Thursday, March 29, 2012

Symposium Blog: Insider Info

Written By: Priyanka Surio

When: Wednesday, April 4, 2012, 8:30 am – 5pm

Where: Newman Alumni Center

What: This one-day conference will provide UM students with invaluable educational career development experiences and networking opportunities with successful UM alumni, local recruiters, and UM Staff and Faculty. Learn from past Canes and hear how they utilized their UM degrees and carried on the "U" tradition of excellence.
After registration and light refreshments, we have a series of panel breakout sessions, each with three different options for you to choose from.

Panel Breakout Session #1 includes:
1. Branding to the Savvy Consumer
Business markets have adapted to the consumerism era of today and learned to advertise to their consumers in more creative ways. Because today’s consumer is looking through a more skeptical eyeglass and wishing to save not spend, this panel will discuss the varying effective strategies one can use to respond to consumer behavior, budgets, and lay-offs. They will also discuss challenges and future opportunities within marketing.

2. Engineering Trends of the 21st Century: Building the Industry of the Future
With the current increasing demand for engineers in a variety of industries worldwide it is important to understand the trends in this career field. Technology has been seen as the rising force in the presently complex engineering projects. This panel will yield insight to any aspiring engineers with regards to the training and opportunities they need to take advantage of to make them more competitive in this global industry.

3. Civil Service, Diplomacy, and Covert Operations: At Home and Abroad
Globalization has begun to play a significant role in our ever-transforming society both domestically and abroad, so come hear about how the international arena merges with civil service. The panel will discuss different international issues and lend some insight into the importance of cultural fluidity. Whether you are an aspiring diplomat or wish to be the next intelligence officer, this panel will be an enriching experience.

Panel Breakout Session #2 includes:
1. What is Trending and What is Here to Stay in the Communication Industry
How has the communication industry changed since the invention of social media? Come find out from Advertising, PR, and media experts who will discuss how mobile applications and digital media have revolutionized the field of communication, creating new job opportunities. They will discuss the future of both traditional and social media and their relevancy in this growing field.

2. Examining the Legal Profession: Opportunities in the Courtroom and Beyond
Nothing states diversity like the field of law; whether you’re interested in international, corporate, patent, or criminal law, this panel is for you! Even if your career aspirations are to serve as a courtroom judge, this panel will allow you to discover the variety of professions within the legal field and how these panelists have excelled in their esteemed positions. You will also learn about the competition for associate positions and how giving back to the community can give you a competitive advantage.

3. Entrepreneurship: Finding and Retaining Customers for Your New Venture
Anyone can be an entrepreneur; all you need is an idea and the will to follow it through. In order to succeed, our panelists will discuss how to find and retain customers as well as some of the ideas and challenges they were faced with when opening up their business ventures. Furthermore, they will discuss how to maintain a large network of dedicated customers for long term sustenance of a new company.

Panel Breakout Session #3 includes:
1. The Effects of Social Media on Sports and Entertainment
Social media has not only made headway in communications, it has played a vital role in the field of sports and entertainment. Panelists will discuss how it has enhanced the way we receive, view, and cover athletes and stars and how they keep up with this changing medium.

2. Creating Positive Change through Community Service
Service is leading by creating positive change. Come to this panel to hear how these leaders serve as advocates for the non-profit community and how their past experiences led to a career in this fulfilling field. This session will sponsor a dialogue format between UM alumni, students, and professionals, in order to discover their inspiration for serving communities.

3. Being Creative in a Business World
Creativity comes in multiple forms, after all it is creativity. It tends to lead to diversity which is what more businesses are leaning towards in our ever-changing market. Creative individuals not only bring diverse perspectives, they also tend to contribute to the efficiency and success of such large scale businesses. Creativity can also spawn into self-employment or entrepreneurial ventures that exploit these passions. To learn more about creating a rewarding career, attend this panel.

There will be a Conference Luncheon with a keynote speech given by Art Keyhoe, UM alum and Offensive Line Coach for UM Football.

