Thursday, November 29, 2012

Career Toolbox: UCAN Internship Exchange

By: Bree Blair
Part of the Career Toolbox Series

Looking for an easy and efficient way to find internships? UCAN is perfect for you! UCAN stands for University Career Action Network, which means that it is not just affiliated with the University of Miami. UCAN is connected with Boston College, Harvard University, University of Notre Dame, and 18 other colleges across the United States. To get started, just log into your HireACane account, and click the link on the left, which will take you directly to the UCAN website. If you haven't set up a UCAN account yet, use your collegiate email address to get yourself started. Once you have been an approved user, you're free to roam the site and find the perfect internship for you.

After creating an account, it will prompt you to set up your profile just like HireACane. Actually, they're both set up very similarly, so if you are familiar with HireACane, then you might just already be a professional on UCAN! There is even a documents tab if you want to upload your resume. On the home tab, there are always announcements and notifications available. For example, one announcement on the home page right now is the chance to win an iTunes gift card by taking a UCAN survey! How cool is that- a nifty site that helps you find internships and even win some prizes here and there. Speaking of internships, UCAN has more to offer
than what meets the eye.

Once you figure out the website and all its wonders, you will discover a really handy search agent that makes finding internships a piece of cake. Just click the internships tab, and follow that to the search agents tab (tricky, I know). Anyway, UCAN lets you set up a scheduled search for internships! It doesn't get any easier than that; all you have to do is read your emails! It allows you to set it up how many times a week or month that you want to receive emails about internships pertaining to the keyword or phrase you chose.

UCAN even helps you if you are just looking for a specific company. Just click on the employers tab and search away! If you are mainly interested in finding an internship with a certain person or company, UCAN can help you there too. It even provides a contact directory so you can get in touch with the companies via telephone or email. What's really awesome is that the person's title is listed with their contact information, and we all know how important that is, especially when writing a cover letter! As you can see, UCAN has a ton of ways to help you find the perfect internship; it even does the work for you! So if you are even considering an internship, you should create an account on UCAN because it CAN help you find the perfect match! It's almost like an online dating site, except not really, and it's free.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Career Toolbox: TypeFocus

By: Marissa Bell
Part of the Career Toolbox Series

When we were kids, people would ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and the answers were simple. A firefighter, a ballerina, a veterinarian, an astronaut. As we grew up, however, the answers got more complex and a lot less easy to come up with. After a while, for some, the only response available for that dreaded question was a nervous giggle and a quick change of subject. It can be scary when everyone else in a class is listing off exactly what they want to do after college and sound like they've known since they were 6, and your answer is, "I have no idea." There is a constant pressure to know what you want to do when you leave college and to start preparing for it from day one, from parents, from teachers, from advisers, even from friends. And, if at the age of say, 19, you still don't know have any idea what you want to do with your life, suddenly everyone is giving you worried looks.

But keep this in mind: There is nothing wrong with not knowing what you want the rest of your life to look like. Yes there are some people who do, and good for them, but there's a difference between not knowing and doing nothing about it, and not knowing and trying to figure it out. TypeFocus is an online tool that will help take you from the "doing nothing" stage and the "actively trying to figure it out stage".

What is TypeFocus?
TypeFocus is a free online personality assessment that asks you a series of questions that at first may seem mundane and simple, but are actually very calculated and specifically worded to get an in-depth analysis about your personality and what qualities and skills you posses. Its goal is to create self-awareness so that users have a better understanding of themselves, and in turn, can create a more educated decision about what careers they would enjoy given their unique interests and preferences.

What does TypeFocus tell you?
After you take the assessment, the analysis gives you pretty specific information. The program assesses your answers and tells you what traits you possess, what type of situations and activities interest you, and what things you value in the work place. At the end, the program combines all of these things and gives a list of careers that satisfy those conditions.

Explanation that came with Floral Designer
Things to Remember to Maximize Benefits
First thing to do to make TypeFocus most helpful to you is to take it by yourself when you're in a serious enough mood to care. If you're with friends, if you're just not in the mood, you'll start answering questions untruthfully, which will affect your answers, and make the results unusable. Yes, some of the questions seem like they're crazy, but there is a reason for all of them, so take it seriously and answer truthfully. The most important thing to remember when taking the TypeFocus, or any personality assessment, is to not focus on the results, but rather what the results mean. When I, an advertising and psychology major, took the test, my top results were a florist and a clergyman. I scoffed and dismissed the results. I never took the time to try to understand why I got those results. Once I did, I realized that I was someone who was creative, and enjoyed being a leader, but also valued communication with others and wanted a nurturing workplace. If you just take results at face value, they will mean nothing. Take the time to really understand your results. With TypeFocus, it's nice because all you have to do is click on the job title to get an in-depth explanation about exactly why that result appeared for you. It's the traits that matter in a position, not the title. I don't want to be a florist, but I know I need a job that is people focused and creative to be happy. And knowing that tells me that being a researcher isn't for me which is priceless information to know when choosing a career path in school.

