New Professionals: Lean In With Your Life

Contributed and adapted by Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development (Original Post Featured in Eastern Association of Colleges & Employers Bridges Blog 2014)

Speak Up

 

A few months back, I grabbed a copy of Lean In since it seemed to be flooding my timeline as one of the (many) books targeting women want to live a more empowered and intentional lifestyle. I found that for me, while the book did have quite a few nuggets of knowledge I could put in my toolbelt – the context was a bit lofty from my seat. I am likely never going to be the CFO of a major tech company (not my intended career path or interest area) and that position and pedigree is laden with privilege and agency that I frankly do not hold [according to society’s standards] as a young black woman. However, the overarching message that still sticks with me months later? As a young professional, it is my duty to live and work on purpose – and encourage others around me to do the same. To be intentional, work hard, and not hide behind silence or wait to be asked to sit at the table. To operate in both word and deed as if I am at the table, always. Mentor those that come behind and beside me, and continue to exercise my voice so that there may be space for others to exercise theirs.

The landscape of Higher Education, despite the overwhelming saturation of women in the field, does not mirror our demographic in most cabinet-level or senior administration roles. So what does that mean for Millennial staffers? How do we secure our footing on the proverbial lattice of work, and pull other women up on the jungle gym with us – and not push them down? To me, it means we must choose to lean in with our lives – starting with our organizations and professional networks. How we choose to lead our professional and personal lives will set the tone for those around us – and it might not always look like what our parents thought it would. Below I have listed a few ways I try to lean in with my own life, in the hopes that it might assist or affirm you as you begin your post-Davidson journey.

Live Your Work Ethic

In the same way that “you are what you eat,” I believe that if you produce junk – people will consider you junk. This doesn’t mean there is no room for mistakes, but putting real effort into the work that you produce – how promptly you respond to emails and phone calls – and creating some semblance of organization in your life? These are the makings of your personal brand. When you peel back all the “hype” surrounding your formal title at work or past credentials, to me, what matters most is what remains: how you work and relate to others. Make it count.

Ask for Help – and Take It

I don’t know who came up with the myth that leadership means bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders all by yourself, but it is just that: a myth. Real leaders and effective people ask for help when they need it, and take it. Sometimes, two (or three or four!) heads is truly better than one. As a dominant intuitive and naturally independent person, I definitely struggle with this one. But it’s necessary for both personal and professional survival.

Seek Mentors

Identifying both men and women who have areas of expertise (or perspective/experience) in areas you don’t yet – or are stepping into – allows you to learn from the mistakes of others and identify resources to fill any skill gaps you might have. I find it odd that anyone would not seek out mentors. I recommend creating a professional life counsel, of sorts – people that you give full permission to be brutally honest with you about problems and situations. It doesn’t mean you will always take their advice or do what they say – but you will be open to listen and learn. You will almost always be better for it!

Support Your Peers

Whether you’re new to an organization or role – or have been somewhere for a very long time, one thing rings timeliness: professional development and achievement is both a combination of the work you produce and the relationships you build. I am not talking about parasitic relationships either, where all you do is take. I mean supporting colleagues by lending a helping hand on a team or across departments when you are able. Showing up when you are invited to meetings or functions. Giving your time to learn more about the stress points that are impacting your “work friends,” as I fondly refer to some of the best people I know in the field. Supporting others will always come back to you ten-fold. Learning who you can depend on starts by being dependable.

Be Bold

Appropriate and professional does not automatically mean compromising yourself. We challenge our students to think critically when sifting through career opportunities, weighing their values, and practicing for interviews and new opportunities. Why can’t we, as professionals, both think critically and be authentic at the same time? Who says that if you try something new and fail, that it’s a bad thing? Who says that we must compromise our expression of self and style to be taken seriously? Who says that if you challenge the status quo, that it’s automatically professional suicide? Wear bright colors – speak up when you have an idea – challenge yourself so that you can in turn, challenge others.

