Having your LinkedIn profile set to “open to work” can be a useful job search tool, but it also comes with some risks. Here are some quick pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to toggle your LinkedIn profile to publicly signal that you’re job hunting:
Pros of Setting LinkedIn to Open to Work
- Signals to recruiters that you’re actively looking. Recruiters search LinkedIn for profiles that are open to work, so it makes you more discoverable.
- Surfaces new job opportunities. Potential employers and recruiters may proactively reach out if they see you’re open to work.
- Expands your passive job search. You can focus time on other search methods while your profile passively works for you.
- Saves time explaining status. With open to work toggled on, you avoid having the “are you looking” conversation repeatedly.
Cons of Setting LinkedIn to Open to Work
- Alerts current employer. Your profile activity is not invisible, so your employer may find out you’re job searching.
- Attracts irrelevant inquiries. Lower quality recruiters may blanket contact you with mass messages instead of personalized outreach.
- Signals desperation. Some employers may see candidates with open to work status as unemployed or urgently job hunting.
- Creates pressure to accept offers. You may feel obligated to take the first decent job offered after signaling you’re urgently looking.
Key Factors to Consider
The right choice for you depends on your unique situation and priorities. Here are some important factors to think through:
- Current job satisfaction – If you’re desperate to leave your current role, open to work signals that urgency.
- Unemployment status – Employed candidates may be cautious, while unemployed candidates need exposure.
- Industry norms – More conservative fields may frown on overt job searching while employed.
- Job search timeframe – Those with longer timelines may keep it private until close to transitioning.
- Desired role type – Open to work helps attract recruiters, while passive search may be better for senior executive roles.
- Current employer awareness – Consider whether your boss knowing would cause issues or jeopardize your current role.
Strategies to Minimize Risks
If you decide to toggle your profile to open for opportunities, here are some strategies to help control the risks:
- Customize viewer options – Choose who can see the open to work status, such as only recruiters or connections outside your company.
- Update settings temporarily – Turn on open to work only when actively job searching and turn it off when paused.
- Be selective – Only respond to qualified opportunities from reputable companies and recruiters.
- Use privacy settings – Adjust profile visibility and activity broadcasts to limit company exposure.
- Proactively tell key stakeholders – Get ahead of it by discreetly informing those who you want to hear from you first.
- Update after accepting an offer – Immediately disable open to work once you’ve secured your next position.
Alternative Options to Consider
Rather than definitively signaling you’re looking with the open to work setting, here are a few other options to increase LinkedIn visibility:
- Highlight relevant skills – Refresh your profile to showcase in-demand abilities recruiters search for.
- Engage with content – Commenting, liking, and posting not only builds your brand but gets you on recruiters’ radars.
- Join industry groups – Become an active member in niche professional communities related to potential target roles.
- Follow key companies – Stay up-to-date on news from desired employers and take note of internal connections.
- Expand your network – Connect with more leaders at potential employers, customers, partners, etc.
Setting your LinkedIn profile to publicly signal you’re open to job opportunities can expand your job search reach. However, it also creates visibility that you may be looking to exit your current company. Consider the pros and cons, evaluate the risks in your situation, and weigh alternatives like focusing on passive search optimization. With the right strategy, LinkedIn’s open to work feature can be a valuable asset in a discreet and effective job transition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does setting my profile to “open to work” notify my connections and network?
No, setting your LinkedIn profile to “open to work” does not proactively notify your connections or network. It simply signals your job searching status when others view your profile. You control who can see the open to work indicator through your profile’s visibility settings.
Will my current employer definitely find out if I set my profile to “open to work”?
Not necessarily, but it’s a risk to consider. Unless you restrict profile visibility, your open to work status can be seen by any LinkedIn member, including co-workers and bosses. Customizing settings to limit exposure can reduce the chance of your employer finding out.
Does “open to work” mean I’m unemployed or desperate for a job?
No, setting your LinkedIn to “open to work” does not automatically imply unemployment or desperation. Many employed professionals use the setting to passively signal they are open to exploring new opportunities while still currently working.
Do I have to accept any job offer I get after setting my profile to “open to work”?
Absolutely not. Toggling your LinkedIn to signal you’re job seeking does not obligate you to accept just any offer that comes your way. Evaluate any opportunities that arise just as you would from other search methods.
How quickly can I expect recruiter outreach if I indicate I’m open to work?
It varies, but you may start seeing some recruiter activity within a few weeks after changing the setting. However, it can take longer to see responses to applications or messages from hiring managers at potential employers. Patience and persistence in your broader search efforts is still needed.
Can I filter the open to work setting to only be visible to recruiters and not all LinkedIn members?
Yes, LinkedIn gives you options to customize exactly who can view your open to work status. You can target it to only display to recruiters, or selectively exclude connections from current company or specific individuals.
Is it better to have an “open to work” post instead of the profile setting enabled?
A dedicated “open to work” post can amplify your intent to change jobs, especially if actively managed with updates. But the post alone lacks the persistent passive signal and recruiter visibility of also toggling your profile to promote the status.
If I enable “open to work”, will my profile show at the top of searches?
Not necessarily. While open to work can increase discoverability, many other factors affect search ranking and results order. An informative, optimized profile is still important to improve visibility and get your profile prioritized in recruiters’ searches.
Can I temporarily enable open to work for my job search, then disable it after I’m hired?
Yes, absolutely. You can toggle the open to work setting on and off anytime. Many candidates enable it while actively looking for jobs, then disable it after accepting an offer. Just update your status again if you explore new opportunities in the future.
|Open to Work Enabled
|Open to Work Disabled
What are some best practices to enable open to work safely?
- Customize visibility settings to limit access
- Only enable it while actively searching
- Be selective responding only to qualified recruiters
- Use privacy settings to control exposure
- Tell key stakeholders discreetly before changing
- Disable immediately after getting hired
- Enabling open to work expands your job search reach, but creates visibility risks
- Consider your priorities, industry norms, and current satisfaction
- Customize settings, target visibility, and be selective responding to mitigate risks
- Alternative options like optimizing your profile can also improve discoverability
- Monitor and toggle the setting on/off strategically during your job transition