LinkedIn’s Open to Work Feature: When and How You Should Use It
Recruiters and employers increasingly depend on LinkedIn to identify job candidates. Help your LinkedIn profile rise to the top of their search results by making the best use of the platform’s Open to Work feature.
By: Tonyia Cone | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
With 810 million people and 58 million companies on LinkedIn, the platform is a vital recruiting and job searching tool. The company reported in January that confirmed hires are up more than 110% year over year. It’s clearly more important than ever for job hunters to make the most of your LinkedIn profile.
One way to do that is to properly use LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature. Selecting this option lets recruiters, employers, and those in your LinkedIn network know you are open to new job opportunities. It can help your profile get noticed by the right people if you use it the right way for your job-seeking situation.
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What is the LinkedIn Open to Work Feature?
Intended to make job seekers more discoverable to recruiters, LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature lets those who read your profile know that you are interested in new professional opportunities.
In addition, when recruiters or employers search specifically for candidates who are seeking new jobs on LinkedIn, Open to Work profiles that specify matching job types and locations show up in their search results.
To enable the Open to Work feature on a desktop:
- Click the dropdown arrow next to the word “Me” under your photo at the top right corner of your screen. Then select “View Profile” to go to your LinkedIn profile.
- Click the “Open To” button and select “Finding a New Job” to show recruiters and others that you are open to work. The next box that opens will give you a selection of preference options such as job titles, workplace, location, start date, and job types, and who can see your Open to Work status (more below)
- Save your choices by clicking “Add to profile.”
Quick pro tip: Don’t forget to fill your preferences out thoroughly! If you’re only looking for remote jobs, jobs in specific locations, or part-time/contract jobs, setting those filters will make sure you only get contacted for the right opportunities.
Probably the most important option for Open to Work is at the bottom of the preferences box, where a dropdown arrow lets you choose whether all LinkedIn members or only recruiters can see that you’re open to job opportunities.
If you choose to share your Open to Work status only with recruiters, LinkedIn takes steps to not make this information visible to recruiters at your current company. However, LinkedIn doesn’t guarantee complete privacy. In fact, recruiters sometimes get around this roadblock by asking recruiter-colleagues at other firms to look up Open to Work at one another’s companies.
(One more thing to note about choosing recruiters only — this only enables advanced search filtering for recruiters who are using the paid LinkedIn Recruiter platform. This won’t change anything for recruiters who are simply searching on a normal LinkedIn membership.)
If you choose to share with all LinkedIn members, LinkedIn will add an #OpenToWork photo frame to your profile photo. This makes the fact that you are looking for a new gig very visible to everyone — including your current co-workers and boss. So if you are trying to be discreet, be careful not to share Open to Work with all LinkedIn members.
To enable the Open to Work feature on iOS or Android:
- Select your profile picture, then select “View Profile.”
- Click “Open To” in your introduction card at the top of your profile.
- A new screen will appear. Provide the requested information in that screen.
- As described above, choose whether all LinkedIn members or only recruiters can see that you’re open to job opportunities.
- Save your choices by selecting “Add to Profile.”
Should You Use the Open to Work Feature?
The decision to use LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature mostly depends on your current employment situation and how sensitive you are to people, especially your co-workers, finding out that you are looking for a new job.
Whether you make your Open to Work status visible only to recruiters or to the public, the worst-case scenario may be that your boss will find out that while you are still employed, you are searching for a new position. Are you comfortable with that?
Your boss may take steps to retain you if they think you are looking around for something new. But if you absolutely are not okay with your boss knowing that you are considering leaving, don’t take the risk that comes with changing your settings to Open to Work on LinkedIn.
Aside from this, experts debate whether the Open to Work function helps or hinders the job hunt.
As a built-in tool that tells recruiters you are interested in finding new work and making your preferences clear, some recruiters say Open to Work genuinely makes it easier to find candidates, as seen in this LinkedIn thread from a career coach. LinkedIn says their data shows that profiles with the Open to Work frame receive more messages from recruiters on average. Plus, if you choose to make your job search public, it can cue your network to let you know about opportunities they find.
On the other hand, the Open to Work function can also attract less-ethical recruiters and even scams: Stay on your guard against these.
And while it may seem beneficial to let recruiters and others know you are looking for a new job, some career coaches cite bias against those who are unemployed. They say since recruiters will assume those with the green Open to Work photo frame are not employed, they’ll avoid those candidates. Career coaches who take this stance advocate against using the frame because they believe it looks desperate. It’s weirdly like playing hard to get in the dating world. However, remember that other coaches advocate just as strongly against this line of thinking, citing LinkedIn’s own data.
So, should you add the Open to Work banner to your LinkedIn profile? It’s really up to your unique employment situation and depends on which career coaches you agree with. But just remember one more thing…
Open to Work: It’s Not All or Nothing
It’s also important to note that choosing to indicate that you are Open to Work is not an all-or-nothing decision. Using the Open to Work function and choosing whether to make your Open to Work status visible to the public in addition to recruiters are two separate decisions. If you think the setting could be helpful but don’t want to make it obvious to everyone on the platform that you are job hunting, you can always turn this on just for recruiters to prevent the #OpentoWork photo frame from appearing on your profile.
And if you ever change your mind, find that the feature is not helpful, or land your next job, you can turn off Open to Work for your account. You can easily edit your preferences or remove the Open to Work feature from your LinkedIn profile by going back into your profile and clicking the edit icon on the Open to Work box toward the top of your profile. Then either edit the information you’d like to change and click save. Or if you’d like to remove it, just click “Delete From Profile” at the bottom of the box.
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