LinkedIn profile quandary - switching gears mid-job hunt
April 14, 2014 8:56 AM   Subscribe

My LinkedIn profile is targeted to the job I want, but I need to broaden the scope of my job search to include a different, lesser position. How can I do so without my profile hindering my chances?

I have been job hunting for about a month now in a specific capacity/field. When I first started, I was able to identify and apply to twenty or so jobs. I'm currently applying to new positions for which I'm qualified as they are posted, but that's looking like 2-3 per week now. I have had a couple of interviews already and the decisions will be made by next week, but I can't bank on them.

It's time for me to switch gears - well, downshift - and start applying for positions that are basically one step lower and lateral to the positions I've been applying to thus far. It's not ideal, but I'm going to run out of money in about a month and a half and I need to get to work. I am picking up temp work to try to keep money coming in, but it's not enough to pay all of the bills and I need to get into something full time and permanent. I can't afford to be job-hopping, so I'm looking at positions in companies where I might have the opportunity to grow into a position in the area I'd prefer.

The problem is my LinkedIn profile. I currently have both my summary and my job titles targeted to the field I'd prefer. Hiring people from both companies with which I've interviewed checked out my profile after the meetings, and there remains the possibility that decision makers from the companies I've applied to since (as recently as last week) may still look at it. If I send out resumes/cover letters targeted for the lesser position, I run the risk that decision makers for those companies will check out my profile and see that my qualifications are differently focused than on my "dumbed down" resume, and that I'm overqualified. But if I change the summary and focus to the lesser position, I run the risk that decision makers for the preferred positions will look at the profile and it will appear that I'm not qualified at all. And I want to be applying for both types moving forward. Technology catch-22.

Based on the fundamental differences between the two types of jobs, I can't see a way to change the summary to a middle ground between them. Google searching tells me that I'm not alone, but offers little in the way of advice. Have you ever encountered this problem? How did you handle it?
posted by sockless to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is deleting your LinkedIn profile an option?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:08 AM on April 14, 2014

Or to go the opposite direction, are the jobs different enough, and your name+basic info not-obviously-unique enough, that you could safely have two separate LinkedIn profiles?
posted by ook at 9:15 AM on April 14, 2014

Is deleting your LinkedIn profile an option?

No, it's pretty much necessary these days (even AskMe agrees). About 1/3 of my applications have been through it, and I've also included the link on the resumes I've sent out.
posted by sockless at 9:15 AM on April 14, 2014

Wait - did you change your job titles to things they aren't? That's going to be a problem come reference time - your job titles should reflect what your actual job titles are.

Otherwise, I think you're vastly overestimating how deeply a resume-in-hand recruiter or HR person is going to dig through your profile. It is very, very common for people to write a resume and a cover letter to suit the job they're applying for. You highlight attributes you think apply specifically to this job and change it for another.

Your LinkedIn is, like everyone else's, the most generically self-promotional and aspirational version of yourself that you can have. So long as you don't leave things off or contradict yourself entirely, it can all be explained away with "well, I thought it was most relevant to include X and Y quality in this resume, even though I have others as well."
posted by rutabega at 9:19 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, nobody is reading your profile that closely. As long as you are in industry, job titles one level higher or lower aren't going to make any difference. Lateral moves aren't that uncommon, and even less uncommon with the crappy jobs situation of the last few years.
posted by COD at 9:25 AM on April 14, 2014

I researched having two profiles and it's against their terms - but even those who have tried it say that they then have to re-build their connections and endorsements in the second profile, and that can get messy.

My job titles are correct as they currently stand. In my second job type resume (that I modified last week from the original), I changed the titles in two cases from "manager" to "coordinator". This wouldn't be a problem in references but I also haven't sent any out yet, so I'll definitely reconsider that tactic.
posted by sockless at 9:31 AM on April 14, 2014

Are you linking your Linked in profile on your resume / cover letter?

I do a lot of hiring and it's the resume I care about. Get the right person the right resume and I don't expect too much Linked in searching / reviewing going on.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2014

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