Category Archives: Internships

People networking in a room with text "The Dos and Don'ts of Networking"

The DOs and DON’Ts of Networking

We all hear about networking in today’s professional environment. We are told it is a necessary skill, not an optional one. What though is networking and how does one go about doing it successfully?

According to many experts, networking means: To build relations on the basis of trust that involves a give and take. Although seemingly simple, this definition is easier said than done. Let’s break it down….

To build relations: To build a relationship means that you are developing a pattern of interactions with another person. In order for this to be true, making a good first impression is crucial.

On the basis of trust: Trust suggests confidence in someone or something to be reliable, valid and truthful. Trust in a person also involves seeing strength in him/her.

Involves a give and take: Networking involves helping others and providing something or some service to others while also looking for something or some service from others.

So, how does one go about doing all of this? Below are my top 3 dos and don’ts for professionally networking with others.

Dos

  1. Make a good first impression. This includes:
    1. Being on-time to your meeting
    2. Over-dressing as opposed to under-dressing
    3. Being appreciative
    4. Listening attentively
  2. Develop a goal and strategy:
    1. Prepare ahead of time by researching the person and organization you are meeting with.
    2. Contemplate in advance what you hope to gain from this meeting in terms of information and additional potential contacts.
    3. Strategize what you can offer the person you are meeting with so that you ensure you are completing the ‘give and take’ component of networking.
  3. Follow-up:
    1. Always follow-up immediately after the meeting with a handwritten note or personal email.
    2. Reach out to your contacts quarterly, semi-annually or even annually with a card, phone call or email in order to ensure you maintain the relationship.

Don’ts

  1. Ask for a job:
    1. Asking for advice and asking someone to employ you are two very different things. It is always safe to ask others about their professional experiences and how they made the choices they did. It is rarely safe to ask others if they can hire you!
    2. Asking for a job threatens your image of strength and confidence, both of which are key components of trust.
  2. Stop networking because you have a job:
    1. Networking is most effective for growing on the job or changing jobs. When you are in crisis and trying to find a job, you are going to want a network to reach out to, so make sure to continue networking even when things are going well.
    2. Growing your network and maintaining your network via intermittent follow-ups to others takes time and purposeful energy. Make networking part of your professional duties so that you have relationships to call upon when you are in need of help.
  3. Underestimate the power of networking:
    1. Finding a job takes more than filling out an application on line, attending a job fair or even having an amazing resume.
    2. In an August 2009 survey competed by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a global outplacement firm, human resources executives were asked to rate the effectiveness of various job-search methods on a scale of 1 (least effective) to 5 (most effective). Networking averaged a 3.98. And, about half of the executives gave networking the highest effectiveness rating of 5.

In the end, networking has now become an essential part of everyone’s professional lives. Focusing on the importance of a network; networking with awareness and purpose; and following the do’s and don’ts listed above can all have a positive impact on your professional path and help you find success, satisfaction and opportunities in your career. To learn more about networking, see Rebecca’s segment on the Charlotte Today Show.

 

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. 

Person at Desk with text "Maximizing Your Career Potential"

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.

Flower blossom with text "5 Tips for Spring Success and Making the Most of Winter Break"

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.

Person painting with paint with text: "An Innovative Internship"

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.

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

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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.

Sea Turtle Rescue at the South Carolina Aquarium

Original posted contributed by Aren Carpenter ’18, recipient of the Jolley Foundation Internship Grant for summer 2017.

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston thanks to a Jolley Foundation grant. I spent about half of my time working in the Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital that treats stranded, injured, and ill sea turtles from the entire east coast. It was an incredibly productive summer for the hospital this year; we treated more than 30 sea turtles and were able to release several just in the time that I was there. There are few experiences more rewarding. The staff and volunteers have such passion for these animals and it was a real pleasure being able to work with them to make a real difference for these turtles. I was involved with the daily care (feeding, cleaning, medical procedures, etc.) of the sea turtles and I was the primary caregiver for 12 terrapins, an estuarine turtle that I was using for research.

Terrapins are near threatened in several South Carolina populations and my research allowed me to study their interactions with crab traps, a leading cause of their aren-carpenterdeclines in the area. I conducted a series of tests on these terrapins and I am planning to submit my findings for publication later this year! Hopefully, my research can help mitigate terrapin deaths in the future. My previous exposure with terrapins also allowed me to start a biweekly terrapin educational program at the aquarium geared for younger children and teenagers. I was told by several of my supervisors that many guests commented that they loved the chance to have hands-on experiences with terrapins, so I believe it was a successful endeavor! As one of my professors used to comment, ‘you never know when one experience, however brief, could inspire a kid to be the next biologist or vet or scientist’. I’d like to think that I was allowing the thousands of kids I talked with to have such an experience.

