HBCU Students Brand Yourself Past SWAG
William Jackson, M.Edu.
Edwards Waters College
Educational Technology and Social Media
Department of Education and Urban Studies
The college years seem to move along at a snails
pace, each semester drags on at its own leisurely
pace until you notice graduation is right around
the corner. Juniors are starting to feel the
excitement even as the summer
progresses and another academic years starts in
At the writing of this blog May 21st 2016 Edward
Waters College like other HBCUs are evaluating their
curriculum’s to determine if changes need to be made.
Schools are preparing for the future to prepare
graduates to compete in a global economy.
My college prepared me to plan for my future,
from the teachers, to the coaches as I ran track and
even the cafeteria workers they encouraged us as
students to look at our abilities as investments to
be cultivated and groomed for success.
South Carolina State University @
HBCU students need a strategy, a unique plan catered
to their specific situation. The economy is not
favorable to African Americans when there is economic
volatility so HBCU students must plan and execute
their plan. It takes more than what you know
academically, who you pledged with as a Greek, what
your GPA is and even the status of your parents.
HBCU students must have an exit strategy from higher
education for their particular career options.
The terms: Branding, Marketing, Marketability,
Networking, Thought Leader, Innovator, Content Creator,
Global Analysis, Human Capital, Strategically Positioned
should not continue to be foreign terms.
In my Educational Technology and Social Media class at
Edward Waters College these terms are taught, discussed,
and implemented in blogs.
In too many cases HBCU students because of their limited
exposure and background knowledge do not know nor
understand the importance of career talent, soft skills
and marketable abilities needed to grind out a career
that is transformative and stable.
Exposure and association, collaboration and cooperation,
terms that should be familiar. HBCU students need to
start seeing themselves as their own CEO, CFO, CVO and
other terms of industry leadership.
If HBCU students are not aware of these terms they
should google them to start a mindset of structural
Branding and Marketing. How can HBCU students climb
the corporate ladder if they do not know what the
name of each step is.
Strategic planning is through networking at
community events, “mixers,” being involved in the
Chamber of Commerce, and volunteering in civic,
political and educational organizations. One of the
best places to start is LinkedIn to see what is going
on locally and “Meetups” of all levels of professional
careers. The growth in Meetup, EdCamps, Seminars,
and even online discussions like @Edu_Match on
Strategic planning for HBCU students consists of:
1. Researching a career that accesses your talents, skills,
and abilities. Allows you to grow, learn and contribute.
2. Planning your education while attending an HBCU to build
your knowledge base in the path you want to take.
3. Participate in networking opportunities, even if you
don’t know anyone show up and show out by working the
4. Find mentors that share your passions and think of you
not as a friend or ticket for them, but as an investment
to a better life for you.
5. Look at each class as a paycheck to refinance your
growth and expanding career options.
6. Interact with instructors to learn as much as they do,
to learn the benefits of experiences through life.
7. Join clubs at HBCUs that provide opportunities to
apply, practice and learn new skills. Clubs provide
leadership opportunities and collaboration for projects
around campus and the community.
8. Create a calendar of priorities for academic career
pathways that lead to building a Curriculum Vitae or
Resume with more than just grades, GPA and academics.
9. Dress for success
10. Your online platforms should mature just as you do.
11. Ask a seasoned instructor to be a mentor and someone
to bounce ideas off of.
12. Use Social Media to build a following in either
traditional blogging, or expand to
Vblogging (video), Podcasting (audio),
13. Take advantage of Internships paid and unpaid.
14. Take advantage of career and academic counselors.
15. Be early to meetings, interviews.
16. When you receive emails – reply no more than a day.
17. If you make a mistake apologize and keep it moving.
18. Learn, Learn, and Learn some more.
19. Don’t worry about where you came from, focus on
where your going and where you want to be.
20. No every man or woman is compatible for you.
Not every man or woman has the same goals as you.
21. Before you get in a persons bed, get into their head
to see what their direction and goals are in life.
22. Manage your bank accounts, manage your credit,
manage your finances.
23. Plan to get your degrees while you are still young.
24. You can’t take your friends with you every where you go.
25. Take time to travel and be exposed to the world not
just your neighborhood.
Starting your career is increasing strategically
planned in this digital and technology driven world.
HBCU students must let the world know ahead of
graduation who you are and what your about.
These are just a few steps that need to be accomplished
that are listed to help establish yourself, to help in
building your Brand while building your SWAG.
When people look for you, you can have more flexibility
in what your want to negotiate in salary, benefits
and other options.
HBCU students using Social Media platforms
and tools, networking, marketing, volunteering
and even mentoring lift themselves up to be noticed
and in demand before graduation. Learning to
strategically position yourself is a planned process.
“Strategically Brand and Market Yourself”
1. TED Talks Twitter @TEDTalks
2. Blogger Week Twitter @BloggerWeek
3. Orlando Tech Twitter @OrlandoTech
4. TEDx FSCJ Twitter @TEDxFSCJ
5. WordCamp Jax Twitter @WordCampJax
6. Smithsonian NMAAHC Twitter @NMAAHC
7. Urban Teacher Twitter @urban_teacher
8. EduColor Movement Twitter @EduColorMVMT
9. Sarah Thomas @sarahdateechur
10. UrbanEdChat Twitter @UrbanEdChat
11. Blogging While Brown Twitter @BWBConference
12. Central Florida Association of Black Journalist Orlando Twitter @CFLABJ
13. GotteGetBloggin @GottaGetBloggin
14. My Quest To Teach #MyQuestToTeach
15. Scholarships @prepforcollege #CollegeChat