Summer Internship Opens Door to Career Path

By Alexa King, Career Services Ambassador

Joi Spaulding ’14 is an Africana Studies Major, Pre-Medicine from Stamford, Connecticut. She is a Strategies Mentor and member of the Upsilon Mu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

This past summer Joi Spaulding interned with a non-profit organization called REACH Prep, which prepares highly motivated black and Latino students from low to moderate income families enter independent schools located in Fairfield and Westchester counties, and the Bronx. As an advisor for the “Junior-Girls,” rising 5th graders, her day typically began at 7:45 a.m. with a daily lesson or activity that she prepared, often pertaining to character building.  Proactive and energetic, Joi sought out new tasks and assignments from her advisors, and usually assisted the teachers with science labs and lectures. If any student was struggling with a concept in class, Joi would also provide tutoring for them.

When asked about the most valuable lessons Joi learned through her internship, she alluded to the “art” of working with children. “Regardless of how they behave, you have to give a child a clean slate each day,” Joi said.  In addition, she said that her experience taught her the importance of having a positive impact on children, especially from an early age. She also indicated that she had “no idea how much they looked up to me” and viewed her as a role model. “With children, the little things are really important, whether it’s a fun lesson plan or a basketball game.” They were really enthusiastic about my interest in their success, she said.

This experience was so meaningful to Joi that in the future she wants to work with youth, hopefully in an education or health care related capacity. She found that “it really just takes one person who cares to show a child that she believes in him. That support and care is what can truly make an impact in a child’s life.”

It’s Easy to Meet Recruiters at Information Sessions

By Damian White, Career Services Ambassador

After attending a Red Ventures information session a few weeks ago, I recognized the importance of having face-to-face interactions with potential employers. The brief, yet thorough, presentation left students excited about the company, and several great questions were asked during the Q & A period. The representatives from Red Ventures were willing to chat before and after the sessions, which showed me that they were truly interested in Davidson students. Additionally, they were very willing to exchange contact information. This information session energized me, and left me wanting to attend other information sessions.

Information sessions are helpful as they provide an invaluable opportunity to network with potential employers. They are also a chance to meet recruiters and leave an impression that might be the “difference maker” when employers are sifting through piles of resumes. When you attend the information session, you are in a unique position to secure business cards or contact information from the recruiters, giving you that direct access to company or organizational representatives. Also, during information sessions, recruiters frequently give tips on what types of experiences to include in a resume or cover letter.

Information sessions are a chance for employers to present their company or organization to Davidson College students. Campus recruiters (often Davidson grads) generally have prepared short presentations highlighting key aspects of the company’s mission, values, goals, and culture. After the material is presented, the floor is opened for students to ask questions prior to the conclusion of the session. I would recommend that all students (especially juniors and seniors) attend as many sessions as possible. Key things to remember:

  1. Wear appropriate attire – usually business casual.
  2. Meet as many company representatives as possible – recruiters are eager to talk with students.
  3. Ask for business cards and contact information – you will want to follow up with recruiters you speak with after the session.
  4. It is not an interview! It is an opportunity to learn about potential employers and “network” with recruiters one-on-one.

Practice Interviews from the Comfort of Your Dorm Room

By Brennan McCormick, Career Services Ambassador

Interview season is in full swing for full-time positions, and few will dispute that preparation is often what makes the difference between an average interview and an interview that leads to an offer. With many students wondering how best to prepare, the Career Services Office would like to highlight a little known online resource available to all Davidson students – InterviewStream.

InterviewStream is a webcam-based interface that presents students with pre-selected questions and then records the student’s response. Students can practice interviewing from the comfort of their dorm rooms. After their online interview is complete, they can review the visual and audio record to determine their interviewing strengths and identify possible areas for improvement.

This technology can be especially useful in preparing for Skype and phone interviews. In both of these instances, the tonality of the interviewee’s voice is magnified in importance because the interviewer will not be able to effectively judge body language. Having the ability to listen to a recording of one’s interview responses allows students to put themselves in the interviewer’s place and reflect on their own performance.

