LinkedIn’s “Open to Work” feature allows you to let recruiters know you’re open to work using a simple toggle.
It can be a handy addition to your profile if you’re looking to speed up your job search, whether you’re currently employed or unemployed, but it doesn’t come without its drawbacks.
Let’s talk about how it works, how to set it up, and if it’s even worth using.
How Does the “Open to Work” Feature Work?
As mentioned, the LinkedIn “Open to Work” feature shows recruiters you’re open to new opportunities.
Enabling this feature adds a fancy #OpentoWork frame to your LinkedIn profile photo, giving an important visual cue to recruiters and potential employers.
Here’s what it looks like:
But it’s more than just a photo frame.
When you set yourself to open, LinkedIn asks you to define the work you’re interested in and specify your location. These inputs function as additional keywords, which help you show up for targeted recruiter searches.
Recruiters even have a filter they can use to zero in on LinkedIn profiles with this feature enabled.
Does It Really Make a Difference in Finding a Job?
Not everyone on LinkedIn is looking for a job. In fact, only a small percentage of LinkedIn accounts are actively seeking work at any given time, which makes it difficult for recruiters to know who to reach out to.
Having “Open to Work” enabled makes it easier for them to find you, and ultimately increases your chances of being contacted.
Don’t just take my word for it.
LinkedIn data tells us that recruiters are twice as likely to respond to candidates who’ve enabled this feature:
“Our data shows that turning on Open to Work on your LinkedIn profile increases your likelihood of getting a recruiter message by 2X. That means twice as many job opportunities.”— LinkedIn.com
Finally, it’s not just about the recruiters.
Allowing your network to see you’re ‘open to work’ often results in meaningful connections and new opportunities — the kinds of opportunities you won’t hear about from recruiters or headhunters.
How to Let Recruiters Know You’re Open to Job Opportunities on LinkedIn
You can set this up on both desktop or mobile, and it only takes a few minutes.
1. Go to Your LinkedIn Profile
Log in to LinkedIn and click the ‘Me’ icon at the top of the page.
A dropdown menu will appear.
From here, click “View Profile” to go to your LinkedIn profile page.
2. Change Your Status to “Finding a New Job”
Just below your LinkedIn profile photo, click on the “Open To” button.
Once again, a dropdown menu will appear. Click “Finding a New Job”.
A popup window will appear, prompting you for more information.
3. Fill Out The Relevant Details
Now you need to provide some details about the kind of work you’re open to.
LinkedIn wants to know the jobs you’re interested in, the locations you’re in (or want to be in), how soon you’re looking to start work, and whether you’re looking for full-time or part-time work.
You can also check the option to accept remote work opportunities.
4. Set The “Open to Work” Visibility
The last option in this popup window is to do with your visibility settings.
In other words, you can configure who’s able to see that you’re open to work, be it everyone on LinkedIn or only recruiters using the LinkedIn Recruiter platform. (We’ll talk more about the pros and cons of this below.)
To set your visibility click the drop-down arrow on the right, and select either:
- “All LinkedIn Members”
- “Recruiters Only”
5. Apply The New Status To Your Profile
The final step is to apply these new settings to your profile.
Simply click the blue “Add to profile” button.
That’s it. You’re done.
It can take a little while for offers to start rolling in, but, as long your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch, they’ll come.
Depending on your visibility settings, you may or may not have a photo frame, but you will see the ‘Open to work’ box below:
How to Turn Off “Open to Work” (Or Change Your Preferences)
You’d think that going through a similar process outlined above would prompt you to remove this status.
Well, not quite.
Clicking the blue “Open to” button will no longer display the “Finding a New Job” option, since it’s already applied to your profile.
Instead, you need to go to “Open to work” to the box just below it.
Clicking the pencil icon will bring up your job preferences, allowing you to make changes to things like your job title, location, job types, and visibility.
This is where you also turn off the ‘Open to Work’ status completely.
Just click the “Delete from profile” text in the lower section:
That’s it, you’re done.
3 Ways Being Open to Work on LinkedIn Can Hurt You
We’ve already established why using the “Open to work” feature can be beneficial for those seeking work on LinkedIn.
However, as with all job-seeking tools at your disposal, there are some potential downsides you need to be aware of.
Let’s talk about them.
1. The Frame Can Make You Appear Less Desirable
The LinkedIn photo frame is visible to both your network and anyone else who sees your profile picture.
The frame is the picture equivalent of putting “seeking new opportunities” in your headline or summary, which communicates to everyone that you’re currently unemployed (even if that’s untrue).
As unfair as it is, there is a stigma associated with unemployment. Scarce resources are desirable and sometimes maintaining that status is more beneficial to you in the long-term.
A good middle-ground solution is to keep your visibility settings to “Recruiters only” when enabling the feature, which still allows you to show up in Recruiter searches without having a visible, public frame around your photo.
Personally, I think the benefits of using the frame outweigh the cons.
If you’re a contract worker whose term is coming to an end, an intern without a confirmed position, a freelancer, or a gig economy worker, then the frame is an effective form of advertising.
2. Your Current Boss or Recruiters at the Same Company Could See It
If you’re currently unemployed, you don’t need to worry about this.
But if you are employed, the last thing you want to do is notify your current employer that you’re seeking an exit.
Once again, a lot of this rides on the visibility settings you choose when setting up LinkedIn’s ‘Open to Work’ feature.
- If you select the “Recruiters Only” option, only those with LinkedIn’s Recruiter membership will see you’re open to work.
- If you select the “All LinkedIn Members” option, your whole network will be able to you’re open to work, including your colleagues and the higher ups at your current company.
Here’s where it get complicated, though:
Even if you choose the first option, while LinkedIn takes steps to hide the “Open to Work” status from your current employer, there are still other ways they can figure out you have this enabled.
For example. if company has a relationship with third-party recruiters, they could see your status and inform your employer.
Also, if your employer has connections with other companies who have the recruiter membership, they can find out that way.
The bottom line is, even when using the most private visibility option available, there’s always an element of risk when using this feature. You need to weigh up whether that’s an acceptable risk to take.
3. You Rely On This Feature To Do All The Heavy Lifting
It’s important to remember that being “open to work” indicates your level of motivation, not your ability.
What I mean is, it should NOT be seen as a shortcut to building an effective LinkedIn profile.
Even with this enabled, you still need to go through the steps to create a well-rounded LinkedIn profile, including a detailed about section, relevant skills, and your most notable qualifications and achievements.
Failing to get the fundamentals right will only have recruiters clicking away from your profile in frustration.
Not only do you lose a potential job opportunity, but you may also lose visibility on the platform long-term.
When LinkedIn notices a significant number of people aren’t engaging with your profile in a positive way, their proprietary search algorithm starts giving you less weight in the search results over time.
“Before we return results, we consider the searcher’s activity on LinkedIn, the profiles returned by the query, and other members who have run similar searches in determining the sort order.”— LinkedIn
Put simply, you should only use “Open to Work” when your profile is properly fleshed out and optimized, otherwise, you could be doing more harm than good.
While there are some niche scenarios where having this turned on can be detrimental, for the majority of job seekers, the “Open to Work” feature is a great way to amplify your job search.
In just a few clicks, it allows you to signal your network that you’re considering new employment opportunities, as well as potential employers and recruiters using LinkedIn’s Recruiter tools.
If you’re not already using it, what are you waiting for?