One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is asking if upgrading from a free LinkedIn account to a paid account is worth it?
The short answer is yes simply because you are afforded more data and that helps you make more informed and data-based decisions for your business or your career. Second, as of this writing [November 2023] LinkedIn is offering more and more features to the paid subscribers. As an example, the feature “Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ was free to all members but now is only available to premium subscribers.
A free subscription works well to build a great profile, make connections/build a network, post content and engage with other people’s content.
Below I am breaking down the pros and cons and you can make the decision.
Free LinkedIn Basic Account:
With a basic account, you can:
- Find and reconnect with colleagues, classmates, recruiters
- Request and provide recommendations
- Search for and view profiles of other LinkedIn members
- Receive unlimited InMail Messages
- Message your connections
- Save up to three searches and get weekly alerts on those searches
- Post content
With a basic account, you can’t:
- See who’s viewed your profile
- Can’t send messages to people you’re not connected to
- Searches are limited
- Limited to sending 10-20 personalized messages per month
Often people use the term LinkedIn premium, not realizing that there are different types of premium accounts. Your decision making should be based on your goals and objectives for the platform.
As an example, if your goal is to generate leads and target specific industries, companies and people, you’ll want Sales Navigator. However, if you are looking for talent, you might need LinkedIn Recruiter to hire and onboard new people.
- Premium Career helps you get hired and get ahead in your professional life
- Sales Navigator helps you generate leads and build your clientele
- Recruiter Lite helps you find and hire talent
- Premium Business helps you get detailed business insights and further expand your business
- LinkedIn Learning helps you improve your skills and learn new ones
With a premium account you can:
- Get 5 inMail credits every month, that you can use to reach out to recruiters or business owners that you are not connected to.
- View everyone that visited your profile in the last 90 days
- Access to Applicants insights – a feature that allows you to see how you rank compared to other job applicants.
- Access to Salary insights – you can see salary details before you apply for a job.
- You become a Featured applicant, which means you will be among the first applicants recruiters get to see, increasing your chances of being seen and hired.
- You get access to LinkedIn Learning where you get access to thousands of courses.
This image shows what is included in the various premium accounts:
Sales Navigator has a stand along interface.
LinkedIn Premium Pricing (Subject to change)
- LinkedIn Premium Career: $39.99 / month
- LinkedIn Premium Business: $59.99 / month
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator Professional: $99.99/month
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team: $149.99/month
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator Enterprise: Custom Pricing
- LinkedIn Recruiter Lite: $2,399/year
- LinkedIn Recruiter: $8,999+/year
- LinkedIn Learning: $29.99 / month
PLEASE NOTE: You can get 1 month free when you sign up for a premium account.
Here are a couple of breakdowns to help you make an informed decision.
LinkedIn Premium Career:
This is ideal if you want to stand out in the hiring process or want to grow your network. I’ve been asked if you get hired faster with a premium account vs a free account and the answer is I wouldn’t count on that. As a job seeker you always need to focus on the quality of your profile & resume, if your skills align with jobs you are applying for, how you quantify your experience and other factors such as getting a personal introduction.
According to LinkedIn Senior Director of Product Management, benefits to career premium include:
- Let hiring managers know your top choice: With the new Top Choice feature you can better stand out and catch the Hiring Manager’s attention, with the option to mark up to 3 jobs per month as ‘Top Choice’.
This signals to recruiters that you have strong interest in a role and also allows for a quick elevator pitch, another opportunity to increase your visibility to hiring managers. Premium subscribers who’ve applied to LinkedIn job posts using Top Choice Jobs are on average 43% more likely to receive a message back from a recruiter.
- See who’s hiring and reach out confidently: They’ve included a new search filter that identifies actively hiring members on LinkedIn to help you more easily find the right professionals to connect with for your next opportunity. They’re also unveiling personalized AI draft messages, allowing you to reach out to the hiring manager to increase your chances of hearing back, without writer’s block.
- Get access to an exclusive network, content and speakers to help you get hired with our Premium Career Success community.
- A more personalized, efficient, and adaptive job search: We know that job seeking can be grueling, from searching for relevant jobs to researching companies and applying, to interviewing and negotiating with potential employers.
