Job Seeker? Always question pay to play. Always.

So Saturday morning I”m trolling through various sites I read and I stumble across a Facebook post from Justin Constantine. Who”s Justin Constantine? This guy.  I had the opportunity to listen to Justin”s keynote at RecruitDC, and was just so incredibly grateful that our Conference Booking Goddess had once again found someone who so eloquently illustrated the sacrifices men and women make for the rest of us and keep our world secure.

Justin that like to use LinkedIn and are interested in obtaining a premium account. Essentially you get a month free to send up to 5 inmails, see who”s viewed your profile, get a nifty premium icon, potentially see salary data, receive job seeker support and be a featured applicant at the top of the results page (that is so 90s it kills me!).  After the one month you get to pony up $29.95 a month.

Here”s the thing… I really feel strongly that job seekers, and if you want to know the truth, our veterans, should not have to pay a damn dime to receive these benefits.  I mean there are plenty of recruiting professionals that pay to access LinkedIn.  More than plenty.  In May it was announced that LinkedIn”s revenue grew 72%, hitting $324.7 million.  So LinkedIn is not hurting. Not hurting at all.

And this promo (the post I saw on Facebook) was said to be for Veteran”s (but looks to be for everyone), provides just one measly month free.  I have no words fit to print for that.

I”m not going to just whine though.  Here”s my advice (and subsequently what you should do to get the benefits without paying $29.95):

As a job seeker I think you should always question if you need to pay-to-play. Always. There is a better way to leverage LinkedIn for jobseeking.

If you want to get a recruiter”s email to contact them directly, and it”s not already in the job posting, I have suggestions:

  • Ask them to connect, they”re recruiters, they”ll say yes!
  • Google their name like “kelly dingee” and the company they work for “staffing advisors”,
  • Or Google their name and the domain of the company they work for: “Kelly Dingee” “”
  • Look them up on
  • See if you share or could share any LinkedIn Groups with them, and then message them via the group.
  • Try this on Google: “*” to get their email formula and then email them.

Want to know who”s looking at your profile? Who cares?? You might find during the demo month you get a lot of people like me, that have selected to remain anonymous.  So you”re paying to know that someone looked at your profile but you have no idea who it is.

Featured applicant? Forget it.  Who am I most interested in? Members that have keywords (aka skills) that match my search.  Right now I need a Director of HRIS with Oracle experience.  That”s what I”m searching for, and if you”re featured and don”t have Oracle on your profile? I”m not really going to look at you any further.

Want me to know you”re an active job seeker? You can put it in your summary, or you can tell me how to contact you.  I generally advise all active job seekers to include an email like kellydingee(at) staffingadvisors DOT com on their profile so contact is quick and easy.

Salary info? Quite often that has to be supplied by the employer and much of the time, that”s not supplied at all.

There are plenty of LinkedIn groups that offer job seeker support. Or approach an expert like Kathleen Smith or Chrissa Dockendorf.  (And believe me there”s many more you can find on LinkedIn if you search for recruiter and veteran or recruiter and “wounded warrior”).

But pay-to-play? Not this go round.  As a job seeker invest your time in LinkedIn.  Not your money.

FOT Background Check

Kelly Dingee
Kelly Dingee is a Senior Manager, Global Talent Acquisition for Marriott International. She has extensive sourcing experience having worked for Staffing Advisors (retained search), AIRS (training!) and Thales Communications, Inc., (cleared/telecom) and got her start in the profession while a full life cycle recruiter at Acterna (now known as Viavi). Lucky for Kelly, she had a boss who could see the potential of sourcing candidates from the web, and in 1998, she stepped into a newly created sourcing role. No truth to the rumor that she has a side business to help you push your resume to the top of Google search results…


  1. Val Matta says:

    Great tips! While sites like LinkedIn can be beneficial to the job search, it’s not always necessary to pay for added benefits. Job seekers should also be mindful of their other social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, even Instagram or Pinterest — and be sure to post content relevant to their career goals or industry. These outlets are also great for getting word on new opportunities, or just introducing yourself to new professionals and networking contacts. Good luck!

  2. Rory Trotter says:

    Great post, Kelly.

    I think that companies like Linkedin are free to (and should) look for revenue streams anywhere they can as long as it doesn’t damage their brand equity.

    With that said, I agree with everything else you said here. Engagement with recruiters is not hard, and doesn’t need to cost money. If you have the skills they want and an open position (and sometimes even if they don’t have an open position) they’ll listen.

    Thanks for sharing this, and keep writing.



  3. Cara Carroll says:

    I attended a job seeker group last night and was stunned to hear one of them was paying for a membership! She said it didn’t seem to help her at all. And I thought (and someone else brought up) if you don’t have the keywords it won’t matter how much you pay! I am a job seeker and an hr pro and I agree with you Kelly, as a job seeker there are much better ways to spend your money. Thanks for the post I shared it with the job seeker group.

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