All posts by Tiffany Waddell

Tiffany Waddell

About Tiffany Waddell

Passionate about helping others develop themselves professionally and identify how their unique skills and interests can not only be cultivated, but add value to professional relationships, organizations, and the world, Tiffany has effectively coached hundreds of budding young professionals on how to create and launch strategic action plans to accomplish long and short-term goals.  She received her BA & MA from Wake Forest University.

Graduate School, Or Not?

grad-school-or-notShort answer: maybe.  If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Nearly one third of seniors will enter a graduate or professional school program after graduation.  Deciding on a program and when to start is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.

The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

Thinking about grad school after Davidson?  You likely have many questions. Be prepared – meet with a career advisor, faculty mentor, and industry professional to gather information and make an informed decision.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies.  For now, take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you and visit the Center for Career Development to discuss your options.

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.

 

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.

 

Online Interview Resources: Sara Muche’s Experience

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

Sara Muche

Meet Sara Salam Ayanaw Muche, class of 2017. She is a Public Health major who aspires to work as a physician in the future. During this past summer, she interned at Hamlin Fistula Hospital Rehabilitation Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We had the opportunity to discuss her online interview experience related to her internship.

Q: During the last 3 years at Davidson, have you been interviewed for a position be it an internship, a job or a volunteering opportunity?

 Sara: For the International Grant application for summer internships, one of the requirements was to complete an online interview using InterviewStream.

Q: Were any of these interviews online? If so how did the process look like?

Sara: The process forInterviewStream was very simple. I had to create an account and I had access to the interview question. There was a pdf file that career services provided that told me how to prepare (how to dress, what the area of the room should look like, etc.).

Q:  Prior to your online interview(s), how did you prepare for it? What resources did you tap into? Did you go to the Davidson Career Development website to find helpful resources?

 Sara: The resources to prepare for the interview were all located on the Career Development website. I used the InterviewStream pre-recorded best practices sheet to help. This tip sheet was easily accessible on the description for the grant I was applying for.

Q:  What were the most helpful features of the website you used? Were you able to review your interview and make a note to yourself?

Sara: I found the ability to record my interview multiple times to be the most helpful feature of InterviewStream. While this does not prepare me for interviews in person, it helped me determine the key aspects I should highlight during an interview. Another helpful tool is the sound feature, for someone like me that can often talk relatively softly, this feature made sure I was projecting my voice.

Q: What do you recommend for students who have online interviews in terms of preparation and the actual interview?

Sara: In terms of preparation, I would recommend that students go through the InterviewStream pre-recorded best practices sheet. I would also make sure that the individuals have a general idea of what they will be asked and prepare short responses or bullet points for possible questions. For the actual interview, the tip sheet is also very helpful. I would also recommend for students to go to a quiet area to prevent from unwanted disturbances and sounds from interfering with the interview.

5 Quick Tips on “First Time” Networking from a Davidson Senior

–Original blog Contribution by: Mahlek Pothemont (’16)

Networking can definitely seem like a hassle for any student. However, establishing and expanding your networks is arguably the most important tool you have here at Davidson. Here are 5 quick tips to help you best utilize your networking abilities!

 Be Proactive

Being at the right place at the right time takes planning. Before attending any public forum, think about who could possibly be there and what tools you will need to make good impression. Practice your elevator speech that gives people a basic rundown of your academic status and your professional interests. Also, consider printing out business cards that display similar background information.

Be Present

The only way you can take advantage of networking opportunities is to go and seek them out! Networking events and programs happen everywhere you go. In fact, I consider it to be something that happens 24/7 at Davidson. Every person at the college (student, staff, etc.) has the potential to be added to your network, so don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.

Be Engaging

Networking is definitely a two way street. When you want access to a network be ready to open up yours to others as well. This requires a certain amount of engagement during the first conversation. A good way to do this is to get an individual talking about their own experiences. Often, just asking for advice can establish a positive dynamic and bring some clarity to the potential career path you’re interested in.

Be Aggressive

Contrary to popular belief, it pays off to be forthright in your networking tactics. The people you meet are not going to have enough time to talk to everyone that wants to talk to them. This is where your business cards come in handy!  You should take advantage of every opportunity to place yourself in networks, even if only to request a later conversation. Business card etiquette typically means that if you give a card, you get a card in return, so you will have access to followup with that person shortly after meeting.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Be Prompt

When networking, timing is everything. When you’re scheduled for a lunch or networking call, try your best to be at least 10 minutes early to the meet-up location. When following up on a networking connection, give yourself a 24-hour time limit for response when corresponding via email. Being prompt in your communication can be the difference between a valuable connection and a damaged one.