Two LinkedIn profiles may seem like a good idea, but here's why it will trip you up.

Q: Do I need two LinkedIn profiles for two careers?

My experience is diverse enough at this point that I could go in a couple different directions with my next career move. Should I create a LinkedIn profile for each of these paths while I'm looking for work?

While it may seem like a good idea to have two LinkedIn profiles if you're considering two very different career paths — after all, we advise folks to create multiple versions of their resume if they're interested in pursuing job opportunities in completely different fields — the rules are a bit different when it comes to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn's platform was designed to help professionals all around the world connect with one another, exchange valuable information, find new job opportunities, etc.

But the true power of your LinkedIn profile is derived from the sheer size of your network. The more people with whom you connect on LinkedIn, the easier it will become to find and connect with others who can help you reach your career or job-search goals. If you create two separate LinkedIn accounts, then you are dividing your connections between two profiles and diluting the strength of your LinkedIn network.

In addition, managing and maintaining your LinkedIn profile takes time and energy. Looking for a new job is already a full-time job — do you really want to double your workload on LinkedIn?

If this wasn't reason enough, it is against LinkedIn's User Agreement to create two profiles. While you're allowed to publish your profile in more than one language, creating more than one profile for the same individual is against the rules. If another user notices you have multiple accounts and reports you, LinkedIn reserves the right to shut down all of your profiles without notice.

If you have two careers, you'll need to decide which one should take the lead on your LinkedIn profile. You can work in information that supports either career, but realistically, one of those careers will need to take the back seat on LinkedIn.

Create a summary for your LinkedIn profile that marries both of your careers into one cohesive narrative. As you're brainstorming the content for this section of your LinkedIn profile, think about what led you to pursue both of these career paths. Are there aspects that both fields have in common that you find particularly interesting? Do they require you to rely on any of the same soft or hard skills?

Not sure how to consolidate your two LinkedIn profiles … or just feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to your LinkedIn profile in general? We can help! Check out our LinkedIn-writing services today.

Amanda Augustine is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW) and the resident career expert for Talent Inc.'s suite of brands: TopResume, TopCV, and TopInterview. On a regular basis, she answers user questions like the one above. Have a question? Take a look at her career advice or ask a question on her Quora page.

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