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Can You Ride 2 Horses at the Same Time?

An old Yiddish saying came to mind the other day when I was speaking with a client about his current career objective.

He told me:

Well, I could do this (Job A) … or this (Job B).

He had experience in both fields and seemed equally interested in doing either. So what’s the problem … why did I immediately think, “You can’t ride 2 horses at once”?

It’s certainly possible to run parallel job searches using a different resume/cover letter set for each objective. The challenge arises when you need to present a coherent, unified message on LinkedIn and other social media. Are you “Job A” executive or “Job B” executive?

If your dual objectives are closely related, there’s no problem. It’s only when they are quite different that we have to think carefully about how to create your career marketing messages. You don’t want to appear unfocused or dilute the strength of any message you might send for one job target or the other.

Here’s my advice in writing profiles that try to span the backs of both beasts:

  • Drill down to the core skills, knowledge, and expertise required for each job and look for parallels. Highlight those common skills as your core strengths.
  • Connect the dots for your readers. If having a specific skill or experience from Job A makes you more valuable in Job B, make a crystal-clear connection.
  • Look for common threads or themes that run through your career and that led to your current dual focus. Highlight those themes and threads.

Most of all, think deeply about what you ideally want to do next. It might be that you do have a favorite – Job A is your dream job but you’re hedging your bets with Job B!

If that’s the case, I recommend that you put all of your efforts toward your dream job, with a strong, clear, and consistent message, and relate the secondary job to the background for now. If it turns out that you are unable to secure that dream job, you can always retrench and start anew with an equally strong focus on the secondary target. But give yourself the opportunity to secure the job of your dreams before you “settle” for Job B.

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