Friday, October 28, 2011

Trick or Tweet - The Halloween Guide to Twitter

Written by Carly Smith

October 31 is almost here. So, in the spirit of one of my favorite holidays and my newfound love of Twitter, here are a few tips to keep you safe and successful when you go “Trick or Tweeting” this year.

  1. Yes to outrageous costumes, no to outrageous tweets.

    Many people consider Halloween a time to get a little wild. Hey, when else can you walk around pretending you are Lady Gaga, a tanned Jersey Shore cast mate, or a certain embarrassing tweeting politician? Probably not so often… Unfortunately, the same idea does not work as well for your tweets. Shock value and comedy are not always best, especially when your tweets are public. Yes, in case you haven’t been told this a thousand times already, what you do on the internet is public. Not to scare you because it’s Halloween, but what is said over social networks can and has been used against seeking and current employees. This could include you… if you’re not careful. Just like your mom used to inspect all of your candy before you got to dig in after a successful night trick or treating, review what you wrote before you tweet. Is it appropriate, rude, potentially embarrassing? Think: Would I want my future or current boss to see this? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t tweet it.

  2. There’s nothing worse than no one “getting” your costume.

    This is the worst. You think you have the greatest Halloween costume idea ever, and then no one has any idea what you are. Because I try to get creative and make my own costumes every year, I’ve fallen victim to this time and time again. One year I was a pirate, but everyone thought I was dressed as a biker. Not a successful Halloween for me. Obviously, I need to be clearer on what I am trying to be. With Twitter, you also want your followers to “get” who you are. The simplest way to do this is in your bio. This is the perfect opportunity to let people know who you are, what you’re interested in, and what your goals are. Your bio can be clever, simple, funny, whatever… what’s important here is that it represents who you are. Your tweets should also be representative of how you want to portray yourself. For example, if you are thinking about going into the fashion industry, tweet and re-tweet interesting and relevant information about the field. Post pictures of your favorite trends and styles. This applies to every field. Share what is interesting to you and what might be relevant to others. This way, people will more likely to want to follow you. Who knows? These people might even be so impressed with what you have to share that when the time comes for you to search for a job, they will want to hire you.

  3. Trick or treat at the right houses.

    Let’s be honest. There were always those houses you avoided when you were trick or treating. These were the houses where you knew the owner was going to give you a granola bar instead of a chocolate bar or where you secretly thought the owner dressed like a witch was probably a witch in real life. On the other hand, there were also those houses you knew to definitely stop at. These were those neighbors who let you take 2 or 3 candies instead of one. When it comes to Twitter, you also want to make sure you are going to the best houses. What this really means is that on Twitter you have access to a ton of information. Some of it is pointless. Some of it is hilarious. But most importantly, some of it is extremely useful. While you can and should follow your friends and your favorite celebrities and comedians, remember that you should also be following people that will help you stay current in your desired career field. Because I want to work in Higher Education, I currently follow the twitter accounts of HigherEduTalks, HuffPostCollege, and others who tweet information that is relevant to my field. I get to stay updated with what is going on in the world of Higher Education which will make me more successful when I’m in the working world. If you are interested in working for the government, consider following If you want to go into the healthcare industry, why not follow nytimeshealth or WHOnews? You’ll definitely gain a lot of interesting and important knowledge from doing so.

  4. It’s okay to be a witch on Halloween, not on Twitter.

    Some of the best Halloween costumes are the scary and evil ones. The witches, zombies, and horror movie villains are always a hit. Still, while it might be fun to dress up like one of these terrifying characters on Halloween, it is not in your best interest to be the witch or villain on someone’s Twitter feed. When you start to tweet a lot about what you are thinking, it sometimes becomes easy to throw in the angry, annoyed, and occasionally rude thoughts that pop up in your head. We all have these thoughts. There is no use trying to hide that fact. However, just because you have a negative thought does not mean you have to share it with the world. It takes one spur of the moment tweet for you to offend someone. Also, if you’re constantly tweeting about the negative, people who follow you might then view you as a negative person. This also may hurt your image during your future career search.

