Be Careful Using OpenToWork on Your LinkedIn Profile
By Tom Sorensen
Thursday, 25th April 2024

If you don’t want your boss or colleagues to know that you are job hunting, you must know how to use (or not use) the Open-to-Work on your LinkedIn profile.

If you’re looking for a job, or perhaps just open to hearing about job opportunities in the market while still being employed, you can let recruiters or all LinkedIn members know.

What is OpenToWork on LinkedIn?

It was mid-year 2020 that LinkedIn introduced the feature called 'Open To Work' that activates a section on your LinkedIn profile.

The photo frame around your personal photograph will only be shown if you choose option (b); it's your choice.

  1. Companies who have the LinkedIn product called Recruiter
  2. Everyone that looks at your profile – including your boss and colleagues

LinkedIn Recruiter is a premium service app that allows businesses to view and search through every single profile on the network no matter if connected to that profile or not.

You should note that LinkedIn gives you this “warning”:

To protect your privacy, we take steps to prevent LinkedIn Recruiter users who work at your company and related companies from seeing your shared career interests, but we can’t guarantee complete privacy.

How to add OpenToWork on LinkedIn profile

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Click View-Profile.
  3. Click the Open-to button.
  4. From the pulldown menu, click Finding-a-new-job.
  5. Provide the requested information in the pop-up window that appears.
  6. Click Add-to-profile.

When you fill in your job preferences in the window that popped up (point 5 above), such as Job Titles and Location, you will also be asked these two questions, which are under the header Visibility. Choose one of them.

  • Do you only want recruiters and companies using the LinkedIn Recruiter app to see that you are open to new job opportunities? This option will not add the OpenToWork frame around your photo.
  • Do you want all LinkedIn members to see OpenToWork on your profile and the frame OpenToWork around your photo?

Is OpenToWork a sign of desperation?

Some will tell you that the OpenToWork frame is a sign of panic and desperation.

That it turns off recruiters and talent acquisition people and therefore you should not add the OpenToWork photo frame.

Obviously, it’s easy for people with a secure job and income to say this.

If you have ever been between jobs (the nice way to say unemployed) you know about sleepless nights, the eroding self-confidence because of too many rejections, and the 24/7 job hunting frustrations.

Even Forbes has weighed in on the subject:

“In fact, employers or recruiters may actually be turned off by the open-to-work designation because of the well-known preference for “passive candidates” who are fully employed, have an optimized LinkedIn profile and don't seem to be actively looking or potentially working at the competition.”

The verdict is still out there. You will hear different opinions depending on who you ask. We have no one correct answer to the question about sharing OpenToWork with all LinkedIn members.

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.


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