In all, my summer was everything I hoped it would be. I can’t say enough how thankful I am to the Jolley Foundation for allowing me to expand my horizons, if you will, by exploring new career paths and making a difference in the lives of turtles and aquarium goers alike this summer.

Up Close with Synchrony Financial’s BLP

up close_Synchrony Financial's BLPDavidson grad Dan Hagemann ’15 recently completed his first year in Synchrony Financial’s Business Leadership Program. Synchrony Financial (SYF), completing the separation from GE Capital, created its Business Leadership Program (BLP) to begin developing future leaders of the company. Dan, now a full-time BLP, shares his experiences from the Program and answers some typical questions about SYF with you below:

“What is the Business Leadership Program, and why did you apply to it?” 

The Program is a 2-year program at Synchrony Financial consisting of three 8-month rotations. Each entry class of BLPs contains roughly 50 BLPs. When you enter the Program, you enter under one “track,” and each of your three rotations provides a different experience within that track. Nine different tracks are offered, ranging from HR to IT to Data Analytics. Mine is Credit, in which I’ve done rotations in Deal Underwriting and Credit Risk.

The rotational nature of the Program still to this day remains my biggest personal draw towards the Program. When preparing to graduate Davidson, I was interested in doing consulting, but I realized that the Business Leadership Program provided that same short-term assignment structure that I admired in a lot of consulting firms. Also, it was clear to me that Synchrony was very serious about investing in its Program participants and valued its employees, both large priorities for me.

“How did you get the job, or at least, what made you a good fit for Synchrony’s BLP?” 

As an Economics major at Davidson, I felt very confident about my quantitative and reasoning skills – I’d later realize that they weren’t all that special – which I figured would be important for a position in Credit. However, it became really clear to me throughout the interview process that Synchrony placed quite a bit of weight on leadership abilities and what SYF now calls “Critical Experiences,” and I was able to point out some examples of those abilities and experiences from my time at Davidson, whether related to Wrestling or studying in India and Spain.

“What have been the highlights of the Business Leadership Program so far?” 

We’ve had quite a year packed with several awesome experiences, but I’ll try to boil it down to three main points:

  •  Meeting our CEO Margaret Keane as the very first experience I had at Synchrony (9:00am, Monday morning – not kidding!). I’ve been lucky enough to speak with her a couple of times since then, but meeting our fearless leader will remain one of my favorite events that my class experienced.
  •  Traveling to different SYF sites across the country for three weeks as one of our signature Cross-Functional Experiences. We dedicated the three weeks to learning about Sales & Relationship Management, a function none of us work in currently. It brought my class a lot closer together, and we were able to present our findings directly to the CEO and her direct reports at their Management Committee meeting.
  •  Every year in July, the BLP Symposium provides a week-long opportunity for BLPs to reconnect at our headquarters in Stamford with various functions as an orientation for the new class. The improvements that we saw both in our fellow BLPs and Program growth overall in one year were astounding.
SYF employees participating in the 2016 BLP Symposium.
SYF employees participating in the 2016 BLP Symposium.

 

“What advice would you give to someone interested in applying to the Business Leadership Program?” 

So, my primary advice here applies to any job, not just the Program. Aside from the given of getting to know fellow alumni at the companies you’d like to work at, I think it’s essential that you ask smart questions and show a good knowledge of a company’s business model or nuances to demonstrate both ability and interest. A few really simple, informal test questions like, “How do we (SYF) make money?” can tell a lot about how interested a candidate is in the business, because the content is fundamental to every action we take as a company. Specific to the Program, carefully consider which track you want to be a part of and know how to demonstrate your leadership experience.

Dan will be on-campus for an information and networking session on September 13th. Students are welcome to reach out to him directly at Daniel.Hagemann@syf.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.

If you’re interested in applying for the SYF Business Leadership Program, visit the Credit posting and Marketing posting in Handshake.  SYF is also recruiting for internship positions.    The application deadline for all positions is October 5 @ 11:59pm.

How Ministry Became a Career Option

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Ela Hefler is a senior History Major from Toronto, Canada. This summer she had the opportunity to explore the possibility of a career in Ministry through Davidson’s Ministry Fellowship Program

Before coming to Davidson I had only met one ordained person: the Catholic priest at the church where my family worshiped sporadically. With the exception of the one time I took confession before my first communion we never talked. I couldn’t tell you his name, and by the time I finished primary school my family had almost completely stopped attending mass. I never considered myself Catholic and didn’t give much consideration to whether God existed or not.

church at night At Davidson, that changed, slowly, then seemingly all at once. I got involved in Davidson’s interfaith group, Better Together, as a secular person. Through meals, conversations and celebrations I began to understand the fundamental role faith can play in a person’s identity. I realized that if I really wanted to know my friends and peers, I could no longer dismiss the importance of religion and religious understanding. Interfaith work also prompted me to dig deeper into my own beliefs. When I began to let go of a binary understanding of faith I started to find that a lot of the language and values of Christianity helped me find depth and grounding in my own identity, as well as my responsibilities to other people and relationships.