Most importantly, social media, especially Twitter, doesn’t have to be as scary as some of the costumes you’ll see this weekend. Just remember to be yourself, think before you tweet, and have fun!

Toppel wishes you a wonderful and safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Pan Am Guide to Studying and Working Abroad

Written By Monica Page

Study abroad is the ability to explore a new culture while still enrolled in school. Although there are plenty of scholarships and grants to aid students “cross the pond,” it can still be a pain for many to afford the room, board and class credits. Waiting until graduation to go abroad can be a little stressful, but for some that is the only way to go without backpacking. Instead of spending all your money on a plane ticket to the “Old World” with no place to live and sleep, it’s best to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can.

Teach English
Although Mandarin and Cantonese may be gaining ground on the international learning front, English still remains the dominant language of business. When going abroad, it can be pretty easy to find a job teaching English, most likely in an Elementary school. There are two ways in which you can do this: you can obtain a certificate to teach English as a Second Language (most likely at a local college) or you can go abroad with various programs sponsored by international governments (the most well known is probably the JET Programme in Japan). The benefit of teaching English is that even if you don’t like children, you can also make money on the side teaching English to business executives and college students. Many of these side jobs involve no more than just speaking with other people in English for an hour.

HireACane Tip

Check out the following programs recruiting through HireACane!
EPIK (located in South Korea) and People Recruit

Go to a Country Where You Like the Language
Just like the stewardesses on Pan Am, knowing the language of the country you want to go to is very beneficial in survival. Since you are not going as part of a study abroad program, it is safe to assume that you have control over your final destination. If you enjoy Italy, most likely you have studied Italian either in a formal setting or as independent study. Knowing the language not only makes you a more attractive candidate, but it is also a way to improve on skills you have already developed. It is totally possible to go overseas without knowing the language and speaking in Lonely Planet phrases and do-it-yourself sign language, but who wants to be the uneducated American?

HireACane Tip

Established by President Kennedy, the PeaceCorps is a way for Americans to travel and give back to countries in need. Not only does it provide an entrance into a new culture and the ability to change someone's life, it also provides tuition remission and a paycheck. Check HireACane for updates regarding the PeaceCorps on campus.

Let the Company Pay For Your Relocation
If teaching English to mini-humans isn’t very attractive to you, there is always the option of working for a company that requires travelling or living abroad. Most likely the company pays for any expenses incurred while travelling and also relocation fees. Just like most things in life, after the “honeymoon” period is over, it is up to you to pay for your housing, food and regular expenses. On the topic of money, it is also intelligent to learn the exchange rate overseas. If you work for an American based company and they tell you your salary in U.S. dollars, make sure you figure out the exchange rate. Just because you are making five figures in the land of the stars and stripes does not mean you can live in the same comfort overseas.

HireACane Tip

Many companies allow for the chance to work and travel abroad. Check companies such as IBM, Proctor & Gamble, U.S. Department of State and CIA, all which recruit through HireACane.

Explore The Region You Move To
If you are going all the way to a new country, you may as well enjoy it. Don’t just go back and forth to work every day. For those who do “Teach English” programs the company usually has outing and gatherings for foreign and local workers. Just like moving from high school to college you will make friends and move away from them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep in contact with them when you move back (if you do). Also, make sure you go off the beaten path when exploring your new country. Don’t be the person who goes to Paris and only visits the Eiffel Tower, because that is a total waste of an experience and people will look at you as if you aren’t worthy of traveling.

Become a Flight Attendant
Really, if you don’t want to teach English and don’t want to work for a company overseas, you can always become a flight attendant. I did use Pan Am as the subject matter for this blog post.

HireACane Tip

Log in to HireACane to access Career Insider by Vault's Guide to access information about flight attendant careers and other traveling based professions. When you are in your HireACane account, scroll down the main page until you see the link to Career Insider.

