Career Empowerment: Taking Back Your Control (With Insights From Teal's #OpentoWork Survey)

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December 4, 2023
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min read

3 key takeaways

  • Teal's #OpenToWork survey results
  • How to make the move from passive to proactive career advancement
  • Balancing idealism vs. practical realities in job-seeking

When it comes to the job market, everyone seems to have an opinion.

And whether you're currently navigating unemployment, looking to maintain a linear career path, or contemplating a change after years with the same company, advice is often plentiful but not always backed by hard evidence.

What if you could silence the noise and base your job search on data?

Teal's comprehensive survey cuts through speculation to reveal the real impact of LinkedIn's #OpenToWork feature on your job search.

The results? They may challenge what you—and others—have assumed about signaling your employment status with a green banner.

The narrative that job seekers like you are at the mercy of misconceived notions and armchair experts is outdated. Instead, consider a fresh perspective: You're in the driver's seat of your career trajectory. And with the right approach, you can steer your professional narrative toward the opportunities you want and deserve.

#OpenToWork survey results and job seeker realities

The green #OpenToWork banner on LinkedIn—a signal of a job seeker's availability and readiness for new opportunities—often raises questions (and opinions) about its impact.

Key findings of Teal's #OpenToWork survey

In a recent Teal survey, gathering responses from recruiters and hiring managers, results reveal the reality—challenging common misconceptions. As one hiring professional puts it:

"If a job seeker is actively seeking employment, they should absolutely use the green banner that's designed to advertise one is actively seeking employment. I filter my talent search parameters using 'OpenToWork' first."
Survery results for using a LinkedIn feature for career empowerment
91% of hiring professionals don't view the #OpenToWork banner as a deterrent.

Talent acquisition, recruiters, hiring managers, and anyone responsible for finding qualified candidates have an advantage when using open-to-work as a search parameter. One recruiter surveyed said: 

"It's a helpful tool, and I truly am confused by any recruiter who doesn't utilize it to their advantage. Our goal is to fill jobs, so why put up a roadblock to finding potential candidates?"
Survery results for using a LinkedIn feature for career empowerment
72% of hiring professionals surveyed have hired candidates with an #OpenToWork banner.

When looking for those ready, willing, and open to new opportunities, a banner allows candidates to be found—quickly and easily. As one experienced hiring professional put it:

"#OpenToWork is the best way to broadcast to sources that are looking for you that you may still be available for work, which just ups the odds one of us will reach out for a discovery call."
Survery results for using a LinkedIn feature for career empowerment
69% of hiring professionals view the banner and consider, "Do I have a job for them?"

And finally, only 18% of those surveyed remain neutral on whether or not the banner is viewed as a negative or positive addition to a job search.

The reality of using #OpenToWork

So, what do these insights point to? Plainly stated: It's likely that no one is thinking about the green banner as much as you are.

The findings of Teal's survey indicate that job seekers might overestimate the negative perceptions hiring professionals have of the #OpenToWork banner—if they're even considering it at all. One hiring professional surveyed had the following to say:

"There is nothing shameful, desperate, or [insert other trending opinions here] about being an active job seeker. Speaking as someone just over 40, I challenge anyone to audit whether they or someone they know has ever been laid off, faced with a voluntary or involuntary career pivot, or has just started out after a degree; if anyone is still at zero, especially after the past 3.5 years, I would be very surprised."

This realization paves the way for a pivotal shift in perspective—not just a shift in strategy but also in mindset: from being overly concerned about external perceptions to embracing a proactive approach.

It's a shift from passive job searching to a proactive stance, focusing less on how the green banner is perceived and more on actively seeking opportunities and being ready and open to new opportunities.

Reframing #OpenToWork: A symbol of readiness and enthusiasm

What if we see #OpenToWork as more than just an availability alert?

As a proactive declaration of readiness and enthusiasm for new opportunities, this mindset shift grants you greater control in your job search—turning a passive tool into an active asset.

Digital Marketing Manager and Creative Strategist Michael Cook took matters into his own hands when it comes to being open to opportunities.

Tired of the debate on what should be an effective tool, he swapped his green banner for a blue one—making it his and taking a proactive approach to owning his readiness for new possibilities.

Marketing Strategist and Client Relations Manager Gabriella Burst was also ready to take back control over the green banner debate. Gabrielle says:

"In the world of job searching, where often it can feel like you're just another face in the crowd, it can feel full of despair, but a simple shift in color can spark a beacon of hope. Changing my #OpenToWork banner from green to pink wasn't just about standing out; it was about being innovative, challenging the norm, and embracing the possibility that even the smallest changes can lead to new opportunities. I don't want to underestimate the power of creativity, joy, and hope in my journey."

