Category Archives: Career Exploration

5 Questions to Help You Find a Job You Love

Sometimes I wish I could call someone and ask ‘what should I do with my life’? Wouldn’t it be great to have someone else tell you, if you do A, B, and C, you will feel happy, fulfilled and everything will work out? Wouldn’t it be great to have certainty related to your future, professionally and personally? Let’s be honest, I would be rich if I could be that person for others! What a gift that would be. Unfortunately, I have not figured how to precisely answer those questions for myself, much less for other people. I have, though, identified a few key questions that I think are worth asking yourself if you are interested in finding a career that feels less like a job and more like a passion.

  1. What does your ideal day look like? Your ideal week? In answering this question, think about whether or not you like to have your time structured or be more autonomous. Do you like to work alone or with people? Do you perform better if you leave your house? While you might not always get to choose your ideal day as part of your job, you can certainly seek out pieces of your ideal day in different roles that you consider.
  1. Before you retire, what do you want to be known for professionally and personally? What is your professional reputation right now? Do you want to change, expand or vary it? Sometimes thinking ahead and visualizing yourself at the end of your career can help to put your values, goals and objectives into perspective. Looking back on the bigger picture of your professional life can often refocus you on what is important to you and help you pass over things that aren’t.
  1. What do you most enjoy learning about? Thinking about? Talking about? Do you prefer to learn in a classroom environment or from a textbook? What topics do you love talking about? While not every person who loves race cars can, or should, work in the racing industry, reflecting on what it is about race cars that you love and trying to surround yourself with others who have similar passions can help to make you feel more engaged and excited about your own professional life.
  1. What emotion or sensation do you associate with success: Happiness? Excitement? Pride? Stress-free? Your answer to this question may determine what type of work you seek out and how often you hope to change your work. If you are someone who likes to be excited and constantly stimulated, you will likely benefit from a fast-paced, diverse job. If you consider your ideal job to be stress-free, then you will likely want a constant, low-intensity work environment. Departments and companies change, so while a job might have started as a good match for you, over time, it might become something else. It is important to continually check-in with yourself about how your work environment is affecting your emotions.
  1. What are you willing to give up? Continuing with the question above, if you are someone who seeks out fast-paced work environments, then you will likely give up a degree of control in your schedule and place of work. If you are someone who prefers to be in charge of your schedule and be an autonomous worker, then you will likely give up opportunities that exist in larger corporations because they are typically more bureaucratic. A person once told me: it is not comparing the pros that lead to a decision for someone, but rather comparing the cons. I thought that this was great advice, because in the end, whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, it is the cost of a decision to which a person pays the most attention to and remembers the longest.

Answers to these questions are not simple and often take time to work through. In truth, over the course of my career, my answers to these questions have changed. I do not think that they are stagnant or simple. Answers to these questions will not tell you what title or position you should seek out. However, they will help you to identify what role might be most likely to lead to a feeling of professional fulfillment. I recommend reviewing these questions on a yearly basis or when you feel a transition is coming. Reflecting on where you have been, where you are and where you hope to go in your professional path always behooves you and helps you to make informed decisions.

 

Rebecca Glavin, Assistant Director for Career Development

Rebecca Glavin joins the Center for Career Development after having spent a number of years running her own practice, Glavin Counseling, as a clinician in Charlotte. She has an organizational psychology background and previously worked in leadership development consulting. Rebecca holds a BA in Psychology from Middlebury College, a Masters in Business Administration from UNC Charlotte, and a Masters in Social Work from Boston University. 

Maximizing Your Career Potential During Winter Break

So you’ve made it through fall semester successfully! As you look ahead to a month of rest, reconnection, and reflection time, you may be wondering what to do with all of this free time?   This is a perfect opportunity to focus in on your career exploration and development to ensure ongoing success! Here are three tips to help you make the most of your career potential during winter break:

 Polish Your Resume

Whether this is your first semester at Davidson – or you’ve been here awhile – it’s important to create a collegiate resume and keep it updated! Not only does it mitigate stress later when you are applying to on campus positions, internships, or research initiatives, but it’s also a best practice for post-Davidson to keep that resume up to date and polished.  Not sure where to begin? Check out the Center for Career Development resume guide page for tips and advice on keeping your documents fresh. We even have editable templates to make it easy to get started today!