While InterviewStream is a useful resource, it still cannot replace the value of face-to-face practice. However, I would recommend using InterviewStream as a starting point if a student is new to interviewing. It is a great way to get comfortable before practicing live in front of an employer. Once comfortable with interviewing, the next best step is to schedule a mock interview in the Career Services office. Whether it’s a behavioral interview, phone interview, or a case interview, the Career Services office staff will do everything they can to make sure you are ready for your next interview.

Career Assessment Series

The Career Assessment Series helps with career and academic planning, whether you’re exploring options related to choosing a major, considering graduate schools, or fine tuning your job search. The inventories in the Series will provide you with information regarding your interests, personality type, values and skills, helpful in making better informed decisions regarding the choices you are trying to make.

Skills and Knowledge You Will Gain
1.  Understanding of the connection between aspects of yourself and careers.
2.  Understanding of how your interests can affect your choice of careers.
3.  Understanding of how majors may or may not be related to career choices.
4.  Understanding of your personality type and how it relates to your career choice.
5.  Understanding of work values and skills and their place in the career planning process.

Take One or Take Them All
You are not required to take all of the inventories in the Career Assessment Series. You may take them all, or choose only those of interest to you by signing up for each one individually. All assessments in the Series are presented in a group format by a Career Services Advisor.  The assessments include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Strong Interest Inventory (SII), SkillScan, and Focus 2.

Career Assessment Series 

Exploring Your Personality Type:
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can be a helpful tool in thinking about who you are and what you want to do after Davidson. Research indicates that many of the personality types have preferences for their choice of careers. Participants will need to take the MBTI assessment at least two hours prior to the workshop. Handouts and other resources will be provided for follow-up.

Further details provided upon registration. To register, contact Career Services at 704-894-2132, email, or stop by the Career Services office by 5:00 pm the day before the workshop.

MBTI Dates:
Oct 10, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Union 313
Oct. 18, 2012, 7:00 – 8:00pm – Chambers Hance Auditorium
Oct 22, 2012, 4:30-5:30  pm, Chambers Hance Auditorium
Nov 6, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Union 313
Nov 14 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Union 313

Exploring Your Career Interests:
The Strong Interest Inventory (SII)
Take the guesswork out of career planning with the Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that makes career decisions easier by providing detailed information on top interests, work preferences, and personal styles.  In this workshop, participants will receive a personalized printout of their Strong® results, an interpretive overview, and information on how to connect Strong® results with career opportunities. Participation requires completing a 30-minute SII assessment online prior to attending the workshop. Further details will be provided upon registration.

Note:  To register, contact Career Services at 704-894-2132, email, or stop by Career Services (414 Alvarez) to sign up by 5:00 pm the day before the workshop.  

SII Dates:
Oct. 23, 2012, 4:30-5:30 pm Union 313
Oct 29, 2012, 7:00 – 8:00 pm, Union 313
Nov 7, 2012, 4:30-5:30 , Chambers Hance Auditorium
Nov 15, 2012, 4:30-5:30, Union 313

Exploring Your Marketable Skills: SkillScan
The SkillScan assessment identifies transferable skills, which are essential when targeting appropriate career options.  The assessment features a system for integrating skill results with other traditional interests, values and personality inventories to provide a holistic picture of your career patterns. Participants will take the assessment as a group during the session.

Note:  All participants will take the assessment during the workshop. To register, call 704-894-2132, or come by Career Services, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.  You need to register by 12:00 pm, the day of the workshop.

SkillScan Dates:
Oct 24, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Nov 1, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Nov 8, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130

Exploring Your Interests: Focus 2
Exploring possible majors and/or careers? Attend the FOCUS-2 workshop and develop an action plan of “next steps” toward selecting a major or career. Discover other resources to help you learn about career and major options. Go through all of the stages of career development with the Focus 2 program. Participants will take this assessment during the workshop.

Note:  All participants will take the assessment during the workshop. 
To register, call 704-894-2132, or come by Career Services, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.  You need to register by 12:00 pm the day of the workshop.

