Thursday, September 27, 2012

Networking Like A Boss

By: Oleg Ignatenko

During your college years, there is so much emphasis that is put on studying for that test, completing that project, and applying for that internship.  Sometimes the thing that remains very overlooked and underrated is networking.  Now, this is not a suggestion to add 50 random strangers to your social network (aka Facebook), but instead to try and find business related networking events such as the Career Expo or the Student & Alumni Career Symposium.  Networking events allow you to get more familiar with people who are already successful, those with great ideas, company managers, or people who are looking to make a difference not only in their life, but in the life of others as well.

There are many different networking events that can be attended but I will try to focus on the top 3 that would apply to the majority of college students.
Strong Contact Networking Events

This type of networking event is usually held in a professional setting where you are required to follow a business professional dress code.  Usually these are pretty difficult to gain access to, and you will need to have a good relationship with one of the representatives from the event, as many of these events permit only one individual from a certain profession to attend.  Either way, don’t forget to bring plenty of copies of your resume and a good amount of business cards. 

Casual Contact Networking Events 

Casual networks are all about being relaxed and being able to communicate with representatives/managers/employees of other organizations in a comfortable and tranquil manner.  Usually these types of events allow for a few representatives of a certain profession.  They are held in order to add depth to the networking field and to introduce members of various organizations to each other to promote different ideas.  This is probably the best place for professionals to mingle and not necessarily be too focused on talking about their business or profession.

Virtual Contact Networking Events

Virtual networking has become a lot more popular in the last decade and it allows different employers and employees to be able to communicate through an online network.  This is a great way to present yourself to different professionals without having to travel to a specific location.  It is very common for these networking events to be casual and informal.  This gives most of the people communicating to feel a bit more free than during any other networking event.  Google+ is one of the main ways for these type of events to take place and has allowed for large numbers of professionals to network online simultaneously.

Networking allows you to meet people who have experience in different fields, who have developed a specific process for achieving their goals and who may also have many inspirational stories.  The bottom line is: you never know who you will meet and if there is a possibility that person might give you some valuable advice towards your professional career.  There is always a possibility that they might know someone who could point you in the right direction or introduce you to someone who is looking to hire someone with exactly the specific skill sets that you possess.  Attending these events will allow you to gain a better perspective of the networking world and will go a long way in aiding you in your search, dedication, and commitment to success.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dressing for Success on a Budget, Advice for Women

By: Marissa Bell

There is nothing worse than showing up to a party and noticing that you are completely under-dressed. The same feeling of inferiority happens in the workplace when you can just tell that you aren't dressed appropriately. But dressing professionally, while still maintaining your own sense of style, is getting harder and harder as prices for suits and other items of clothing rise. Thanks to certain websites and stores, however, buying professional clothing can be cheaper and easier. Oftentimes the biggest problem is trying to figure out what pieces to spend your money on, and which items are absolutely essential to have in one's wardrobe. First things first, a quick list of things that must be in every woman's closet:
  • Pant suit (black, navy, brown, charcoal gray)
  • Pencil skirt that can be worn with the your suit jacket
  • White collared button down 
  • 4 or 5 colorful knit blouses with varying necklines
  • Professional dress that can be worn with your suit jacket
  • Comfortable heels (not too high of a heel)
  • Appropriate and professional handbag
From just having those seven basic items in your closet, you have months worth of different options to create unique outfits. And yet, looking at that list, it still seems as though all of those aspects are going to add up pretty quickly. So here are 3 rules to follow to keep the prices down:

Rule no. 1: Outline Expensive, Fill in Cheap:

While cryptic, what this rule basically means is that your outer layers should be where you spend the bulk of your budget. Your suit should be a quality suit, and while this doesn't necessary mean that you need to spend 100 dollars on a suit, it also means that you shouldn't be scrounging bargain bins for a jacket and pants that only match when its dark. You should be buying a suit, meaning that the pieces are made of the same fabric, are the same color, and are clearly meant to be worn together. And finding one that fits well might cost a little bit. But it's worth it to find a suit you feel good in. So that's the expensive outline. Fill in cheap means that you can buy less expensive items to wear under the suit. Feel free to shop the bargain bins for your blouses and button downs.

Rule no. 2: Borrow from Friends

The simple fact of the matter is that your employer won't be paying close enough attention to keep track of each and every item of clothing you have, but sometimes the ones you do have just feel stale. To avoid spending more money on things you don't necessarily need, branch out and ask you friends. If they have good style and are the same size as you, it's like going shopping and having the sales person handing you the merchandise, no purchase necessary! A great way to give your wardrobe a breathe of life without breaking the bank.

