Open to Work: Should You Advertise Your Availability?
In many ways, searching for a job is like looking for a date. You need to get the word out that you’re available. But you don’t want to appear desperate, make potential prospects wonder why you haven’t already been snatched up, or alert your current employer that you’re looking. There’s a fine line between advertising your availability and sinking your own ship. We’re here to help you navigate that tightrope.
Should I use the #OpenToWork feature on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn members currently have two #OpenToWork options available. You can put an #OpenToWork photo frame around your picture that identifies you as open to work for all LinkedIn members. Or you can forgo the frame, and specify you’re open to work only for members using LinkedIn Recruiter.
LinkedIn Recruiter accounts are premium, meaning that users have paid a fee to help them find potential employees. LinkedIn states they will do their best to make sure you will not show up in searches made by people who work for your current employer, but they do not guarantee it.
Pros and cons
There are pros and cons to both options. The main pro of selecting the Recruiter option is that your profile will, in theory, only be seen by individuals actually seeking employees. Therefore, people who you don’t want to know that you’re looking for work are less likely to find out. Another plus is that the “desperation” stigma will be reduced.
The primary con of the Recruiter option is that it limits your reach, i.e., fewer people will see you’re available, which lowers the number of inquiries you’re likely to receive.
One of the biggest detriments to the all-members option is that anyone with a LinkedIn account can see you’re putting out feelers. So, if your neighbor’s wife is friends with your current boss, word could easily get out to the wrong people. Another con is that you’re opening yourself up to all sorts of spam and scams. The biggest advantage is that you’re casting a really wide net, which ups your chances of being noticed and contacted.
The third option is to not use LinkedIn’s #OpenToWork at all. According to marketing executive, D. B. Wienke, “recruiters are looking for the right candidate, not the right job seeker.” In other words, recruiters are not on the hunt for candidates with an #OpenToWork photo frame. If they see your skills and experience match what they’re looking for, they are going to contact you anyway, regardless of whether you are actively seeking employment.
Freelancers and contract workers have little to fear regarding employers finding out they’re seeking work. But at the same time, simply by definition, they are at least open to be contacted by recruiters and potential employers. Therefore, the #OpenToWork feature is essentially redundant for these individuals.
Other ways to attract employers
No matter how urgently you feel you need a job, you don’t need to stand on a street corner with blinking lights and arrows pointing at you. You can let the working world know you’re available in many ways.
It’s important to market yourself, but in a manner that exhibits earnest professionalism. The brand you create for yourself needs to represent who you really are, and all that you have to offer. A personal branding statement should sell your assets, not simply announce you’re available.
By maintaining a strong and steady online presence, recruiters will swim to you, without you having to try and hook them. Whether it’s on LinkedIn or any other type of social media platform, make sure you have a professional picture on display, a well-tuned, up-to-date resume available and a branding statement that says you’re a real catch.
Again, looking for a job is a lot like dating. You want to attract attention based on what you bring to the table, not because you’re the loudest one in the room.