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Some job seekers speak loudly about their availability

Looking for a job. Should you advertise your availability on LinkedIn and other social networks?

During the pandemic, hashtags such as #opentowork, #hireme and #ono – open to new opportunities – lit up social media and networking platforms, as unemployed professionals announced they were in the labor market. job.

This is a marked departure from years past, when some job seekers feared that bragging about their unemployment status would stigmatize them, says Suzi Owens, director of communications at LinkedIn. The fact that millions of workers were made redundant or resigned during the pandemic, she says, made many people feel more comfortable sharing.

“People are just more vulnerable,” she says. With uncrowded or paused job fairs, job searches during the pandemic have become an increasingly virtual affair, with a candidate’s online presence looming even more prominently than before.

In 2020, LinkedIn launched new tools for professionals to broadcast their job posting status to anyone who visits their page, including with a green frame that says #OpentoWork for users to add to their profile photos. Over 10 million people around the world have used this feature. LinkedIn says its data shows that those who use the photo frame receive 40% more posts from recruiters and are 20% more likely to receive posts from other site members.

Yet recruiters and career coaches disagree on the extent to which candidates should adopt such tactics.

“The data I’ve seen shows a lot of bias related to unemployment,” says Angela Watts, Boise, Idaho-based job search coach and former corporate recruiter for Fortune 500 companies, including the Albertsons grocer. Cos. and New York Life Insurance Co. In her experience, she says, both before and after the pandemic, recruiters often view jobless job seekers more critically, fearing they may have suffered. loss of skills or personal problems at work.

Even though the pandemic has improved it to some extent, she says she advises job seekers she works with against using the hashtag: “I’m not willing to let my clients take this risk. “

Unemployed people tend to have more difficulty finding jobs: a 2017 New York Fed study, for example, found that while those job seekers sent 40% of the sampled applications, they did not. ‘received only 16% of job offers.

Survey data collected by Indeed this year suggests similar trends. Among hiring decision makers, 77% believed that being unemployed could mean that a candidate would need more training or support, while 70% believed that it suggested that an unemployed candidate would be less productive if they were was hired.

Some recruiters, like Ilana Pinsky, a technology recruiter based in Portland, Ore., Say that prospect is outdated.

“I definitely prioritize people who have a #OpentoWork banner because they will be more accessible and will be more inclined to respond,” she said of recruiting in the Covid-19 era. After nearly two years of the pandemic, she says recruiters need to be more empathetic, adding that she hired a software developer who used the banner.

Before adding #OpentoWork to his LinkedIn profile this month after his short-term program director ended, Jesse Lindow, 49, of Pacifica, Calif., Briefly wondered if people would judge him. : “You think, is this going to come as seemingly needy?” Or will it be like, ‘Oh, no! Are you unemployed ? Why this?'”

He was convinced his connections knew the quality of his work, he said, and got down to it.

“Your network is your network,” he says. “These are people I work with and have known for 20 years. In one day, he had received a handful of messages from contacts offering to help.

Job seekers need to understand that even in today’s tight job market, the usefulness of hashtags is limited, says Dan Roth, a San Diego-based tech recruiter. He says that in large companies, most recruiters use job title specific keywords as search terms, not general hashtags.

Mr Roth experienced it on both sides, he says. As a job seeker during the pandemic, he used the hashtag with mixed results. “I discovered that the only ones who contacted me because of the banner were jobs I didn’t want. “

Yet others say they have been successful. In Lawrence, Kan., Brian Pandji, 40, posted #OpentoWork on his LinkedIn profile after losing his job this year as a QA manager. About a half-dozen recruiters have contacted, he says, along with people in his network. One of his former colleagues, he says, helped him navigate the health information technology company where he later found work as a business analyst.

“You would be surprised how many people respond with support and encouragement,” he says.

Roshni Arora, 26, until recently a mortgage processing expert at Better.com, says the purpose of a network is to use it. After being fired this month, Ms. Arora started using the #OpentoWork hashtag on LinkedIn and received nearly a dozen messages from recruiters within days, not counting personal contact notes.

“#OpentoWork is now very normal,” she said, adding that she wasn’t worried about the optics.

Write to Te-Ping Chen at te-ping.chen@wsj.com

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