With more than 600 alumni and parent advisors already registered, Davidson will fully launch the Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN) in late November. DCAN is an online platform, powered by Evisors, that facilitates one-on-one career consultations among alumni, parents, students and friends of the college.
The adoption of this new platform resulted from recommendations made by a college-wide career task force, a partnership between the Center for Career Development and Office of Alumni Relations, and the support of alumni.
"The task force looked at how Davidson could capitalize on our great alumni and parent network for career advising," said Associate Director of Alumni Relations Ashley Neff. "We wanted to remove barriers to connecting."
Up until now, students and alumni have used the Davidson alumni online community, Davidson's online alumni directory, to reach out to alumni. While the directory offers many different search options, the task force found that the system limited the amount of career information provided.
"The alumni online community provides a snapshot of someone's career, but doesn't show their career history like DCAN does," said Neff. "It also does not engage the many non-alumni parents of current students and friends of Davidson who want to offer career advice."
DCAN provides the option to pull information from LinkedIn, so an advisor's profile would likely show every major internship and job they've held. Therefore, when students and alumni search by industry, location, company, job function or graduate school, they can find advisors who have current or past connections to those keyword searches. Advisors also can provide summaries of their professional experience and specific accomplishments related to their careers.
"Networking in general is a skill that is developed through experience," said Director of the Center for Career Development Nathan Elton. "With DCAN, we have a place where students can build this skill knowing that they can find individuals who have taken the extra step to volunteer their assistance."
Co-President of the Davidson College Alumni Chapter in Portland, Ore., Elizabeth Brigham '04 is one alumna who has been vocal about her interest in helping students improve their networking capabilities and access to alumni.
"Ashley, Nathan, and I had been talking for several years about ways to improve networking," she said. "I make my living in tech working on a platform that builds social networks for enterprises, so I can see how using a platform like DCAN is a really important step for Davidson."
Brigham is excited about having the ability to clearly articulate what services she can provide to advisees and in what context, considering that Alenda Links doesn't allow you to clearly define how you want to get involved. She said, "Everyone is comfortable with a different spectrum of activities, and DCAN can reflect that."
The three types of consultations that advisees can request on DCAN are career conversations, resume critiques and mock interviews. They also can schedule the services through the platform by viewing the advisor's availability, and the platform connects advisor and advisee over a conference call phone line so that there is no need to exchange contact information.
"It's very mobile friendly," said Brigham. "I can do everything on my phone, including sync my profile with LinkedIn, edit my preferences, set my schedule and add appointments to my calendar."
A Terry Scholar at Davidson, Brigham said she has had many great conversations and been inspired by other Terry Scholar alumni who are doing great work committed to leadership and service. She realized how important networking conversations and a strong career development office are for students and alumni after receiving her master's degree in business administration.
Elton said, "DCAN will be a great resource for both students who are launching their careers and for alumni who are going through career changes or considering graduate school."
Alumni, parents and friends of the college who would like to become advisors are welcome to learn more or register at any time. Students and alumni will be able to start requesting consultations through the platform the week of Nov. 17.