Hoping to attract more paid users, LinkedIn is rolling out a host of new features for Premium members to customize their profiles, compare themselves to other members and make it easier to be seen by potential employers.
Premium subscribers now have bigger photos and expanded headers with an option to add custom background images, à la Facebook or Twitter. General users will also be able to add background images, but not for a few months.
Another new Premium feature offers users suggested terms and keywords to describe their skills and interests. For instance, the site might suggest you use certain words that have been used by other people in your field or profession to increase profile visits.
One of the most interesting new functions allows subscribers to track their impact and visibility with a full 90-day list of profile visitors and a ranking of how they stack up against their first-degree connections and their company.
The moves are an attempt to drive more subscriptions, which accounted for 20 percent of LinkedIn's total revenue in the first quarter of 2014. To further boost subscribers, LinkedIn has announced a new $7.99-a-month plan called Spotlight. Its other plans begin at $23.99 a month.
In addition to showing up in relevant search results, Premium users profiles will appear larger and with more information, an edge that could make potential employers more likely to take a closer look. "The next time someone searches for, let’s say a “designer” on LinkedIn, your profile will look twice as big as other results and offer more tidbits from your profile to help people easily spot you," the company wrote in a blog post announcing the new features.
LinkedIn has also made some overhauls on the backend, ditching its open source search engine for a new one, developed in-house.