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The Toxicity of LinkedIn
While being a great place to expand one’s professional network, learn about new job opportunities and attend workshops, LinkedIn can also be an extremely anxiety-inducing platform for students soon entering the job force.
Entering the workforce can be scary, especially for those who have spent most of their lives as students. LinkedIn is designed to make the transition easier by enabling users to build professional connections online. On the platform, users also have the ability to display their professional experience for current and potential employers or recruiters.
Similar to Instagram and Facebook, LinkedIn is increasingly becoming yet another social media platform that highlights only the accomplishments of our lives. From a university perspective, everyday students log on to see their peers posting about their ‘amazing’ interviews and even more ‘amazing’ upcoming internship or business projects. With remote learning and an unsteady job market, it is only natural to try to stand out and actively engage in job searching. Yet, in the process, we are constantly evaluating each other and ourselves.
When I spend too much time on LinkedIn, I feel inadequate and stressed. In today’s hustle culture, the only way to measure success seems to be based on how busy a person is—making self worth seem quantifiable. Ultimately LinkedIn becomes a platform designed to compare users’ professional accomplishments and compete for job security.
The fluff of the business world is reproduced online where people are ‘pleased to connect with one another’ and ‘are looking forward to starting a new chapter.’ Seeing a feed full of achievements can cause anyone to start questioning their self-worth and ability to get a job or internship.
A big part of LinkedIn is creating relationships, but these relationships often feel transactional, And fueled by the need to climb the corporate ladder and get hired rather than a genuine connection. As Adam Grant, a contributing writer, in a New York Times article said, “Networking makes us feel dirty, to the point that one study found that people rate soap and toothpaste 19% more positively after imagining themselves angling to make professional contacts at a cocktail party.”
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for connecting and exploring new career opportunities. Yet, like any other social media it can also cause users to devalue their work experience and feel inadequate.
After all, as students point out, there will always be someone who seems to one up you, no matter how proud you are of your own accomplishments. Take breaks off social media and remind yourself of your abilities. Affirmations help set things in practice. Try creating one special to you!
Netanya is currently a Media and Public Interest student at Western University, and is doing a placement with mindyourmind. She is from the GTA and is passionate about all things mental health, storytelling and empowerment.
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