Is it worth it to start paying for a premium LinkedIn account?

I can always count on hearing this question during the Q&A portion of my LinkedIn presentations. Since the pricing and options changed in January 2015, I think it's time to address this once again.

How many people are currently paying for LinkedIn?

The results from my latest LinkedIn user survey show that only 18% of us are paying for our LinkedIn experience. Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 2.12.46 PMThat number has been consistently rising since I began my survey five years ago, but the majority of users are still taking advantage of the world's largest database of business professionals for free.

LinkedIn premium options

There are a number of options available when you decide to upgrade from a free account to a paid account.

Note: If you already had a premium account when LinkedIn updated the premium options, at least for the time being you can continue with that plan even though it may not be currently offered to new subscribers.Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 2.15.07 PM

There are three premium categories, with multiple options within each category.

General:  Job Seeker ($29.99), Business Plus ($59.99), Executive ($99.99)

Sales:  Sales Navigator ($59.99), Sales Navigator Professional ($79.99), Sales Navigator Team ($129.99)

Recruiter:  Recruiter Lite ($119.95), Recruiter Corporate ($899.99)

Each plan offers different features and additions to your free account. Check out the side-by-side comparisons of the additional features you get at If you're interested in a free 30-day trial of a premium account, get the details here

Is it time to upgrade?

For most people, probably not. I base that opinion on what you get with a premium account and the fact that most people I encounter are barely scraping the surface of the free account's powerful features. It's kind of like handing your 15-year-old, who just got his driver's permit, the keys to your new BMW when he isn't even ready to drive the 12-year-old Honda Accord.

iStock_000042971244_SmallMy advice is to buy a copy of my book and follow my suggestions for optimizing your profile. Next, spend some time getting into a good LinkedIn routine (Chapter 17), and then maybe you'll be ready for the BMW.

LinkedIn has a simple way to let you know when it may be advantageous to start paying. I call it running into the "free wall." When you're consistently using a LinkedIn feature (Advanced People Search, Saved Searches, InMails, Who's Viewed Your Profile, etc.), a message will pop up asking you if you want to upgrade and receive greater access to that feature. LinkedIn realizes full well which features help users get the best results, and thus those tend to be the features they limit in some way. If you want more of those goodies, you'll need to get out your credit card.

Why I upgraded to a premium account

Two years ago, after more than four years on a free account, I started paying. Currently I'm on Sales Plus for about $48/month. However, this option is not currently available for new premium users.

The main reason I upgraded is because I wanted to see all the people who looked at my profile, and with the free account you can only see the last five people who checked you out. For a full discussion, read my post "Why I've Finally Upgraded to a Premium LinkedIn Account."

Whether you're using a free or premium account, I hope you're getting great results!