 Have a Career Conversation

Winter break is a great time to explore the world of work and what the myriad of possibilities are! Curious about a certain industry or job? The Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN) is a great way to connect with alumni and key stakeholders who are interested in supporting your career exploration and development through one-on-one coaching. You can search through advisors, send a request, and connect via conference call – all through the platform! These session topics can include resume reviews, mock interviews, or career conversations, which are designed to demystify specific professional paths of interest. Be sure to curate a short list of questions you want to ask before the conversation, to showcase your preparedness and interest in learning more. We’ve compiled a sample set of questions you might consider as you get started here.

Launch Your Internship Search

For many students, winter break is an ideal time to jumpstart (or continue) a strategic internship search. This doesn’t mean you will start and complete that search before classes start again in January, but it is a great time to peruse Handshake for opportunities and upcoming networking & on campus recruiting sessions.   The system gets updated regularly, so why not take stock now and start applying to opportunities of interest? Once you do this, you can continue the habit when you return to campus – designating time for yourself each week to work on your search. Have questions? Pop over to Appointlet to schedule a career advising session with a career coach in the Center in January!

 

About Tiffany Waddell
Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development

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.

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.

Up Close with Epic: Leveraging your Liberal Arts Degree

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I started working at Epic, an EMR software company, back in March of 2016. For context, Epic is a company where no one comes with prior experience. There is no “electronic medical record” major that state-school students take to get ahead of liberal arts students. From day one, I was on the same level with all of my peers. We all underwent training classes and took the same tests to prepare us for working in the world of medical software. In fact, Epic promotes a culture where your background is less important, and instead the work you put in decides your success. That is where Davidson so clearly prepares its students the best. 

My degree from Davidson has intrinsic value. My late nights in my library carrel writing papers did little to solve Macroeconomic issues, but they did prepare me for thinking critically about a subject so I could come prepared for lecture the next morning. That extra hour I went to office hours to ask for clarification about my Latin American education paper did little to improve my overall grade, but it instilled confidence to reach out for help and allowed me understand the value of creating professional relationships. Additionally, speaking up in my Political Theory class to voice my opinion on the 2016 election did little to change anyone’s vote, but it provided practice for transforming a cloud of disorganized thoughts into clear, concise points.

In sum, my degree is important. In truth, my degree has pushed me toward success.

My work at Epic has little overlap with specific classroom experiences. No singular class prepared me for interacting with hospital executives or leading presentations on EMR software. However, if I piece together my experiences with class presentations or research projects, I can clearly see a picture of the building blocks of my success. Even though I began my job at Epic with a limited understanding of what the job entailed, it did not matter, as I had my degree. I was prepared, equipped, and ready for any challenge. I was ready to work.

There are multiple full-time positions at Epic posted in Handshake. Learn more here

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Daniel was a Economics major at Davidson and graduated in 2016.  He is now living in Madison, WI while working as a Project Manager with Epic

Five Tips for Spring Success

Winter has descended, Thanksgiving break has passed and we are coming into the final leg of the semester. As we go into break, here are five tips that will help prepare you to hit the ground running in the spring semester:

1.     Get back on Handshake
Right now, you are probably focused on finals. But winter break is a great opportunity to research job and internship opportunities on Handshake. There are already more than 1200 postings, and more are being added every day. If you find an opportunity that peaks your interest, do not forget to “favorite” it, so it is easy to find and apply to later. Break is also a great chance to ensure your Handshake profile is up-to-date. If your LinkedIn profile is current, it is easy to copy the information over to Handshake. You can always drop into the Center for Career Development for a walk-in appointment if you want to review your LinkedIn profile with a career counselor or have a new headshot taken.

2.     Polish your resume
When was the last time you looked at your resume? If you have been putting off polishing or updating it, winter break can be a great time to check that off your list. If you are planning to apply for positions over break, or if you would like feedback on what you can polish to be prepared for next semester, you can come into the Center for a resume review. The CCD is open for walk-ins from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, including through exam week.

3.     Network on DCAN
There may not be on-campus events to network at over break, but you should not let that stop you from making connections and extending your network. DCAN makes that easy. With more than 1300 advisors, DCAN is one of the strongest networking tools you have. From career conversations to industry-specific resume reviews to mock interviews, DCAN advisors can help you at any stage in your job or internship search. It is fast and easy to use, but be sure to begin connecting with advisors early in break so you can schedule time to talk in early January before classes start.

