By: William Jackson
African students in the 21st century cannot wait to market themselves in a world of global commerce, digital Branding, intellectual sharing and the vast Social Media sites that are building to get the word out
there about the talents, abilities and skills that students possess. Students still struggle and have faced more challenges in the past years as institutions struggle to remain relevant, real and respiratory. Even with the promises coming by STEM and STEAM there will be policies to follow, procedures to implement and even expectations that need to be achieved. Internal political struggles have been a challenge for African nations and the building of the infrastructure for more connected technologies.
African students are growing involvement in STEM careers even before STEM and STEAM where aligned with educational initiatives. As an instructor teaching Educational Technology and Social Media the
challenge is knowing how to compete for jobs before graduation, how to Brand, then Market to a world of global competition and even tougher globalization. This blog is about why African students should market themselves before graduation, usually starting in their junior year to network with and collaborate with the correct people. Instilling in my students that if you want to be an educator, hangout with educators, if you want to be a lawyer network with attorneys, if you want to even be a gamer then learn from, compete with and against, and importantly network with other gamers. The most dangerous thing is to put your dreams on hold and to be fearful to even start. These suggestions are designed to help African students get started and for African professors to continue to lead and to be innovative.
1. Learn how to market yourself before you search for jobs, before you graduate, either at the start or before your junior year of higher education, vocational school or even the transition from military service to civilian life.
2. Marketing shows your worth, talents, abilities, work ethic, leadership abilities, being able to function in diverse environments, acceptance and tolerance of diversity.
3. The ability to adapt to the diversity of cultures, technology, responsibility and accountability for success and failures needs to be learned. That does not mean babying students it means teaching them how to adapt their biases, stereotypes that they may have and how to professionally deal with potential situations and circumstances.
4. African students must always see themselves as investments. The more you grow and improve the better investment you are to yourself and future employers.
5. Don’t wait until your senior year to rush to create a resume or a cv, start the first year and build by creating a living document of accomplishments, volunteerism, learning, leadership, community activism and collaboration.
6. Show yourself as well rounded; the combination of academics, job-training, extra-curricular activities, volunteerism, all need to show your contribution to things bigger than you are. Are you a part of something bigger than you?
7. Look at the world globally not just locally. Jacksonville, Florida where I live is the largest city in the USA by land mass. Students are encouraged in my class to have a global perspective of the world. The smallest global event in their major can have major implications on employment and involved in global markets.
8. Believe that your major course of study will have national and potentially international influence as you grow and take on more responsibility. The road to leadership is driven not by money, but by willing to work hard to make a difference in the world.
9. Learn to be familiar with foreign languages. Dedicate yourself that you will learn a new language especially one where you may have to use when traveling. If you want to travel overseas, take the time to plan, execute the plan or even save to meet the plan. You have to start with a plan!!!
10. African students network with cultural groups and participate in community events like festivals and networking socials. Never assume that there is already someone at an event that knows what you know. You have a wealth of inform-ation that no one else knows.
11. It is important for African students to learn how to integrate Social Media tools and platforms beyond joking with their friends, booty calls, partying, clubbing and acting a fool. This multi-functional, diversely dynamic platforms can allow for communication with employers around the world. These platforms can help start a career or end a career before it gets started.
12. Being technology savvy is important and just as importantly is how to apply that knowledge. Use your knowledge to be involved in community initiatives that build communities, that bring people together and open doors for collaboration.
13. Have a reliable list of resources to help you grow. The library services at Edward Waters College has one of the best resources in its library staff. Emma Kent is a knowledgeable and dedicated professional that embraces technology. Accentuating the services the library at Edward Waters College offers. Too many students do not take the time to get to know their library professionals that have a wealth of information waiting to share.
14. African students must adapt their thinking as they matriculate through the years. Their ideas, opinions, skills, networks must change. This change should be seen in their attire, their speech and self-confidence. Being a lifelong learner brings benefits that will be seen in the future not just in the present.
15. Applying to both males and females, your visual personality is just as important as your e-personality and e-reputation. Make the conscious effort to protect yourself in the direction of your career goals and dreams.
16. During your growth take advantage of tutoring and learning outside of academics. Attend tutoring for interview skills, cultural understanding, career counseling, and even role playing directed at your career interests. The more prepared you are the better prepared you are.