Where to Find TypeFocus/Other Options
TypeFocus is free for University of Miami students and alumni, but if you just try to log on via the website, you will have to pay. In order to create a free account, go to your HireACane account, login, and scroll down. In the middle of the page about halfway down is a graphic that says, "TypeFocus, New Users Here!" click there and voila! There are three separate assessments, make sure you take all of them to reap the full benefits. All together, it will take about 25-30 minutes. Other options you have if you still want more is the SDS, a self-graded assessment, or the Strong Interest Inventory, which costs $10, but comes with an hour long appointment with one of our advisers to go over the results. Feel free to come in to Toppel between 8:30-5:00 and we'll set you up with either.

Utilize these tools so that next time someone at a holiday party asks you what you want to do after school, or the kid next to you starts talking about his 10 year plan, you don't feel an overwhelming urge to slap someone.

Monday, November 19, 2012

3 Tips for Negotiating Salary

Guest Blog By CareerBliss

There are many milestones you have to pass when going from job seeker to job holder – filling out applications, smiling through phone screens, selling yourself during in-person interviews and, eventually, talking about compensation.
Upon receiving a job offer, you may be tempted to immediately say yes, shake hands and ask when do I start. Slow down, take a breath and tell them you need a day or so to make a decision. 

Then start thinking about your worth. Most employers expect you to negotiate compensation – in fact, they may be lowballing you a bit to leave wiggle room for negotiation. So don’t feel greedy or ungrateful for speaking up about wanting more. But remember: Wanting more doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Skillful negotiation, however, will get you closer to the compensation you deserve. 

Here are some tips for getting to where you want to be.

1. Build Rapport

Begin laying the foundation for a fruitful salary negotiation long before the topic is ever broached. From your first interactions with a hiring manager (and anyone else you may meet at the company), start to build rapport. 

You’re not just trying to get top dollar for your skills and experience – you’re also selling yourself. If the person you’re negotiating with really likes you, she’ll be more open to be persuaded that you’re worth what you say you are. It’s the old catch more flies with honey thing. Be the honey!

2. Do Your Research

Before you start tossing numbers around you need to have a good idea about what others in the area are getting paid for the same kind of work. Lucky for you, salary information is easily available via the magical thing we call the Internet.

CareerBliss, for instance, has a database of millions of salaries for all types of jobs across all industries and locations. So do your research and come to the negotiation with data to back up your salary desires.

3. Articulate Your Value

In addition to having salary data, you’ll need to be able to articulate why you are worth the compensation you are requesting. Talk about successes in past jobs, and provide a concrete plan for what you are going to do in your new position to further the company’s goals. The idea is to give them a good idea of that they are paying for.

If you’re new to the professional workforce and the employer won’t budge, consider agreeing to the salary offered on condition that your performance is reevaluated after 90 days and, if you have reached agreed upon goals, your salary is increased at that time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Use The Walking Dead to Survive During Your College Years

By Oleg Ignatenko & Rob Vanisko

So, you are probably thinking how in the world does the show about a zombie apocalypse at all compare to your college years.  Would you like to know?  Well, all the questions will be answered by the end of this blog. But for now lets take a look at the what brought you to this blog.  Is it internships, career choices, your major or possibly this awesome title that took me twenty minutes to come up with?  Either way you came here to learn something and we intend to make sure you don't leave "empty handed". 

Here are some of the most important lines from the show that will keep you on the right track during your college years that way you will be able to avoid the walkers (challenges, problems, possibly crazy ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends) that could stand in your way of survival (reaching your goals):
Rick: "There's us and the dead.  We survive this by pulling together, not apart"

There are successes and failures.  How you approach them will eventually determine your future.  But since you are at a University where there is so much spirit and connection between students and faculty, try to "pull together" and use the help of your classmates and professors to gain information and figure out what's best for you.  I guarantee they will gladly do their best to help you out in your career survival.

T-Dog: "Guess the world changed
Guillermo: "No. It's the same as it ever was: the weak get taken"

 Don't be a weak link.  You need everything you can get in order to survive.  You wouldn't want to bring one small knife to take on a herd of walkers, instead you want an entire arsenal of weapons at your disposal.  The Toppel Career Center can provide you with all those tools and services that will help you in your path to survival.  You can find all of these weapons and more in the Career Toolbox.  Some of the weapons that you will be able to find there are Glassdoor, Pathbrite, LinkedIn, etc. 