Going abroad is an opportunity that many people will never have the chance to take advantage of. You can also go when you get older, but who knows what your beliefs and ideas will be then. It’s best to go now while you are thinking about it and, even if it is only for a year or a couple of months, take advantage of what’s available. Plus, we are in a recession and backpacking through Europe is only for people from the ‘90s who had the opportunity to be economically stable and able to take the time off.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Consulting Basics

By Pallavi Pal

Consultancy is a fancy title for those who are paid to give their advice in their field of specialty. Although consultants exist in all types of industries, from health care to sports, management consultant positions seem to be a hot commodity for the recent graduate. With their high pay, great benefits, constant travel and not to mention the luxurious lifestyle, it is not a surprise that many choose this industry.

Management consultants or business consultants are those paid by large companies to help make strategic decisions for company’s internal processes, such as change in corporate structure, or external processes, such as entrance into different markets or industries. The consulting firms tend to look for analytical thinking and proper application of business processes that have been learned in a classroom environment and applied to real world examples. Also if you have a strong mathematical ability as well as intellectual curiosity, you could be the perfect candidate.

However, being the ideal candidate isn’t the end all be all. Acing the rigorous consulting interview is the end goal in this highly competitive process. Since this type of job is a hot commodity, the hiring process is far more competitive than an average job interview. Usually, the best and brightest find themselves receiving offers from consulting firms and only with a lot of preparation and practice can one navigate through these interviews effectively. Take a look at a few tips below to get yourself started.

Normally, the first round or the beginning of the interviews will be based on a generic interview prototype. Many questions will be asked to get you to talk about yourself and your past experiences. These are behavioral questions and if you follow the link below you can get more help on preparing for this portion of the interview.

The second part is the killer part of the consulting interview process. These will consist of a mix of case and estimation questions. This requires that you prepare yourself well in advance; some even start preparing 6-8 months in advance. Questions such as these will test your level of analytical reasoning, ability to work under pressure, ability to advise others as well as your mathematical capability.

For case questions you will be given a case that consultants typically work on such as a case regarding entrance of company A into a specific industry. You are expected to know how to effectively reason out the situation given a few pieces of information, make accurate assumptions and provide the interviewers with a confident response. They are not necessarily looking for the correct answer but rather a correct manner of approaching the problem and reasoning it out.

Furthermore, the estimation type questions are a little more abstract and require creativity in how you maneuver your response. An example would be “estimate how many shoes are sold in the U.S. each year.” Given no further information or assumptions, you are expected to come up with an answer with a pen and paper. Although daunting at first, practicing these types of questions will make responding a lot easier and pain-free. Usually one would respond by considering the possible assumptions for the question and estimating an answer.

Do you have any further questions? Well, you should! As an ever curious candidate, you should learn everything you can about the industry and prepare yourself fifty times harder than what you did to prepare yourself for the SAT. Learning about the industry and the type of questions is key and the best industry guides can be found on Since Toppel has subscribed on behalf of all UMiami students, the easiest (and cheapest) was to access it would be by logging into Then once you have logged in scroll down until you see “Career Insider: Vault Career Online Library.” After that click the “Industries” and type in “Consulting” and you will find a multitude of articles.

Moreover, read up on the case interviews, especially, Case in Point by Marc Cosentino should be your guidebook. Also, check out the following links for more guidance!

Case Interviews
Case Interview Frameworks
Nailing that Consulting Interview

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Special FourSquare Promotion

Starting today (October 19th), the Toppel Career Center will be holding two specials connected to FourSquare. The specials are:
  • When you check-in for the first time, you will unlock a special on your phone which entitles you to a free Toppel gift
  • When you check-in for a third time, you will receive free business cards
When you unlock the special, make sure you show your phone to the front desk to receive your free gift or fill out the business card order form.

For business cards, your resume must be approved on HireACane and is only available to Undergraduate students (FourSquare will inform you of this when you unlock it).