Rule no. 3: Shop Those Discount Shops

The trick to staying under budget is looking at the right store. If you go into a store in Merrick Park looking to not spend a fortune, you're going to be discouraged. Some of the best stores to shop at for those blouses and knit tops are ones you wouldn't expect to find something professional. Some of my favorite stores to look at are:
  • Target
  • Kohl's
  • Forever 21
  • Marshall's
  • TJ Maxx
  • Ross: Dress for Less
The only caveat to shopping at stores like these are be cautious of looking too juvenile, and be wary of buying things that may look, for lack of better word, cheap. There is a fine line here to maintaining personal style and looking like a 17 year old at the mall, and you want to make sure you don't cross it. One way to do that is bring a friend with you who can be a separate set of eyes. 

Having a versatile, cute, professional wardrobe isn't difficult to do. Doing it all on a budget can pose some challenges, but all it takes is perseverance and looking in the right places. But trust me, spending a little extra time making sure you look the part is well worth it when you feel confident and like you fit in at the work place.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get Rid of the Stress, and Get Inspired!

 By: Bree Blair

Being a student is a taxing job: class here, homework there, study now, and activities or work somewhere wedged in there. What happens when you get off track and lose your motivation? Well for starters, everything that you’ve been working for begins to slowly slip out of your hands. Before you know it, you’re behind in all your classes and can’t seem to find an ounce of motivation to step up your game. What do you do? Surprisingly, I found sometimes the smallest things can be the remedy to what seems like the biggest problem: famous or inspirational quotations.

It seems as though everyone has a quotation or two that he or she likes to live by- something to remind yourself when you’re slowing down or going too fast. One of my favorite quotations is from the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and the character Ferris says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” We all know what it’s like to get caught in the craziness of school, but it’s so important to remember why you’re here in the first place. Whenever I’m feeling too stressed with school, practice, or anything, I remind myself not to forget how much hard work pays off, but more importantly, I remember to enjoy my life in general. Yes, of course school is important, but how you go about your everyday tasks is what makes it an enjoyable experience!

Another quotation I really like to live by is from an unknown author, but it says, “If you want to know where your heart is, look to where your mind goes when it wanders.” This quotation could mean anything for anyone, but for me, this quotation represents how I got to where I am today in beautiful, sunny Florida. I have always wanted to be part of the UM community and experience year-round fun in the sun, but it took hard work and dedication for it to all come together. If you want something bad enough, it will lead you through all the stress that school just loves to bring. The most important thing to remember is that dreams aren’t just some unattainable ideas we have; they’re the ultimate goals that we strive to achieve through school, work, or whatever activities we may be involved in.

Don’t let yourself get lost in the midst of life. Take a step back, think of your favorite quotation, and remember the reasons why you work so hard in the first place. Having said that, I’d like to leave you all on a positive note with my favorite quotation of all written by the famous Mark Twain. He said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Work hard, live your life, and make the best out of every moment!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Dress for the Career Expo

By Robert Vanisko
The Career Expo and Graduate School Fair at Expo, hosted by the Toppel Career Center, is a great place to scout out different employers and graduate programs and put yourself out there for potential internships and jobs for the future.  A key to impressing these potential future employers is dressing well.
The way you dress can either make a great first impression or throw up some serious red flags, so it is important to dress well.  But what do you have to wear to be dressed well for the Career Expo?  Luckily, I work with a bunch of professional career advisors, and they have taught me a thing or two on this particular topic. Surprisingly enough, figuring out what to wear to the Career Expo and any event like it is actually pretty simple. 

If only he was wearing a jacket...

What to wear: 
You should dress exactly like you would if you were going to a job interview.  For guys, what that means is that you should be wearing a professional looking suit and dress shirt.  It is best to go with a solid colored suit, preferably navy or black.  You should wear a conservative tie, so it would probably be a good idea to leave those bright, pastel-colored ones home for the day.  Be sure to wear a matching belt and nice, polished shoes.  Please don’t wear white socks with your dress shoes; I did that once and I still haven’t heard the end of it.   For those of you gentlemen who do not know how to tie a tie just yet, this link should help.

Ideal dress for women also includes a professional looking suit, preferably navy, grey, black, or brown.   You can either be a pantsuit or skirt suit, but be sure to avoid short skirts and high slits.  Wear closed toed shoes, and wear your hair in a conservative style.  This following link is a good example of how to dress.

Now that you have a better idea of what to wear, I look forward to seeing all of you professionally dressed tomorrow!

Career Expo and the Graduate School Fair at Expo: September 13,  2012, 3pm – 7pm in the BankUnited Center.  This event is open only to UM students and alumni. For more information on the employers and graduate programs attending, click here.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

When You Play, Play Hard. When You Work, Don’t Play at All

By Thien Van Tran

Two weeks ago I attended my first class at the University of Miami as a senior. It feels as though no time has passed at all, yet I have transformed dramatically. Yesterday I looked in a mirror and did not recognize the person I saw. This was perhaps mostly due to the fact that the mirror was in fact a window and I was staring at a complete stranger, but that’s not the point. College life changes people. And I’m not talking about just making you smarter. Suddenly you feel obligated to go to the gym every day, or tan after every class, or attend every party. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have fun, because you should. You will never have this experience again. But just be careful not to stray too far away from who you really are.

