Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to Network Part Two

By Pallavi Pal has a networking section for employers who want to network with UM students. If you login to and then click on the green “Networking” tab. Once you click the tab you will find a multitude of contacts that are populated based on the majors you indicate in your profile. You can reach out to these employers to get a chance to understand more about their company specifically and what kind of opportunities they have for you.

Another subscription through is Career Shift. This site allows you to find others listed on Career Shift in the same industry as you. It functions somewhat as a mentorship system because as you find those in positions that interest you, it would help to reach out to them to get more advice and feedback. After logging in you should hit the “My Contacts” button to start searching for professionals that are willing to give you advice. You can even search for UM alumni by entering “University of Miami” in the School Attended box. Make sure you put UM in quotation marks or you will get alumni from a variety of universities.

LinkedIn is growing in popularity as a new social media site which allows its users to connect with others in a professional sense. Starting out, you can add classmates, teachers and previous employers as contacts. However, you are able to utilize their networks to search for more contacts. Once you message them, you can build a relationship with them to help you either find more contacts in the field or find out more about the industry. One word of advice, personalize your message when you ask someone to connect on LinkedIn. Remind them who you are, and if it is someone you don’t know then tell them why you want to connect with them.

Also, there is a 100 page guide on Vault’s Guide to Schmoozing. Login through and then on the homepage scroll down “Career Insider: Vault Career Online Library.” After that make sure to click on “Guides” and hit the button “Career Topic Guides.” Under this category you will find Vault’s Guide to Schmoozing.

If you have more questions or concerns, please look over the networking guide for quick tips.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Get Your Game Face On!: How to Network

By Pallavi Pal

Game on! One of the easiest ways to get a job is by networking. It is especially useful in this economy, where employers are being more selective and the candidate pool can, at many times, be in the hundreds and near thousands. Many students think excelling in this is hard, however, like a game that takes a while to master, once you have mastered it networking becomes a piece of cake. That’s a sure fire way to learn to play the game right!

So what is networking? Networking is a fancy term for getting people to know who you are, building relationships and creating a so-called “network” people in your industry of choice. As a college student, you already have a network set up. Although you do not realize it, your parents, friends, classmates and teachers are automatically in this network. They know you, in some respect or the other, and they appreciate you and your skills. But how does one start networking on a professional level?

One of the most direct ways to network is through informational interviews. What is an informational interview? Informational interviews are meetings that you set up with individuals in a company, field or position where you have an interest and you get a chance to ask them questions and learn about the field. The great thing about setting up these interviews is that you are in control of the interview and you get a chance to put others in the so called “hot seat” to learn more about the industry and see if it is a good fit for you. Even though it may be daunting, setting up these sessions allows you to express an interest to someone in the industry and after meeting with them you are able to send your resume to them. More likely than not, they will have you in mind if a position opens up and a referral from an employee within the company will help you be offered an interview rather than if you had just sent in your resume and cover letter. For more tips on informational interviews and examples of questions you can ask please look at our Informational Interview Resource Sheet.

Now that you know how to network through informational interviews, how do you begin to even meet people with whom you can set up these informational interviews? Well, the easiest way is to simply reach out to others in a company that you want to work in or via LinkedIn. You can send them an email with a short description of you, your interests and career plans along with a request to meet with them for coffee or lunch just for a few minutes to learn more about the industry/position/company. Many times emails can be overlooked so a follow-up phone call may help.

Moreover, conferences can help as well. The recruiters you meet at conferences can give you feedback on what they are looking for in a candidate and what you can do to make yourself an ideal candidate. By getting their business card, you can follow up with them via email, send them a few questions and request to meet with them for a few minutes. Conferences can also be a time where you do on the spot interviews and certain companies may also offer you a job if they are interested. The Toppel Peers Blog has a great article on tips for attending conferences. Also, All Conferences has lists of industry related conferences.

Finally, when working at an internship or job, make use of this opportunity to network. Although you are working in one specific department or team, you can reach out to others in different departments in the company and set up coffee or lunch meetings with them. It is a chance to get to know more about the company, see if there are more fitting opportunities elsewhere in the company and also get a chance to build your network. Once you meet a few individuals a couple of times, you have developed a strong enough relationship to pass on your resume to them and see if they know of future career opportunities for you.

Although these are various ways to reach out to individuals in the industry of your choice and begin to meet with them, make sure to remember that networking is not a one-way street. The key to networking is building lasting relationships and the communication is a two way channel. The individuals you meet are not those that are only there to help you succeed but also you should help them in turn. As the famous saying goes “what goes around comes around,” make sure to offer your services when you can and others will be more willing and likely to help you when you need it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2011 Most Valuable Intern Competition

Congratulations to the winners of the Most Valuable Intern Competition. View the winning videos below:

First Place: Pallavi Pal, SEO Internship with Moody's Corporation

Second Place: Monica Page, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Choosing the Right Employer or Option After Graduation

Written By Marlo Wyant

A job should be more than “just a job.” It is where you will be spending most of your time after you complete your formal education. In this current economic climate, it might seem difficult to be selective with your prospects for employment. However, if you do enough research, networking, and interviewing you will be able to find a job or alternative option that will match your goals or, at least, help you realize your goals.

