LinkedIn for HBCU Students.

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( Competition for employment, internships, scholarships, grants and other forms of financial assistance and entrance into higher education has grown tremendously in the past years. HBCU students should understand that digital tools and resources that aid in obtaining/starting a professional career should be gained and seen as an investment. Social Media platforms are not valuable if they do not promote a student’s Brand; their skills, talents and capacity to grow.

Their abilities in leadership skills and a take charge attitude are benefits in high energy careers. As an instructor at Edward Waters College teaching Educational Technology and Social Media student’s knowledge of using Social Media must have a foundation that builds their Brand to Market on platforms like LinkedIn.

One of the challenges for students is making a Brand that fits them and marketing it, highlighting skills, talents, educational achievements, and leadership skills that corporations are looking for.

An HBCU undergraduate must market themselves to the world they want to enter, either in medicine, education, business, 2016-HBCU-linkedinscience, etc. Technology allows for a digital platform, LinkedIn to make connections that may not otherwise occurred because of the lack of exposure that many HBCU students face. is arguably the largest online professional network not to be confused with Facebook which is a social network. The versatility of LinkedIn can be seen with its presence in over 200 countries and over 2 million companies have LinkedIn pages designed for network connections.

LinkedIn is to set up for “connections” and “linking” within a dynamic network of global connections, HBCU students must take advantage of the resources. The combination of free and paid accounts can assist with connectivity and increased link-ability with others. HBCU students should understand when searching for entry level, professional and executive level positions; opportunities to Internships, volunteering and mentoring they must fit their profiles to their individual needs of their search areas.

LinkedIn allows information that represents or defines that person and their qualifications to be shared with those of similar interests. Companies use keyword searches to find prospective candidates. A LinkedIn page houses information that can define who a student is that aligns with their Brand and just as importantly their skills and career objectives.

The advantages of LinkedIn can be seen with photos, social media feeds (Twitter, Blogging,, having a personal URL (uniform resources locator) or web address. This creates a foundation  to build a network and join networks, just as a house needs a foundation LinkedIn allows a person to create a networking foundation based on their skills/abilities/talents. “Connections do Matter”

Overlooking virtual networking that Social Media provides can put HBCU students at a disadvantage when they are required to network and collaborate. Competing on a global or national scale depends on those you are connected to, that is why the game of golf is held with such high esteem. It is not just hit the ball into the little hole, it is connecting, networking and collaborating with peers or cross generational exchanges of information.

LinkedIn will provide HBCU students before graduation visibility and a competitive edge when seeking employment and career building. This is more productive than Facebook and other Social Media sites that only promote the social side not a business and educational connection.

Words of caution for HBCU students should be considered when joining any Social Media group, caution should be exercised when sharing personal information and the type of digital content (text and video posted). LinkedIn represents communities so HBCU students must be careful with their associations in their personal life, personal lifestyles and professional life. These should not overlap or connect in any way because of the potential for misrepresentation of who you are and who you’re trying to become professionally.  When posting content potential employers will view profiles, checking spelling, grammar, and the ability to write; creating digital content is important in this world of digital connections. It cannot be stressed enough, be careful of what is posted online and who/whom you’re associated with, their drama can become your drama.

When discussing qualifications and abilities, the importance of internships, volunteering, mentoring contribute to leadership abilities that many careers look for. Do not pass up the opportunity to volunteer, manage, lead, coordinate and take charge of situations even if you do not get paid for it, this shows diversity in your abilities and a desire to grow beyond money.

Making connections by Twitter (microblogging), Blogging, Goggle +, and other SM sites has inherent contributions if you properly manage your contacts and content. You may even have to delete some people as you step into your career fields. The resources on LinkedIn for HBCU students allows for growing outside of traditional networks, never under estimate the expansion and influence of these resources. HBCU students must realize you never know who will see your profile offer you that dream career, mentor you, promote you, but you must put in the work and be prepared to embrace new opportunities.


Staff Writer; William D. Jackson

Find out more about this talented writer over at; OCS For Education.