TikTok, the hottest social media platform for Gen Z, is now evolving into a LinkedIn of sorts for younger job seekers.
While millions of users love to watch or post videos of themselves dancing and singing, many have been turning to the platform for career advice. The pandemic-disrupted job market has made landing employment more difficult for recent college graduates, who are getting leads and information wherever they can get it.
And what better place than the platform that's taken the social media world by storm?
“COVID took away our graduation,” TikTok career content creator Julian Parra told Yahoo Finance in an interview. With some companies going as far as made to members of the class of 2020, Parra noted that “the pandemic affected a lot of my friends’ jobs.”
The 22-year old was fortunate enough to have a job lined up while he was still a senior at Babson College last year. His position as an offering manager for IBM’s enterprise performance management team would officially start about two months after graduation.
But with plenty of free time on his hands, Parra took to TikTok to start sharing with his peers what he knew about landing a job.
Parra had spent three years working at Babson’s Center for Career Development as a student, so the subject matter came naturally to him. He found creative ways to present that information to TikTok users in a matter of seconds by, for instance, playing both the role of the interviewer and the interviewee in the interview process in TikTok videos he posted.
“I always approach my piece of content in the same way,” Parra explained.
“So in the first few seconds, I’ll tell viewers exactly what they’re going to learn…and then in the rest of the video, I’ll highlight the most important, most relevant, most valuable key takeaways, tips and tricks that have helped me personally as well as people I’ve mentored land jobs and interviews and things of that nature,” he added.
According to TikTok, Gen Z users are liking Parra’s career content. His account, “@youknowitjulian,” has garnered at least 204.8K followers and 2.6M likes.
'TikTok is their lifeblood'
TikTok user Christina Busa, 21, watches career tip videos on the platform. She enjoys the medium, because she finds “a lot of information on financial advice and finance careers, because that’s the field I’m going into after college hopefully,” Busa told Yahoo Finance.
“I would say that for the most part, the videos come from I think millennials, or very ‘old’ GenZers who have gone through the process of recruiting or also have tips on how to succeed from their personal experience,” she added.
Busa recently completed an internship at Influence Central, an influencer marketing agency based in Boston, MA. She cites TikToks by Parra, as well as “SelfMadeMillenial” and “TheFemaleLead” as among her favorites.
Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central and Busa’s ex-boss, gladly relies on TikTok expertise for clients’ brand campaigns on the platform.
“We have a number of amazing Gen Z interns, but TikTok is their lifeblood. They are obsessed about the platform,” she told Yahoo Finance.
“They keep up to speed with what’s happening and they spend hours a day absorbing information,” said DeBroff. “So anytime we have a TikTok related campaign they are all over it. They love it. So they’re the resident experts on TikTok. Seriously, they advise us.”
Still, the platform can be “a double edged sword,” according to Busa, which comes with plenty of downsides along with useful information.
“Like everything else in life, nothing is going to be/work the same for two people. So I usually take TikTok advice and always try to do my own research,” she said, while warning about disappointment and loss of motivation.
“I think that’s one downside of the app, it makes all information readily available, but it oversimplifies it and that can be disappointing, dangerous, and even demotivating,” Busa added.
Yet Parra said he’s not concerned that oversimplified career advice on the platform in general might have a negative impact. He says younger users find it “easier to relate” to others in their age group who have similar ambitions.
Gen Z “may be better suited to speak to utilizing emerging technologies or updated resources that have helped them in their careers,” Parra added.
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