How To Turn On And Use LinkedIn “Open Candidates” (Plus More New Features)

how to use linkedin open candidates and does it work

If you’ve been on LinkedIn lately you might have noticed a new feature called LinkedIn Open Candidates. You can use it to “signal” recruiters that you’re open to new opportunities, without your employer seeing… At least in theory. But does it really work? Let’s look at how turn on LinkedIn Open Candidates and how to best use it.

We’ll also look at the pros and cons of using LinkedIn Open Candidates so you’ll know whether it’s worth it.

We invited professional resume writer and LinkedIn expert Jessica Hernandez to reveal the details and explain how to use this feature and a few other new features for a smoother and more successful job search.

How to Use LinkedIn Open Candidates (and Does it Work?)

There are numerous ways to job search—from applying to job boards and company websites to using your network to find job opportunities. As a career search expert, I advise my clients to explore every avenue for sharing their resume and applying for jobs.

One of the best tools is LinkedIn because of the number of users and recruiters on the platform (they have over 450 million members). And they recently released a new feature that’s worth knowing about… called Open Candidates.

LinkedIn Open Candidates is a profile feature you can “Turn On” to let recruiters know that you are open to new career opportunities. To sweeten the deal, the signal you send out is “hidden” from your current employer and partner companies.

The program also lets you select specific positions and businesses you would like to be considered for. The exposure job seekers can get by using Open Candidates is limitless, given the fact that thousands of recruiters turn to LinkedIn each day to look for talent.

“Turning On” Your Signal

To let recruiters know you are ready for new opportunities, you must turn “On” your signal. To do so, you must have a LinkedIn account. Once you have one, go to your home page and click the “Jobs” tab on the toolbar.

When the “Jobs” window opens, select “Preferences” at the top of the page. When the window opens, you will see a slide button. Simply move the button to the “On” position and fill out the short questions about your career preferences.

There, you’ll find options from freelance work to C-level positions to match you with recruiters looking to fill such positions. You can watch a quick tutorial on how to use Open Candidates on the LinkedIn Official Blog.

What Happens Once You’re Using It?

When you set your signal to “On,” your information will be shared with recruiters looking for professional talent in the areas you indicated. In addition to expanding your job search by allowing a wide variety of recruiters to see your information, your signal is “hidden” from recruiters at the company you’re currently working at, as well as partner companies.

This makes it less of a worry that your employer will find out you are looking for fresh career options. I offer a word of caution, however, in regard to this last part, so be sure to read “Flaws in the Feature” below.

Flaws in the Feature

Just as there is an upside to Open Candidates, there are a couple of flaws in the program. In her recent blog, “A Close Look at ‘Open to New Opportunities”, Irina Shamaeva points out that the fact you are available to explore career options is seen only by subscribers to LinkedIn Recruiter, which means many smaller companies and recruiting firms may not receive your signal. LinkedIn Recruiter is a paid subscription and it’s possible some smaller companies are still not using it.

The other issue pointed out by Shamaeva is that while the feature “hides” your signal from your current employer, there’s still a way they could find out you’re job searching. If divisions of your current company are listed on LinkedIn as a separate company, they may still receive your signal.

Third-party recruiters that may have your company as a client could also see that you are on the market for a new job. Plus, if your boss has friends in other companies with a subscription to the recruiter services, he or she could simply ask them to find out if any of their employees are on the hunt for a new job.

If you are worried about your boss finding out that you are looking, this feature is an improvement, but isn’t a guaranteed solution.

Who Can Use LinkedIn Open Candidates?

Open Candidates can be used on any desktop or mobile device, and it’s currently available in the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia. LinkedIn plans to take the feature global in the near future so if you’re not on the list, keep checking in a few months.

Other New LinkedIn Features and Benefits for Job Seekers

Another career tool offered to professionals is LinkedIn Learning. The program allows you to take a variety of free courses to beef up your existing skills and teach you new ones at the same time. The short and easy-to-follow courses range from “WordPress Essential Training” to “How to Write a Press Release.”

You can even take a course on “Making Recruiters Come to You.” When you freshen your skills and learn new ones, you can add them to your resume. This will draw more interest to you as a potential candidate and makes you more appealing to recruiters.

Along with Open Candidates and LinkedIn Learning, they also recently added a feature called Career Pages. It allows you to learn more about the culture of companies you may be interested in.

Another useful tool is “Meet the Team.” The program lets you search for and view the profiles of potential future colleagues by searching company names that turn your head. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to see the connections you already have at firms that might be able to help with positive references and referrals to hiring managers.

Making Your LinkedIn Work for You

I tell my clients that first impressions are important on a resume, and LinkedIn is no different. To make the most out of your job search efforts, review your LinkedIn profile and make the necessary adjustments before you begin your job search.

Make sure everything is up to date, and that your past jobs are listed in a way that is going to impress as many recruiters as possible. (That link has 5 great tips to help you).

Also, before recruiters call, be sure to think about things they will likely wish to discuss such as:

  • Career types and positions that interest you
  • Whether you are willing to relocate, and where
  • Potential start dates
  • Size and culture of the company you’d like to work for

I encourage you to give this a try in your next job search. Make sure your profile is up to date. Then turn your signal to “On” to attract recruiters. You never know who might answer the call … and the doors it could open for you.

Editor’s Update: 

If you have interviews coming up and don’t want to leave anything to chance, I’ve created a new guide where you can copy my exact step-by-step method for getting job offers. You can get more details here.


About this guest author:

linkedin and resume writing tips

I love to connect and network. Feel free to send me an invite on LinkedIn here.

You can also find me at Great Resumes Fast, where I help busy job seekers create interviewing-winning resumes, shorten their job searches, and increase their earning potential.



Hold Up! Before you go on an interview...

Get our free PDF with the top 30 interview questions to practice. Join 10,000+ job seekers in our email newsletter and we'll send you the 30 must-know questions, plus our best insider tips for turning interviews into job offers.


Comments are closed