Everyone loves a free upgrade. For veterans and current military members looking for work, LinkedIn is offering a free year of its Premium job seeker account, as well as access to tutorial videos on Lynda.com.
LinkedIn is a bit like Facebook, but for resumes. I used LinkedIn for some time, but upgraded to check out Premium. I went toveterans.linkedin.com, clicked on the link, and waited to be verified. It took about a week, and initially I received a message that my account wasn't verified as a veteran. The verification web page asks you to have your military service on your Linkedin page. I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org, and the person on the other end told me they're trying to get requests approved as quickly and accurately as they can. I was a bit frustrated at how long it took to get approved, but understood quick and accurate don't always go hand in hand.
Once I got verified, I began tinkering with the various goodies Premium offers.
One perk is that Premium allows you to see who is seeing visiting your profile. When I was using the free version, I'd sometimes get a maddeningly vague message about people visiting my page. According to the LinkedIn blog, knowing that Person X has been visiting your page can give you an “in” for reaching out to Person X.
Premium also allows you to reach out to people beyond your network. Usually, LinkedIn restricts you from speaking to people you don't know. With Premium, you can interact with whomever. You also get access to InMail, which is a bit like email. According to Investopedia, recruiters are flooded with emails, but InMail might be a sneaky back avenue for reaching out to people.
A paid account on LinkedIn means your profile has more visibility. LinkedIn has a tool called Jobs You Might Be Interested In, and when you use it to apply for jobs within LinkedIn, it puts your resume above non-premium members. In addition, when your name pops up in search results, you'll have a larger profile in the big list of people. It's a bit weird, ethically, that LinkedIn will move candidates up to the front of the line if they pay, but when it's a benefit that's free for you as a veteran, why not?
There's some other goodies there. LinkedIn has a job search function, but the paid account gives you more filters. LinkedIn will suggest keywords for your profile, which will help you know the most popular buzzwords out there. You can also set a customized background, although I don't know how a customized background helps your cause.
It's hard to say whether any of these benefits will make or break your job-search experience. Again, job hunting is a bit like fishing, and there's no evidence recruiters care whether a person has a Premium account. For some people, a year's worth of LinkedIn Premium could lead to a job. For others, it could be a waste of time.