Our Closing Networking Reception from 3:00-5:00 p.m., is an opportunity for students and alumni to speak with the panelists and other professionals in a more intimate, personal setting. This allows you to make an impression and build relationships with professionals who could potentially further your career.
Regardless of whether you attend one panel session or all of them, this Symposium will broaden your horizons and help you establish ties with professionals and alumni who are ready to help you and can act as important stepping stones in your future career.

For more of a sneak peek into next Wednesday’s big event and to register, please visit this webpage:
Student and Alumni Career Symposium

Monday, March 26, 2012

Utilizing a Portfolio to Acquire a Job

by Rob Vanisko

When applying for internships, it is always good to have something that helps you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Quite often, the applicant that stands out from the crowd and catches the attention of the employer is the one that lands the coveted internship.

As a Public Relations student in the School of Communication, I have built up a collection of writing and design samples over the past semesters. After I would turn them in to my professors they would just sit around taking up space on my hard drive. It was not until my graphic design professor assigned my class to make portfolios full of these samples that I realized their true potential. Having a portfolio is the perfect way to stand out in a crowded pool of applicants applying for an internship. It gives students a chance to show off their skills and creativity in addition to their resume.

Here are a few tips to follow when creating your own portfolio:

Be sure to edit your samples
One of the biggest mistakes that students make when creating their own portfolios is not thoroughly editing their writing and design content. No matter how good your portfolio may look, potential employers will always be deterred by typos or grammar mistakes. Show off your attention to detail by eliminating any mistakes in your content, whether they are writing or design samples.

Be creative without being obnoxious
It is always good to be creative on your portfolio to show off your individuality, but be sure to do it in a way that does not distract from the actual content of your portfolio. You do not want you portfolio to be boring, but you also want to make sure your overall design highlights the content rather than overshadowing it. A simple color scheme and overall design should do the trick.

Highlight your different skills
When building your portfolio, you should include different types of writing and design samples. For example, if you are a PR student, you will want to include a Press Release, a Backgrounder, a Media Alert, and a Fact Sheet. For your design samples, you will want to use a mix of samples from InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. This will show off your versatility in different writing styles and different design programs, making you a much more attractive candidate.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Toppel Stars - Monica Page

Written by Oleg Ignatenko

Monica Page has been recognized as one of the first Toppel Stars. She was chosen after she had received a full time position as with TE Connectivity in Marietta, Georgia. She is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Miami in December 2011. Her majors were Public Relations and Psychology.
Through her work at the Toppel Career Center as a Peer Advisor, she had plenty of information about internships and had great opportunities to obtain them.  Monica certainly did not let those opportunities go to waste and as a result, she had held three different internships throughout her time at the University of Miami.  She was a Marketing and Concert Promotion Intern at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  She held the position of Editorial Intern for the Back/Slash Magazine.  Her last internship was at the Career Eagle company where she worked in the position of Social Media and Community Relations.

After graduation, with the help of her present employer, she had sent out a resume to TE Connectivity and had a phone interview the same day.  She then had a second phone interview with the manager of the department and three days later she went in for a in-person interview with the same two people that she had spoken to previously on the phone.  Three weeks later, she was more than elated to find out that the company had accepted her and wanted her to start immediately as their Corporate Sourcing Specialist.  Monica had previously held a very high interest in the technology industry so this position would not only give her the opportunity to work in a field that she loves but also will allow her to experience the day to day job of a Corporate Sourcing Specialist.  Her advice to other students who are seeking jobs and planning for the future is to “Use your time wisely while you’re at college to figure out what you want to do, so when it is time to graduate, you will be prepared for the "real" world”.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Advice from a Career Advisor, Tip 1

Tip 1: Utilize the Toppel Career Center!
Students at Toppel's Open House

By Megan Garber

Since the Toppel Peers are on Spring Break, the professional staff will be contributing to the blog this week.  The first tip we'd like to share is that we provide something beneficial for all University of Miami students, and we recommend utilizing the Toppel Career Center early in your college career. We love to see freshmen because we have more time to help them reach their goals.  You can come in as early as your first day of class, and you can also come in long after your last day of class.

Don't just take our word for it.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducts research each year, and their data collected from surveys completed by college students across the country proves students who use their career center have an easier time finding a job.

Check out The Value of Career Services from NACE:
(Parts of the article have been omitted on this blog, please click the article title to view the full article.)

