Have you noticed the little green #OpenToWork frame around headshots on some LinkedIn profiles? Are you wondering whether to use it yourself?
A time-honored job search strategy is not to “out” the fact in your LinkedIn profile that you’re unemployed. Hiring professionals typically prefer people who are employed. But with COVID-19, things may be different.
LinkedIn rolled out the #OpenToWork profile feature in Summer 2020. If you opt to let all LinkedIn members know you’re job hunting, the green swath with #OpenToWork will go on your profile photo/headshot. People will likely assume that you’re unemployed.
If you opt to only let recruiters know you’re looking, the green swath isn’t displayed on your profile. But recruiters privately using LinkedIn Recruiter and other powerful people search tools will know your employment status. [You’ll note that LinkedIn says when you choose this option: “We take steps not to show your current company that you’re open, but can’t guarantee complete privacy.”]
Is Using #OpenToWork Risky?
The #OpenToWork green frame clearly marks members using it as unemployed. Is it a good or bad thing to use these days?
LinkedIn Product Manager Rohan Rajiv weighed in on the question “Should I broadcast on LinkedIn that I’m unemployed?”
“I often get asked if being unemployed positions job seekers unfavorably compared to those currently in a role. Results in our data and feedback from hiring managers suggests it does not. In fact, when we surveyed hiring managers, nearly all (96%) said they would hire a candidate who was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Jenny Foss, former recruiter and founder of JobJenny, believes using this feature is great for job seekers who are unemployed:
“I have heard people criticize Open to Work, saying that it’ll make people look needy or desperate or unappealing to a recruiter. I can’t speak for all recruiters, but as a recruiter myself, I actually appreciate the feature. It destigmatizes being an active job seeker vs. a passive one, which is pretty darned relevant in this crazy COVID year.”
Benefits of Using #OpenToWork
Rajiv went on to say:
#OpenToWork Increases Your Likelihood of Hearing from a Recruiter
When using the #OpenToWork feature, you can specify the types of jobs you’re interested in (job titles, remote location, start date and job type). This will also improve your job recommendations and turn on job alerts matching your preferences, enabling you to be one of the first to apply when a relevant job is posted. Applying early can increase your chances of hearing back by up to 4X. More than three million members have chosen to add a public #OpenToWork photo frame since launching in June, and our data show that they are, on average, 40% more likely to receive InMails from recruiters.
#OpenToWork Connects You to People Who Can Help
If you choose to let the broader LinkedIn community know that you’re open to new jobs by adding an #OpenToWork photo frame to your profile photo, when someone sees your profile photo on LinkedIn (for example, when you post to your feed or show up in a search result), they’ll know you’re open to new opportunities and can connect you to open jobs they know of. Early results show that members who choose to add a public #OpenToWork photo frame are 20% more likely to receive messages from their community.
The CONS of Using this Feature
Even with the benefits, there are downsides to consider.
Job search and career strategist Donna Serdula weighed in with these cons for you to consider:
- Not everyone wants their job seeker status to infiltrate their brand image so completely. There’s nothing wrong with looking for a job but is that the message you want to lead with?
- By putting your jobseeker status front and center, certain people can inundate you with scams and spam. There are vultures on LinkedIn and the #opentowork photo frame is akin to tying a piece of meat around your neck.
- As long as your profile is optimized and aligns you perfectly to your next desired role, a recruiter searching LinkedIn will find you and reach out whether you are employed or not. A photo frame shouldn’t make a difference as long as you look like a match to the job they are filling.
How Safe (and Wise) Is It to Display #OpenToWork on Your Profile?
I’ll wrap this up into one piece of advice, confirmed by other career professionals, notably by job search social media expert Hannah Morgan:
DON’T display the green #OpenToWork frame on your profile if you’re searching undercover (for whatever reason). EVERYONE who lands on your profile, or sees your LinkedIn activity, will see it. If you’re employed, your employer could see it or be told by others that you’re looking.
Otherwise, if you’re unemployed and actively job-hunting, this feature has more pros than cons. It’s an easy, passive way to alert your network(s) of your status. People forget, or don’t understand, how important it is to let their network(s) know when they’re job-hunting, so that they can help with leads, advice and support.
Either way, it may not have much impact on recruiters because they’ll find you anyway, through their in depth people searches.
How to Show That You’re #OpenToWork on Your Profile
At this writing, here’s how you add #OpenToWork to your profile.
- You should see at the bottom of your Intro Card at the top of your profile (without clicking the edit pencil) “Show recruiters you’re open to work – you control who sees this”, with a link on “Get started”. Click on this and complete the applicable steps.
- You’ll see “Choose who sees you’re open”. Expand the section and choose either “All LinkedIn members” (this option adds the #OpenToWork green photo frame) or “Recruiters only”.
You can also use the #OpenToWork hashtag in appropriate LinkedIn updates, to further broadcast your status.
And don’t forget: People will see your #OpenToWork green frame whenever and wherever you’re active on LinkedIn – updates, update commenting, LinkedIn articles, etc.