Focus 2 Dates:
Oct 11, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Oct 30, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130
Nov 12, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Chambers Computer Lab 3130

Capitalize on Information Sessions

By Brennan McCormick, Career Services Ambassador

With recruitment season in full swing for seniors seeking employment, the Union is bustling with employer information sessions. Although these sessions may seem dull and daunting, if approached correctly, they can be an important step towards landing a job offer. Here are some tips on how to best take advantage of employer information sessions:

Bring Something To Write On.
It may seem obvious, but students often come to information sessions empty-handed. There are three things you should be taking down over the course of the session:

  1. The contact information of the presenters.
  2. The application process timeline, and
  3. Two or three things that you like about the employer.

The contact information will allow you to reach out to the employer personally and network before your application is considered. If you receive an interview, you will inevitably be asked why you want to work for the company. Jotting down notes on what you like about the company during the session will help you answer those questions.

Talk To The Representatives Of The Company.
Before and after the session, chances are that representatives of the employer will be around to answer questions and offer perspective on the job. Talk to them. You will not be the only person applying for the position and if the employer can put a face to your resume, there’s a much greater chance that it is considered. Make a special effort to talk to the recruiting director, as they will ultimately be screening your resume.

Follow Up With The People You Meet.
This is particularly important for positions with a lengthy interview process. There is no one better to give you perspective on what to expect and how to prepare than someone who has successfully navigated the application process in the past few years. Many will be willing to do a mock interview, or at least point you in the direction of resources they found helpful when they were preparing. You’ll never know what they have to offer if you don’t reach out.

Get “Linked In” With Your Future

By Paul Van Peursem, Career Services Ambassador

LinkedIn has always been somewhat of an enigma within the adolescent and young adult groups, typically seen as the “other” social networking tool or only for “grown-ups.” However, you shouldn’t brush this networking tool off as either irrelevant or daunting. Although it cannot guarantee a job offer, LinkedIn can help facilitate the job search through group discussions & forums, connections with co-workers and peers, and  provide a positive web presence.

Whether based around a company, university, interest or location, groups provide a forum for participants to share news and, most importantly, job references. By joining groups, you give yourself the advantage of hearing about jobs – either in your group’s industry, location, or at your school! Instead of fostering a competitive atmosphere between job seekers, all of the LinkedIn groups I have been a part of were a place for employed members to help out the job searchers. Especially if a group is connected by a common interest or location, members want to see other fellow members succeed in their job career.

Co-worker Connections
If you have the chance, “link-in” (connect) with your fellow co-workers. Although they may not be potential employers, they can send job opportunities your way, grow your network of friends, and provide recommendations. LinkedIn allows people to “recommend” your work; so those you have worked with, or for, can comment on one of your positions with praise for your character, work ethic, etc. They are the ones who actually know your job skills and can provide a legitimate reference when future employers are checking your job history. If you have a close relationship with your boss, be sure to ask for a recommendation – even a sentence or two of praise could go a long way. Also, as you gain more and more connections, you are more easily searchable within the LinkedIn database.

Web Presence
Most importantly, with the proliferation of Facebook and Twitter, it is essential that young adults have a positive image projected on the web. I have heard countless stories of employers ‘googling’ potential hires and what better place to steer them than LinkedIn (and away from Facebook!) Keeping your page updated and professional, although similar to your resume, illustrates that you care about your professional success and that you are able to present yourself well. Using the recommendation tool and filling your profile with responsibilities or skills lets you go beyond what could otherwise fit on a one-page resume.

I was highly skeptical when I first joined LinkedIn, but the help it’s provided in job searching and networking with senior executives has convinced me that it is essential for any college student looking to join the professional world.

Managing F.E.A.R.

By Damian White, Career Services Ambassador

Throughout my undergraduate experience, I have found that some of the most interesting and powerful lessons are learned outside of the classroom.  On September 18th, I had the opportunity to attend a talk given by Hill Harper at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.  Hill Harper, an alumnus of Harvard Law School, is an author, activist, and actor who is most recently known for his role in CSI: NY.