Results from NACE’s 2010 Student Survey show:
  • The likelihood of a student getting a job offer increased with the frequency of career center use: Students who used the career center four or more times a semester were more likely to have job offers than those who used it once a semester
  • Use of career services resulted in higher median salaries, and median salaries climbed with increased use. There was a difference in median salary of more than $5,700 between students from the Class of 2010 who never went to career services ($35,978) and those who went four or more times per semester ($41,714). Students who went to career services once per semester had a median starting salary of $37,020, while the median salary for those who went two or three times per semester was $37,898.
  • Freshmen have increased their use of career services over the past year. 2010 freshmen used the services of their career centers more than was the case with 2009 freshmen. In general, the increases are in the “prep”-related work, e.g., getting help in developing their resumes, practice interviewing, and researching employers. Clearly, freshmen understand that they need to be prepared, and are getting an early start.
Utilize Toppel while on Spring Break!
  • Create your resume.  View our online Resume Development Guide and/or our Resume Writing Webinar
  • Upload your resume on your HireACane account and receive a critique within 3-5 business days
  • Once your resume has been approved on HireACane, start applying for jobs or internships
  • Schedule an individual advising appointment to discuss your job or internship search, or anything career-related by calling 305-284-5451

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Time Management

by Oleg Ignatenko 

        Our life revolves around time.  Each day we are given twenty-four hours to accomplish small tasks and duties that will enable us to achieve our life goals and in the process meet new people and discover more about ourselves.  Twenty-four hours may seem like a lot but for people who have a hard time managing their schedule, it may seem like they never have enough time for anything.  It is especially difficult for college students who sometimes have to juggle many things at once, such as school projects, activities, different organizations, work, and in some cases kids and families.  We all wish we had more time during the day to accomplish what we set out to do.  But how?  Hopefully this blog will answer this question and help you determine a way to prioritize your schedule. 


Here are 3 of the biggest mistakes that can occur when trying to accomplish daily tasks 
  • Targeting too many areas at once  

    When trying to develop a schedule, the first thing you want to do is determine a specific task that you will want to finish by the end of that dayThis should be your primary objective for the day and the task that should come before every other one.  Try to focus on this task and feel free to take time  away from your other interests in order to accomplish it.  That way, as long as you achieve this particular goal, you will not feel like your day went to waste.   By keeping yourself on track and finishing the important aspects of your daily schedule, you will be able to accomplish so much more with your time as well as maintain a sense of purpose and fulfillment. 
  • Being busy just to be busy  

    This is usually referred to as busy work.  Busy work is something that keeps you occupied without being constructive or productive.  A good example of busy work is assignments you had to complete that were given to you in high school or middle school when you had a substitute teacher whose sole purpose was to make sure you were working on something/anything.  Other examples of busy work are completing a project with no clear purpose, word searches   which do not actually reinforce vocabulary and anything that is there just for the purpose of keeping someone busy with no prominent objective.  This type of work can cause students or employees much frustration because even though they remain busy for the moment, later on they feel a complete sense of lack of accomplishment  as well as no purposeful progress. 
  • Allowing yourself to get distracted

    First of, lets be honest with ourselves.  We live in Miami where the sun is always bright, the ocean is always inviting and there are an unlimited amount of activities to do for fun.  But instead of looking at those things as distractions, lets view them as incentives or as rewards that you can present yourself with after finishing the things that should come first.  There are of course other distractions, such as the ones that are present during your study hours.  Nowadays the majority of students use a computer when working on their homework or conducting research.  That gives us the opportunity to consistently disrupt our concentration by allowing ourselves to wander to other sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube where you might start of watching a video on math tutorials and two hours later you are somehow watching videos of cats doing backflips.  A great way to avoid this is to download a program called FocalFilter.  This program is designed to allow you to block certain websites and the length of time that they will remain blocked for, resulting in keeping you more focused at the task at hand and allowing you to get more work done. 


