Key to job success :- The study, which was conducted by the University of East Anglia in partnership with the University of Greenwich, emphasizes the significance of developing online personal branding strategies and tactics that are authentic in order to close the gap between Gen Z’s desired and perceived social media personas when seeking employment. The findings of the study have been released in Information Technology & Humans.
Members of Gen Z—those who were born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s—are also in favor of true personal brands that are more dynamic, interactive, and work-in-progress rather than necessarily portraying them as “perfect” but rather as eager to discuss flaws and faults.
The research, which was published in the journal Information Technology & People, suggests that Gen Zers are employing this combination as a tactic to build higher levels of engagement and trust with their employers.
Vietnamese Trang, the lead researcher and current Gen Z job seeker from UEA, said: “Understanding how Gen Z enters the workforce is vital as they start graduating from universities and joining the competitive job market. Little is understood about the perspectives of Gen Z students, their brand-building tactics, brand objectives, and motivation, as well as how they handle image-related dangers while using social media to promote themselves.
Dr. Brad McKenna, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of information systems at UEA, stated that the usage of technology from a young age and how this has affected online activity is what distinguishes Gen Z from Millennials. Through interactions with their social networks, gaming, watching videos, and producing original material to post on social media, Gen Z is constantly engaged to digital worlds.
“Social media has become a tool for defining the personal brands of job searchers, and how Gen Z attempts to honestly express themselves online has an impact on their job search strategies and hiring practices. Personal branding has therefore become a tool for advancing one’s profession.”
“Image consistency is becoming a significant concern for Gen Z to emphasize their skill sets to potential employers,” co-author Dr. Wenjie Cai of the University of Greenwich stated. Our research revealed that employers anticipated Gen Z online personal brands to possess authenticity, which was also seen to play a key role in personal branding.
Personal branding has moved from high-profile figures like celebrities and managers to everyday individuals like employees and job seekers, necessitating a purposeful effort on the part of those who sell themselves. Today’s job hopefuls must persuasively present their skills to potential employers.
Interviews with recruiters and career counsellors, as well as Gen Z students in their last year at a UK university, were conducted as part of the study to learn more about personal branding and the expectations of online personal brands.
The LinkedIn profiles of the Gen Z students were studied before to the interviews and used as input during the interviews.
All of the Gen Z participants said that having a strong digital personal brand was crucial for how they presented themselves to potential employers. Gen Z students and employers benefit equally from the work put into developing and maintaining personal brands during the hiring process.
Stronger and more cogent personal brands may be developed by techniques including effective self-reflection, honest communication, self-promotion procedures, risk awareness, and continual control of digital footprints.
“Past research has claimed that professionals prefer to maintain a pristine online image, but we discover that for Gen Z job searchers, an imperfect online image performs better,” said study co-author Professor Alastair Morrison of the University of Greenwich.
Gen Z generation to create LinkedIn accounts
The more Gen Z students put effort into building their brands on websites like LinkedIn, the more likely it is that employers will locate their profiles and be able to assess the abilities, qualities, and cultural fit of the applicant. Companies expect students in the Gen Z generation to create LinkedIn accounts and highly promote it to them.
The researchers advise institutions to ask Gen Z students about their own brands in order to better understand them and guide them on the many paths necessary to achieving their own goals and objectives based on their abilities, expertise, and possibilities for learning and development.
Businesses should take advantage of every opportunity to interact with student job searchers, give information about their organizational cultures, and be transparent about the qualifications they require for certain roles.
Also, building genuine personal brands is said to provide significant advantages for businesses. For instance, the recruiter may quickly identify distinctive qualities and determine if prospects match business cultures, which saves time, money, and resources while enabling the hiring of the most qualified people.