After the hustle and bustle of the crowd settled, Hill Harper asked the audience: “What do you think is the number one obstacle the keeps young people from achieving their dreams?” Silence overcame the crowd, and he answered, “F.E.A.R.” Not a “scared of the dark” type of fear, but Hill asserted a “False Evidence Appearing Real” type of fear.  His point was that students often constrain and restrict their dreams by succumbing, consciously and unconsciously, to outside factors that set limits on their potential.

In the beginning of his talk, Hill told students to write down their dreams. After captivating the audience through the use of his metaphor of being an “Active Architect of our Dreams,” Hill asked the students to double their dreams. At this point, students were supposed to write down dreams twice as big as the ones they had written in the beginning of the program. The fact that so many students could double their dreams was proof that F.E.A.R. had already impacted the way they think about their goals and dreams.

So, how do we combat F.E.A.R.?
As the “Active Architects of our Dreams,” we must have a strong foundation.  Hill Harper says that education and money are the foundation that we need in order to begin to build our “dream.”  He asserts that while neither education nor money promise success, they both often lead to options that help as we navigate the often non-linear paths to our dreams.

Next, we need a framework.  This framework is found in the support systems that allow our foundations to remain stable, such as family, friends, and mentors.

Beginning to see our structure develop, we need walls. He says that these walls are made up of the choices that we make.  These choices become very influential in the way that we prepare for the metaphorical “weather” (hardships and obstacles) that we will face along the way.

Finally, Hill says that we need a door.  This door serves to let people in and out of our structure.  By regulating this door, we begin to take control of who has access to our dreams.

Davidson…I think it is time to close the door on F.E.A.R. and open it back up for our dreams.

Memories of a Student

I just finished reviewing a senior’s resume.  She was unsure where to put the awards she received at the end of the year, and it’s no wonder.  The information on her resume would barely fit on one page.  Somehow, though, we managed to cut a few words here and there. Everything still fits on one page.

As I sit here looking at her resume, it suddenly hits me that I’ve known this student since she first came to Davidson four years ago.  I met her in one of the Davidson 101 classes that all first-year students are required to attend.  She was one of the students who came up afterwards and asked where our office was, and could she make an appointment to have her MBTI test interpreted?  That was the beginning of seeing her once or twice a month.  A lot of students are like that.  They start using our resources and services early, and by the time they graduate, we’ve gotten to know them personally.

This student did make that appointment, and later made another appointment to work on her resume, and then another appointment after that one to find out about an interest test – the Strong Interest Inventory – which she took to help get an idea of what to major in.  Whenever we had workshops she was interested in, I’d see her sitting in one of the chairs, notepad in hand, jotting down something she thought interesting. She was one of those students who considered her classes important, but also practical preparation for a job just as important, too.  When she studied abroad, she was also working on getting an internship by contacting alumni to network with.  She would email employers and alumni, and her networking paid off when she met and interned with an alumn who showed her what the field of advertising was about.  She was hooked.  Now this student has graduated and is heading to the “big apple” in a month to start her full-time job.

There are other students that we get to know like we have this student. They become so engaged in what we do that they become part of our office community. That’s what I think about when I think of the term “Davidson Community.” We get to know these students so well that they help us out with student representative activities that sometimes come up.  For example, sometimes they will help interview candidates, assist students with practicing case interviews, greet employers, or talk with other students about their experiences seeking internships or jobs in Davidson 101 sessions. Their names come up often among our staff.  And long after they graduate we still remember them, and talk about “the year that so-and-so” was here.

That’s what I’m thinking about as I look at this student’s resume. She won’t be here next year and I’ll miss her.  But that’s part of the job.  We get to know students so well that they become more than just a student to us. Sure, another student will come in the office and the same process will begin, but he or she won’t be like this student. (That person will be different, but in a good way.)  Still, she’ll stop by when she comes back for alumni events, along with our other students. She might even talk her company into hiring Davidson students. (The Davidson cycle.)

