I was recently laid off from my job, and so I started my job hunt in various sites, including LinkedIn. I never looked into it much but now that I have to, I keep bumping into the profiles of university colleagues and when I see their good GPAs, how many jobs they already had and the big companies they worked for, I feel really anxious/jealous/etc. Also, I see many people that post their side projects, and to be honest I don't have any (never had the idea for a good project). So I'm worried that this will affect my chances.

How do I deal with these negative feelings?

  • 5
    This sounds more like something you should see a counsellor about rather than asking the internet. It's certainly off-topic here as it is not about the workplace. All I can offer is that if looking at other people's profiles LinkedIn is distressing, then don't look at other people's profiles on LinkedIn and just focus on the job ads.
    – Jane S
    Sep 16, 2015 at 4:35
  • 3
    Keep in mind that folks on LinkedIn are presenting themselves, deliberately, in the best possible light. The same thing happens on Facebook. I think the key thing here is your own self-image. If you're working LinkedIn it does help to view other people's profiles for ideas, just don't go down the "rabbit-hole" of putting yourself down by comparison (easier said than done, but necessary). FWIW, I have a LinkedIn profile that frequently gets me leads (last 2 jobs came from it) but I have gone through a time in the last 10 years where I've felt as you do. You're not the only one!
    – teego1967
    Sep 16, 2015 at 9:49
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    "How many jobs they already had" - since when was more jobs automatically a good thing? And for that matter, since when was working for a big company automatically better than a small one? I've worked for a small software development company working alongside IBM, and we were getting paid more and having a lot more fun than they were!
    – Jon Story
    Sep 16, 2015 at 10:33
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is not a self-help site.
    – Jim G.
    Sep 16, 2015 at 16:39
  • 1
    "how many jobs they already had and the big companies they worked for" <- perfect... time to get in touch and ask if they or if they know anyone hiring...
    – CleverNode
    Sep 16, 2015 at 17:34

2 Answers 2


Dealing with bad feelings generally has two ways:

  1. Removing the source, in this case avoid LinkedIn as Jane mentioned.
  2. Figure out if the bad feelings are appropriate.

I really don't think they are appropriate here.

A little comparison in a field you might be used to:

Assuming that you're also in some kind of private social network, lets say facebook.
You surely have seen some profiles with a lot of content. With many many friends, pictures and posts about how awesome their life is and blabla.


These people in general are showing up big effort to paint this image you see on social media. Many of them love attention, others have learned to carry an perfect image as part of representation their family or so.
They spend hours and hours a day in networking on facebook, gathering hundreds or thousands of friends, they might never meet.

Doing this, they figure out what others want to see, how to get the best reputation and so on. They compare themselves to others which are doing the same and learn what output will generate what kind of image.

Regardless their motivations, key is activity.

Now back to linkedIn, the motivation here can generally be one of two kinds:

  1. Painting an image of oneself to help at current jobsearch, as you do.
  2. Painting an image or generating an portfolio, for later jobsearch.

There are also some people who simply want to keep contact up, but out of this motivation, people usually don't make a big deal about their profile and often lack of completeness.

Just as on facebook, you have to be active.

Beside of this, regarding your sidenotes:

"Wow, Jim works for XYZ greatest and largest company in the world!"
Well, working for a small company, particularly for startups, can(!) be much harder than for a large company. It's not uncommon, that people in small companies will get a diverse knowledge, while those in larger ones will focus on one skill. Like I'm currently working for a small manufacture of electronic systems for parking industrie, 40hrs/week. I learned a lot about different kinds of Industrial hardware, many different protocols, apps(android and ios), database, online payment, credit cards, BUS-systems and so on. While a coder at a fancy game developer studio might work 60+ hours, for circa the same money, doing nothing else than scripting QuickTime events. Boring, but fancy looking.

"Lisa had done so many jobs, she has to be really experienced for their age."
Yes and no. I'm 24 now, have worked for about 6 or 7 employers now (finally feeling myself at the right place) and as a resume of all this jobs I can say: Yes, it brings you experience others at the same age might not have. But it's more a personal experience of what you want for yourself. About 1/2 of the energy you need by changing a job is only for the paperwork, interviews and so on which will make you a little mature but doesn't bring any advantage in professional manner. Instead, having many jobs at young age can carry the image of an job-hoper which doesn't know where his place is. Such people will find it harder to get now jobs after every hop they made, because no employer sees the risk of putting money in somebody who might leave in a couple of months.

This is out of my personal experience, I hope it can help you.


You should feel envious, not jealous. Jealousy is not productive. Envy can be; envy recognizes that you can achieve much the same with a bit of luck and a reasonable amount of work. Use this as a goad to encourage yourself to invest more heavily in developing the skills you need, seek opportunities to use them, and learn how to judge when a calculated risk is worth taking. That's how they succeeded; that's how you'll succeed...if you care enough to make it happen.

Or they were flat-out lucky -- which isn't common but it does happen. Usually that comes when they were also accepting much greater risk of failure, which may or may not be something you'd want to do.(I've never seen a startup I was particularly tempted by, but I've also never missed a paycheck,) If they were just in the right place at the right time, neither envy nor jealousy is useful -- ignore them, the same way you ignore the fact that someone wins the lottery. I "win" $5 every week I don't play the lottery; that ain't sexy hut it's a better bet.

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