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Why #OPENTOWORK on your public LinkedIn profile is a bad idea

Mark Daniel //  0 Comments

Don’t use #ONO, #OPENTOWORK or “seeking new opportunities” on your public profile. Here’s what happens if you do, and what to do instead…


It seems like a good idea doesn’t it?

Letting people know you are actively seeking a new position with just a click of a button.

Saying to recruiters and hiring managers “hey, look at me” so that they instantly know that you are #ONO or open to new offers?

However, before you rush to edit your profile, I have a few words of caution followed by some advice on what to do instead.

What is #OPENTOWORK ? 

In case you missed it, you now have the option to put a huge green circle, well actually more of a semicircle, with the hashtag #OPENTOWORK around your LinkedIn profile picture.

This will literally shout out that you are available because it is all in capitals.

Here is a quick video from LinkedIn explaining what it is.

Other methods for saying open to work on your public profile

The open to work feature is new but many jobseekers having been doing something very similar for years.

Phrases such as “available now” or “seeking a new opportunity” use the same idea of leveraging the LinkedIn community to help you find your next role.

Unfortunately, in reality both these methods could be jeopardising, rather than advancing, your chances of landing a new job.

Why you should not use #OPENTOWORK (or similar) on your public profile

reason 1

Wrong message

The fact that you are “Open to Opportunities” is about your motivation and it doesn’t impact on your fundamental ability to do the job you are seeking. Therefore, it isn't relevant to recruiters.

Highlighting your availability, in my opinion, actually reduces your chances.

Research demonstrates that unemployed job seekers receive fewer offers than employed job seekers and employed people - so why do we publicise the fact?

Look at this another way.

As a career coach and resume writer, if I put a huge green frame around my LinkedIn profile photo saying “OPENFORCLIENTS” how would you react to it?

Would that make you more or less likely to contact me about my services?

And, if you were interested, would you perhaps try to negotiate on my fee seeing that I was publicly saying “Help I need customers?”

reason 2

Blending in

One of the top questions’ jobseekers ask me is “how can stand out from the crowd?”

If you want recruiters and hiring managers to notice you on LinkedIn, you need to have an exceptional profile focusing on your skills and experience.

There are over 350,000 people "actively seeking" or "open to opportunities" on LinkedIn

Why blend in with the crowd and highlight your availability rather than what you have to offer?

reason 3

Search criteria

This is the most important aspect to consider.

A high proportion of recruiters use LinkedIn Recruiter, an expensive tool that helps them find top talent.

Check out this quick video that shows how they use it.

Here’s the thing.

They never conduct a search with the words ‘seeking new opportunities’

Or “available now.”


When they search, they look for a particular key word or phrase such as Civil Engineer or HSE Advisor.

They may also search for particular company names because they are targeting employees that currently work for their client’s competitors.

In other words, all the things that should be in your professional LinkedIn profile.

If you are wasting this space telling the world about your availability, you are wasting your chance of being headhunted by recruiters on LinkedIn.

When a recruiter accesses your details, the first thing they will see is your profile picture.

It doesn’t have to be a professional shot, but it does need to be minus the fish you caught last weekend, your partner or your pets.

Then they will look to the right to read your title, headline and descriptor.

They want to know what you can offer, not when you can do it, so ditch that ugly green Open To Work frame, stop saying “seeking a new opportunity” and pack it full of your main skills and experience instead.

How you should be letting recruiters know you are available

Here are couple of things that will definitely work for you, rather than against you.

Step 1.

Privately let recruiters know you are open

Just because you don’t have the Open to Work frame doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the open to work feature.

Go to your Linked profile page by clicking on the ‘Me’ icon in the top menu.

You will see a box saying 'Show recruiters you are open to work.'

LinkedIn profile shot

Click 'Get Started' and this box will appear.

LinkedIn job preferences shot

Fill in the relevant details and click the down arrow next to “Choose who sees you’re open” to access the settings.

Choose “Share with recruiters only” and you are done.

This way you are getting your message across to recruiters in a professional whilst not sacrificing your profile information or looking desperate.

Step 2. 

Write a great LinkedIn profile

Did you know that a complete LinkedIn profile is 40 times more likely to receive job opportunities from recruiters  -  yet only 51% of users have one!

Forget #OPENTOWORK and opt for #GETNOTICED by fully completing your LinkedIn profile now.

Here’s a guide to help you do it.

How a complete LinkedIn profile gets you 40x more attention

However, to gain the maximum benefit from the platform you need to become an 'All Star' user by having what's known as a complete LinkedIn profile.  

Key takeaways

The reason you might want to put #OPENTOWORK, #ONO or “seeking new opportunities” on your LinkedIn profile is to help you get a new job.

The problem is that it can actually do the opposite by sending out the wrong message, making you blend in with everyone else using it, and damaging your potential to show up in recruiter’s search results by taking up valuable space that should be filled by key words and skills.

The solution? Use the private option to let recruiters know you are approachable and work on creating a complete, All Star LinkedIn profile that will get you noticed for the right reasons.

Please leave a comment below if you have a question and don't forget to share if you found it useful.

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About the Author

A global resume writer and career coach, Mark is known for his honest, direct, and hard-hitting advice, helping people manage job applications and succeed at interviews. Now based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he is the co-founder of Real Life Career Advice and a prolific publisher, contributing to several industry magazines and his daily career advice blog to his 45,000 LinkedIn followers.

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