LinkedIn changes its offerings quite frequently, which means it’s time for an updated review of free versus premium accounts!

What You Get with a Free Account

A basic account lets you build a full profile. You can build a network that includes colleagues, classmates and even strangers by sending out LinkedIn connection requests. You also don’t have to pay to make or request a recommendation or to read or receive an InMail messages that come your way.

With the free account, you can save up to 3 customized searches and set up weekly alerts on them.

Several years ago, when I first started writing analyses of free v. premium accounts, free account holders had access to more features. While it appears that slowly but surely the free version offers less comparatively speaking, that does not mean that premium offerings are for everyone.

LinkedIn’s 3 Paid Plans

LinkedIn today sells 3 premium plans. The first is Business Premium on LinkedIn.com – the same platform as the free version – but with more features and functionality.

The 2 others are Sales Navigator, designed to be used by sales professionals for lead generation, and Recruiter Lite, used for talent professionals (recruiters, HR managers, etc.) to scour the site for candidates.

While those in healthcare sales may want to explore using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify leads (your company may even pay for it), I will focus on Business Premium on LinkedIn.com to help those launching a medical device or pharma sales job search for purposes of this article.

7 Features that Come with Business Premium (and the Free Account Workaround)

When you pay for $47.99/month for Premium, here’s what you’ll get:

#1 Unlimited People Browsing and Expanded Search Results

Premium members have access to view any profile (as far back as third-degree connections) in search results.

The Workaround for Free Account Holders: None that I can find.

#2 Who’s Viewed Your Profile

If you have set your profile viewing options to display your name and headline when viewing profiles,

Premium members will see EVERYONE who has viewed their profile in the past 90 days. In addition, as well as trends and insights on how they found you.

In addition to the fabulous intel that comes from knowing if someone checks out your profile (you can reach out, send them a connection request, shoot them an InMail, and thank them for checking out your profile!)

LinkedIn will also measure an increase or decline in weekly viewership. For job seekers that incorporate LinkedIn engagement as part of their job search, this is a valuable piece of information that tells them if whatever they are doing is (or isn’t) working!

For both free and paid, depending on the privacy settings of those who are checking you out, you could see where they work, their job titles and how they found you.

The Workaround for Free Account Holders: Free account holders only see the 5 most recent viewers in the last 90 days. There is no real workaround that I can find.

#3 Expanded Profile Viewing

With Premium, “Open Profile” is the default mode, which means any LinkedIn member will automatically see your full profile (unless you change your privacy settings) and can reach out to you – even if they are not in your network and don’t have InMail credits.

For job seekers who want to cast as wide a net as possible and can benefit from their full profile getting seen by those outside their network, this is a huge plus.

The Workaround for Free Account Holders: None that I can find.

#4 Potential Job Notifications

Those who pay for Premium get directed to open positions that are identified as a potential fit based on the skills, experience, salary requirements and education you include in your profile and settings.

The Workaround for Free Account Holders: Through use of job boards and by setting up alerts for companies of interest, this perk may not be necessary.

#5 Continuous Learning

LinkedIn purchased Lynda.com in 2015 and rebranded it LinkedIn Learning. This massive open online course website offers video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative and business skills. Before the acquisition, subscription fees were approximately $30/month.

The Workaround for Free Account Holders: To date, free account holders cannot pay to access LinkedIn Learning. Should you need to upskill or close a knowledge gap, you will have to pay or search for other free learnings.

#6 InMail Messages

Premium members get 15 InMail credits per month. Unused credits are accumulated (they are not “use or lose”) and you can even recover a credit if the person to whom you send ignores or ghosts you.

Free members do not have access to InMail, which means they cannot message anyone through the platform.

The Workaround for Free Account Holders: Avoid using InMail altogether by sending a brief note as part of a connection request and holding off on outreach until the person has accepted the request. Other workarounds include online sleuthing to find the person’s email and/or reaching out on other social media platforms.

#7 Business Insights

Paid account holders have access to growth rates, hiring trends and even hyperlinks to CrunchBase data if the company is PE or VC funded.

The Workaround for Free Account Holders: Most of the information provided via Business Insights is readily available through internet sleuthing. If you are willing to dig, this perk may not be worth the expense.

My Recommendation

If you’re searching for a medical sales job, Premium Career’s InMail credits, insight into who looked at your profile, and additional information on roles for which you are well suited may prove useful. If your network is small, then the ability for those outside your network to see your full profile is SUPER useful.

My advice? Try the free account, then try a premium subscription (it’s free for one month). See for yourself and go with what works for you!

The great thing is that you can pay month-to-month, which means you can upgrade, downgrade or change your mind almost at any time (you won’t lose any paid or premium features until your billing cycle ends).

Previously appeared on MedReps