Dual Careers on Your Resume and LinkedIn – Ask HR Bartender

Here’s an interesting and not so unusual challenge facing a job seeker:

I heard you speak recently and have since been reading HR Bartender – it’s really good!

I’ve been racking my brain over a question regarding my resume and LinkedIn profile. Many people now have two careers – and I’m one of them! I have a complete real estate business as well as my HR background where I do consulting. My biggest problem is trying to figure out how to present them cohesively. How can you present both and expect people to take one of them seriously?  It seems as if most people expect you to have just one major thing you do… 

To help answer this question, I reached out to a couple colleagues of mine who deal with this subject every day. Karen Siwak is executive director at Resume Confidential, a company that helps executives, senior managers and credentialed professionals market themselves for their next career move. She shared that this situation is a dilemma facing a lot of people as more and more of us balance different career paths and multiple streams of income. Here’s what Karen had to say about presenting your experience via resume and LinkedIn:

For all intents and purposes, your resume and LinkedIn profiles are marketing documents, and you need to think like a marketer. Much like companies will create different brochures for different product lines, you will want to create different versions of your resume, and write for your target audience.

For the resume you use to apply for HR consulting roles, make your HR accomplishments, skills and experience career, resume, LinkedIn, profile, LinkedIn Profile, jobs, Karen Siwakfront page news, and only list relevant HR experience under your career highlights. On the 2nd page, you can add an ENTREPRENEURIAL VENTURES section, and briefly describe your real estate success stories.  For the version that you use to apply with real estate firms, focus the front page on your real estate skills and successes, and list your HR Consulting work on the second page as either ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, or BUSINESS VENTURES if you are running your own consulting firm.

For LinkedIn, it becomes trickier, and you will need to carefully map out your LinkedIn Strategy. Are you more likely to use LinkedIn to grow your real estate business, or to build your client and referral network for HR Consulting roles? If one career area is going to yield the best business results for you from LinkedIn, then use your tagline, professional summary and areas of specialization to showcase your strengths in the most LI-valuable career path. You can list both activities under your professional experience, but have more details and success stories on the LI-valuable career. Keep the description brief for the other path, but meaty in terms of success metrics – you don’t want to look like a dabbler.

If you want to showcase both aspects of you career equally, then you will need to build an integrated professional brand and use your career marketing materials to create a tie-in: how does your experience running a real estate firm make you a better HR Consultant, and how does your experience as a Consultant make you a stellar real estate professional? Divide your areas of specialization into two sections, and give equal weight to both career paths under your professional experience. You may find that an executive biography rather than a resume will serve you better as a career marketing document for an integrated brand, because you will have the writing flexibility to flow seamlessly between the two areas of your career and conclude with a strong tie-in statement.

I also contacted Jeremy Roberts, SPHR. He’s been a talent acquisition and human resources pro for over a decade. Jeremy has a dual career (just like the reader) – he’s a sourcing strategist for a large RPO as well as co-founder for GuideHop.com. So his thoughts come from not only professional but personal experience:

The short answer to the question is that the reader does not seem to have a problem.  The two positions are very career, resume, LinkedIn, human resources, profile, LinkedIn Profile, jobs, Jeremy Robertsindependent and not related. In fact, being a consultant and working in real estate are both very flexible positions. This means that if a company is considering hiring you for a one month HR consulting arrangement, they will most likely assume that since your other position is real estate sales you probably would not have a hard time fitting in enough time for them due to the flexible nature of your other position.

If presenting a resume, I would assume a person is actively seeking a full time position. If you’re actively pursuing a job, I would only put information relevant to the job you are seeking. If the side business was your only income during a resume gap, it’s okay to put that but I would hesitate to list two jobs. At first glance, a hiring manager might assume if  you’ve listed two jobs that you could only work part time even though the real estate job might only take an hour or two each evening and a few hours on Saturday.

LinkedIn is a bit different. I view a Linkedin profile as a place to share information about yourself even when you are not pursuing another full-time position.  In that case, I would put both positions assuming there is no conflict of interest or other concerns. Here’s a list of questions to consider prior to posting both positions:

    1. How much of your income does each role provide? If one of the positions provides 90% of your income and you have any concerns about letting them know you have outside activities then don’t put it on your Linkedin profile.
    2. Does your employment contract state you are not to hold another job? Some contracts state explicitly you are not to have another job. If this is the case you obviously should not include another position on your LinkedIn profile.
    3. How stable is your company right now? If the company is considering down-sizing you may be first on the list if they know you have another source of income or if you appear to not be giving your job 100% of your efforts.
    4. Do your positions create a conflict of interest? If you are a recruiter making placements on the side through your own company that is probably something that would make any employer nervous. If you are a recruiter with a real estate license you can probably post both positions to your Linkedin profile.

Another consideration is if you are unemployed and seeking full time employment, I would recommend tailoring your Linkedin profile for the type position you are seeking. Too much irrelevant information could distract a hiring manager and give them a reason not to interview you.

I would like to thank Jeremy and Karen for sharing their expertise and helping this reader along their career path! You can get more information from them by following them on Twitter at @imJeremyR and @ResumeStrategy. If you have any other suggestions for our reader, please share them in the comments.


  1. Geli Eldemire says

    Thank you Sharlyn for your research on Dual Careers and how best to present that information on a Resume and/or LinkedIn.
    As a life-long learner and due to my journey, I have a diverse background and more than one-career path, so I face this dilemma daily.

    However, because my passion HR & Employee/Labor Relations and conflict resolution-mediation complement each other, I have been able to list them. Nevertheless, I tailor my Resume to the audience.