HBCU Students: Can Your Brand and SWAG Can Get You Employed
by William Jackson, M.Edu.
Instructor at Edward Waters College
Educational Technology and Social Media
The competition for earning internship opportunities and employment
is a work of Branding, Marketing, Networking and strategically
being placed. Creating a strong Brand that has SWAG and draws positive
attention to abilities, talents and skills. Being recognized, respected,
in demand by employment recruits cannot happen the senior year of college,
it is a process that is built from the freshmen year to graduation day
Employment recruiters have changed the way they recruit and hire
because many college students do not posses the necessary employment
skills.To many HBCU students still don’t understand, that they need
serious tech skills and certifications. Employers are not looking for
people who can just do a job, they are looking for people that excel
and have marketable skills that are beyond academic excellence and
Today’s corporate and academic world a bachelor’s degree is
just a step up from a high school diploma. The need is for advanced
diplomas and multiple certifications. Skills in Social Media, Digital
Media, Literacy Media and the list continues to grow when manipulating
digital tools. Young corporate talent must Brand themselves with
multi-talented skills that are marketable, scalable,
and bring value to their “Human Capital.”
To see the skill sets needed HBCU students need to view the
employment resources and view the skills necessary
before they can even get invited to an interview. To prove this
point high school students must understand how to create more than a
PowerPoint presentation, they must be able to make web sites with
Blogger or WordPress, they must understand coding and articulate
during their presentations with bullet points, integrate animated
graphics, have active sound bites and active web links that connect
to resources they used to build their presentations.
HBCU students must know these skills out of high school or use
YouTube resources to teach themselves. HBCU students cannot afford
to wait on classes to learn new skill sets, they must be proactive
in teaching themselves necessary tools that allow them to
be competitive in a global economy. They can’t blame “the man,”
“the system,” nor “their parents if lacking. HBCU students have
access to the Internet which has global access to information,
resources that can build a personal Brand and Market to global
As an HBCU graduate (South Carolina State University) and
an instructor at Edward Waters College, the oldest HBCU
in Florida HBCU students will compete against thousand of others
for high tech, high salary positions.
Resources like LinkedIn, HBCU Connect and even GCF Learn Free
can provide a heads-up on what to do to enhance skills.
Speaking at conferences I try to get people to understand that
their Smart phones, Smart tablets and even Smart watches,
“can be their best digital friend or worse enemy,” by the content
they create and broadcast. HBCU students need to understand how
valuable their content is.Caution and common sense are important,
HBCU students risk loosing chances at internships, scholarships,
fellowships, studying overseas and even being put out of school
because of Sexting, Cyberbullying, and Cyberstalking.
Proving You Have SWAG and Your Brand is Crunk
HBCU students cannot just sit on their assets and “wait” on information,
they must research, read, comprehend, digest information and regurgitate
it in understandable ways that provide value and worth. HBCU students
must be willing to learn and grow at a fast pace depending on their
career aspirations and life long goals. Comprehension is a skill that
leads to understanding and practice in applying methods to improve it.
Proving you have what it takes means being involved in networking
events, community activism, and volunteering.
Your SWAG and Brand
HBCU students need to be connected to resources like LinkedIn that
allow them to share and expand their Brand and E-Reputations.
The world is a smaller place because of technology, creativity and
innovation. HBCU students need to exercise their gifts, talents and
abilities to strengthen their SWAG. Use technology to tell your story
not allow others to do it for you.