4.     Pursue job shadowing opportunities
Break is particularly long this year – almost five weeks from the end of exams to the first day of classes. While the Career Center’s Job Shadowing Program has shifted to spring and summer [link to Sarah’s blog post], you can still take advantage of the break to gain experience in your field. Start by checking in with your network or connections at home to see if there would be opportunities to spend some time over break shadowing. If you have you developed relationships with any alumni on DCAN, you could also reach out to them about shadowing opportunities.

5.     Take time to reflect
The semester is busy, and we do not always take the time to reflect on what we have achieved and the progress we have made during the school year. Taking some time to reflect now, while the semester is still fresh in your mind, can help as you prepare to write cover letters and personal statements. It can also be an opportunity to notice whether your personal and professional goals have changed, or to celebrate the steps you have taken toward meeting those goals.

From English Major to Software Developer: Up Close with McMaster-Carr

“I just graduated with an English major, and now I’m a software developer.”

I have introduced myself this way many times over the last few months, and in response, I tend to receive looks of surprise and skepticism. I’m proving the skeptics wrong thanks to McMaster-Carr, a company that values liberal arts graduates and gives them the resources they need to become successful software developers.

As a rising senior, I was unsure about how I wanted to start my career. I had done my summer internships with nonprofit organizations, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start my career in the non-profit field. I began participating in programs through Davidson’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program and realized that I wanted a job through which I could pursue my newfound interests in technology and design. Without much background in either field, though, I wasn’t sure what my options were.

I applied on a whim for a Development and Design role at McMaster-Carr Supply Company. I did not know anything about the industrial supply industry, but I liked the job posting, which emphasized the opportunity to gain skills in technology, design, and business. I was surprised to find that for these entry-level software developer roles, McMaster was not exclusively seeking students with backgrounds in computer science. Throughout the interview process, McMaster employees confirmed the company’s stance that you can teach people to code, but you can’t teach people to learn, justifying their decision to seek out a start class with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Throughout the interview process, I articulated the ways in which my Davidson education, extracurricular roles, and internships taught me how to navigate ambiguous problems and learn new skills and content quickly; though my experiences had little to do with computer software, McMaster recognized my potential as a quick learner, and I received the job as an entry-level developer in McMaster’s Systems Department.

I’ve only been in my new role for two months, but I’m finding that the Systems Department at McMaster is an amazing place to start a career. Systems is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the software that McMaster uses for both internal and customer-facing business operations. As a developer at McMaster, I am learning how to develop across the full stack – from front-end languages for designing websites, to back-end languages for managing databases, and everything in between. In my first six weeks, I participated in a rigorous training program to learn programming and design skills, and now I’m continuing to learn as a member of my project team. The company prioritizes skill building, so my assignments are framed as opportunities to both contribute to my team and develop as a programmer. Additionally, the technology our department creates touches every part of the business, so the developer role is a great vantage point from which to learn about business strategy and operations more broadly.

While the path from English major to software developer may seem like an unusual one, I’ve already seen how the skills gained from studying a language (or any other liberal arts subject) can lead to success in software development. In the world of software, technology is constantly changing, so over the course of a development career, the ability to learn new skills quickly is more important than the specific content knowledge with which you enter. Additionally, to design software for a business, you need to ask critical questions about who will use a tool, how they’ll use it, and what is most important from a business perspective; as liberal arts majors, we are trained to synthesize information quickly and cut straight to the important questions, a skill which can give us a unique and useful perspective on a programming team. The learning curve is certainly steep, but I’m confident that a lot of Wildcats have what it takes to make an unlikely transition like mine, from English major to software developer.

Seniors interested in McMaster-Carr should check out the Development and Design role, as well as the Management Development role.

emily-rapport-headshotEmily Rapport graduated from Davidson in 2016 with a major in English and a minor in Hispanic Studies.

 

An Innovative Internship Option

The world today is more complicated than it’s ever been. When Davidson students graduate, they will face challenges more tangled, political rifts more wide, and and conflicts more extreme.

 

It’s a good thing, then, that Davidson prepares students with the skills they need to face a complex world head on: inside and outside the classroom, Davidson students learn to think critically, ask hard questions, and manage huge amounts of stress. Students graduate as leaders capable of navigating a changing world.

