Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ask CJ: Is it worth it to pay for LinkedIn Premium?

A reader writes in to ask if it is worth it to pay for LinkedIn Premium:
I'd be curious to know if any of the folks who read & comment on your blog have paid for LinkedIn. Of course, the secondary questions would be:
  • Did they get chemistry jobs as a consequence of forking out for LinkedIn?
  • How much experience did they have? What was their area of specialization? 
  • Which job market were they aiming at: industrial, academic or government?
I think the general answer is "no", there aren't very many people who have paid for LinkedIn Premium, but I dunno. I sure haven't. Readers? 

23 comments:

  1. I haven't, but I know someone who did. This person wasn't able to convert that into anything useful as far as I know, they got their current position by networking face to face rather than through LinkedIn. I'm sure some good contacts and connections were made through it, but not the actual job.

    You can gather a surprising amount of information from a free account. It depends on what you want to do though. I haven't quite figured out a clever way around InMail, but there are definitely ways to communicate with people aside from that.

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  2. I didn't pay but a post doc down the hall told me I should. He said that it's the way to get your materials in front of people faster. He claimed you get job notices faster, and that the premium granted you access to head hunters up the chain of command. This seemed crazy to me, but that was his claim.

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    1. That last claim seems really dubious to me.

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    2. Yeah it did to me as well, but he was adamant that you somehow got access to people you wouldn't if you didn't have the premium. This guy is a research professor, but did some time in the pharma industry. He said it was the only way to get a job. I'm glad I didn't have to go that route, it's expensive.

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  3. I think that LinkedIn is another form of clicktivism - except that we use it to convince ourselves that we're trying *really hard* to get a new/better job, when in fact the real work (networking face-to-face, completing 100s of applications, re-adjusting our CVs) is what gets us the actual job offers, not the number of Endorsements we have.

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    1. I don't think anyone in the science labor market believes that the endorsements make any difference. LinkedIn networking/"InMail" (good heavens, I hate these buzzwords) (i.e. person-to-person contact*) does actually make a difference, though.

      *I agree that face-to-face contact is the best kind.

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    2. I paid for a LinkedIn premium account for several months at the end of my Ph.D. work in 2011. I actually made several useful connections including one person that was a recruiter at a major ag company that I contacted through InMail. At the time of our connection she said there was nothing available but we wrote emails back and forth (I agreed to help her find a few possible recruits-which I did) and then after about 3 months she told me there was a program at her company that fit me. A few days later I got a phone call from another recruiter at the company and long story short, and I was offered a job at this place. It was a great offer and while I did not take it there is no way it would have been possible without a premium account in my case. I always thought the key was making sure any connection was mutually beneficial. If you just go looking to contact head hunters without offering anything in return I don't think things will go well.

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  4. I used the free trial briefly, and paid for it for one month, whilst searching for a private company for funding - I'm not sure I got anything useful from it, but it certainly is addictive for nerds like me to be able to see so many statistics.

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  5. I have a standard LinkedIn account, and have been contacted by numerous recruiters and a sort of headhunter/recruiter hybrid. The trigger for this always seems to be posting in one of the group forums, particularly if your post results in an extended discussion. I've also used my LinkedIn network to attempt to help friends find new positions. None of them have actually received a position from this process, but they did get some interviews. To respond to standrewslynx above: as someone on the hiring side of this process, I agree that your Endorsement numbers are not going to impact a hiring decision. However, there's sometimes some useful information there. Just last week, I was looking at the profile of someone who is in currently in a surface science role, and saw all kinds of endorsements for organic chemistry and mass spec. Tells me that person has a broader knowledge base than a surface scientist with only surface science experience. That breadth could potentially be useful, depending on the position for which that person is applying.

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  6. Nah, It did not work for me. To me this site is to know what your friends are doing (if they update it!). It is my policy never to apply for the job that is advertised and that includes LinkedIn!

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  7. Does LinkedIn Premium make you invisible if you look at others' profiles? Because that is really the thing holding me back from using it more. For some reason, I think it might be irrational, I don't want a person or a company to know that I've looked at their profile, yet I know that LinkedIn delivers that information. They should do it like Facebook, where if you look at someone's profile long enough, you might show up eventually on the 'suggested friends' list, but only if you have a secondary connection. I prefer my networking to be anti-social.

