[04.21.11] A Case Against Multiple LinkedIn Profiles [Featured]

A Case Against Multiple LinkedIn Profiles

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A Case Against Multiple=In the last 7 days, I’ve been asked 3 times this same question:

“How can I use social media to promote multiple businesses/interests and also have a profile that is effective for job seeking?”

Someone said to me recently, “There are 14 million unemployed in America. That’s a lot of entrepreneurs!”

There are people who have found their passion, or at least a business interest they wouldn’t have had the freedom to pursue if they were still employed.

That is wonderful.

The problem is if you are a job seeker AND you are running your own business, you are now split between two goals.

I’m not saying it’s impossible. In fact some of the case studies I’ve shared recently show stories of people switching between freelancing and employment. And they are successful.

After all, the principles of personal branding, marketing and other business concerns are similar to what a job seeker would use. So by all means, start a business while going to job interviews.

But whatever you do, don’t create two LinkedIn profiles!

Ignore this advice and drive yourself insane in 6 months, guaranteed.

YOU are Not Your Job

You are brand you, what ever that brand is. Period. None of your profiles have anything more than that. LinkedIn is not a company profile, it is a personal profile. If YOU are job seeking AND selling real estate, then that’s you. You can’t hide. Nor should you.

The same goes for Twitter or any other social media profile. If you own a business, then create a business page on LinkedIn and Facebook. But don’t pretend to BE the business.

And if you can’t decide what you should be, then share your journey.

LinkedIn is About Networking

LinkedIn is not your online catalog or personal website. The value of LinkedIn is who you are connected to, how you can give value to them, and what you can ask for in return.

Imagine having two profiles, each one connecting to different people. How would you know who to connect with or what account to login to? Or, imagine having to duplicate invitations, doubling your work. Networking is hard enough.

But What if My Side Job Jeopardizes My Employment Chances?

First, ask yourself how much business LinkedIn gets you for your side gig. Then ask yourself how many job interviews you can get with LinkedIn. If you can run your business on LinkedIn, and you don’t need to find a job. The choice is obvious. Stop looking.

But if you NEED the job and your biz isn’t getting new clients from LinkedIn, AND having it on your profile might hurt you, then take it off. There is a higher chance of your business failing then you getting a job, believe it or not. Designate LinkedIn to job seeking.

But, if mentioning your biz in your profile doesn’t affect your employment prospects (and chances are it won’t) then:

  1. Have a paragraph for both biz and career in your summary.
  2. Mention both in your headline.
  3. Create custom links to both in the links section.
  4. Don’t beg for work, or you’ll have some explaining to do to your customers!

If you are getting serious with a company, you are going to send a customized resume anyway. As always, comments are welcome.

[This article was originally posted on an earlier date]

Joshua Waldman is the founder the Career Enlightenment blog and author of “Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies. He specializes in helping job seekers, frustrated by the traditional job search, leverage social media to find work FAST! Sign-up for his newsletter today and get access to his exclusive training videos for free.

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Joshua Waldman

Author of Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies, Joshua is recognized as the authority for helping people find work using social media. His blog, Careerenlightenment.com, won the 2013 About.com Reader's Choice award for best career blog for original content.

11 comments

  1. Last seven years I’m working for a company as a purchasing/inventory manager and graphic/ web designer and hosting/email administrator. Also 1. I’m having a few other part time jobs as a graphic/ web / ebooks designer and illustrator. Also 2., I’m a piano teacher, working by nights for 2 music schools for 10 years. Also 3. 10 years ago I worked for a few companies as a costume designer.
    I have multiple connections with people knowing me from very different prospective. I opened Linkedin account, but ..it still empty. I just don’t know how to fit it all in one profile. Very appreciate your advise!

  2. OK.

    I do not have just one Linked in Account I have 4. Yes Four. I use on account for Business and the othre three for Building Social Networks on LinkedIn. The challenge with Linked in is that it creates limits on the number of Connections you have , the number of groups you can join (50) and the number of Groups you can own (10). I am in a specialty niche withing Telecom and netowrking within telecoomunication has been invaluble to me.

    The caveat on the originall [pst is this you can have two linked in profiles IF one is for Social media Managementment (I.e, Owner of a group (s) and one is for personal brand. Even though my groups are in the Telecom secor I found it necessary to seperate it from my consulting practice. There’s no real conflict in the roles it is just easier to keep the purposes seperate.

    Just my 2 pennies

  3. This is absolutely a topic that LinkedIn needs to facilitate to solve. There are so many entrepreneurs in where I live (San Francisco-Silicon Valley). Most entrepreneurs nowadays are advised not to seeking funding at the first ( “Lean startup” a buzzword), so they do need to find side jobs which might be in conflict with their IMAGE, but not MARALTY-most entrepreneurs are star employees and they can provide solid consulting service, I believe. However, how can you be raising funding, getting clients while looking for jobs?

    Another thing needs to point out is that there are differences between freelancers and entrepreneurs .

  4. If LinkedIn allowed “multiple resume versions” within one profile, we wouldn’t have this issue. You could sent the appropriate link to a prospective employer or client, without confusing them.

    If you’ve worked in multiple fields, you profile can just become confusing. It’s good to be able to highlight your appropriate strengths for each opportunity.

  5. My question may be a little different compared to what you have written here. I have worked in two very different fields, corporate meeting management and aerospace. I would like to create separate profiles so I can build networks within each field. Is that possible in LinkedIn?

    • A common question, Teresa, but the answer is no. LinkedIn’s policy states: “LinkedIn may restrict, suspend or terminate the account of any User who abuses or misuses the Services… includes…creating multiple…profiles.” So while it is possible to ‘game’ the system in various ways, it’s not worth risking account termination. Consider adding subheadlines to your Profile Summary, so that you can talk about each area of expertise. Any profile visitor then enjoys a more complete picture of your accomplishments, and can focus in on the area that is most appealing. Feel free to reach out to me for further guidance!

  6. This is exactly what I’m looking for (thanks for writing it), although I do still have doubts. Right now I’m a musician with a career on the rise, but I do freelance graphic design to pay the bills and plan on keeping that business on the side no matter how successful my music career gets – unfortunately we’re living in a day where even the most successful artists don’t make a bunch of money, and freelancing gives me all the flexibility I need.

    I use a stage name in order to not get those mixed up, but when it comes to LinkedIn I just can’t decide. Should I use two profiles, one for my long-acquired design contacts and one for the contacts I’m making in music, or should I just keep the design profile (since that’s where I use my real name anyway) and not use LinkedIn at all for the music, since staying mysterious is part of an artist’s job? It’s all too confusing to me, and I feel like having one profile for both things would just confuse everyone else and hurt both my brands.

  7. Excellent argument Josh. The case would be closed on this were it not for the grey area in the ownership of LinkedIn profiles – do you own it or does the employer? I've raised this question last this last week in a blog post and get some very interest case studies from a) individuals who had to fight to keep their LinkedIn profiles upon resigning from the company and b) from owner/managers of companies who were locking down the social media ownership issue in their employee contracts. The message seems to be this: Sure, have one LinkedIn profile, but if the legal decisions start going employers way (they have already in the UK), then we're all going to have get used to idea of multiple LinkedIn accounts. Happy to chat some more about this, I think it's going to be a hot topic very soon. Original blog post at http://wisemansay.co.uk/2010/09/03/owns-linkedin-profile/

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