To participate, search for "Toppel Career Center" in FourSquare or click the icon at the top of this page. Good Luck!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Microsoft Tips to Help you Edit your Document in a Flash

Priyanka Surio

Ever wonder how to make life easier? Especially with when writing and editing Word documents such as your resume or cover letter? Well worry no more; below the Toppel Peer Advisors have compiled a list of Microsoft shortcuts that are easy to use, simple, and quick to learn. Stop trying to find out where the print preview button is or how to look through your address book in Outlook. Let these shortcuts reduce the time it takes to find things, after all Time = Money.


Word Documents
CTRL + B = Bold
CTRL+ P = Print
CTRL + V = Paste
CTRL + C = Copy
CTRL + I = Italics
CTRL + S = Save
F12 = Save As Dialog Box
CTRL + F12 = Open Dialog Box
CTRL+ U = Underline
CTRL+ SHIFT + < = Decrease font size CTRL+ SHIFT + > = Increase font size
CTRL + X = Cut the selected text or object
CTRL + Z = Undo the last action
CTRL + Y = Redo the last action
CTRL + N = New Document
CTRL + O = Open a document
CTRL + W = Close a document
CTRL + F = Find text, formatting, and special items
CTRL + H = Replace text, specific formatting, and special items
ALT + CTRL + I = Switch in or out Print Preview
F7 = Spell Check
Shift + F3 = Change the Case of letters (all uppercase, lowercase, case sensitive)
CTRL + 1= Single-space lines
CTRL + 2 = Double-space lines
CTRL + 5 = 1.5-line spacing

Outlook Email
ALT + S= Send an email message through Outlook
CTRL + SHIFT + B = Open the Address Book
CTRL + SHIFT + G = Create a message flag (for importance, due date)
ALT + P = Open the Microsoft Outlook Message Options dialog box and check the option of Request a Read receipt so you can see who is actually reading your email and who isn’t

CTRL + K= Insert a Hyperlink in a word document
ALT + LEFT ARROW = Go back one page
ALT + RIGHT ARROW = Go forward one page
F5 = Refresh

Check out even MORE shortcuts here:
Microsoft Office Shortcuts

Happy typing!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Attend a Conference?

Written by Marlo Wyant

A professional conference may sound like it is out of reach for undergraduate students, due to expense, distance, or registration costs. However, conferences can present both valuable networking opportunities and offer insight into the needs of a particular industry to all levels of education, be it undergraduate or post-doctoral.

Conferences are not as costly for students as you may think. Most professional organizations have special student or collegiate registration prices that are far lower than the professional rate. For example the Society of Women Engineers National Conference registration for student is discounted by 81% in comparison with the professional registration fee. The American Psychological Association Convention also offers a 76% discount to collegiate members. There are dozens of other professional organizations that also offer similar discounts to their student members. Additionally, campus organizations may also provide subsidies for their students to attend conferences.

If you are interested or curious in finding organizations and conferences related to your field of study, you can check out

Another benefit of these national conferences is that they often have career fairs of grand proportions. For example, the Society of Women Engineers National conference hosts a career fair of 240 companies and organizations focused on the field of engineering. Other conferences may also have such specialized career fairs. Career fairs provide excellent opportunities for job seekers to learn about new companies in a face-to-face setting, ultimately increasing the chances of finding a good fit for employment.

Some conferences focus primarily on the technical aspects of a particular industry, rather than pure career development. If this is the case, there are still numerous benefits for even inexperienced attendees. There are opportunities to network with professionals in the industry. Often times there are trade shows associated with the convention where different companies will showcase their products. The 2011 American Wind Energy Association Conference recently had over 1,200 booths. Although these events do not directly advertise available jobs, it allows prospective candidates to meet employees of those companies.

The second benefit of attending the conventions include the seminars and workshops. These sessions often provide insight into new trends in the industry. Learning about emerging technologies or methods in a specific field can help young professionals to find their career path and located where new opportunities may lie.

I encourage you—be you Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Grad Student, or Young Professional—to attend any professional conference related to your field. You just might happen upon opportunities that you would not expect.