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    1. LinkedIn Premium is not required for that:

      Go to:

      1. Account and settings
      2. Click 'review' under 'privacy and settings'
      3. Change 'Select what others see when you've viewed their profile.'
      4. Choose 'You will be totally anonymous.'

      I do not do this, because I think it is not 'fair play', but whatever.

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    2. Thanks! I'll try that. I've been avoiding messing around with LinkedIn ever since I noticed it doing it that, so I didn't really explore the options or most of what you can do on there. If I can be totally anonymous, I think I'll definitely use it more often. Maybe I'll even put more effort into my profile.

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    3. What is Linked for? According to its CEO Jeff Weiner, "LinkedIn helps professionals to build and manage their identities; create and leverage their professional networks; and gain the knowledge they need to be more successful in their careers, across multiple screens and devices."

      Notice he did not say "LinkedIn does..." He said, LinkedIn help people to do..." Big distinction.

      How you use it, how often you use it, methods for engagement, quality network growth, and many other factors influence whether LinkedIn will "work " for you. Like many things in life, you get out of it what you put in. If you don't complete and optimize your profile 100%; don't communicate with others in Groups; don't invite relevant people to join your network; are fearful of accepting invitations, don't follow and interact with Influencers; don't share meaningful content, and so forth, you are not truly using LinkedIn. Therefore, it won't work. There is way more to this ever-sophisticated platform than plopping down a half-baked profile and expecting "something" to happen.

      RE: endorsements specifically, one must first understand LinkedIn's algorithms and the use of keywords to fully understand this feature from a search prospective. Happy to share this info for those who want to know. (Transparency notice: I make my living teaching individuals and teams to navigate LinkedIn with purpose.)

      @blatnoi, don't be afraid. Chemjobber is correct, so go for it!

      Chemjobber, LI does promise that job seekers paying for a job seeker premium account will help them boost viewability of their resumes. I have not been able to prove this though.

      standrewslynx, all the actions you noted remain vital. But social media is no more a fad, and LI has (so far) come out the winner in the professional networking realm. The 1st thing people (recruiters) do these days is 'google' you, and unless you are a prolific content producer, the top portion of your profile will always appear at the top of a google search on your name. To get found, you've gotta show up!

      If any of this sounds harsh, I apologize. Words without vocal inflection and facial expressions can come out that way:) Feel free to check me out, and connect with me too if you like. Chemjobber, would appreciate connecting with you.

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  8. I used the free trial when I was searching for a job, I didn't find it worth it at all. I was actually contacted by more recruiters after it expired and I had already found a job.

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  9. I don't think it's worth it. I paid for the premium twice, a couple of years apart. Both times, apart from some bells and whistles (InMails, which I never used and which you can easily work around in the free account) and the ability to see the identity of everyone who has looked at your profile, I found it useless. I've done just as much networking and gotten just as many, if not more, responses with the regular ol' free account than I ever did with the paid.

    What you get out of LinkedIn is directly proportional to what you put in, and if you use it the right way with the standard free account, you'll be just fine. At $30/month, it's a waste of money in my opinion.

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    1. Drew, I wasn't copying you, I swear. "(I used the same sentence in my response.)

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  10. I found a job using the free version of LinkedIn, and and very happy at it. The only people I've heard who are happy with LinkedIn premium accounts are salespeople and recruiters.

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    1. Untrue. I love it and wouldn't go back to free.

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    2. Well, we can't all make a living being LinkedIn experts.

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  11. I'll agree with Anon @ 9:26 on this one. I have a premium LinkedIn account that is paid for by my employer (I'm a chemist that made a transition into marketing). As a marketer the tool is incredibly valuable.

    After my company was acquired recently, I found myself looking for a job as a hedge against "synergies" and found LinkedIn Premium to be noticeably less valuable for a job search. In the end, I did get a job offer from a position posted on LinkedIn, but it had nothing to do with the Premium account.

    One more thing for those looking to circumvent InMail. You can actually message people that you share a mutual group with for free. The website below gives a great overview on how to do this.

    http://www.stacyzapar.com/2013/11/how-to-message-linkedin-group-members.html

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    1. Good point on circumventing InMail. I've also found that you can request to connect with the person and can include a message in that. Since the person I want to talk with is usually someone it would be worth connecting with anyway, this works for me.

      I have read in a few places, too, that InMails have a bad reputation with recruiters...they consider them little more than spam and hardly ever read them. It seems as soon as they see a message saying they've received an InMail, they simply ignore and/or delete it.

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