I do not want to be perfect: Investigating Generation Z students’ personal brands on social media for job seeking

Nguyen M. Trang, Brad McKenna, Wenjie Cai, Alastair Maclean Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-814
Number of pages22
JournalInformation Technology & People
Issue number2
Early online date7 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2024


  • Generation Z
  • Job seeking
  • Online branding
  • Personal branding
  • Social media

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