Question: How do I design my LinkedIn profile if I’m pursuing two different career paths?

Answer: It depends.**

Just kidding.

Kind of.

So, say for example, you are an equity research professional and you want to pursue equity research roles, but you want to cast a larger net and are also considering corporate investor relations positions.

It helps to start by thinking about the way people use LinkedIn and why people land on your profile in the first place. People get to you in two ways. First, they know you or have met you and are looking you up, specifically. Second, they have entered certain search criteria and you have shown up in the results. When you are a job seeker, I recommend focusing your marketing efforts on the second population, since these are the people you haven’t connected with (yet). You want to get this population reaching out to you.

The recruiters or hiring managers that are most likely to reach out to you via LinkedIn are those seeking the specific skills and experiences that you already have. So, if your current career path is one of your options, my advice is DO keep your LinkedIn profile focused on your current and most obvious brand. In my example above, showcase yourself as an equity research professional. Save the career pivot story (investor relations) for your in-person networking, where your story is much more likely to be heard.

DON’T try to be a jack of all trades. Most job seekers are afraid to be pigeonholed because they want to keep their options open. Unfortunately, or ironically, this strategy hurts your job search. The hiring market wants to pigeonhole you. It wants to quickly know what you are and what value you can offer. The risk of overgeneralizing is that your profile doesn’t end up appealing to anyone. If you are pursuing multiple paths, my advice is to pick one brand, your most compelling one, for your LinkedIn profile.

** Of course there are ways to tweak your profile to position yourself for a pivot, if a pivot is your primary objective. To discuss your unique situation, reach out to Darden’s Armstrong Center for Alumni Career Services and schedule a coaching session!