LinkedIn is beginning to roll out a new AI-powered experience so you can assess if a particular job is a good fit for you, identify the best way to position yourself, learn more about the company, and educate yourself about the industry — all with one click. And that’s just the start. This feature is still in beta and is rolling out gradually to all our subscribers over the coming months! [November 2023]
LinkedIn Premium Business:
This is ideal for business owners that want to gain more visibility, promote their business, connect with more leads and potential business opportunities.
Here’s what you get:
- You get 15 inMail credits each month, this allows you to message people you’re not connected to.
- Unlimited people browsing – you get to see an unlimited number of profiles in your search which is key if you are using LinkedIn for generating leads.
- Access to Who’s Viewed Your Profile for the past 90 days
- Access to Business insights – this is data that where you can learn more about industry trends.
- You get access to LinkedIn Learning courses.
In addition, the newest features include:
- A Custom Button added to your LinkedIn profile, posts, messages and search to connect you to new opportunities: They’ve added a new Custom Button to help with this goal, providing an option to add a personalized link — including, “Visit my website”, “View my portfolio”, or “Book an appointment”, and coming very soon “subscribe to Newsletter”.
The button will display across any place you appear in – on Feed below every post you write, on your profile, in your messages and when you appear in search.
- Showcase your work: If you’re looking to grow your personal brand, new types of content are now available to highlight in your Featured profile section, including awards, recommendations, skills, and more, to help highlight relevant content to those visiting your profile.
- Connect with other leaders and entrepreneurs: They’re bringing together communities of professionals with the launch of two unique Premium Networks: one for Established Leaders and another for Entrepreneurs. Both provide you with exclusive content and special access to events and speakers to help grow your skills and connect with like-minded professionals in the LinkedIn community.
LinkedIn Premium Career & Premium Business also includes:
- Get assistance in editing your content with AI: helping you to edit, extend and provide additional inputs on posts you create.
- Access Premium-only partner benefits: They’ve added complimentary access to exclusive partners, such as Audible Plus, Calm, up to 4 therapy sessions with BetterHelp, and productivity tools with Microsoft 365 and Adobe.
- Boost your profile: They help you to tell your story with a compelling headline and a personalized profile summary assisted by AI. *Caution-check this carefully because the results should be edited to personalize who you really are. I have found this not to be 100% accurate.
- Grow your network: Start a message to anyone you’d like to connect with via an InMail, and a personalized AI draft to start a conversation and build a connection.
- Enhanced upskilling: Professional certifications on LinkedIn Learning, in addition to 21,000+ expert-led courses on any industry and topic you’d be interested in enriching your knowledge on.
- And one more thing… Gain knowledge and unlock new opportunities in feed. They’ve started rolling out a new AI-powered experience providing tips, summaries, and deep dives into professional topics that appear on your feed, helping you parse through long articles, videos, and posts, provide the latest insights on a topic a post discusses, and provide suggestion on how the information can be most helpful to you.
Some of the key differences between Recruiter and Recruiter Lite are described in the following tables. If you’re interested in a recruiter subscription, learn more here: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/a417251
Are LinkedIn Premium Accounts Worth it?
For business professionals, premium is a good investment if you are a consistent user, do advanced searches, connect with more than 10-12 people per month, and value business insights that align with your goals.
For job seekers, be aware that the job market can be competitive so investing in premium to gain an edge would be a good investment.
If you are in sales, lead generation or recruiting then Sales Navigator is a powerful tool you should consider. This account will help you identify the right leads, understand their motivations, and engage with them effectively. You can get individual licenses and well as licenses for a team. Learn more here: https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/compare-plans
Ready to upgrade your LinkedIn account? Follow these instructions.
If you’d like to explore the features of our Premium subscription plans, you can try Premium for free for one month:
- Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
- Click Account preferences on the left pane.
- Under Subscriptions & payments, click Change next to Premium Subscription.
- Explore and select the plan that best meets your needs.
- Follow the prompts on the page to complete your upgrade.
- You’re required to input a credit card number to get the free trial.
- Your free trial expires exactly one month after it’s redeemed. It’ll convert to a paid subscription and your card will be charged if you don’t cancel your trial before it expires.
LinkedIn is moving toward more premium features, so if LinkedIn is a tool you utilize on a consistent basis perhaps it’s time to upgrade and start leveraging the data the upgrade affords you.
If you want to talk through your LinkedIn marketing strategy, schedule a free call with me and let’s see how I can help.