 

But despite students’ ability to solve complex questions in a complex world, traditional career paths are less and less able to do so. How will we protect coastal cities against a rising sea? How will we safeguard our national power grid against cyber attacks? How will we provide more equitable access to higher ed? While traditional professions like law and medicine will play a part in answering these big questions, they are only a piece of the puzzle. The questions of our future will also be answered by jobs that we’ve never heard of. These job will reach outside of the realm of traditional professional silos. And many of them don’t yet exist.

 

So, as Davidson students begin thinking about how to wield their liberal arts education post-Davidson, it’s important for them to remain conscious of and search for jobs and internships outside of the traditional career canon. It’s important for students to find and create jobs that give them the support, communities, and opportunities they need to change the world.

 

To accommodate that imperative, Davidson I&E, in collaboration with the CCD, runs the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, which is a fully-funded summer program that matches students with innovative jobs at entrepreneurial ventures across the world. And it furnishes them with the opportunity to develop a professional network and learn more about entrepreneurialism.

 

While many think of entrepreneurship as a sport reserved only for techies in Silicon Valley, it is more expansive than that. Entrepreneurship is about identifying a gap, nimbly prototyping solutions to fill the gap, and then quickly implementing a sustainable solution.

 

Indeed, there may be many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, but there are many more people across the nation wielding entrepreneurship to find sustainable solutions to big problems. In part, it’s entrepreneurs that are designing levees systems to protect cities against rising levels; it’s entrepreneurs that are creating new security algorithms to protect our power grid; and it’s entrepreneurs that are using digital solutions to make higher ed more equitable.

 

Students find opportunities like the aforementioned through the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. Last year for instance, one student worked at a startup in Bulgaria to invent self-driven cargo aircraft. And, another worked in New York at an organization that works to increase office wellbeing. If students keep an eye on handshake this year, they’ll see a similar range of opportunities.

 

The Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Internship Program is open to everyone– you don’t have to be an economics or math major to apply. In fact, all you have to be is a Davidson student, because at Davidson students learn how to solve complex problems and be leaders in a changing world– students learn how to be the perfect entrepreneurs.  Applications will be due in early March, so keep your eye out for information from the Center for Career Development and Davidson I&E when you return from winter break!

 

john-michael Written by: John Michael Murphy
John Michael  is a Digital Learning & Innovation Fellow at Davidson College.

Training the Street

As College students, we have all probably encountered this classic conundrum in our job search:

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What if there were a way to gain on-the-job skills and training before you had a job? On Nov. 12, Training the Street will come to Davidson to offer a training program essential to any student wishing to pursue a career in finance or any business field requiring a deeper understanding of income and cash flow statements, balance sheets, public comparable analysis, and much more.

Training the Street works with many of the country’s top corporations to prepare their entry-level, new hires for success. By participating,you will be able to demonstrate to future employers both your preparation and your sustained interest in the business world. More than just teaching basic job skills, Training the Street is committed to cultivating the next generation of successful finance professionals. Through Training the Street’s program, you will master key concepts to reading financial statements and determining a company’s value, skills that you can apply immediately in interviews, internships and first full-time positions.

Training the Street is highly recognized and respected, and it is definitely worth highlighting directly on your résumé.

“Obviously nothing compares to actually doing the job first hand,” writes past participant J.B. Gough ’17, “but Training the Street definitely made me more comfortable especially in my shortcut excel skills, which are unbelievably valuable on the job. I was able to put Training the Street on my résumé and my employers were definitely pleased when they saw this.”

Jeanne-Marie Ryan, Executive Director at Davidson’s Center for Career Development, also acknowledges the value of this program.

“In my previous career, I was at the heart of financial services as a VP at State Street Corporation, so I’m confident that these skills in applied finance fundamentals are what our Davidson students need to differentiate themselves as candidates for any internship or entry-level role in banking or finance,” Ryan says. “Without this clear indicator of interest and skill development on their resume, it would be much more challenging for students to market themselves to a prospective employer for that first internship. The knowledge and confidence gleaned through this course will help students not only understand the finance fundamentals of corporate valuations, but completion of this course will serve as an asset on your resume, and open doors for your career options.”

Sign up in Handshake to attend this key opportunity! Lunch will be provided to all participants.

