LinkedIn has become a great tool for job seekers and companies that are looking for talent. My own LinkedIn profile has grown over the years and I have several hundred connections. I am not trying to connect to everyone, but mainly to people I really know. I do not see a benefit in being connected to people I do not know as I doubt they will really respond to me for inquiries. I am also trying to mix up connections in a certain way. I think it is very important to not only be connected to peers or former peers, but also to managers, consultants, CEOs, CIOs, and other C-level executives.
When you decide to use LinkedIn it is very important to generate a great profile. No, just a good profile will not do. If you want to get something out of it you should aim to have a great profile – a profile that can sell you and your expertise. So, it is important to provide a lot of information about who you are, where you worked or currently work, and what your skills are. You need to load up your profile with keywords and search terms (Skills), too. A profile picture is important as well. While professional pictures are not a bad idea, they are not mandatory nor will it make a significant difference in who is going to contact you. But, you should only post pictures that are decent and considered safe. Usually a headshot picture of yourself will do, but it should look decent and not totally crazy. You also want to stay away from showing yourself in a very unprofessional way. As an example I found a profile of a weight loss specialist (female) – posing almost nude. She was wearing a bra and undies only. I understand what she was trying to “sell”, but even for this type of industry this was totally off the chart.
LinkedIn offers several premium account types and I decided to test drive the job seeker basic account. The main difference to the other premium job seeker profiles is the ability to use LinkedIn to connect with recruiters through the inmail mail system that LinkedIn offers. For this test this was not needed.
The signup process was easy and fast and the additional functionality became instantly available. I checked the settings for the job seeker badge and how it would look like on my profile. Then I went into the section of who had looked at my account and I was able to get more details on those people as well. This is actually a really great feature in my opinion. Then I did a simulated search for someone in my field to see how that would work out. With the premium account under my belt I should show up fairly high on the list of results and I actually did. Granted, I was getting personalized results delivered from LinkedIn, result for other search might look different, but in this case it was more about how would my account look like on a list of possible candidates (click here for screenshot).
Another great feature of the premium account is the ability to see job related salary information. This might not necessarily be salary information for that specific job and company, but it will provide you with a good insight of where this specific job will fit in. As an example I talked to a friend the other and we actually compared salaries and we both had to realize that he was at least $5K – $10K below of where he should be at this point in his career (based on expertise, skill, and experience). That’s a big chunk of money if you ask me.
Overall I think that the LinkedIn premium accounts for job seekers are worth their money. If you think you would actually contact recruiters directly through LinkedIn you will need to shell out quite some money, but in my opinion I do not think that is necessary. If you are a recruiter and have a premium account, it definitely pays to have that functionality (but there are different account models to choose from in that case). For me “as a normal job seeker” the basic premium account for job seekers should be just fine. Just having a premium account will not get you hired nor will it increase inquiries from recruiters unless you did your homework and built a great LinkedIn profile first.
Disclaimer: This is an independent review of LinkedIn Premium Accounts and I have actually purchased this functionality for the test with my own money. I am not being paid by LinkedIn or any other organization for this review.