Net Gains That Work

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Internships may be key to landing that first job.

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By Kelly Beggs

Nathan Elton , Davidson ’s new director of career services, believes that a liberal arts degree is a valuable asset in today’s job market. “Employers recognize the worth of liberal arts graduates,” he said. “They know they’re intellectually curious people who are strong communicators. My job is to prepare students to market themselves so they can find opportunities that match their aspirations.”

Elton has been counseling liberal arts students for three of his more than eight years of career advising experience, and prefers to counsel one-on-one. “It is a privilege to assist students, and I am most effective when I can help a student assess his or her values, interests, and abilities, and match these qualities with meaningful experiences,” he said.

By engaging with the Career Services Office early, students can gain significant advantages. “Employers and graduate schools seek candidates with strong GPAs, leadership on campus and in the community, a sense of direction, initiative, and relevant internships, research, and service,” Elton said.

With internships as a strategic goal for the college, Career Services has created a new position to oversee internship development. “If a student can obtain an internship between the first and second year, it’s a good stepping stone to future opportunities,” Elton said.

Beyond internships, Elton says that networking and person-to-person contact are still the most effective means of finding a job. He’s dedicated to connecting students with people in their fields of professional interest, and he’s been impressed by the willingness of Davidson’s parents and alumni to engage with current students. “I just can’t thank alumni and parents enough for the work they’ve done,” he said.

View the Career Office’s 2009 Senior Survey. (pdf)

Photo credit:: Bill Giduz

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