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  1. Career Advice
  2. Finding a job
  3. How to let recruiters know you're open to job opportunities on LinkedIn
How to let recruiters know you're open to job opportunities on LinkedIn
Profile Emma Smith

Emma Smith

How to let recruiters know you're open to job opportunities on LinkedIn

Artwork by: Veronika Kiriyenko

  • What is the “Open to Work” feature on LinkedIn?
  • What does the “Open to Work” feature do?
  • Why should I show on LinkedIn that I’m open to work?
  • Who can see if you're open to work on LinkedIn?
  • How do you let recruiters know you are open on LinkedIn? 
  • After you’ve found a job
  • Key takeaways

Do you wonder why some people on LinkedIn have a banner across their picture that reads, “Open to Work”? Those people are actively in a job search, and they want to be noticed. We’ll explain everything you need to know about letting recruiters know you’re open to work using LinkedIn.

Making the decision to start looking for a new job can be a liberating experience. And while your mind dashes around thinking of all the opportunities that you’re excited to discover, you might think to yourself, “I wish I could tell recruiters that I was open to working”. Well, luckily LinkedIn has thought of everything. There are multiple ways to use the professional networking site to help you find work. Let’s explore some of the paths to let recruiters know you're open to job opportunities on LinkedIn.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What is the “Open to Work” feature on LinkedIn

  • What is the benefit of activating “Open to Work”

  • How your current employer comes into play

  • Alternative ways to express that you’re open to working on LinkedIn

What is the “Open to Work” feature on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has kept job seekers at the forefront of their development, and we are thrilled about it. One of their newer rollouts came in the form of a setting you can activate, which alerts other LinkedIn users that you are looking for a new job. 

The feature is called “Open to Work”, and there are a few things to know before you go and activate yours. 

What does the “Open to Work” feature do?

Recruiters have access to a different version of LinkedIn than the rest of us do. With their version of LinkedIn, recruiters become privy to information like how many applications an individual has open, how likely they are to respond, and whether or not they are open to work. 

Basically, by implementing the “Open to Work” feature, you are pooling yourself into a group with other job seekers, and recruiters can easily review the candidates within that pool. 

Why should I show on LinkedIn that I’m open to work?

The main benefit of changing your settings on LinkedIn to show that you’re open to work is that you’re making it easier for recruiters to find you. Think about all the applications and searches a job hunt requires. By saying you’re open to work, you’re streamlining the process. 

Recruiters and job seekers are similar in that they’re casting a wide net, hoping to bring in the ideal job or candidate. If you don’t advertise that you’re looking for work, there’s very little chance that a recruiter would stumble upon your profile organically. 

Who can see if you're open to work on LinkedIn?

When you go to activate your “Open to Work” setting, you will see two options: all LinkedIn users, or recruiters only.

If you choose the option to show all LinkedIn users that you’re open to work, it will be made public so even non-recruiters can see that you’re searching. You will also have a banner applied to your profile picture that says “Open to Work”, as well as be given the option to make a post about it. 

If you choose to only allow recruiters to see that you’re open to work, then your job search will not be made public, and there will be no post to make about it.

What if I don’t want my current employer to see that I’m open for work on LinkedIn?

One of the biggest concerns surrounding LinkedIn’s “Open to Work” feature is that people typically don’t want their current employer to know that they are searching for a job. 

LinkedIn thought ahead on this, making it so that when you select the ‘recruiters only’ option, no recruiters associated with your current employer will be able to see the feature on your profile. 

LinkedIn uses your current employer information in their algorithms for who can or cannot see your “Open to Work” feature. In the ‘Work Experience” section, you will see a checkbox that says, “I currently work here”. By selecting this box, you are also telling LinkedIn who to keep your “Open to Work” feature hidden from. 

Expert Tip

It’s worth noting that LinkedIn will only hide your “Open to Work” feature from recruiters and other staff that show their association with your company. Therefore, if your company hires a contracted recruiter, and that person doesn’t show on their LinkedIn that they work for your company, they will be privy to your “Open to Work” feature.

How do you let recruiters know you are open on LinkedIn? 

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of the “Open to Work” feature, let’s go over how to actually activate it. 

Activate the “Open to Work” feature

Start by opening up LinkedIn. You will be automatically taken to your feed, where you see the posts and activity of the companies and people you’ve connected with. To reach your profile, press your bolded name, or the photo above it, on the left side panel. Below your profile picture, you will see a blue button titled, “Open to”. When you press this button, three options will drop down: open to work, hiring, and providing services. 

Select “Open to Work”. A pop-up window will appear that prompts you to disclose your industry, position, location, and time zone. Answer all of these questions according to your preferences.

At the bottom of the pop-up window, you’ll see a floating band that says, “Choose who sees you’re open”. You will see two options, all LinkedIn users, or recruiters only. Select your choice, and press the button to add the feature to your profile. You did it!

You’ll also be given the option to connect your email for notifications and receive job suggestions based on the work you’re looking for.  

Make a post about it

There is another way to let recruiters know that you’re open to work, and it involves your LinkedIn network more than any specific recruiters. 

You may have seen recently, in light of mass layoffs, an increase in LinkedIn posts with people expressing their interest in searching for a new job. Because they’ve been laid off, there’s less need to keep their job search secret. 

A lot of the posts sound similar. They give gratitude to their former employer and sympathy for everyone’s situation. And more often than not, there’s a call to action for their networks. Kind of like saying, “Hey community, I can’t do this alone”. In the comments, you will see message after message of people tagging their company’s recruiter along with a little vouch for the candidate. 

This is a new wave of professional networking, and it really changes the game. Emphasis used to be placed on work ethic. If you had a good work ethic, then you could always find a job. Today, however, there are so many reasons why a good work ethic still doesn’t guarantee job security. 

What does? A solid professional community that will bring you into their circles when yours fall apart. In every stage of your career, networking and building a professional community can come back to benefit you. 

After you’ve found a job

Once you’re no longer looking for work, simply remove the “Open to Work” feature on your portfolio. To do that, return to the profile view of your LinkedIn. Under your profile picture, below the blue “Open to” button, you will find a grey box that outlines the details you gave when answering the prompts when you first activated the “Open to Work” feature. 

In the top right corner of that grey box, you’ll see a small image of a pencil. Press this button, and a pop-up box will appear. You will see the same prompts as before, as well as the preferences you had previously selected. 

In the bottom left of the pop-up box, you’ll see the words, “Delete from profile”. Select this button, and voila, you are no longer advertising yourself as open to work. 

Key takeaways

  1. Use LinkedIn to show recruiters and your network that you are actively in a job search.

  2. Be mindful of your current employer before advertising your desire for a new job.

  3. If your situation allows for it, you can also make a post about being open to work. 

  4. Once you’ve found a job, don’t forget to remove LinkedIn’s “Open to Work” feature. 

Profile Emma Smith

Emma Smith

Emma is a certified employment specialist with over 6 years of experience in career mentorship and employment training. With an affinity for technical writing, Emma is passionate about developing training manuals, policy and procedures, onboarding documents, and fiscal management systems. In 2020 she helped design Colorado’s first state-certified training program for people with disabilities entering the workforce.

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