Are You In? As In, LINKEDIN!

Are you LinkedIn?

Many people are familiar with what LinkedIn is, but I am frequently surprised by the number of students who don’t quite know how to use it. While I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn or getting paid to write about it (I encourage free accounts!), I do believe it can be a powerful tool to create a digital stamp that embodies your personal brand – and can easily be leveraged as a powerful networking tool, too. Curious about how to create or update your profile to make your brand statement clear and noticeable? Check out these five tips to make your profile pop!

PROFILE PICTURES
Make sure your photo is a professional headshot. Not sure if your photo is professional enough? If you’re unsure, it probably isn’t! No need to pay for a photoshoot, but I highly recommend having a friend snap a photo of you with a solid light-colored background behind you, and cropping it to include no more than your mid torso and above. Wear something neat (business casual is fine) and smile! Profiles with headshots definitely get more traffic than those without.

HEADLINE
Instead of writing a boring snippet with your major or last internship title (that’s in your experience section anyway!) try thinking of a brief, but creative description of what you do or what you’re good at. For example, if you started own your company, instead of saying “CEO of Fran’s Cupcake Company” try “Dessert aficionado with a passion for sprinkles” which will definitely make your profile stand out. If you work in a more traditional or conservative space, however, it is also a good idea to highlight the core skill set or motivation that drives your work. For example, if you work for a creative marketing agency, you might try something like “Marketing manager with a keen eye for design.”

SUMMARY
While many people think of LinkedIn as an online resume, it’s definitely more than that. The summary section allows you to craft a (brief) statement that tells your story. What are you passionate about? What drives you? Specifically, what are you good at and how does it assist you in making things happen? Are there topics or experiences that you have that contribute to your overall value that may or may not be tied to your current position? Write about it here. LinkedIn tends to come up in the top 5 results when someone Googles your name, so make it count!

VANITY URL
Like most social networks and blogs, you have the option within your profile to create a “Vanity URL” which is a shortened web address for your page that fits nicely onto a business card or e-mail signature. Vanity URLs also make your profile easier to find in online search engine results.

RECOMMENDATIONS
I like to think of recommendations as “living references,” because your personal brand is not just what you say about yourself – it includes what others have to say about you, too! Asking colleagues, clients, or former supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations can only strengthen your professional digital presence. Pro Tip: it is better to give than receive! If you ask someone to write a recommendation for you, offer a recommendation in return – or at least send them a thank you note. It’s only proper!

For more information about how to build your individual or company profile and leverage LinkedIn as a powerful marketing tool, click here.

 

Original Post Contributed By: Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development

10 Tips for Networking as an Introvert

Original Post Contributed by: Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development

networking

So… being an introvert does NOT mean you don’t have social skills.  We all know this, right?  Right.  However, it does mean that for many of us, being around lots of people at one time can be draining.  I am what you might consider an “expressive” introvert, so I am often mistaken as an extrovert.  While both preferences have strengths and weaknesses, I love the fact that I am introspective – enjoy real conversations [read: no small talk] – and can still make connections in a myriad of contexts.  However, given that my day to day professional life requires me to talk to many different people, I thought it might be helpful to share my top 10 tips that help me manage networking situations.

1. Find the Bar! And no – not for a drink.  It’s always a great idea to position yourself at a healthy distance from the bar.  Many people start here when they get to a networking event in order to take a break from a potentially overwhelming space.  You can easily strike up a conversation as people turn around with a drink in their hand.  Note: If you need an alternative to an alcoholic beverage, try a little seltzer water with a splash of cranberry.  Works for me every time!

2. Set reasonable expectations. When attending an event, prep yourself mentally for what you are there to do.  Is your goal to meet more people? Is it to learn more about the organization’s culture? Is it to meet one or two specific people? Make sure you set reasonable expectations before hand, so that you have a goal in mind.  It is a great way to keep you from getting overwhelmed, too.

