Job Search: Should You Upgrade to a Paid LinkedIn Account?

If you're looking for a new job, LinkedIn's three paid accounts offer you additional job-search-specific features. Before you dole out the dough, here's what you need to know to make an informed decision.

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Wed, April 25, 2012

CIO — If you're in the market for a new job, you've probably been spending more time on LinkedIn updating your profile and expanding your network. The professional social network, which now boasts more than 100 million users, has a number of free tools and features to kick start your job search. But could one of its paid options give you the edge you need to land the perfect job?

Lewis Howes, LinkedIn expert and author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success On The World's Largest Professional Networking Website, says that paid account or not, the goals of what you do on LinkedIn are the same. "It's important for job seekers to understand how to build quality relationships that add value to the decision makers at the companies they want to work for the most," he says.

Here's what you need to know about LinkedIn's three paid options, and how they differ from what you can get for free.

Free vs. Paid LinkedIn Accounts: Key Features

In many instances, LinkedIn's free account offers you just a taste of the extended features in its paid accounts. Here are a few of the top perks:

See who's viewed your profile: This feature, located on the right-side about halfway down when you log in to LinkedIn, gives you some detail about who's checked out your profile. Usually you'll receive a handful of names—sometimes anonymous, sometimes not—as well as how often your profile has shown up in search and how many views your profile has received.

If you upgrade to one of the paid accounts, LinkedIn gives you access to more information, including the top search keywords people used to find you, your viewers by industry and geography, and the full list of people who have viewed your profile.

[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]

Search by salary: When you search for jobs on LinkedIn, you're able to narrow the field by a number of filters including location, job function, company, the date the listing was posted and more. If you upgrade to a paid account, LinkedIn gives you the added option of searching by salary.

Move to the top of the list: When you upgrade to a paid account, you're moved to the top of the list when you apply for jobs. This feature was introduced two years ago and helps you stand out more with hiring managers.

Send InMails: InMail is a feature available in only two of the three paid LinkedIn accounts, which lets you directly message anyone on LinkedIn. If you have a free account, the contact first has to accept your invitation to connect before you're able to message him. With a paid account, you can send InMails to perspective contacts without first having to be connected.

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