Does using LinkedIn #OpenToWork increase your chances of getting a job?

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Veronika Belova
by Veronika Belova

2 Min. Read

Should you use LinkedIn #OpentoWork? The feature isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

If you’re on LinkedIn, you want to connect professionally with others, and in many cases, search for a job or connect with recruiters. But you also don’t want to appear desperately unemployed – even if you are.

Of course, it seems obvious that many recruiters look to hire people who are unemployed but using the LinkedIn Open to Work feature can help or hurt you, depending on exactly how you use it. This article will dig into the LinkedIn Open to Work feature, explaining what Open to Work on LinkedIn means, how to add and turn off Open to Work on LinkedIn – and most importantly, how to use it to your advantage and increase your chances of getting a job.

What Open to Work on LinkedIn means

The status feature Open to Work has two different options that allow you to share your employment status: with either recruiters only or all LinkedIn members. You can make it visible by visiting the ‘Add New Profile’ section next to your profile shot and clicking ‘Looking for a new job’ in the Intro section at the top. You can also select parameters, like start date or job location.

When you make Open to Work visible to all members, there’s a green photo frame around your profile pic that shares that you’re indeed, “open to work.” It appears as a green circle around your picture saying #OpentoWork. If you’re still working at a company, know that your current company can see this green frame, which can essentially out you as looking for a new job. This could make things pretty awkward for you at your current job, so for those currently employed, having the LinkedIn Open to Work frame visible to all members is definitely not a good idea.

The other option means that your availability and openness to employment are only visible to recruiters that are using LinkedIn Recruiter – those that are actively searching for future employees. Selecting this option won’t create a frame around your profile photo.

If you’re wondering how to turn off Open to Work on LinkedIn, you click the Open to Work icon in your profile and select edit. Change your preference, opting to either hide the #OpentoWork frame and share only with recruiters or delete Open to Work entirely from your profile.

Why should you turn Open to Work on?

According to LinkedIn data, having Open To Work on your profile doubles your chances of getting a message from a recruiter. It can also help you gain visibility, connect with the right people, get relevant job listings and notifications, and it shows you are eager and excited to work.

If you’re unemployed and looking for work, sharing #OpentoWork with your LinkedIn network is honest, showing all your connections you are ready and willing for employment. This can increase the likelihood of getting a job.

colleagues discussing about the #opentowork tag

Why shouldn’t you turn Open to Work on?

Turning on #OpentoWork to everyone

There are downsides to using Open to Work on LinkedIn. If you’re sharing the #OpentoWork status with everyone, sharing with the world that you are open to work means that everyone, including current or former employers, can see the information. It can come off as desperate or needy.

Anyone with recruiter bias or gap employment bias may find the #OpentoWork photo frame a turn-off and may opt to not hire you, preferring to speak with more passive candidates.

You may also attract less ethical recruiters or even be the subject of spam or phishing.

Turning on Open to Work to recruiters only

Since this option only shows your openness for employment to recruiters using LinkedIn Recruiter, it means only those searching for employees will see that you’re open to work. But, if you’re really in the market for a job, it could limit your options by just sharing your (un)employment status with recruiters only.

Bottom line: how to use LinkedIn OpenToWork to your advantage

Turn on LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature for recruiters only

We think that turning on LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature to recruiters only is the best way to glean benefits. Although it may keep you from an opportunity or two, it really focuses on letting the people that matter see you’re open to employment, filtering out any spam, fishing, or external noise that can come from having the #OpentoWork frame so visibly displayed around your profile photo.

Optimize your profile if you’re looking for employment

Using LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature is not the only way you can attract recruiters, make connections, and score your dream job. A better way to make you an attractive job candidate is to optimize your profile in all the right ways.

First, make sure that your profile is fully complete, SEO-optimized, and developed in a way that seems enticing to recruiters, proving you to be the strong candidate you likely are.

Your headline should be used to highlight your skills and accomplishments, so avoid saying you’re looking for work. LinkedIn headlines should be considered valuable real estate – that, plus your photo, are the first things a recruiter or anyone else sees when looking at your page, so create a savvy headline that acknowledges why you’re competent, special, or an ideal candidate for your dream job.

And let’s not forget about your profile photo, which should make you appear professional, friendly, and approachable.

Once your profile is perfectly optimized, your actions should take you from being a passive candidate to an active one. Following others, engaging in conversation, responding to queries, and actively working to find a job can lead to employment success.

In fact, putting the #OpentoWork banner on your profile photo is the easy way out. In contrast, creating the right profile and headline, engaging in positive, professional connections, and making a real effort to be a viable candidate and search for the right job is what will help recruiters find and select you.