3. Start a conversation with a loner.  It’s usually easier to start a conversation with someone who is standing alone, because they will most likely be happy to have someone to talk to – and as a result, are often more personable and easier to connect with.

4. Avoid barging into groups.  A cluster of more than 4 people can be awkward – and tough to enter.  Join the group on one side, but don’t try to enter the conversation until you’ve made eye contact with each person at least one time.  Usually, people will make room to add you to the “circle” of conversation, and you can introduce yourself then!

5. “Look mom, no hands!” Keep at least one hand free at all times!  This means no eating and drinking at the same time if you are at a networking mixer or conference reception; this way, you can still shake hands with people without being awkward and fumbling around.

6. Be yourself. Networking events are meant as starting points for professional relationships. If you can’t be yourself – and you aren’t comfortable in your own skin, then the people you meet will be connecting with someone you’re impersonating, and not the real you. Be genuine.  Authenticity tends to attract much of the same.

7. Be present, and engaged. Ever talked to someone that acts like you’re the only person in the room?  Someone who listens, and makes you feel like everything you are saying is important?  I love those people!  They really make you feel heard.  Keep eye contact, and lean in or tilt your body towards people when you talk to them.  Not in a creepy way – but in an, “I’m listening to you, and I’m fully present” kinda way.

8. Treat people like friends. Unless, of course, you are a terrible friend. Would you go to a friend and interrupt their conversation, hand over a business card, and walk away?  No.  Networking events are not transactions.  Treat new people as you’d treat your friends – built rapport, be trustworthy, and then talk shop.

9. 72 hour rule. After a conference or networking event, you have about 72 hours to followup with a person on LinkedIn or via email.  Reference something that you talked about, and ask what the best way to stay connected might be.  After 72 hours – they just might have forgotten you.

10. Practice makes perfect. Well, not really perfect.  Progress is always better than perfection! The point here is that networking is a skill, like any other professional skill.  It is a muscle that you have to develop and grow.  While others may look like born networkers, they are more than likely just more experienced with it.  Mistakes may happen, but the only way to learn is to get out there and do it!

February Alumni Spotlight: Darrell Scott ’10

Original post contributed by Mahlek Pothemont ’16

Darrell Scott Headshot BLOG

Who are you and when did you graduate? (e.g. name, age, davidson major, involved in what clubs and orgs, etc.)

Name: Darrell Scott

Age: 27

Major: Sociology; Ethnic Studies Concentration

Organizations: Black Student Coalition, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Student Government Association, S.T.R.I.D.E., MLK Day Planning Committee,

Where are you from?

Little Rock, AR

What is your current profession(s)?

Right now, I’m working on a text news service called PushBlack with Tareq Alani ’10, and helping run lean experiments with difference social justice groups through Accelerate Change. I also lead a social change incubator for high school students through an organization called LearnServe International.

What originally drew your interest to this particular position/field?  

I’ve always been interested in new models for civic engagement, and stretching myself to learn about new tools. When I was leaving the philanthropy world, I knew I wanted to be in a nontraditional environment, and joining Accelerate Change’s team was the perfect fit. I’ve learned a ton about how to combine business principles and lean methodology to strengthen social movements. And, my interest in media has always been there.

I’ve always been obsessed with black media and its connection to black liberation. My childhood home was full of Ebony and Jet magazines. The TV stayed on BET. Not only did these mediums keep me updated on trends, they also taught me about civic participation.

How did the experience impact your career goals and your next steps?

We’re pushing forward with PushBlack, running multiple experiments to learn more about customer acquisition, growth strategies, and pathways to monetization. PushBlack has the unique opportunity to amplify black people’s voice in news and civic engagement. As a result, African Americans can, once again, have an outlet that informs us about important causes and provides ways to get involved. Be sure to sign up for text news service, PushBlack Now, at www.PushBlack.org/now.

Can you share on brief story about a specific project, moment, etc. that was particularly impactful?