Stay Honest throughout the Recruitment Process
When you meet with recruiters at career fairs, professional networking events, you might have the tendency to try to tell recruiters exactly what they want to hear. Regardless of the industry, if a job seeker at a professional networking event or career fair is asked by any given recruiter “What do you want to do?” The common reply is “I want to work in the “__your___” industry and a have strong interests in opportunities with “_your__” company. While this might make the recruiter suddenly take a greater interest in you, you should always try to be as honest as possible with your goals. This way, recruiters will be able to understand your aspirations and help you find a position that fits you, not just a position that you know they may have.

Don’t just accept any job
Once you have been fruitful in your job search and have one or more offers, it is now the time to think critically about what you now have on the table. Consider the total benefits in an offer package once you have received one. Make sure you are satisfied with both the actual nature of work and the company’s benefits such as Relocation, Health Care Insurance, 401(k), Pension Plans, and Vacation Time. Follow up frequently with the company recruiters, current employees, and your potential managers to discuss your future work assignments. Try to get a good picture of what your daily life at that company would be like. If it is at all possible, try to arrange for at least one site visit so that you may be granted the opportunity to explore the area and examine the office environment that you will be working in for the next two or more years. Another good resource in gaining company insight is This website allows current and former employees of a company to post anonymous reviews and salary information about their company.

If, after all of your completed research, you do not feel completely comfortable with the offer, you should not necessarily feel obligated to accept it. Before accepting the offer, you may want to consider if you have other potential companies where you might find opportunities. Another option to consider is if continuing your education would be a viable option. For many industries, graduate degree assist in making one more marketable and specialized, which allow one to find a niche in the industry.

If you find yourself in a Situation with Multiple Offers
Some individuals may find themselves in a predicament: two or more offers for employment. While this may seem like a great situation, it also can complicate the job-seeking process. The best way to tackle this dilemma is to make a thorough list of pros and cons. As mentioned previously, examine all aspects of the job, including salary, location, insurance, vacation time, and flexible working hours. Try to make a table that compiles these aspects of the job and see if there is a clear “winning” position. If you are still not sure, try to discuss the job with your prospective managers. Finally, having a second opinion is also helpful. Make a career advising appointment at the career center. At the University of Miami, the appointments are free and give you the opportunity to talk about your options with someone. Discussion with an advisor, who knows what to look for in an offer, may be the most beneficial in determining which job is the best fit for you. In the end, you can only choose one place of work. However, do not be afraid that the job you pick after graduation is your employment for life. The average American will change his or her career between 5 and 7 times in their lifetime.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Global Entrepreneurship Week

What if there were a global movement to inspire people everywhere to embrace entrepreneurship?

Since 2008, Global Entrepreneurship Week has been a rallying point for thousands of organizations working together to strengthen economies while changing the world around them. The Launch Pad at University of Miami has been the proud #1 US Campus partner for 2008, 2009, and 2010.

This year, GEW occurs from November 14 – 18, spurring new ideas, ingenuity and firm creation through more than 40,000 local, national and global activities. Leading the way is an interesting collection of activities, listed below.

Global Entrepreneurship Week will also include the 4th annual Elevator Pitch Contest presented by The Miami Herald. Open to both students and the community throughout South Florida, last year's contest awarded over $107,000 in prizes. This year we have over $116K in prizes.

Pre-registration is required:

Details for all of these events can be found online at
Reservations Required | (305) 284-2789

Friday, November 11, 2011

10,000+ Views of Nostalgia

We here at the Toppel Career Center feel that 10,000+ views is a glorious milestone, so we're going to pat ourselves on the back and share the love. As a thank you to all those who read (and as a shameless plug to ourselves), we have created a tiny compilation of our most viewed and shared posts so far. Take a trip down memory lane as we recap our most recent accomplishments:

Jam Your Way to A Perfect Resume
Written By Samantha Gil and Thaimi Fina
Hello loyal Toppel Peers Blog followers! We are Thaimi Fina and Samantha Gil and we serve as the Toppel Career Center’s Graduate Assistants. If you’ve come in for a resume, cover letter, or personal statement critique during walk-in hours, chances are you’ve had the pleasure of meeting with us (lucky you)! When we’re not busy critiquing students’ professional documents, we enjoy our time at Toppel by jamming to old 90’s classics at our desk. Therefore, we found it thoroughly appropriate to create a blog entry linking useful resume tips to our favorite 90’s hits. So come with us as we embark on a little musical journey to the past.