From passive to proactive career empowerment

Changing your job search approach from a waiting game to actively looking for opportunities can significantly impact your career progression.  

Think of this as a mindset makeover.

More than worrying about what others see in a green banner, this shift is about moving from a reactive stance, where you're simply responding to job postings or waiting for recruiters to reach out, to a proactive one, where you're taking the initiative. 

Playing to win

So, what does it mean to shift to a "play to win" attitude in your career?

More than just avoiding loss or maintaining the basic status quo; it's about actively seeking growth, learning new skills, studying workplace trends, expanding your professional network, and applying for roles that might feel like a stretch. If you're at least 70% qualified for a job, then you're skilled enough to apply. 

Think about it this way: In most games, players who play not to lose often adopt a defensive strategy. They're focused on avoiding mistakes and preserving what they have. On the other hand, players who play to win are proactive, look for possibilities, chances, and potential, and aren't afraid to step out of their comfort zone.

Applying this to your career, "playing to win" means:

  • Not waiting for burnout or a layoff reorg to achieve goals
  • Seeking career advancement and new job opportunities
  • Reaching out to industry connections
  • Building a network
  • Forming and nurturing positive relationships that are mutually beneficial
  • Posting on LinkedIn
  • Creating targeted applications
  • Pitching your dream companies (even if they're not advertising the role you want)
  • Using a green banner that signals you're ready and excited to work

Taking the reins: You control your career

You hold the reins of your professional journey. 

In a crowded and unstable market, this might sound privileged, but rest assured, this isn't a mindset of entitlement but rather one of career empowerment. It isn't just about job performance or how senior managers or senior leaders assess your career; it's about how you control what comes next—even if you don't have a job...yet.

Your empowerment comes from understanding that you have the ability, knowledge, skills, determination, and resourcefulness to make choices and take actions that lead you to the career you imagine.

You are worthy of the career you want.

How to steer your career proactively

Adopting proactive career and job search strategies can significantly change the outcome. But there isn't an easy button; it still takes work.

Here are some ways you can take a proactive approach to your career:

Set realistic goals

Start by identifying what you want. What does career success look like to you personally?

  • A higher position
  • A specific company
  • A new industry
  • More money

Understand your underlying motivations, try taking a work styles assessment to determine what drains you and energizes you, and get crystal clear on your goals and your alignment with those goals to give your job search direction at every career stage.

Don't throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks; instead, get to know yourself, how you work, and get a better understanding of what you really want. 

A work styles assessment as a tool for career empowerment
Use a work styles assessment to determine exactly how you work best.

Create a strategic plan

Once you've set your goals, map out a job search plan

Depending on where you are in your journey, this could involve things like upskilling, professional development courses, getting a bit uncomfortable, reaching out to connections or contacts, asking hard questions, targeting only specific roles, and expanding your professional network.

Focus on career development

If there's a gap between what you want and your current skillset, take steps to bridge that gap.

Whether through free online courses, industry certifications, or by attending workshops and seminars, taking a proactive stance on career empowerment means putting the effort into getting yourself where you need to be.

Expand your network

Your network can open doors to unadvertised opportunities.

Attend business networking events (like industry conferences), join professional groups, and connect with peers, employees, and mentors on platforms like LinkedIn.

Engage actively on LinkedIn

Beyond just posting your own shower thoughts, actively engage with content, share genuine insights and learnings, and establish your professional brand.

This increases your visibility to potential employers and can help establish you as an expert in whatever you want to be known for.

Pitch proactively

Don't wait for the perfect job listing. Rather, pitch yourself as the solution to a company's problem.

If there's a company you admire, reach out to them. Express your interest and how you can contribute to their team (even if they aren't currently advertising your dream job role).

Use #OpenToWork as part of a whole

Instead of just adding the banner to your profile, use it intentionally and accompany it with proactive networking and job-seeking activities. 

#OpenToWork is a part of a holistic job search toolkit, not the entire strategy.

The outcome of a proactive approach

When you take a proactive approach, you're not just waiting for more opportunities but actively creating them. This approach often leads to discovering paths you hadn't considered, learning new skills, and ultimately, finding a role (or roles) that align with your career aspirations and values.

It's about navigating your own career path with intention and confidence.

The decisions you make and the actions you take have a powerful impact on where you end up. Embrace this control.

Idealism vs. practical realities in job-seeking

While adopting a proactive and empowered approach to your job search is important, it's also necessary to recognize the balance between idealism and the practical realities of the job market.