Winning the Davidson Venture Fund with Tareq Alani ‘10: http://www.davidson.edu/news/news-stories/150305-colorworthy-wins-venture-fund-competition

 

Wondering How to Go About Your Internship Search?

Original post contributed by: Beza Baheru ’16

As you are enjoying your time on campus, it is a great time to think about internships and jobs for the summer and beyond.  You are wondering why do I need internships? My response to your question: internships are very beneficial tools in your journey to exploring your career options. Since it is a temporary position, it allows you to investigate your skills and assess if that particular position aligns with your interests and skills firsthand as you will be carrying out numerous projects throughout your time as an intern.

Where to start your internship search?

Now that we have established the importance of an internship, the next step is to start searching, however since there are a lot of internships and jobs out there, we want to zoom-in and gear our search via a somewhat specific focus. Attaining a certain target will make the internship search easier and manageable. Initially, you should think about where you would want to work and live in terms of city, state and country. Establishing your top three locations will help facilitate the process. Then, you can specify these places in your search. However, this does not mean that you will only limit yourself to these places, you still will look at other locations; you will just prioritize to these places first.

What is your desired job function and industry?

            From my personal experience, I rarely thought about the industry while attempting to land an internship during my past summers, rather I would skim through the positions available at various websites and decide based on the description corresponding to the title. I have realized that it is essential to have a brief idea of the industry that you want to work in as well. It is part of the job/internship focus process. You are wondering what is the difference between a job function and a job industry. Job function denotes to the particular duties that you will have as an intern or on the job while job industry refers to the umbrella that the job function is part of. For instance, you can be a research analyst in a health care company. In this case, research analyst is the job function whereas health care is the job industry.

Where do your look for available positions?

There are an infinite number of resources for jobs and internships on the web these days. First and foremost, it is highly recommended for you to look at Davidson’s Wildcatlink, powered by handshake. Davidson alumni and other employers post their open positions since they want Davidson students particularly and they know how hard working Davidson students are. Moreover, networking is a vital part of the job search process, LinkedIn and DCAN are websites that allow you to generate connections with both Davidson alumni, parents and other professionals. These connections will come in handy when you are exploring a specific career path and you want to learn more about the vocation and what educational background is required. In addition to these resources, there are industry-specific sites that cater to one industry, as the name indicates. For instance, mediabistro.com is for Publishing and Journalism-related positions. Additional websites include indeed.com, internships.com, and internmatch.com.

 

Lessons Learned from Job Shadowing

Tiffany Ruan

Hi! My name is Tiffany Ruan and I’m a current junior at Davidson. I’m majoring in chemistry, concentrating in biochemistry, and I’m also on the premed track. I had my first experience with shadowing last year with a physician assistant at the Access Community Health Network in Chicago.

My experience last year was amazing; I had the opportunity to talk with the PA about his Davidson experience and how he had decided to become a PA. I also had the opportunity to see the interactions between the PA and his patients and I also interacted with the patients myself. Before the shadowing began, I made a list of questions that I wanted to ask the PA. I also did some research on what the clinic’s goal was in order to help their patients. If it is a career you’re interested in pursuing, I think it’s important to ask what the alumni did after Davidson that led them onto their career path.

From my shadowing experience, I learned that although the job can be repetitive (pull out the patient’s files, see the patient, and plug the data into a computer), every patient is different and you will be able to witness different interactions between the patient and the PA (or the interactions between whoever you are shadowing and a client, customer, etc.). The PA had friendly conversations with some of his patients while other conversations were solely surrounding the patient’s checkup.

