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#CareerTok: Why Gen Z Is Looking To TikTok for Career Advice

by Bashirat Oladele · Updated Jul 6, 2023

Over the last few years, TikTok has evolved to become so much more than just a platform for viral dance challenges and funny videos. Today, for some users, the platform serves as a lifeline for all things career and finances. Sound surprising? It quickly starts to make sense when you look at the stats. While many moons ago, Google or YouTube might have been the internet’s go-to for serious life advice, Gen Z is increasingly turning to TikTok for any and all of their queries, with the platform surpassing Google as a popular search engine for younger generations. So, it’s really no surprise they’d be swiping through the app for career advice, too.

Indeed, career advice is one of the hottest topics on TikTok right now. Just see for yourself: the #CareerTok hashtag currently has over 1.5 billion views, with content covering everything from interview tips, cover letter advice, negotiation tactics, and beyond.

#CareerTok sees creators getting real with their audiences, engaging viewers with meaningful short-form content about navigating the workplace as a young person. However, it wouldn’t be TikTok without a little irreverence. And #CareerTok brings that in a healthy dose as well. The hashtag is also loaded with videos that draw laughs by making light of things like the generational divide in the workplace

Take all that and combine it with the realities of inflation and job insecurity in the post-pandemic world, and it makes sense that career content has really taken off on TikTok in the last year. Let’s take a closer look at just how that happened, and how it’s changing work culture for good.

Why has #CareerTok blown up?

Career-related content has blown up on TikTok for a number of reasons: the pandemic, the recession, student debt, inflation, and most recently, layoffs affecting nearly every industry nationwide. From the layoffs in big tech to the writers’ strike in the entertainment industry, it’s evident that people are faced with an ever-changing, precarious work environment — and that’s an understatement. Prior to the recession, navigating the job market and getting a foot in the door was already difficult. Today, it feels tenfold. Within all the tumult, #CareerTok has become a safe place where young people can gain a footing and set themselves up to pursue the best career they can.

Where there’s a demand, there’s a market, right? With young people searching for more career guidance than ever before, tons of #CareerTok creators have stepped up. Content creators such as @hannagetshired and @careersbykirstie, for example, share tips on increasing your salary and navigating office politics. And as times change, it seems that recruiting techniques are changing too. Kate Barney, head of HR for TikTok’s global business solutions, said in a recent interview that employers have started to recruit interns through TikTok, with HBO being one of the first companies to recruit via TikTok with the hashtag, #HBOMaxSummerIntern. So, who knows, maybe you’ll find the job of your dreams as you’re swiping the app.

The many industries of #CareerTok

Whether you want to be a corporate girlie in the tech space or working with major clients in the realm of marketing, there’s an industry for you to explore on #CareerTok. (Think of them as niches within the larger hashtag!) However, some industries have definitely risen to the top of the hashtag. 

Take TechTok, for example, which is practically unavoidable on the FYP thanks to creators like Alexis Walker, Jules Monica, and Anjali Tewani, who are providing users with a woman’s perspective on working in tech. Through their informative TikTok videos, viewers may have learned that they don’t actually need to have a STEM or technical background to work in the tech industry. Rather than gatekeeping opportunities, TechTok creators are paying it forward by sharing tips on how to make it big in the world of tech. And although many people left their jobs during the pandemic’s Great Resignation, lots of TikTok creators are keeping their followers in tune with the current job market in their respective industries — tech in particular. 

While tech career advice videos are big on TikTok, there’s also tons of content being made about other industries like law, journalism, and medicine. And since there’s a significant majority of female users on the platform, lots of #CareerTok content actually challenges the narratives of male-dominated industries rather than just feeding into the status quo.

@thetiktoklawyer

3 things that I wish I’d been told about being a woman in law… Storytime about working in a largely male dominated, corporate environment 🙃 #lawyerlife #womeninlaw #lawstudents #lawstudentsoftiktok #legalcareer #iwd2023 #internationalwomensday

♬ original sound – Chrissie Wolfe | Lawyer

How TikTok is changing how we hunt for jobs

Nearly 50% of Gen Zers and millennials have applied to specific jobs because of social media apps like TikTok. Why? The platform’s powerful search engine and short-form content structure make it fast and easy to learn the ins and outs (and pros and cons) of virtually any career under the sun. With just one swipe, you can see what a day in the life of a surgeon or business analyst looks like. Digging further into the stats, 62% of Gen Zers and 48% of millennials were more likely to apply for jobs they found on social media versus elsewhere. And 49% of Gen Zers and 47% of millennials were more likely to connect with peers and recruiters online versus offline regarding their job hunt.

Perhaps the best thing about #CareerTok is how creators like Kyyah Abdul are making job hunting accessible for their viewers. The reality is that most first-time job hunters (and holders) haven’t had the luxury of learning the dos and don’ts of the workplace, whether it’s how to dress for a good first impression, how to answer interview questions, or even getting a foot in the door in the first place. #CareerTok is breaking down these barriers for anyone and everyone with an internet connection. 

#CareerTok isn’t just trending, it’s changing lives

As we’ve seen, #CareerTok is a transformational force on social media, especially for fresh graduates and young people who are just entering the workforce. Amid an increasingly volatile job market, content creators are helping young people get their first big breaks and even land their dream jobs. We love to see it.

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bashirat oladele
About the author

Bashirat Oladele

Bashirat Oladele is a culture writer based in London. She strives to tell compelling stories and has a passion for all things pop culture.
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