Anyway, I shake my head and put aside her resume.  It’s time to get back to work. The phone is ringing in my office letting me know there’s a student waiting with a resume for me to review.  Maybe a first-year trying to get a head-start? …

Iris Leung, Class of ’12, Talks About Her Internships and Job Search

Iris Leung
Major: History    Minor: Chinese
Davidson Class: May 2012

What internships have you had while you have been at Davidson?
During my freshman summer, I interned at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, assisting the museum’s Education Department in creating and leading interactive tours for summer camp visitors. I also translated their “Journey to the Stars” planetarium show from English to Chinese.  The following summer I taught English in Xian, China to kindergarteners using bilingual classroom exercises, drama performances, and songs.  During my junior summer, I interned with Emanate PR, a public relations firm that specializes in consumer, healthcare, and business communications. Not only did I create a business pitch proposal for a mock client, I also assisted in a product launch, blogged for the company website, and helped facilitate a social media contest for one of our products.

What are your plans after graduating this May?
After graduating in May, I will begin my first job as an Account Associate at Emanate PR—the public relations firm where I interned during my junior summer.

How did you find your internship?
To find my internship my junior year, I talked with my career counselor who suggested I use a variety of measures for seeking opportunities, such as LinkedIn and Alenda Links (our Davidson alumni networking system), as well as word of mouth.  She explained that by proactively demonstrating interest and seeking advice from alumni, professors, and even family friends, they could provide me with great tips on finding an internship. I connected with an alumna who recognized my great interest in the PR field and recommended me to the HR Director of the firm as an intern candidate, where I landed the internship and ultimately my full-time job.

What resources in Career Services have helped you the most?
Two resources that were helpful to me in Career Services were, first, the one-on-one sessions with career counselors who showed a genuine interest in helping students find not only jobs, but careers that match their passions and strengths. I did not know what I wanted to pursue when I first started my search, but after I listed my interests and  described my ideal workplace, my counselor helped me narrow down a list that allowed me to realize my dream job.

Second, the annual Etiquette Dinner was extremely useful. Since all Davidson students will undoubtedly have meetings or job interviews over meals in the future, this experience really helped me sharpen my table etiquette as well as the necessary communication skills for such stressful situations.

What other resource has helped you with internship searches?
A resource that helped me learn about opportunities is, surprisingly, Google. While students may know what they are capable of and interested in doing, many do not know what is available. When I wanted an internship that allowed me to interact with many people while constantly learning, I ran Internet searches seeking names of museums to get me started. I would never have been able to work at my favorite museum where it not for Google.

What advice do you have for fellow students?
If you know what you want, don’t be afraid to search online for something related, but more exciting. We’re Davidson students—the world is our oyster!

Etiquette Dinner on Monday, April 2nd: Seats Still Available!

My home was never one where we used the fine china or crystal or the good silver all the time. The closest we came to using fine china, in my opinion, was at cookouts when my dad and his friends came in with duck or quail after a day of hunting. The women would prep and cook them on the grill, and then put them on the long buffet table, along with the other food. We’d line up, and go down the table, putting food on our hard-as-cardboard, plain white paper plates, adding baked beans, deviled eggs, potato salad, slaw and rolls, completing what we thought to be a delicious southern meal.

I always liked those hard paper plates. The flimsy ones were not only too little, but had to be held with two hands, which meant you had to set it down at your spot, and then run back to get your desert.  You had to work fast when you had those flimsy paper plates in order to make it to the desert table in time.  If you got there too late, the best brownie was gone, the one in the middle that always was the chewiest.  Hard paper plates could make a difference in how the whole day ended up.  So to me, they were fine china.

Although we didn’t use our fine china for eating our everyday meals, we did learn the correct and proper way to conduct ourselves. Which is why I find it exciting to plan these Etiquette Dinners here at Davidson. Our next one is this Monday, April 2nd at 5:45pm, in the Lilly Gallery. Ms. Savannah Shaw will be our speaker, and will present tips on everything from using the correct fork, how to conduct a conversation at the dinner table in a business setting, to the appropriate way to use finger bowls.  Attire is business casual, but come anyway if for some reason that’s not possible for you.

You’ll need to register in the Career Services office in 414 Union, bringing $10 (cash or check) to hold your seat.  (The $10 will be returned to those attending the dinner.)  Registration will continue right up to April 2nd.

Bring your friends or members of your organization for a fun evening, and an informative one. I promise there won’t be any flimsy white paper plates, and you’ll get the best brownie there.