This year, I will be shadowing at GBCHealth, a non-profit global health organization, in New York. Again, I will be making a list of questions to ask the person I’m shadowing so I can learn more about the global health sector since that is a career I’m interested in pursuing. I’m also going to make sure I dress more appropriately this time around. I wore casual jeans and a sweater with boots to shadow the PA last year and I felt underdressed since my PA was in dress pants, a dress shirt, dress shoes, and a tie. It really depends on where you are shadowing. If you’re shadowing at a business firm, an investment bank, a clinic, or something in a very professional setting, I’d recommend wearing dress pants, a dress shirt, dress shoes, and a tie if you’re a guy, or dress pants, a nice top, and flats if you’re a girl.

Before going in to shadow, I’d make a list of questions that you want to ask the person you’re shadowing. I would also do some research on the organization at which you are shadowing. Coming in prepared and knowing about the organization is key to making a good first impression because that may be where you will be working in the future. Also, DO NOT text, Snapchat, go on Facebook, tweet, or anything of that sort while you are shadowing. I left my phone in my backpack at the break room the entire time. You want to show that you’re interested in learning about the organization you are shadowing. Additionally, if you have your mind set on a career, do not let a bad shadowing experience change your mind. Do additional shadowing at other places because every organization is different. If the shadowing experience is just an opportunity to see if the career is worth pursuing, do not go in acting like you have no interest in the organization. Make sure to go in with an open mind!

Good luck to everyone shadowing this winter break! It’ll definitely give you a perspective of what type of career you want to pursue.

Debunking Common Myths about Job Shadowing Program at Davidson College

Original contributed post by: Mahlek Pothemont ’16

 

On the fence about pursuing a job shadow experience?  Check out these common myths (and reality checks) regarding experiential education opportunities like Job Shadowing, below:

  • “Job shadows are just short internships that requires labor for no compensation.”
    • False, job shadowing is an opportunity for students to spend a day beside a professional in their respective field of interests. This experience only requires you to enter the program with an open mind to learn and explore career paths that you can potentially see yourself in. These opportunities are mainly set aside for students to gain that brief but rare experience on the site, while establishing professional networks for the future. Click here for more info about Davidson Job Shadowing program.
  • “I can’t possibly benefit from a program that only last a day.”
    • Job shadows afford students the opportunity to get access to places only professionals can access daily. Although the experience lasts only for a day the overall long term impact of your job shadow can only be realized through proper networking practices. A couple of tips on networking can be found here.
  • “There’s only a few hosts looking for students so the opportunities are few and far between. There’s no point in applying right?”
    • Also false, there are over 200 job shadow hosts sign up for the program every year, with over 100 students participating in 150+ job shadows. The opportunities are plentiful and coming in almost daily. Take the chance to apply to multiple opportunities that interest you in order to maximize your choices.
  • “These job shadows are nowhere near where I live and I know nobody in these cities. Davidson doesn’t provide any type of help beyond the application.”
    • Thankfully, this is untrue as well. The Center for Career Development offers an expense reimbursement program set in place for any student who is accepted by the Job Shadow participate. These funds are specially designed to cover costs of travel and lodging. For more info on reimbursement click here.
  • “My resume doesn’t matter since it’s just a job shadow and not an actual internship or job.”
    • Definitely a myth. Your resume is one of the most pivotal tools you will use in your time at Davidson. This document serves a “highlight reel” of your accomplishments and success over the past few years and is integral in the job shadow application process. The first step in the application process is to have your resume reviewed and approved by the Center for Career Development.(Tip: No appointment is required for this review and approval. Just come anytime in during walk-in hours with a copy of your resume)

Why Use DCAN?

–Original blog contribution by: Beza Baheru (’16)

picture of DCAN

Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN) is one of the key resources for students to utilize in their journey to find a career they are interested in. It connects students with either alumni or parents who are willing to share their knowledge and previous experiences concerning their career and industry through a conference call or online. It is a great opportunity to network and receive career advice. The categories for consultations are career conversations, resume critique and mock interviews.

How do you navigate and access DCAN?

The first step is to register for an account through the register link. Post registration, you can login using your Davison e-mail user name and you don’t need to enter a password. On your DCAN page, you can filter through advisors by function, industry, employers, services, location, and languages.

