Project Summary ‘Generation Y’s Virtual Guide to Skill Development and Personal Branding in Social Media’ is an EU-funded project launched in 2015. The main goal of the given project was to develop and design a virtual guide to employability, skill development and personal branding in social media for Generation Y job seekers. Today, university students in the scope of their academic lessons, can acquire variety of information and skills and graduate as equipped with technical skills like computer literacy and language. However, at the stage of hiring, employers would also like to see a certain level of competence in behavioral skills such as leadership, teamwork and innovation along with technical knowledge and experience. Even though higher education institutions offer internship placements, employer introductions and career consultancy services for students to support their transition from education to work life, there still resides an urgent need to expand career education and define what is needed to get the right job and ways of getting there, especially for generation "Y" students who has different expectations and behavioral styles compared to previous generations. Developing soft employability skills, such as self-awareness, leadership and conflict management, alone simply is not enough to land on the right job. The generation Y’s fluency and comfort with technology together with the rise of social networks have reshaped how people engage with each other in the past decade. In response, job market recruiters quickly adapted to these changing conditions and started leveraging social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter, which are powerful tools to connect employers and job seekers. More and more of the initial background screening carried out by recruiters today, are now handled by social media, making it the greatest source used by job seekers to advertise their personal “brand” and to demonstrate that they have the required employability skills, proving they are the best fit. In light of this, students’ need to learn how to manage a strong personal brand and build an online profile along with developing their networking skills became inevitable.
The main aim of this Project was to design a virtual guide to soft skill development and personal branding in social media for Generation Y job seekers. The premise of the Project stated that the better equipped the candidate with the necessary soft skills, the better the fit between the candidate and the organization would be and thus, the respective organization’s performance would be. This, in turn, was expected to benefit the collective EU organizations’ talent benchmark and business performance as well as decrease the levels of ineffective unemployment in the EU.
The project was conducted in the coordination of Sabanci University with following partners; Novancia Business School from France, Universum from Sweden, Turk Kultur Vakfi and Abdullah Gul University from Turkey.
In scope of the project, first a survey on social media use was designed and conducted with students, employer and career services to understand the practices in usage of social media for job search and recruitment purposes by target groups. The main result from this survey was that while the 62% of employers were using social media as a recruitment tool, only 30 % of students were using the social media for job search. Another survey (both a qualitative and quantitative one) on the skills that employers are looking for in new graduates was designed and filled by employers. The top 5 skills identified by the results of this survey were reliability, teamwork, positive attitude, communication and responsibility. In line with those results, related resources were created and found to develop the students' personal branding on social media and top 5 soft skills mentioned below. Those resources were combined on a platform and e-book as a Virtual Guide which is accessible for all students.
The main output of the project, “Generation Y’s Virtual Guide to Skill Development and Personal Branding in Social Media” was created for students, it can be used by higher education organizations’ departments offering career development trainings as well. By referring to this guide, students are able to a) understand changing world and business conditions, b) learn the soft skills preferred by employers and how to develop them, c) manage their own personal brand, and d) effectively market themselves to the employers via the use of social media.
The project results and especially its concrete output, a virtual guide, is expected to have important impact in the long run. At the local and regional level, project activities that specifically target University students in different regions in Turkey, France, and Sweden is expected to promote employability of young people seeking to enter the labor market. University students who gain the necessary behavioral competencies and manage their own personal brands effectively are examples for the younger generations. At the national level, the project is expected to influence decision-makers to take a step towards promoting youth employability. Networking activities collaboration in the field of career development improved and continues to improve internationally.
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