Out 4 Undergrad: Queering Business, Technology, Engineering, and Marketing

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tai-tran
Tai Tran ’18 is pursuing a Gender & Sexuality Studies major with a minor in Chinese Studies

Growing up, being queer was a hush-hush topic in many spaces I’ve been to. Being your authentic self meant being everything but out and proud. Whether it was middle school or the professional world, people just didn’t talk about it. Imagine my surprise when I heard of a professional conference opportunity specifically for queer undergraduate students. It’s not just one opportunity, but four. Out for Undergrad (O4U) offers four different conferences all in major cities around the United States: The Marketing conference is offered in Chicago, the Business conference is offered in New York, the Technology conference is offered in San Francisco, and the Engineering conference is offered in Palo Alto, CA. Did I mention that they cover your airfare and hotel?

I had first heard about O4U from Kai Jia, a Davidson alumnus who served as an ambassador for O4U. O4U is meant to help queer undergraduate students get their foot in the door of so many of these major career fields. The focus on academic and career development by fellow queer peers who volunteer their time to make this conference a success is the very meaning of community to me. The speakers, the volunteers, the staff at O4U really do want us to succeed and so planned for an entire year to put together all four of these conferences.

This year I chose to attend the O4U Marketing conference in Chicago, IL. The year before I attended the Technology conference in San Francisco. It was my first time in Chicago and I had a wonderful time. The itinerary was of course packed from 8 am in the morning to 7pm in the evening but the connections I made were worth all the while. Coming into the conference we were already given an assignment to provide hands-on experience in the field of marketing. The selected few participants with exceptional presentations had the chance to present their assignments to all of us. The winner got a position for a first round interview with a major company.

Each conference has their own career fair and so I was able to network with so many people from companies like Pepsico, Henkel, Neilson, Pandora, and even the toothpaste company Colgate. There were plenty of networking opportunities throughout the conference and I highly suggest everyone take advantage of it to get their name known. It’s only one weekend around mid-September or mid-October so take your pick and I hope you’ll have a great time connecting with professional queer peers as I did.

New Online Appointment Scheduling – Digital Transformation for the CCD

We heard your feedback and acted on it! One of the pieces of feedback that I heard through my listening tour with students is that you would like it to be easier to access the Center for Career Development (CCD). As you know, we immediately responded by enhancing opening hours for walk-ins to an all-day service, which has already resulted in a huge increase in the volume of students accessing the CCD and leveraging our resources daily. As our next step in the continued enhancement of your experience, we’re transforming the scheduling experience to make it simple, immediate and instantaneous to get your one-to-one career advisory appointments scheduled with Career Advisors.

We appreciate that as digitally-native students, you are seeking an automated and immediate appointment system where you can instantly identify available appointment times that work for your schedule, and immediately book your career advisory session!

Here at the CCD, we are excited to introduce an advanced appointment scheduling software system called Appointlet.

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Appointlet offers a variety of user-friendly features, including a mobile-friendly website that will deliver fast and convenient scheduling services, to aid you in scheduling your appointment with a Career Advisor. Whether you’re seeking a career assessment, a career counseling session, or a mock interview, you can readily filter through open appointment times to select and book an appointment with each of our dedicated Career Advisors. Furthermore, the software offers Google Calendar and Outlook integration, so your scheduled CCD appointment will conveniently sync to your personal calendar, should you choose to do so.

Studying abroad and wish to set up a meeting via Skype or phone? Appointlet also enables you to schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor without having to worry about translating time zones.  Browse by your time zone and book an appointment with us, so you can continue your career development planning while abroad. Get help in preparing for internship and research applications and interviews, even while you’re on your semester abroad.  You are a priority to us, and we aim to make the CCD resources readily accessible to you, even when you’re across the pond, we don’t want you to miss out!

By streamlining the system for appointment scheduling, we’re enhancing your access to the CCD team and resources, and empowering you to select the timeslots that work best for your schedule – instantly! Of course, you can still always drop by the Center in person to schedule an appointment, call or email us to do so, but now you have more options, including putting the power of scheduling at your own fingertips, all the time.

The CCD is here to empower all our students with the resources, confidence, competencies and access for successful professional and career development. Thank you for letting us know how we can continuously enhance our engagement with you – we are excited about launching this enhanced booking system and look forward to welcoming you to the Center for your career advisory session with us very soon!