Read More

Interview Fight Club
Written By Monica Page
Fight Club, the nihilistic book and movie based on the problems of the early 2000s became a pop-culture staple as memorable as a pink bar of soap made out of body fat. Tyler Durden became the voice of a generation and introduced America to three important things:

1) Brad Pitt’s abs
2) The idea that you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake
3) The eight rules of Fight Club

Concerning number three, most people are pretty familiar with the first two rules, but the other six seem to get lost between The Narrator writing haikus during work and Marla Singer stealing clothes out of washing machines. Not only are the eight rules great material to quote from in everyday life (try it sometime), they can be manipulated to be beneficial in all kinds of situations. Today, you’re getting the eight rules for a customized, University of Miami Toppel Career Center sponsored Fight Club.

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The Office Shows You How to Make The Most of Your Internship
Written By Thaimi Fina
Finally, summer is here! And lucky for you, you’ve just landed a great summer internship! You enrolled in the Toppel Internship Program (TIP) and you’ll be starting your internship in the upcoming weeks. Congrats on not spending the whole summer on your parents’ couch mooching off their free food and laundry service. We’re all very proud. So you’ve secured your internship, now what? Let us here at Toppel (with the help of my favorite TV show ‘The Office’) show you how to make the most of your summer internship experience.

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A Deadly Case of SENIORITIS
Written By Priyanka Surio
Everyone gets it at one point in their lives and it can be very very contagious! All of us can admit to being exposed in high school when we got our acceptance letters to college and felt that we needn’t jump over mountains and under hoops to study for exams or work on projects. But according to CollegeBoard and USA Today, what is becoming more common as a result of this attitude is the alarming fact that “every year colleges rescind offers of admission, put students on academic probation, or alter financial aid packages as a result of "senioritis." Now the vicious cycle threatens to continue for us seniors or those graduating from Undergraduate or Graduate school.

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Employment, Mafioso Style
Written By Monica Page
Before we even begin one thing should be made clear: the differentiation between “gangster” and “gangsta.” This post is not about the life and times of 50 Cent or any other rapper with “thug life” tatted on their chest. What we are talking about here is an all-American institution. The movie roles that guarantee Oscars and the life choices that guarantee jail time for tax evasion, not murders or crime. This is the livelihood of Scorsese, the original famous Italians before Jersey Shore made “Guido” a household line. This is the Mafioso guide to employment.

Read More

Thanks To Everyone Who Has Shared and Read

Here's To 10,000 Views and 10,000 More

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Classically Prepare for a Job Upon Graduation

Written By Monica Page

Graduation is the time when you finally put your money where your mouth is. All these years of slaving around in the library and using every last cent of UPrint to finally get that research paper turned in on time leads to this. College is about the experiences, but above all it is about learning the skills to succeed in the future job market. Parents do not send their kids to college for them to just party; that is a by-product, but not the ultimate goal. When it comes to obtaining a job, the “golden prospect” is having it secured and in the bag before graduation. It is about having the chance to sign all the paper work, obtain the start date and relax to the best of your abilities before you shake Shalala’s hand and walk off the stage into your future. So what better way to explain obtaining a post-grad job early than to use movies that were released before you (and maybe even your parents) were born?

Stanley Kowalski: You know what luck is? Luck is believing you're lucky, that's all... To hold a front position in this rat-race, you've got to believe you are lucky. (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951)

When it comes to talking about students who are able to obtain jobs before they graduate, it can be easy to consider them lucky, but it is so much more than that. Luck is more than catching a Hail Mary pass in football or making it to the shuttle right before it leaves. Luck is lining up everything you have done in your life to a point where, when you least expect it, everything comes together. Luck is not waiting until some glorious moment is beamed down to you from the heavens, but rather just existing in a moment in time where everything is going right. If you believe you are unlucky and fated to work in a minimum wage job, living on a pull-out futon in your mother’s basement for the rest of your life, you will probably end up that way. If you believe that waiting a couple of days, weeks or months for everything to come together, it will.

Philip Marlowe: I know he was a good man at whatever he did. No one was more pleased than I when I heard you had taken him on as your... whatever he was. (The Big Sleep, 1946)

The resume stands as a way to show employers who you are and what you are capable of before they meet you in person. It is the sum total of all the relevant experience you obtained in college from jobs to internships. It is very common for a recent college graduate to have a resume filled with multiple internship positions that have no connection to what they have finally decided to do with their life. The purpose of internships is to discover what you really want to do with your life, not to have a decision already set in stone. Additionally, you may not have had a clear position in the company, but rather just bounced around to whatever department you were needed, having a multitude of experiences for each position. When it comes time to apply to companies and get your life together, focus on shaping your resume and experience in way that makes you come off as a proper fit for the position. Small changes such as switching verbs to ones that are used a lot in the field can easily make a resume seem more attractive to specific positions.

