Online personal branding boosts employability for Gen Z
Gen Z jobseekers are increasingly leveraging their online personal brands to gain an edge in the job market, and an online authentic personal branding strategy is found to be key to ensuring that Gen Z can close the gap between their desired and perceived image on social media when job hunting.
Gen Z prefers a dynamic, interactive, and work-in-progress style of personal branding that highlights their imperfections and weakness. In the study titled I Do Not Want to Be Perfect: Investigating Generation Z Students’ Personal Brands on Social Media For Job Seeking, it was also found that this strategy enables them to establish more significant levels of trust and engagement with employers.
Dr Brad McKenna, study co-author and Associate Professor in Information Systems at the University of East Anglia (UEA), explained, “Social media has emerged as a tool for shaping the personal brands of jobseekers, and how Gen Z attempt to represent themselves authentically online has implications for their job seeking activities and affects hiring decisions. As a result, personal branding has emerged as a means to achieving career success.”
The study by the UEA and the University of Greenwich involved Gen Z students in their final year at a UK university who were interviewed about personal branding, recruiters, and career advisors. All participants perceived digital personal brands as an essential tool to project strong impressions to employers. Strategies such as effective self-reflection, authentic communication, self-promotion processes, awareness of risks, and constantly controlling digital footprints were suggested to build strong and more coherent personal brands.
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Dr Cai Wenjie, study co-author and researcher from the University of Greenwich, added, “Personal branding has shifted from celebrities and top-tier managers to employees and jobseekers, making the ways in which people market themselves more of a conscious effort. Jobseekers today need to effectively communicate their talents to prospective employers.”