What will you do when you grow up?

Perhaps network more, SMS more and tweet more; some new devices would be your handy gadgets and you’ll be video conferencing on the move!

Expect to receive a much mature answer at WYGU or (When You Grow Up), www.wygu.com is a new social network start-up from UK, a Facebook for careers advice you can definitely use to answer the question ‘what will you do WYGU?’

I am completely impressed by what the website advertises about this project “Whether you’re looking for advice or have advice to give, WYGU is the place to learn about careers, share experiences, develop contacts and join the discussion, giving you a real advantage in the jobs market.” Absolutely a place I would love to explore.

In an exclusive interview with Careerbright the founder of WYGU Alun Baker shares his insights on this new venture and how it you can benefit from the career matching and group interactions through this website to arrive at the right career choice.

Q1. With a wide range of choice on an ever-expansive social network platforms– Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Chatter and others in the pipeline, what sets WYGU apart and in which ways it supplements my other social network?

Alun Baker: WYGU is the next generation of social network in that it is focused on a particular niche, that of careers advice and development. Facebook is too social for such a critical subject while Linkedin’s intimidating corporate minimalism and lack of conversational style will have less appeal for young people. In the way that Facebook has become a home for games, WYGU wants to provide a platform for anyone offering careers advice and services.  WYGU’s social network can provide the vehicle for many organizations to have a much wider reach.

Q2. Does the website aim to attract a particular age-group of audience or is it for all in career change, discovery or transition phases?

AB: It’s all of the above. WYGU will have appeal for anyone over 14 who is thinking about choices in school subjects; 16-year-olds thinking of work or further education; college and university students looking to make career choices; people in their 20’s and 30’s developing or making career changes, or anyone else who wants to positively affect their career or help others benefit from their experiences by acting as e-mentors.

Q3. Can someone contribute through the website by being a mentor? What other areas can we explore besides finding the right career and networks?

AB: Mentoring has been around for a long time and is associated with deep, prolonged and highly retarget-intensive models. At WYGU, we believe everyone should have the benefit of mentors, usually more than one and often changing with the specific stage and needs an individual has throughout their career development. The younger generation (Gen Y) want something different. WYGU has provided a platform for instant, high-volume, low touch ‘e-mentoring’. Gen Y want quick simple access to people with knowledge and experience in a digital medium they understand – Social Networking.

The site should also become a home to share knowledge and ideas; it is a natural home to share research across industry through proactive groups.

Q4. I liked your idea of groups of like-minded professionals or people from across the world that you can interact and collaborate with. As with any other social network website how do you ensure security and the “right” profiles being matched for a particular group?

AB: We will keep a record of all conversations, email and chat, between e-mentors and mentees for anyone under 18. We take privacy and security very seriously and have a wide range of options to choose the details you want to share and make public. We believe that young people will see mentoring as transient in that certain mentors will fit for a while. Users might want to ask questions of people who have experienced a course or a profession and so can give first-hand advice and guidance. Additionally, we plan to use the Skills Matching engine as a mechanism to search for and match mentors with mentees.

Q5. What’s the secret behind career matching? I guess we’ll not learn the “secret” behind it but how can you excite or motivate your readers to trust the career matching through WYGU?

AB: The online tests that users can do through our Careers Matching Engine are unique. The Careers Matching Engine assesses you against more than a million variables on the fly and is focused on providing a percentage match to a career choice.  This is structured around a Wiki database it is designed to be self-learning and continuously improving through the ‘wisdom of the crowd’. As such, we believe the Engine will become the most accurate assessment of your suitability to any given trade or profession that has ever been created.

I recently went through the test with an Orthodontist/Dentist that I know. He said he felt he was excellent at his profession but not a perfect match (he suggested 65% ) and felt he was better suited and wanted to be a Surgeon or Anesthetist. His career match results were, Number 1 Surgeon 85%, Number 2 Anesthetist 84% and Dentist came out as 69%. We have had masses of such feedback.

About Alun Baker:

Alun is a recognised authority on change management and an evangelist for early stage or pre-IPO companies, specifically in the technology sector where he has more than 20 years’ experience and a wealth of understanding of what it takes to succeed.
He is also currently Non-Executive Chairman of Citihub, a fast-track international IT infrastructure and Market Data consultancy focussed on the Fortune 500, particularly the Financial Markets, with operations in New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East and London.
Alun holds a joint honours BA in Economics and Economic Geography from the University of Wales.