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Be careful when stating you’re ‘open to work’ on LinkedIn
April 1, 2022 |

Current employer may see status and raise questions; if you are a good fit, recruiters will find you—they often prefer those not looking

Question: Do you recommend turning on “open to work” on LinkedIn? Should that be made visible to recruiters only, or to the public?

David Martin, CEO and Managing Partner, Sterling Martin Associates

Depending on your current employment and job search status, you may want to make that visible to recruiters only. If you are actively searching for a job and not employed, then of course it should be visible to the public. Having that status publicly listed when you are currently employed might cause issues with your employer, so that’s not advisable. If your organization employs a team or individual who uses LinkedIn to source candidates for internal staffing or other reasons, and therefore would see what recruiters see on LinkedIn, you may want to consider leaving the function turned off entirely.

It may be best to take a “better safe than sorry” approach to the use of the “open to work” function if you’re currently employed. In practice, recruiters who feel your profile is a good fit for a role they are engaged to fill will reach out to you regardless of whether you indicate you are looking.

Jill Christie, President, Tuft & Associates

If you’re signaling that you’re “open to work,” be fully prepared to answer a recruiter’s questions about why you’re looking for a new opportunity or why you are out of work.

If you are unemployed and actively job hunting, the “open to work” feature is one more way to inform recruiters and your professional network about your status and generate visibility, advice and connections. If you do turn on the “open to work” feature, also be proactive in letting recruiters and your professional network know what you are looking for in your next job.

However, while there’s nothing wrong with looking for a job, consider if this is the message you want to lead with. Recruiters look for the best person for the job and are often drawn to those currently employed. The perception is that the best talent isn’t looking for a job and they’re in high demand. Of course, this isn’t always the case: Some of the most talented people Tuft has recruited were in between jobs.

If your LinkedIn profile is optimized to reflect your career achievements and aligns well with your next desired role, a recruiter will likely find you and reach out whether you are “open to work” or not.

CEO Update asks readers for questions to pass along to executive recruiters. If you have one you would like us to pose, email