As much as we strive to control our career trajectories, external factors such as the economy, industry-specific trends (tech, for example), and unforeseen personal circumstances can influence job search outcomes.

Acknowledging this balance helps in setting realistic expectations and creating manageable strategies. So, what's within your control at all times?

  1. Skill development: Continuously improving and updating your skills is within your control. Whether it's through online courses, workshops, or self-study, improving your skillset makes you a more competitive candidate.
  2. Networking: Building and maintaining professional relationships can open doors to opportunities that might not be publicly advertised. Engaging on platforms like LinkedIn, attending virtual events, and reaching out to connections can significantly impact your job search.
  3. Tailoring applications: Customizing your resume and cover letter for each job application is a crucial step. Highlighting how your skills and experiences align with the specific requirements of the job shows employers your genuine interest and suitability for the role. The role of your resume is to showcase how the top 10% of your skills and experience align with a job's requirements.
  4. Mindset and attitude: This is a tough one; there's no denying it. Maintaining a positive outlook, resilience, and openness to different opportunities is key. While you can't control every aspect of the job search process, your mindset is your own and can influence how you respond to challenges and setbacks.
  5. Proactive job searching: Rather than passively waiting for opportunities, actively seeking out and applying for jobs, reaching out to potential employers, and showcasing your skills and experience can lead to more opportunities.

Dreaming big and aiming high is part of growing in your career, but it's also vital to stay grounded in reality.

Understanding and accepting the limitations of what you can control allows you to focus your efforts more effectively and reduces the frustration that can come from unrealistic expectations.

By balancing a proactive, empowered approach with a realistic understanding of today's market, you can navigate your job search and career development more effectively and resiliently.

Effort behind opportunity: It takes work to get work

In addition to the things you can control, it will take work to get work. There's no magic wand in job searching or career advancement. It requires dedication, strategy, and consistent effort.

To make your job search more effective:

  • Get clear on what you want: Follow the steps above to take a proactive approach to your entire career.
  • Target your applications: Rather than applying to every job, focus on opportunities that align with your skills and career goals.
  • Tailor your resume: Customize your resume for each application to highlight relevant experience and skills.
  • Improve your online presence: Ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete. An optimized LinkedIn will showcase your professional achievements and aspirations.
  • Network actively: Build and maintain connections that could lead to job opportunities. Networking isn't just about asking for a job but building relationships.

If it takes work to get work, streamlining your approach can help save time on tasks like tailoring your resume, managing your applications, improving your LinkedIn profile, and more.

With Teal, you can manage your entire resume and job search from one central location.

Career empowerment platform Teal's resume builder and job application tracker
Empower your career with Teal's suite of job search and resume tools.

Redefine career empowerment with Teal

Embracing a proactive approach (and reframing what it means to be #OpenToWork) are powerful steps in career empowerment.

Having the right tools and guidance is crucial to navigate this journey. This is where Teal comes into play as your partner every step of the way. As a comprehensive job search, resume, and career empowerment platform, let Teal be your ally at every career stage.

With Teal’s suite of tools, you can:

  • Streamline your job search process
  • Create standout resumes
  • Access valuable resources for career development and growth

Whether you’re just starting out, looking to advance in your current field, or considering a complete career change, Teal meets you where you are by transforming how you approach your career goals, ensuring that you’re open to and excited to work, fully prepared, and actively pursuing positions that align with your aspirations and skills.

Embrace the proactive path, redefine what being open to work means for you, and let Teal guide you toward career success.

Ready to take charge? Sign up for Teal for free and start your journey toward career empowerment today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some key strategies for achieving career empowerment according to Teal's #OpentoWork survey?

Teal's #OpentoWork survey highlights the importance of proactive career management, including setting clear goals, networking effectively, and continuously developing skills. It suggests that individuals should regularly assess their career paths, seek feedback, and be open to new opportunities to maintain control over their professional growth.

How can someone proactively approach their career development to feel more empowered?

Proactively approaching career development involves self-assessment to understand personal strengths and areas for improvement, staying informed about industry trends, and creating a career plan with actionable steps. It also means building a professional network, seeking mentorship, and embracing lifelong learning to adapt to changing job market demands.

What insights did Teal's #OpentoWork survey reveal about the impact of networking on career empowerment?

The survey revealed that networking plays a crucial role in career empowerment by opening doors to new opportunities, providing industry insights, and offering support during job transitions. It emphasizes the value of building and maintaining relationships, being active in professional communities, and leveraging social platforms to enhance visibility and connect with potential employers or collaborators.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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