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around how, in three years, I went from never having met an ordained woman to considering ministry as a vocation and accepting a nine-week summer “fellowship in religious vocation and leadership.” When I tell people I spent my summer interning at a church, most people ask – very tentatively – whether I want to be a minister. The answer is, I don’t know.

For years, I had planned to go into International Relations or Development. Davidson was the only college I applied to without an IR major, which may be how I ended up falling in love with history and domestic policy. Though my academic interests had changed, my plans for after college had not. That is until I paused to look back on my time at Davidson and realized the two areas I had invested the most time and energy were academic diversity and religious life. I realized my career goals hadn’t kept pace with my growing and changing passions, and that I wanted a career grounded in relationships rather than politics, and focused on domestic issues and communities.

Every summer Davidson College offers five rising seniors the opportunity to explore congregational ministry through the Ministry Fellowship in Religious Vocation and Leadership. The fellowship begins with an eight to ten week summer internship with an experience clergy member, and the fellows continue to meet regularly to discuss vocational discernment throughout their senior years. Students of all religious backgrounds are invited to apply.

However challenging I found the idea of ordination I knew a summer exploring ministry would give me the chance to explore in the ways I wanted to. And it did. I spent nine weeks at First Congregational Church of Minnesota, a United Church of Christ congregation in Minneapolis. It was a phenomenal experience, and I still don’t know if I want to go into ministry.

a sign in front of a church that reads "to our Muslim neighbours a blessed ramadan"But, here’s what I do know – ministry is hard, and hard to define. Over the course of nine weeks I led prayers, gave communion, wrote and delivered a sermon, planned a vespers service, helped with home visits and attended a weekly bible study with local ministers of a different denomination. I also volunteered at a food pantry and an interfaith garden, created and ran a church Instagram account, protested the police killings of Philando Castile and Anton Sterling, helped organize a vigil for the victims of the Orlando massacre and ordered lawn signs for the church and our members, which read “To our Muslim neighbors a blessed Ramadan”.

I know that I am a better listener after this summer. I have learned to recognize the value of simply being a “non-anxious presence” when there are no answers and you’ve said all you can. I have begun to let go of the fear that I am not “Christian enough” to go into ministry or contribute to a conversation about bible texts. I’ve started to think about how church can be verb, or a conceptual noun, and not just a fixed location with a steeple.

I’m grateful to Davidson College, and the Chaplain’s Office in particular, for walking with me as I stepped beyond my comfort zone to explore a career and a field I had never thought to imagine myself in.

Snapshot of Sofia

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Original post written by Yiyao Xie ’18, participant in the DavidsonIE Internship Program.

If you asked me just three months ago what I would be doing this summer, I would have never imagined I’d have the opportunity to intern in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. When I received my internship offer from Dronamics, a startup that develops unmanned cargo aircraft, I was a little bit hesitant to accept. I knew very little about Bulgaria; it was a country that I imagined was different from anything I had previously experienced, with a culture that was completely foreign to me as well.

My gut instinct was telling me to go with it, though, and now I am so thankful that I made this decision.

This is my first time in Europe, and it is the realization of a life-long dream; I’ve been wanting to go to Europe ever since I was a little girl in China. Bulgaria is very different from what I envisioned before my arrival. It may be because of the country’s previous experience with communism that I found a lot of similarities between Bulgaria and China, especially architecturally. From the outside, the apartment that I stay in here looks exactly like the apartment I lived in as a child.

Read More: 

How to Succeed in a Startup Without a Tech Background

lightbulb-innovation-1078x516Original post written by Allie Cowie ’18, participant in the DavidsonIE Internship Program.

Even though I grew up in Silicon Valley, I never thought of myself as a tech kind of gal. While it was cool to live near Google, Apple and Facebook HQ, I didn’t have much interest in computer science, which I assumed was a prerequisite for 99 percent of the jobs my friends’ parents held. It took leaving the Bay Area and coming to Davidson to make me realize how wrong I was.

Although having a computer science background is certainly a necessity for many tech roles, Davidson and its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program have helped me realize that my liberal arts education is actually an asset here in Palo Alto, rather than a hindrance. As a Hispanic Studies major with no coding experience, I’m not programming or building apps, but what I am doing is just as valuable to the startup I work for–VersaMe, which was founded in part by Chris and Jon Boggiano, Davidson’s Entrepreneurs in Residence.

Read more.