The Eisenhower Method of Time Management was proposed by Dwight D. Eisenhower.  For those of you who do not know who he is, here is a quick history lesson.  He is not the guy from "The Office".  Dwight David Eisenhower was the thirty-fourth President of the United States who priorly served in WWII as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe and held the responsibility for planning and supervising the invasion of France and Germany.   Now that I'm sure you guys are very accepting of this man, lets get to his method.  The Eisenhower Method of Time Management is based on the prioritization matrix which consists of areas of importance and areas of urgency. 

There are 4 priority blocks and they are: 

  1. Urgent and Important 
  1. Important yet not Urgent 
  1. Urgent yet not Important 
  1. Not Important as well as Not Urgent 

Whether reacting to or creating  our environment, Dwight D. Eisenhower's Method of Time Management makes a lot of sense.  If our work is dependent, this method prioritizes our work tasks. 
By applying these simple time management methods to your life, it can help you become more effective as a professional as well as bringing yourself into greater awareness of time.  Increasing your own consciousness of a thing is the basis of improvement. 


  • Have an organized workplace 
  • Create an appointment calendar and follow it as best as you can 
  • Take short breaks during study and work periods  
  • Learn to say "no" to other activities when important deadlines are coming up 
  • Try to be punctual and prepared for your classes 
  • Know who to ask for help incase you might need it 
  • At last, Have a positive attitude! 

Remember, we live in a very complex world and should not take the time to gather all the information when we frequently use our own intuition.  Ultimately, we need to give equal priority to our family and friends, leisure or pleasure as we do toward work.  An important thing to remember is that even when spending the majority of time thinking strategically and planning things out, we can still get overwhelmed with our day to day lives.  A great way to avoid some of the daily stress is to take a step back, take a break and allow your mind to clear.  Even though it may seem like you are wasting time, in reality, you are giving yourself a chance to think clearly and more distinctively about the important aspects in your life. 

For extra help feel free to visit or contact the Camner Academic Resource Center (ARC) which offers a multitude of resources for every constituent of the University of Miami community.  Currently the ARC houses 7 primary services: Tutoring Services, Office of Disability Services, Learning Specialist, UMX, Academic Workshops, Faculty Support and Independent Learning Initiative.

The ARC is located at the Whitten University Center, Suite N-201; 2nd floor, by the elevator 
Phone (305) 284-2800 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tips for a Skype Interview

by Robert Vanisko

Now that springtime is on its way many UM students are in the middle of applying for their summer internships. One of the most important steps in the applying process is interviewing. But how do you interview for an internship in New York City when you are here in Miami for the rest of the semester? Although phone interviews are common, many employers prefer a face-to-face meeting for a job interview, which is why more and more employers have been turning to Skype interviews. With the frequency of Skype interviews on the rise, it is important to be prepared for one.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a Skype interview:  

Dress for the occasion
Even though you are interviewing via the Internet, you should still dress professionally. Many job applicants make the mistake of dressing casually or only dressing professionally from the waist up, since that’s all that can be seen on camera. Professional dress is important, not only to impress the interviewer, but to also keep yourself in a professional mindset during the interview.  

Conduct your interview in a quiet location
Make sure you are located in a calm, quiet room for your interview. A crowded, noisy area could make it difficult for you and the employer to hear each other and thus distract from your interview.  

Test your Internet connection prior to the interview
Be sure to test your Internet connection prior to beginning the interview. Although dropped Skype calls are not necessarily your fault, they may reflect poorly on you in the eyes of the employer. Be sure to have an Ethernet cable on hand, as it is much more reliable that wireless Internet.  

Turn off your cell phone and all computer alerts
Just about everybody knows by now that you should never have your cellphone on when going into an interview, but that sentiment still applies to Skype interviews. Text message alerts and ringtones are just as distracting and unprofessional in a Skype interview as they are in a regular interview. Also make sure that email notifications are turned off and any website that can make noise, such as Facebook and AIM, are closed as well.

Look directly into the camera
Eye contact is very important when interviewing for a job, but where are you supposed to look to maintain eye contact in a Skype Interview? Looking directly into the eyes of the interviewer on the screen may feel like eye contact, but to the interviewer it will appear that you are looking down. The best way to maintain contact via Skype is to look directly into the camera. Looking directly into the camera will not only help you maintain eye contact, but it will also help keep you focused throughout the interview.