By Lydia Laughlin, Senior Consultant
Whether you are on LinkedIn actively job searching, passively job searching, networking, or just catching up on the latest news, you would have noticed LinkedIn’s “#OpentoWork” feature. Since its release in 2020 there have been mixed opinions about it, specifically the green banner and whether it helps or hinders a job search.
In the 19 years since its launch, LinkedIn has gone from being a nice to have to being an absolute must-have when it comes to job search. With more than 58 million companies listed, 49 million members using LinkedIn to job search weekly, and six people being hired every minute through LinkedIn, it should come as no surprise that 87% of recruiters are regularly using LinkedIn to find candidates. (Statistics via LinkedIn.com)
Currently over 12 million members are using the #OpenToWork feature on LinkedIn. It allows LinkedIn users to indicate that they are available for new opportunities. To do so you must fill out a form that includes target job titles, work locations, types of workplaces (onsite, hybrid or remote), and job types. The final option on the form gives users the option to have this information visible to “all LinkedIn members” or to “recruiters only.”
This is where the real debate lies because as a job seeker: are you better off with putting the green banner around your photo and making it visible to everyone on LinkedIn, or just have it visible to those with paid recruiter profiles with no green banner showing?
To answer this question, you need to remember the role of your resume and LinkedIn profile in your job search. Gone are the days of creating resumes and LinkedIn profiles with a laundry list of duties and responsibilities. These items now function as your marketing material, communicating your accomplishments and telling the reader what sets you apart and why they should hire you. To effectively market yourself you need to outline loud and clear why you are the optimal choice and how you can help organizations succeed.
So, what’s wrong with having your information available to everyone and displaying the green banner around your photo? Inherently nothing, but when we look at LinkedIn as a marketing tool – the green banner is putting your availability at the front and center of your marketing campaign versus what you have to offer. This would be like using your headline to say “open to new opportunities,” rather than using that space to create a keyword-rich headline that gives the reader a snapshot who you are as a professional, enticing them to click on your page (side note: please don’t do this either!). Your availability is not the most interesting thing about you, nor the most marketable.
The main benefit of using the green banner is that it very quickly and publicly informs your network that you are looking for new opportunities which will likely result in an increase in reach outs and connections offering both support and help. The downside to this is it is not a very targeted approach. It is publicly blasting the information with little context. I recommend a more personal approach to reach your network with individual messaging, and to arrange meetings and informational interviews. If using the green banner, make sure you are taking the extra steps for more engagement.
An alternative option is to set your #OpentoWork information to be available to recruiters only. If a recruiter comes across your LinkedIn profile and is interested, they will likely reach out to you regardless of your #OpenToWork status, so it doesn’t hurt to have this information included on backend visibility to recruiters. It gives them an indication that you would be interested in speaking with them. This is also more subtle than including the green banner across your photo.
Regardless of which setting you decide on, it is not enough just to make your profile #OpenToWork. Make sure you are optimizing your LinkedIn profile so that when you get increased engagement and traffic to your profile, it’s truly marketing you as a professional and demonstrates why an organization should hire you. Clearly outlining your qualifications, skills, and background for your target role will go a long way to highlighting what a recruiter and ultimately, a hiring manager, need. Happy job hunting!