After recently publishing blog posts on two of LinkedIn’s newest features, LinkedIn Profile Stats Pro as well as LinkedIn Signal, I have received a few comments and questions from my readers like the one below:
I have yet to make the leap to a paid account, and as new features like this come available it makes the thought more enticing but not enticing enough. Curious as to why you choose to go to a paid account? What are the benefits in your opinion?
I have actually recommended the now $9.95 a month “hidden” LinkedIn Personal Plus account to heavy users in the past, especially since it gives you access to the LinkedIn Profile Organizer. But now that LinkedIn has changed some of their search filters and the way 3rd degree connections are displayed (I’ll rant about that in a future post!), it’s time to take a step back and revisit the issue of whether it’s time for more of us to think about upgrading to a paid account or not.
One of the questions I often get asked at my speaking engagements is whether or not it is worth it to upgrade to a paid LinkedIn account, and this is the way that I usually answer that question: (if video does not appear below please visit this link)
In other words, the two main things that paid LinkedIn accounts give you are 1) more search results and 2) the ability to send Inmails. For this reason, with the exception of the “other” paid account I refer to at the end of my video (= Personal Plus), I believe that only recruiters and sales and business development professionals would find great value in a paid account in that it would help them save time doing searches.
That of course is the gist but only part of the story. A more detailed look at the benefits of a paid account reveals the following:
So let’s take the top two aforementioned items out of the equation. To summarize, then, on the benefits of the Personal Plus (“Your Current Account”) upgrade, you receive access to:
- 4 Premium Search Filters – This gives you the ability to search upon these filters: Seniority, Company Size, Interested In and Fortune 1000. Once again, if you are a recruiter or in sales these are invaluable, but I don’t think they offer much value for the average user.
- Profile Organizer – Excellent way of organizing your professional and networking contacts as well as those you’d like to get in touch with. Great way of organizing prospects for recruiters and sales professionals.
- Full Names of 3rd Degree Connections – Recently LinkedIn has limited the ability to see the full names of 3rd degree connections and common Group members when they appear in LinkedIn searches. Instead, only the first name and last initial appear. Interesting thing is that even though on the above screenshot it says that Personal Plus accounts can only see the first name, I can confirm that I am able to see first and last names in entirety (I’ll update this blog post if the situation changes).
- Expanded Profile Views – Apparently, if you try to view someone who is outside of your network, LinkedIn is not displaying their entire profile anymore. A paid account, including Personal Plus, gives you access to this information. I suppose the issue here is how “outside of your network” is determined, because I have yet to hear a lot of complaints about this. Suffice to say that this might not be an important benefit of a paid account.
- Profile Stats Pro – Interesting collection of stats about who has viewed your profile as well as which keywords brought people to your profile. Some job seekers may find value in this, but note that not everyone displays their name/company when they visit their profile and that the keyword analysis for search results has had only counter-intuitive results for me so far.
- OpenLink – If joining 50 LinkedIn Groups is recommended to increase your ability to be contacted by those who might want to access you, OpenLink gives you the ability to do this without joining any Groups! In essence, joining OpenLink gives others the ability to send you a message regardless of connection status or Group membership. Here’s a handy video straight from LinkedIn which gives you more background on this:
- Reference Search – Although it says that the Personal Plus account has access to this, it is requesting that I upgrade every time I try this. Needless to say, though, that only recruiters should find value in this.
I have had a number of people contact me using the OpenLink system, and it has led to at least 1 solid business opportunity for me. For this reason, this could be a benefit to many general LinkedIn users to help people contact them after they have been found in a search.
The question on whether or not to upgrade to a paid LinkedIn account for non-recruiters or sales professionals is not an easy one to answer, but with the above benefits, the $9.95 Personal Plus account is starting to look all the more reasonable, especially if you find yourself using LinkedIn as part of your daily social media routine.
Have you upgraded to a paid LinkedIn account? Did this blog post convince you of the potential benefits in upgrading? Please share your experiences and thoughts with us below.