All posts by Sarah Layne

Career Conversations: My DCAN Experience

DCAN is like a path of privilege, offered only to us Wildcats to lead all of you to a world of cool people and endless business connections.

– Julianne Xiao

Remember the millions of steps that we had to go through to learn how to use DCAN and find a career advisor? That is no longer something that can stop you from accessing this amazing website that has become so much more user-friendly after modification.

You have a dream. Awesome! But how are you going to achieve that dream? There are many options, such as meeting with a Career Development Counselor or applying for internships. If you have not heard of DCAN, now is the time to access the website. With a massive hub of alumni and parents who could be your potential professional connection, DCAN cannot be neglected when you are attempting to build a successful career path during your years at Davidson.

I personally just connected with an alumnus on DCAN for a career conversation in the finance field, and I had an unforgettable experience. On top of the wide range of services provided on the website, here are some quick tips coming from your fellow student who had a first encounter with the website not long ago:

  1. Choose the correct time zone

When you schedule a meeting, there are numerous time zones that you can choose. Remember to always choose the time zone where YOU are located. For example, if you are at Davidson College, choose the Eastern Standard Time Zone! This is really important because some advisors may locate at CA and live by the Pacific Standard Time, or they may even be abroad.

  1. Check out the sample messages on the Career Center Development website

When you are scheduling a conference call, you want the message to be precise (name, background, major, what you want advice on, etc.). On the Career Center website, there are sample messages that you can use to articulate your message so that you can leave a professional and polite first impression on your advisor.

  1. Explore and don’t limit your targets

The DCAN website has countless advisors in different fields. The goal of scheduling a career conversation does not mean that you are set on pursuing that career. The conversation simply gives you more information on what the field looks like and what you need to do if you ever wanted to become, say, a financial analyst. Be open-minded and reach out to people from different fields. This will not only help you have a better idea about planning your path, but will also help you explore and find the ideal field for you.

  1. Have someone from the REAL world fill you in on what is going on out there

Ask wise questions. The Career Center website offers sample questions that you could ask, or you could even search on Google or buy a book on how to ask career-related questions. This is your opportunity to get a sense of how the real world looks like – so no need to limit the conversation to “what degree should I pursue” or “what classes should I take.” For instance, ask about what kind of employees the field is looking for, or what a company might be looking for during an interview (*DON’T ask them for a potential job!)

The website is not at all as complex and terrifying as it may sound. Talking with someone who is successful and has a lot of experience with the professional field may seem intimidating. Don’t feel that way. I was nervous when I made that conference call, but my advisor turned out to be extremely friendly and easy to approach. This is an amazing opportunity to build network with alumni and hone your future career path, and I would recommend it to all my fellow Davidson wildcats.

 

 

Written by: Julianne Xiao
Julianne is a sophomore at Davidson and works as a Career Development Ambassador in the Center.