The “Open to Work” Badge on LinkedIn: How to Use It

You’ve probably seen it by now: LinkedIn’s “Open to Work” feature. It’s a green banner with the hashtag #opentowork that appears with your profile photo. It’s just another indication that times have changed. LinkedIn has grown from its start as a resume repository to a content platform and is now an even more sophisticated recruiting tool for candidates, recruiters and employers. 

With the most recent round of tech layoffs, your feed may look a little different these days. If you live or work in tech-heavy areas, your network may be full of the green badges. Also, lots of posts that say things like, “Hello friends! I was indeed impacted by the recent layoff round at __________. I’m looking for a new role and would appreciate it if you keep me in mind for any connections or opportunities.” The US Dept of Labor says that 85% of jobs are found and filled through networking and relationships, so letting your network know you’re looking is a great move. But it has to be done right!  We’ve been fielding a lot of questions about these badges and how to use them properly, so we thought we’d address some issues.

  • There is no shame in being part of a layoff. Let’s get the first question out of the way: is there a stigma or downside to posting that you’re open to work? We think this is a firm no. However, there is a right way and wrong way to do it. Layoffs and RIFs are part of business, there is no shame in that. Acknowledging you’re looking for work in a professional manner to your network is a great way to start your job search. Note that advice on this tool that was given when it was launched in 2020 isn’t relevant now (remember, it was a pandemic!) It was much more controversial then, and has become much more accepted as high unemployment eased and it became more of a candidates’ market. Times have changed, change with them.
  • Choose wisely. There are actually two options: one to be open to work ONLY to recruiters, and one that is open to everyone. The option that is only open to recruiters using LinkedIn Recruiter will not notify your whole network. And you don’t need the photo frame – recruiters will generally ignore it. The key is letting recruiters know you’re looking for opportunities. It’s up to you whether to let your whole network know, or just recruiters. 
  • Be professional, always. Keep it positive. Posting that you’re open to work because you’ve been laid off is different than posting, “Hey I just got let go by ____ because my boss was a complete nut and it’s a terrible place to work.” Being let go brings up strong emotions, no matter the reason. Don’t process those emotions on LinkedIn – this is your professional footprint. It is not Facebook or Twitter. This is where you project your best self.
  • Let people know what you’re looking for. Posting, “hey I’m open to anything!” isn’t a good idea. Besides the whiff of desperation, it doesn’t tell your network what your skill set is. You need to remind people (or educate them) about what you do. If you’re looking for a role as a UX Designer or an IT Manager or a Senior Marketing Director, say that! Your college classmates might not know what you’ve done for the years since graduation. A statement like, “I’m looking for a new role as a Senior Marketing Director. I have more than 20 years experience working in the tech industry, focusing on SaaS and B2B marketing, and managing teams of up to 20.” Get your credentials out fast, and let people know what you’re looking for.
  • The badge isn’t a replacement for a solid profile. We’ve seen people who use the badge without doing a thorough review and updating of their LinkedIn profile. It will never be as important as a robust profile that details your experience, gives examples of your work, links to portfolios if applicable and uses bullet points and correct keywords. As always, a killer summary is a must. Your LinkedIn profile is your professional calling card – make sure it’s stellar before you draw more eyeballs to it. 

In these uncertain times, LinkedIn is more important than ever. If you’ve been impacted by the economic turndown, choosing to display the “open to work” badge is a solid option. Of course, having a recruiter on your side is even better. TalentReach is proud to continue to match top candidates and employers as we navigate this new hiring landscape.


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