A golden retriever painted like a tiger. Because, you know, why stop at neutering the poor guy?

Here are a two quick tips that everyone may find useful, some more than others, but I’m not one to point fingers. *Eyeballing freshmen*

School Comes First

Miami is undoubtedly a city suited for the nocturnal. The plethora of clubs, bars, and restaurants acts as a playground for young college students. And there’s always something to do. But don’t you ever get tired of all the late nights, all the craziness, all the bright lights and loud music that leaves you blind and deaf for days? ME NEITHER. I can’t get enough of that stuff. What I do get tired of though, is missing classes, forgetting homework, and failing exams. Remember, you’re a student at the University of Miami. School is a priority, and everything else is just extra.

Planning ahead can help avoid all of these negative side effects. If you know that you have homework due Friday morning, complete it ahead of time so that you’re free to relax or have fun Thursday night. I understand that procrastination is the most prevalent religion practiced on any college campus, but doing things early will pay off in the end. Turning in a 20-page paper that you wrote an hour before class will only earn you a terrible grade and a product that your professor will find laughable. Me? I usually laugh at all my own papers before turning them in because I rarely write something that isn’t hilarious.

Learn How to Say No

You have friends. And with friends, come benefits peer pressure. Many new opportunities will present themselves, and I advise you to take advantage of all that you can. However, you should recognize which occasions are productive and which are harmful. For example, having a friend drag you to Salsa Craze is different than going to a frat party. If you never say no, then you’ll most likely find yourself doing things you don’t truly enjoy. Like listening to that Carly Rae Jepsen song. And don’t even say it’s catchy. You know what else was catchy? The Plague.

There are other, more moderate forms of socializing rather than just partying or clubbing. What are they exactly? Beats me, but I’ve been told they exist. Although, as most have you been to Canefest at some point, I’m sure it’s apparent that there are plenty of clubs to get involved in. You can meet new people, have fun, and still be productive in school.

And, you'll still be able to recognize yourself in the mirror.

Everyone wants perfect grades, but no one wants to study all the time. Well there’s no other way to do well unless you work at it. But having fun once in while is healthy. And let's be honest. No one looks back on life and remembers the nights you got plenty of sleep.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Forming Great Note-Taking Skills!

by Oleg Ignatenko

Lately, I have come to the realization that many times students struggle (including myself) with exams or understanding the material in certain classes due to bad note-taking and lack of a focused and clear study guide. It seems that often when students take notes in class or notes from the book, they tend to focus on areas that are not that important which becomes very unhelpful to them as well as time consuming. The entire point of taking notes is to have a clear visual and an understanding of the given material without having to carry around a bunch of 25 pound books and then having to list through them to find a specific line to read or a definition to recall. Since this is becoming sort of an epidemic, I am here to give you some advice to help you ease your way into the course by developing great note-taking skills.

First, let’s all agree that copying word for word from the book does not work for everybody. Sometimes the way an author may explain or define something might seem like they are using a completely different language. So what would be the point of you jotting down their exact words? Instead, try to understand the straightforward meaning of their words and write it down in your own words.

Second, another extremely helpful method is to use different markers, pens or highlighters when taking down notes. During a lecture many of us don’t have time to organize our notes due to the fact that we must consistently write things down until our hands feel like they are about to fall off. With the use of the highlighters or markers, you can set up a system of colors in which you know what area relates to a specific topic and definitions that you will more than likely will need to know for the upcoming exam. It is just another way of making an outline but by using this system it will save you a lot more time.

Third, this is most likely the most important rule that is usually overlooked. Learn and understand the way your professor conducts his or her lectures. This is something that you should get used to by the end of the first two weeks of your new class. Each professor uses his own developed way of teaching and communicating with the classroom. Once you realize that he or she focuses on specific details or that literally everything he or she  discusses will be on the test, you will have a much greater advantage and understanding of what type of notes you should be jotting down. Many times students realize this after the first tests, depending on what type of questions will be asked, but instead of adapting to their professors way of teaching, they will still continue taking bad notes and struggle on exams.

Here are some other quick hints when taking notes:

• Take notes on only one side of the paper

• Use pictures, diagrams and tables to help you visualize and relate ideas

• Before the upcoming lecture, read the chapter that you will be focusing on next

• Go back and make sure that you didn’t leave any blanks, and if you did, remember to fill them in

Lastly, don’t forget to use your notes when it comes to exams and other assignments. If you took out the time to write all of this information down, make sure it goes into something positive. It is so much easier to learn something and to remember it when you have it clearly and precisely written down.