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3 Ways #GenZ created the Careers App they Want

Gemma Hallett | 1st October 2018

miFuture Girl User

I learned that to solve the careers issue in Wales, I couldn't be precious about what that solution should be. It was evident that I needed to be the facilitator, my solution was a starting point, but over 2500 young people reshaped the solution to what it is now... the miFuture app.

I left teaching and spent 3 years going deep into Generation Z and engaged with schools, employability projects, housing associations, schools, community first and PRU groups, spending concentrated time with young people.

By absorbing how they engaged with their environment and seeing their frustrations, it allowed me opportunity to involve them and identify the real problems and redefine what miFuture, the solution, needed to be.

My 'Facebook for Careers' was an all singing and dancing portal of information and guidance, with a users news feed of opportunities offering a easy 'one click apply'. I envisaged a platform with video, written guides, quizzes and action plans, yeah all that 'sexy' stuff that would excite a teacher.

And that's the problem, I was coming at it from the wrong point of view, I needed to listen, step back and hand over control to Generation Z (Gen Z) to get it right.

Here's the three ways Gen Z has shaped miFuture into the careers app they want: 

1. Stripped it back

I sat back and allowed them to dictate things. I submerged myself into their world and allowed them to start the discussion from scratch. As good as they thought elements of my idea was, they were honest in describing how crap the rest was.

They threw out over 80% of the functions, stripped it right back to solve their two biggest frustrations: finding opportunities and applying for opportunities.

They only want to see opportunities that they can actually apply for.

In hindsight this is so obvious! Anyone who has been on a job site knows the results are hit and miss, and for a young person seeing 'x amount of experience needed' or 'post grad only' is such a negative experience, and one we can avoid. 

2. App first 

In 2015 the first completed specification for miFuture was desktop first and mobile responsive, the next reshape and second specification in late 2016 was mobile responsive desktop with a complementary app, the latest spec build finalised in late 2017 was App only. 

In just two years the entire landscape that young people perceive to find and apply for opportunities not only evolved but shifted completely. Crucially their perception and belief is that they will find jobs, courses and training positions through their phone, and only their phone.

This is huge! This is a shift that those in charge of careers and recruitment hasn't prepared for, I hadn't prepared for it, I adapted and refused to add resistance, and by doing so was able to give young people exactly what they want, my plea to organisations is to understand this and adjust accordingly and to adjust now.

3. Compartmental Behaviour

Facebook is for 'old people and my family', twitter is for 'businesses and serious people', Instagram is where 'I document the best of my life' and Snapchat is where I have 'fun' and 'chat'. Yes, these are comments from Gen Zers. 

It's clear that digital savvy Gen Z are precious and disciplined when it comes to using apps.

Note no mention of these channels to actively look for employabilty routes, granted they may passively absorb content, but given the fact they have 1.2 seconds to capture and 6 seconds to engage - it's highly unlikely.

'Careers' doesn't fit in this world and they were honest in voicing that. 

miFuture App became the Solution

A closed app where they actively go to action their career tasks was needed.

It makes sense... they open Just Eat to get food delivered, Amazon for their shopping, YouTube for their media, and Tinder for their dating... all with instant results right there from their phone.

This is the space miFuture needs to exist, in order to be the solution we have to fit into that behaviour. When they want to explore jobs or to see what courses they match, they will go to the appropriate space to do that, and it will be easy.

I am proud to have taken the last 3 years to get the solution right, taking time to test and review, spending time with young people in groups of all sizes, abilities and economical backgrounds to honestly say that miFuture app is created by Gen Z for Gen Z.

Gemma Hallett

Chief Mobiliser @miFutureApp