Andrea: "No crying in the boat. It scares the fish"

Keep you head, especially in times of failure or if one of your friends is taken by the walkers or becomes one of them.  There are many struggles that you will have to overcome during your "survival" through the career search.  One thing to remember is to not give up.  You will face a lot of  rejection in your career search but don't let it affect you.  There are many different circumstances when applying for a job that are outside of your control, so don't take it personally and use this as an opportunity to improve and better yourself in order to succeed next time.

Dale: "I see a chance to make a new start"

Each job you will apply for is a chance for you to prove yourself worthy of this particular career choice.   Separate yourself as a leader in this post-apocalyptic world run by "walkers," stand your ground and put your best foot forward towards your future career.

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to Take Advantage of Toppel during your Freshman Year

By: Constanza Schubert, Toppel Ambassador

Are you a freshman? Or when you were one, did you think that all this career development stuff should be done later down the road? False! As cliché as it may sound, it is never too late for you to attend Toppel events! The career expo can be useful to any student, regardless of major or year. I attended the Fall Career Expo as a freshman, and I learned that it actually requires plenty of preparation.  It was a great opportunity for me to get a practice round, so that when I attend at a more crucial point, I am prepared and know exactly what to expect. During my first semester, I attended several workshops and programs from Toppel, and I will recommend which are the most crucial ones for incoming freshmen:

Freshmen and Sophomore Orientation: This workshop is the first one a freshman should go to, because it’s like Toppel 101; it informs students on everything that Toppel offers, including career assessments, Toppel workshops & expos, and how one should go about looking for an internship (no, it’s not too early for you to start searching!) on the HireACane website. This workshop is essential, because you don’t want to become a junior that has never heard of Toppel and doesn’t know the first thing about searching for internships.

Effective Resume and Cover Letter Writing: I cannot stress how important this workshop is. There is actually plenty information that the Toppel staff covers that is not as “common sense” as you’d expect. At the workshop, you receive a detailed Resume writing guide that includes resume templates that are according to industry. Use this guide as you prepare to submit your resume on This way, you will be able to get your resume approved quicker.
Note: Several Toppel events require that you have submitted your resume on HireACane. Do it as soon as possible to avoid any complications. Click here to see a previous blog post about writing a resume: Jam Your Way to a Perfect Resume.

EPIC Program (Employer Practice Interview and Critique): This was by far my favorite program from the ones I attended. Prior to the Career Expo, Toppel hosts EPIC, a program where they bring in employers to conduct mock interviews. When you RSVP, you pick the company of your choice and can pick whether you want a mock interview or have your resume critiqued. I had a mock interview with Northwestern Mutual, and at the end the employer gave me extremely helpful feedback. This is one of the best ways to prepare for the Career Expo, or to just enhance your interviewing skills.

Diversity Etiquette Dinner: This is one of the most unique events that Toppel puts together, in conjunction with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. This year’s dinner occurred on Monday, November 5th.  When you RSVP, you get to choose with which employer you want to sit, and there is a wide variety, from a Miller School of Medicine table to a Pre-law table. The host covers all the specific etiquette rules one must know while having dinner in a professional setting, and students get to ask questions of their own while eating a delicious full course meal (for free!). Watch a quick video of this event.

All of the events listed above, with the exception of the etiquette dinner, will also occur during Spring semester. Get started now, for it will benefit you later!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Using Pathbrite to Build Your Online Portfolio

By: Robert Vanisko
Part of the Career Toolbox Series 

While resumes are very crucial to getting a job, most of the time they do not tell the full story of who you are and what you can contribute to a particular job.  This is especially true for people with creative majors.  Don’t you wish there was a way for creative people to show off their writing and design samples without having to create an entire portfolio from scratch? Luckily for you, there is. 

Pathbrite is an online service that allows you to build an online portfolio in just a few quick and easy steps.  Pathbrite gives you different options for what type of portfolio you want, including Professional, Academic, and Freestyle.  When making a Pathbrite portfolio, you receive prompts that tell you exactly what to include in your portfolio.  For example, the first step in a professional portfolio is to upload your resume, followed by a prompt to upload something that represents your professional skills, which could include a writing sample, design sample, etc. 

Pathbrite takes you step by step until you have a completed portfolio full of diverse materials.  These materials should adequately represent the skill set that you want your potential employer to see.  As a Public Relations Major, my Pathbrite portfolio includes my resume, my design samples from Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, a Press Release, and a Backgrounder.  Therefore my own portfolio reflects my graphic design skills, writing skills, and work experience that shows that I have used those skills in a work setting before.

