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I do not want to be perfect: investigating generation Z students' personal brands on social media for job seeking

Nguyen M Trang (NTQ Solution, Ha Noi, Viet Nam)
Brad McKenna (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)
Wenjie Cai (University of Greenwich, London, UK)
Alastair Maclean Morrison (University of Greenwich, London, UK)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 7 March 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to explore generation (Gen) Z's personal branding on social media when job seeking.

Design/methodology/approach

Gen Z students, in their final year of university, were interviewed about personal branding, as well as recruiters and career advisors to gain insights into the recruitment process and expectations of online personal brands. Before interviewing, Gen Z students' LinkedIn profiles were examined, and then fed into the interview process.

Findings

Using impression management theory, the findings show that Gen Z perceive online personal brands as a crucial tool to gain more advantage in job markets. A gap was found between desired and perceived selves in Gen Z's online personal brands. Strategies such as effective self-reflection, authentic communication, self-promotion processes, awareness of risks and constantly controlling digital footprints were suggested to build stronger and more coherent personal brands. Gen Z are in favour of a more dynamic, interactive, work-in-process of authentic personal brands.

Originality/value

This research demonstrates the importance of authentically building online personal branding strategies and tactics to bridge the divide between Gen Z's desired and perceived images in personal branding on social media when job seeking.

Keywords

Citation

Trang, N.M., McKenna, B., Cai, W. and Morrison, A.M. (2023), "I do not want to be perfect: investigating generation Z students' personal brands on social media for job seeking", Information Technology & People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-08-2022-0602

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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