Having an “open to work” status on LinkedIn can certainly be beneficial for those looking to make a career change or land a new job.
LinkedIn has become one of the top resources for both job seekers and recruiters. Displaying that you are open to new opportunities makes you more visible and approachable to recruiters and hiring managers.
However, there are also some potential downsides to consider. Here is a look at the key pros and cons of having an open to work status on LinkedIn.
Pros of having open to work on LinkedIn
Here are some of the main benefits of displaying an open to work status on your LinkedIn profile:
The open to work badge makes your profile stand out in search results. Recruiters frequently search LinkedIn for potential candidates based on skills, experience, location and other keywords. The open to work status acts like a flag that signals your interest and availability for new roles. This can greatly expand the visibility of your profile.
Opportunities come to you
With the open to work badge displayed, you don’t have to actively apply to jobs to get recruited. Hiring managers and recruiters can proactively reach out to you if they think you are a good fit for openings at their company. This allows you to sit back and focus on evaluating potential opportunities rather than always having to be the one initiating contact.
The open to work status encourages recruiters to connect with you. Accepting these connection requests can significantly expand your LinkedIn network. A wider network provides greater access to insider information about job openings and also improves your visibility in LinkedIn searches.
Displaying that you are open to work signals confidence in your abilities. Rather than coming across as desperate or needy, it shows you are self-assured and actively evaluating options at your own pace. This confidence can make you more appealing to potential employers.
Matches with company goals
Many companies specifically search LinkedIn for passive candidates who are not actively job seeking. Displaying open to work makes it easy for your profile to show up in these searches. You are showcasing alignment between your career goals and a company’s recruiting goals.
Cons of having open to work on LinkedIn
While having open to work on your profile can certainly help, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:
Current employer may notice
If your current company follows you on LinkedIn, they will likely be notified about your updated status. This could raise questions and put your current job at risk. Those who wish to discreetly search for jobs may want to avoid openly signaling they are looking.
May get irrelevant inquiries
An open to work badge can increase contacts and messages from recruiters considerably. However, many of these inquiries may be for jobs that are not relevant to your experience or interests. Filtering through irrelevant opportunities can take a lot of time and effort.
Can appear desperate
In some cases, an open to work status may look a little desperate, especially if you just started a new job. Make sure you are signaling openness rather than desperation on your profile and settings.
Current employer may limit profile
Some companies impose restrictions on displaying open to work indicators or restrict access to certain profile sections. If your employer limits profile access, displaying open to work may not be possible.
Need to manage influx of messages
Being open to work is likely to significantly increase your message volume on LinkedIn. If you are not proactive about managing these communications, it can become overwhelming. Ensure you have a system in place to evaluate opportunities efficiently.
Could miss out on referrals
Friends and contacts may be less likely to refer you to opportunities if they see you already have open to work displayed. The open to work status signals you are already getting recruitment interest.
Who should display open to work?
Given the mix of pros and cons, here are some of the factors to consider when deciding whether displaying open to work makes sense for you:
|Best Suited for Open to Work
|May Want to Avoid Open to Work
|Job search status
|Actively looking for new roles
|Casually looking or not urgently searching
|Unemployed or at risk of losing job
|Happy at current job but passively looking
|In a high demand field with talent shortages
|In a highly competitive field with limited openings
|Senior to executive level roles
|Entry-level or early career roles
|Under 500 connections
As the table shows, those who are urgently looking to change roles and have an extensive network are best suited for displaying an open to work status. While it can be helpful for some, it may not be the right approach for everyone’s unique situation.
Alternatives to having open to work on your profile
Rather than an overt open to work badge, here are a few alternative ways to subtly signal you may be interested in new opportunities:
Tweak your profile headline to indicate you are exploring options, open to new challenges etc. This hints at your interest without the official job seeking tag.
Change background photo
Use a background photo of you speaking at a conference, networking or other career focused images. Visually showcases your interest in advancing professionally.
Be sure to list all relevant skills. Recruiters search LinkedIn profiles based on skill keywords. Highlighting all your competencies makes you more findable.
Engage on LinkedIn
Comment on posts, share content and join groups. Active engagement greatly boosts your visibility and likelihood of being noticed by recruiters.
Connect to recruiters
Proactively connect with recruiters at companies you are interested in. This opens up a direct channel for them to reach out to you if a relevant role opens up.
Best practices for open to work on LinkedIn
If you do decide to display an open to work status on LinkedIn, here are some best practices to follow:
Only display temporarily
Rather than keeping it on your profile indefinitely, only show open to work when actively job searching. You can toggle it on and off as needed.
Customize your preferences
Tailor your job seeking preferences related to locations, role types, industries etc. This helps ensure inquiries you get are more targeted and relevant.
Only accept connection requests from recruiters at companies you want to target to filter out spam. Similarly, only respond to messages for opportunities that are a potential fit.
Make your profile shine
Open to work draws more eyeballs to your profile. Be sure your profile is polished with a professional photo, detailed work histories, and keywords recruiters seek.
Inform key connections
Let close contacts and internal recruiters at your company know you are exploring options before displaying open to work. This avoids catching important people off-guard.
Having open to work on your LinkedIn profile can be a helpful job search tool, but also has some downsides to evaluate.
It significantly expands your visibility and opportunities that come your way. However, irrelevant inquiries, over-eagerness, and employer discovery are risks to weigh.
Those urgently exploring new roles tend to benefit most from openly signaling their interest. With a mix of pros and cons to consider, you ultimately have to decide if displaying open to work aligns with your personal job search approach and situation.