The portfolios are very easy to send to any employer and can go a long way in differentiating you from other candidates for a particular job.  This is also a very good networking tool as well.  If you are giving an elevator pitch to your dream employer and don’t have too much time to get all of your qualifications across, it is always good to have the URL to your Pathbrite portfolio ready to go so you can have all of best work available in an instant.

Overall, Pathbrite is a great tool to use and can be a key factor in separating yourself from the rest of the pack when applying for a job.  To view a sample Pathbrite, click here. For those of you looking for additional information on how a portfolio can help your job search, you can refer to this blog post.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Very See-Through Door Made of Borosilicate

Written by Thien Tran
Part of the Career Toolbox Series 

I know you’re probably thinking, “Thien, this is a very bland name. Why did you decide to name something so plainly?” Well I’ll tell you exactly why I did so. You see, I have always found that it is better to be as straightforward as possible when it comes to names. For example, if hurricanes weren’t named after boys and girls, then maybe everyone would evacuate like they’re supposed to and no one would get hurt. You may decide that you want to play outside during Tropical Storm Sandy, but I bet you’d never go near Hurricane Death Machine 5000. So this blog post is about precisely what the title says: a look through the glass door of a company.
What is it? is a website that can be used to search for jobs, much like any other job board on the internet. However, there are many unique aspects that set this particular website apart. For one, it is very aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate and narrow searches. Other websites look atrocious. Like ugly little animals. Like something I would draw with my left hand. Anyway, not only offers job postings, but also company and occupational salaries, company reviews, interview questions, and hiring process reviews. These are usually anonymous, written by employees and job seekers alike. Although, some companies will put their own information on the website to ensure the information is accurate as well as to promote.

 How do I Sign Up?

By now you’re probably thinking, “Why Thien, how do I become a part of this elite group?” And worry not my dear friend, for I’m here to tell you just that. You can become a part of this group by simply signing up on the website with your email, or even through your Facebook account. You may be thinking at this point, “Whoa, my Facebook? But why Thien?” And I’ll tell you exactly why. Here it comes, ready? Here it is: with your Facebook connected to GlassDoor, you can see who your friends are connected to. They may be employed by a company of interest, or may be friends with someone who works for a company you are looking at. Still don’t trust me? I wouldn’t either. You know that guy who always farts and then asks everyone, “Hey, do y’all smell popcorn?” And then everyone takes in a huge whiff trying to smell popcorn. That’s ME!


You can search for jobs with a keyword, title, or company, along with a location. You can further narrow down your search in terms of distance from the location, posting time, and company rating. These postings are usually hosted by another website, such as Monster or CareerBuilder. In addition, you can check out company overviews, salaries, employee reviews, photos from the office, and Facebook connections. It’s a like a buffet! But please try to have some self-control. Like the people who make bubble wrap.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (or not): Schedule Advising!

Written by: Bree Blair

It's that time of year again- class schedule advising! Some people, surprisingly, actually enjoy this time of the year because it means that the semester is starting to come to a close. For others, class schedule advising is just another nuisance on top of the million other things we have to do.  Sorry, that was a bit personal. Anyway, don't fear this time of the year! Your advisers are here to help, especially if you're like me and don't have a clue as to what classes you should be taking anyway. If you do have a general idea of what classes you should be taking, that's perfect! The hardest part is just choosing.

The best way to make class schedule advising a some what enjoyable experience is to look at classes that actually interest you. I know, the words "classes" and "interest" shouldn't be in the same sentence, but it happens! Not only will finding fun or interesting classes make the searching process easier, but it will make your next semester much more enjoyable as well. Learning about subjects that we truly want to learn about is what makes school a whole lot better. You'd be surprised how many interesting classes there are that fulfill requirements, and what's better than that? (You don't have to answer that.) Just don't get too excited when you end up without any free time!

For example, when my adviser first asked me if I wanted to have Tuesdays and Thursdays off, I couldn't resist. I caught myself daydreaming about days at the beach, maybe a little shopping, sleeping in, but then I remembered that getting a job would be a good idea too (hence this blog). Only having to go to campus 3 days a week for classes is great, but having 5 classes all in a row is not. Now I know that next semester, I'm definitely going to have to rethink my strategy.

The most important part about planning your class schedule is remembering to keep yourself balanced. Personally, I think it's better to have just 2 or 3 classes each day rather then cramming them all in at once. Plus, that leaves room for a little extra napping time. Having a little something to do everyday, in my opinion, makes time go by faster, and I like the sound of that. Just try to remember that class schedule advising can be as exciting or as dull as you want it to be, so choose classes and a schedule that works for you!