Gilda: [to Johnny] You haven't been around lately. I thought maybe you were an amnesia victim or something. (Gilda, 1946)

The development of social media in the 21st century has barred people from claiming they forgot about someone. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other services all provide people a way to constantly keep in contact with others. The ancient Rolodex has now been moved online as we can easily go through all our connections to see who may be able to help us. As a basic lesson in formality, just e-mailing someone out of the blue makes you look bad and can easily be linked with using someone just for his or her connections. If you meet someone, whether as part of a job/internship or a basic networking event, that looks as though they may be beneficial in helping with you future career prospects, keep in touch with them. Make a good impression and demonstrate that you are valuable as a way to indirectly encourage them to keep you in mind when future opportunities arise.

Brick Pollitt: What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?
Margaret "Maggie" Pollitt: Just staying on it I guess, long as she can. (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958)

It can be easy to resign yourself to a less than glamorous position based on feedback from the current job market. Resigning yourself and taking a temporary position are two different things. Everyone needs to be able to support him or herself and if the “job of your dreams” is not available, you still need to pay off student loans and put food on the table. The interim “dead period” may be similar to traversing through Dante’s Inferno, but when you survive you will not only have money saved in the bank but also more experience to include on your resume. It should also be a noted that taking an interim position does not mean working in the first position you find, but rather using a little thought in trying to find something half-way decent.

Although having a job upon graduation is a marvelous, marvelous thing it is not an impossible feat. It is also not a requirement to be considered employable. Having a job before graduation allows you the freedom to have a little time for yourself to get your life together and take a breather before you enter the real world. If you are able to get a job before graduation, you go Glen Coco. If not, the apocalypse isn’t around the corner you still have time. Or at least enough time until the next Rapture date is announced… then you’re screwed.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Written by Oleg Ignatenko

What is LinkedIn? If you haven’t had a chance to check out this website yet, then you are definitely missing out. LinkedIn is a business related social networking site that was launched 8 years ago. Just imagine if Facebook and CareerBuilder morphed together and formed a site where you can network, but on a professional level. Gone are the pictures of you or your friends partying away and in are the pictures of you in a business attire ready to take on the future. LinkedIn allows you much more than just having the ability to look at an employer’s site and information, it allows you to connect and interact with the employer, former employees, colleagues and other organizations that might be looking for the talent that you may be able to present to them.

Let’s start with the basics. First sign up and fill out the requirements for profile access. You will have the ability to personalize you profile just the way you would want an employer to see it. Then, select the specific skills that you have acquired throughout your life such as typing, sales, knowledge of other languages, etc. This will highlight your resume by showing what kind of experience you possess and give the employer a better perspective as to how you could be a helpful addition to their company. You also want to add your education information such as where you go to college and what you majored in. Last thing you will need to do is list your former occupations, where they were located, your supervisor’s name, and the responsibilities that you were assigned.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you are ready for the fun part. Start browsing the website for new connections. These connections could be people you worked with from the past or possibly people that you are working with at the moment. It is very important that you add people that you know or that have some sort of affiliation with the field that you are pursuing a career in. Be careful not to overdo it. Numbers aren’t everything in this world. For example, just because somebody has 5,000 friends on Facebook, it does not mean that these are their actual friends. In reality they are most likely just a picture and no story. This is why you should be more selective when choosing new connections. Pick people and employers that you know can be utilized for useful information and that will have some sort of impact on your future. Whether they will provide you with some extensive information or possibly a recommendation or maybe even just somebody who can give you advice on how to go about doing something. You should connect with people that are more relevant to your career rather than those who might become more of a distraction. Also, when you request a connection to another member or group on LinkedIn, it is always good to send them a message letting them know who you are and why you want to add them as one of your connections.

Now that you have everything set up all you have to do is explore. Try to log on as much as possible and just browse and find out more about the site itself. Be consistent, do it on a regular daily basis. Even if it’s for 5 to 10 minutes, you should have no problem taking that small amount of time out of your daily schedule. Stay involved in what is happening around you, update your status regularly, check what your connections are discussing or browse for possible information sessions being held by companies or industries that you are interested in. Who knows what you might find in those ten minutes. Just look at it this way, by putting yourself out there you will allow your voice to be heard and your presence to be recognized by others. Remember it’s the same as going to a party, a music concert or some sort of an event. Just by showing up, you are half way there and anything is possible.

For additional information on LinkedIn you can also follow webinars held by Steve Green: the president of NetUpNOW which is a social media company. His info sessions are very helpful and will give you a deeper insight into LinkedIn and all of its possibilities.

Here is a link to Steve Greens LinkedIn account
Click Here

Here is an additional link that will provide information on why you should join LinkedIn and will give you some information on how to use LinkedIn to get ahead.