on its pages to the point where they do not even register with plugins like Ad-Blocker. Like Facebook or Instagram, one might see suggested and/or promoted items in one’s feed, and sometimes a simple text ad with link subtly at the top, in the middle or bottom of the page. However, the company (purchased by Microsoft in 2016 for $26.4 billion) has 500 million users and brings in upwards of $3 billion in annual revenue.
The keys to LinkedIn’s revenue stream are their business services. Businesses pay LinkedIn to access the massive amount of valuable data willingly provided by its own users. Remember, LinkedIn is a free service, like Facebook; while it is valuable to the individual user, ultimately since it is free, the individual user is not the customer, but rather the product.
Sales teams use this data to generate leads through a division called Sales Solutions. If one lists their position as IT Manager, CTO, CIO, a salesperson at a hardware company might assume that they either make purchasing decisions, or have influence over such decisions. They can see what company the user works for (they voluntarily listed this on their profile), and will cold call their company’s main line and either ask to speak to the individual by name, or find them in the employee directory.
Corporate recruiters use the data to find candidates through a division called Talent Solutions. Ever received a LinkedIn request or message from a recruiter? They didn’t search for you the old-fashioned way, through their network or the search bar; their company purchased access to LinkedIn data, which they use to narrow down prospective candidates.
So what do individual users get with LinkedIn Premium?
Individual users can also purchase additional access to features on LinkedIn. While the access is nowhere near as great as sales and talent access, there are still three tiers of LinkedIn Premium for individuals: Career, Business and Executive.
All three plans this plan purport to bump job applicants applying through LinkedIn to the top of the list and opens one’s profile so that anyone can contact them. They also purport to more closely align the user with advertised opportunities that match their profile information, and give them data as to where they compare with other applicants. In addition, the plans allow one to see who is viewing their profile, so long as the viewer is logged in and viewing outside of anonymous mode.
One extremely valuable feature of all three premium plans is unlimited access to Lynda, LinkedIn’s online education division. Here, users can find thousands of high-quality, self-paced, video learning courses as well as access to test, project files, coding windows and other learning resources. These courses can be accessed on both a computer and mobile, and can be downloaded for offline viewing.
From there, the plans start to differentiate slightly. Career is the plan geared towards most individual users, running $29.99 monthly or $299.98 yearly, and includes the above-mentioned features, and allows one to send five in-mail messages per month.
Business Premium runs $59.99 per month or $575.88 yearly, and includes all of the above-mentioned features, and allows one to send 15 in-mail messages per month. It also includes unlimited profile browsing from search results and suggested views up to 3rd degree, as well as data on company growth and functional trends and leadership changes.
Executive Premium runs $99.99 per month or $899.88 per year and includes all the above features, plus 30 in-mail messages per month.
How do you know if LinkedIn Premium is worth it to you?
For individual users, the access to Lynda is worth the monthly price alone. The courses are extremely high quality and valuable to one’s growth. The monthly Career Premium price is the exact same as a Lynda Premium subscription if purchased on the Lynda website, and both include access to learning resources and the ability to download courses for offline use. The basic Lynda subscription at $19.99 does not include the resources or offline access.
Having the additional job seeking tools and resources with the LinkedIn Career Premium subscription make it more valuable than having the Lynda Premium subscription alone.
If one is looking for further network opportunities and to better themselves through high-quality, self-paced online learning, Career Premium is absolutely worth the cost.