FERRUM VA, (February 15, 2023) – On February 13, 2023, Ferrum College was host to one of the nation’s top diversity, equity, and inclusion social influencers, Fields Jackson, Jr., as part of the College’s celebration of Black History Month. Fields, who is president of the College Diversity Network and CEO of Racing to Diversity Magazine, offered career advice and business connections to students who attended his presentation during the College’s daily Community Hour in Franklin Hall as well as a number of business classes.
Jackson—who is recognized by Onalytica in London, England, as #13 of the top 100 global inﬂuencers focusing on gender equality and diversity—founded the College Diversity Network to connect organizations that want to diversify their workforces with leading colleges and universities with diverse student bodies.
“These are free for the school. When companies say that they can’t find anyone, we post it on [a school’s College Diversity Network] job board,” said Jackson, who explained that jobs showcased in the network are exposed to students from all of the participating schools, which often generates hundreds of applications for a single job posting.
Jackson also emphasized the importance of utilizing LinkedIn as a networking and job search tool, and he highlighted a number of best practices students should use on the platform in order to best represent themselves and their personal brand. “How do you want to come across when I look at your LinkedIn profile?” asked Jackson, who highlighted the importance of including a good headshot and other photographs in an individual profile.
“You want to have a head shot where if you were to walk into the room, you can tell who it is. It doesn’t have to be professional, it can be a selfie,” said Jackson, who also suggested students include photos of themselves with their teammates or in clubs and organizations to show how well they can work in a team setting. “If there’s a picture of you with your teammates or in the band, it shows you are a team player.”
Students enjoyed Jackson’s presentation and appreciated the advice he offered. “I thought the presentation was excellent, and it really opened my eyes to all of the opportunities out there. I’m super excited to get connected with him and see where that takes me,” said graduate student Braxton Hughes.
Freshman Jordan Wilson also found the presentation informative, though she hopes the job boards will eventually expand from the mostly business and corporate type positions currently offered to include a wider variety of jobs. “I’m a very hands-on person. I love getting down and dirty [with] carpentry or firefighting type jobs. I’m hoping that there’s more opportunities for trades like that,” she said.