LinkedIn Job Search: Avoid ‘Seeking New Opportunities’

Written by Idunn Wolfe

Graphic Design by Heather Kitchell​

Laila Gets Frustrated When She Doesn't Understand Why She Keeps Getting Ignored Except for Job Scams

The job search process can leave you feeling like a living meme. But don’t despair!

How you go about your LinkedIn job search is crucial. And If you’re hoping that using ‘seeking new opportunities’ or ‘open to work’ on LinkedIn will get you hired, I’ve got news for you! Using an open to work headline or picture border can backfire on you, badly. Worse than being a Game of Thrones fan during Season 8.

Let’s be real, recent times feel like living through an episode of the Twilight Zone. It’s dark and disorienting, with millions of Americans losing jobs due to covid-19. And if you’re searching for a job, it’s tempting to try anything to snag the attention of employers. But there’s good reason to avoid LinkedIn’s open to work feature (or any other similar tagline) on your profile.

It won’t help you stand out.

“Number one is there’s tons of competition,” says Super Julie Braun, Founder of Super Purposes™. In one quick search during our chat,  621,000 people show up as seeking new opportunities, 880,000 for seeking opportunities, and 3,460,000 results for those open to work. With so many people in the same category, it won’t give you an edge to find your kind of work.

It looks desperate and may scare off potential employers.

“The desperation for me is like a billboard or cry for help,” says Super Julie. “A lot of people are going to be in the mode of well, I lost my job because of covid.” Employers want to hire someone who currently has a job, a network, and validation from another company that skills and performance are valued. With the pandemic’s economic upheaval, there are more job seekers than jobs posted in many industries. This is known as an employer-driven market. A substantial influx of job applications means organizations will be extra picky. They scour LinkedIn for specific keywords and job titles and filter out all but the top candidates.

Confidence suggests competence, and the opposite is also true. By using a tagline that makes you appear frantic or open to anything, you can eliminate yourself from their list of candidates before you even get a chance to speak with anyone. And even if you don’t get overlooked, you can still run into problems.

Frustrated-man

If you feel your job search isn’t adding up to what you’re worth, you aren’t alone.

Recruiters are going to offer low-level positions, and you may attract scammers

“If I am a recruiter,” says Super Julie, “what I’m going to look at them for are low level, low pay entry-level positions, probably in sales. I might package it as marketing, like hey, I’ve got a great opportunity for you!” If that’s the sort of employment you desire, that might be fine. But for many, this can be frustrating. It may not be at all what you are looking for—and may not pay the bills.

Even if it is the kind of work you want, scammers aiming to knab your personal information are a dangerous consequence of flagging yourself as seeking new opportunities. Would-be thieves use these designations as a way to target people in need. Unfortunately, personal identity theft is especially rife in the wake of covid-related unemployment.

So what to do instead? 

Focus on developing your professional network, especially through LinkedIn. It may seem less direct than applications or marketing yourself as seeking employment, but it is much more impactful in the long run. “What people can be doing, and this goes for our online course is, we teach people how to develop relationships with human beings,” says Super Julie. “Start connecting with your 2nd connections on LinkedIn, and work from there.” 

You want people to see you and get to know you as a human being. “That is so much more powerful than having a black and white resume or even a LinkedIn profile,” says Super Julie. “It’s about racking up meetings. You want to treat it like a first date you know, getting to know them, their problems, ‘so tell me all about you!”

What can you say to make a solid connection that will help your job search?

Say why you want to meet, and give a call to action. For example, you can write: “Hey Jim, I am looking at (their workplace) as a company I want to work for in the future. I’d love to chat with you about your career, and how you became a program manager there. I am free at X PM on Thursday, does that work for you?” Better yet, if you are into the work they’ve done (maybe you listen to their podcast), bring this up and ask to talk about how they built their skills and expertise.

Once you meet, start getting to know your new connection. Look for ways you can use your skills and know-how to solve their headaches. “If you told me that your number one problem was better branding,” says Super Julie, “I am going to talk to you about that, and give ideas on how I can help.”

Last but not least, stay involved and active during your LinkedIn job search.

“We associate experience with money,” says Super Julie. “I think that people are so dialed into if I’m not getting paid, I can’t put anything on my experience. And I think that’s wrong.” Shh! Nobody has to know you are an intern, a volunteer, or don’t earn an income. It’s still experience, and it counts. It can also serve as a way to stay updated in your field and expand the size of your network. This increases your chances of finding your next role!

With this extra bit of insight, you can make an informed decision about using open to work or seeking new opportunities on LinkedIn. If you do, consider using the option to set visibility so only recruiters can see it. And for more ways to improve your online job search, read this article to enhance your LinkedIn profile. Now go forth, prosper—and Have a Super Day!