What is the next step after you have identified advisors?

Every advisee has 10 credits which can be used to set up a consultation in the three categories above. Each consultation is one credit. For career conversations and resume critiques, the duration of the meeting is 30 minutes whereas it is an hour for mock interviews. In order to schedule a specific time that works for both the advisee and the advisor, the advisee will propose three separate times –  make sure the time is correctly added! For instance, I scheduled a career consultation with an advisor for 5:00 AM thinking that I set it up for 5:00 PM. On the day of the consultation, I received an e-mail notifying me that I have missed my appointment in the morning. My initial confusion while I opened the e-mail gradually turned into anger when I realized my mistake since I was looking forward to this the whole week. Fortunately, I apologized and was able to set-up another meeting but this goes to show you the importance of identifying the right time as to not waste a perfect career development opportunity.

What to do during the consultation?

It is vital that you are prepared for each consultation. For the career conversation, you will probably want to bring a couple of questions and perhaps research ahead of time the advisor’s job or industry to have a grasp of what their work entails. Similarly, wearing business formal attire and bringing your resume for the mock interview is a critical part of the interview experience. For the resume critique, you definitely want to bring your resume since that is what you will be modifying.

How to approach post-consultation?

Towards the end of the conversation or interview, you should ask the advisor for contact information, preferably their e-mail. Why you ask? A thank you note is always essential to demonstrate the advisor that it was an enriching practice in your career exploration. This also taps into establishing your networking skills so that if you have more questions in the future, you can reach out to the advisors.

 

Davenport & Company: On-Campus Recruiting

DavenportEstablished in 1863, Davenport & Company LLC is one of the oldest employee-owned, independent financial services firms in America. Headquartered in Richmond, VA, the firm offers a complete range of investment services, including comprehensive stock and bond brokerage, investment management, research, financial planning, insurance, public finance, and corporate finance.

On Tuesday, November 17, Chazzo Habliston ’13 will join us on-campus to share information about the public finance internship with Davenport.  Andrew Pope ’16, participated in this internship during the summer of 2015 and answered a few questions for us.  If you are interested in applying to this opportunity, visit the full description in Handshake.  Applications are due November 28 at 11:59pm.

Andrew Pope '16 Economics major
Andrew Pope ’16
Economics major

How would you describe Davenport’s work environment to someone who doesn’t know?

The vibe in the Davenport offices really exemplifies some of the pros of working at a smaller firm. Primarily, this was shown through the interdepartmental relationships that Davenport employees have with others at the company.  During my internship specifically, I was working in the Public Finance division, but was urged to spend time in other parts of the firm in order to really understand the way a financial services firm works.

In terms of my work with the Public Finance group, I was given a chance to really fulfill some of the jobs that the full time analysts were expected to complete. I started my internship a few weeks before they on-boarded a new analyst and our learning processes and responsibilities were very similar. The faith that they showed in my abilities was extremely important in learning to take some pride in what I was doing. Senior bankers were always asking how the process was going for me and offered their help with any questions that I may have.

What did an average workday look like?

I usually got to work around 7:45am and spent the morning working on the long-term project that I was given for the summer. Around 10, the Associate or Analyst that I was assigned to for the week would come to my desk and talk to me about the project that they were working on at the moment. Usually these projects were financial analysis for clients about refunding bonds or a quickly approaching issuance of new bonds. The banker I was working for would then explain what they would like me to do over the next couple of days and give me several tasks to have completed by the end of the week. From that point on, I worked closely with the associate assigned to the project until it was completed.

What advice would you give other Davidson students interested in applying to Davenport?

I recommend getting in touch with people at the company. They can give you a realistic expectation of what a full time opportunity with the company looks like. I would also recommend practicing any technical skills you have so that you can complete any work that they give you in a timely manner. Lastly, attention to detail is something that is taken to the next level at a company that stresses quality service like Davenport does.