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Anna Schultz / Her Campus

“LinkedIn is ruining my life”: How to be a Career Girlie without sacrificing your mental health.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Scrolling through one “I am thrilled to announce my new position at…” announcement after another,  I resist the urge to slam my head down on my desk.  Why do I log into a website almost every day just to remind myself of all the more ambitious, intelligent (or connected) people that went to my secondary school, or attend my university? Why do I voluntarily subject myself to the emotional equivalent of my mother saying “You know, your cousin got into Cambridge…” day after day? Is there anything to be gained from this search if all it does is convince me that everybody else I know is securing high-paying placements, internships, opportunities, whilst I am destined to be the only university graduate who moves back into my parent’s house until I’m 35?

LinkedIn can be a great tool for professional mobility, we’re told, but how much vanity posting do we have to sift through before any actually manifest benefit to our own careers. Vanity that I myself am constantly guilty of: seeing every university opportunity email or volunteering prospect through the lens of a quiet ‘Oh yay, I can put that on my LinkedIn’, and ignoring the opportunities I don’t think will enhance my neat little profile in any way. Every aspect of our university lives can be neatly packaged and organised into small advertisable bubbles, each begging “please hire me, I swear I’ll be good”. LinkedIn is, for many, just a slightly more anxiety-inducing Instagram. Our feed has just shifted into ‘look how attractive my professional qualities are’. These days the group chat more often blows up with a ‘did you see she got into a magic circle law firm?’ than a ‘did you that influencer’s new boyfriend?’.

After all, LinkedIn is fundamentally a social media platform, and we know the impact they can have on our self-esteem and mental-health. Worse, we tend to seek out and stalk the fellow students that we can most actively compare ourselves too, other people on our course, or ones that are applying to the same opportunities as us. It prompts a constant mental comparison, a subconscious guessing over what grades your course-mates might be getting, and where you might rank among them. We need to remember that like every social media platform, LinkedIn is a curated idea of someone’s life. Sure, they got an internship, but they also cried on the phone to their mum about it twice and ate reduced-section sandwiches because the position was unpaid. 

Please hire me, I swear I’ll be good.

So instead of envy-stalking, try not to check LinkedIn often and just use the website when you actively need to: like to contact some university alumni in a firm you’re applying to, or updating your profile with a new job. Instead of doom-scrolling, or stalking someone out of jealousy, limit your social media exposure like you would any other platform that’s affecting your mental health. The Bristol University Careers Service will do far more for highlighting relevant local internships and job openings than LinkedIn ever could. You should keep an eye out for roles that are emailed to you that you might enjoy, even if the role title isn’t LinkedIn worthy. Remember to focus on your personal aspirations and any applications, away from the noise of what everybody else is doing.

Graduating university will be an incredible achievement in itself, so let’s take the time to appreciate how far we’ve come as opposed to fixating on immediate next steps. Being a university graduate isn’t a sudden rat race; nobody needs to have the perfect career ladder mapped out ahead of them from day 1. LinkedIn can exacerbate these anxieties all too easily, as social media magnifies that fear that everybody around you has it all figured out.  Whether you have an exciting graduate opportunity in your cross-hairs, or if you want to take the time to figure out what path is exactly right to you after graduation, the right opportunities will be waiting. As young women entering the professional world, it can be easy to feel an urgency to prove yourself and make sure you are seen as ambitious and as career-minded as any male candidate. But being a Career Girlie is about finding the path you’re most excited about and throwing yourself into it at the right time, not about burning yourself out racing to an imagined finish line.

Hi! My name is Vhaire and I am a final year student at the University of Bristol studying Politics and International Relations. My main interests are News, Politics, and Culture. I am a Committee member as Head of Events, as well as being a Sub Editor for Her Campus Bristol's Career section.