Thursday, February 28, 2013

Check out Toppel’s diverse programs and services, designed for any student

By Constanza Schubert, Toppel Ambassador

A common misconception about the Toppel Career Center is that business majors or engineers can truly benefit from its services. Or, some think that if they are going straight to grad school after graduating, then they don’t really need Toppel.  Actually, our beloved career center offers resources that can help any student, regardless of his/her major.  Below you can find some of Toppel’s upcoming events that are geared toward a variety of majors and career goals.

An Inside Look at Pro Sports
Monday, March 4th at 6:30 pm, UC Ballroom D
If you are interested in pursuing a career with a professional sports team, then this program is for you! There will be a panel of professionals who will share their own experiences in the sports industry.

Exploring Internships: Pre-Health
Tuesday, March 5th at 3:30 pm, Toppel Library
If you are a student that wants to get an internship in the health industry but don’t know what the first step should be, then attend this workshop. You will be able to learn how to search for internships through different databases, receive expert advice from Toppel staff, and hear the experiences of other students who’ve been in your shoes.

The Job Search for Nurses
Thursday, March 21st at 5:30 pm, School of Nursing and Health Studies Room 107
Nursing undergraduate and graduate students and alumni are welcome to attend this program, which will guide them on how to market themselves in this tough job market. Nurse recruiters and hiring managers will be there to discuss what they look for in a resume, at a career fair, and during an interview. Also, alumni will share their own stories on how they found a job.

Get Psyched! Meet Psychology Graduate Students & Employers
Tuesday, March 26th at 6:30 pm, Toppel Library
Psychology majors can attend this workshop to learn what opportunities are out there after graduation. You will be able to network with graduate students and employers in the field over appetizers! Please RSVP on HireACane for this event.
Note that these are only a few of the events that Toppel has prepared. (They’re like little energizer bunnies that never stop working.) Also, don’t forget that Toppel has walk-in advising to have your resume critiqued, Mondays-Thursdays 10:00 am-4:30 pm. Plus they have a very useful Resume Development Guide that includes sample resumes categorized by major. So, if before reading this article you weren’t sure if Toppel had anything that matched your interests, I hope I was able to change your mind.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Step out of the office and jump into life!

By: Bree Blair

Careers are endless. Anything you can think of, there is probably someone that does that for a living, and if not, you could always be the first. Now I don't know about you, but I definitely don't want to sit in an office all day for my career, especially since there is an infinite number to choose from. I want to be out doing things I enjoy while meeting new people and gaining new experiences everyday. If you're worried about getting stuck in the rut of a typical office job, stapling papers, and answering the phone, here are some things to think about:

1. If you could do one thing all day (that's legal), what would it be? 
2. With that answer, how can you make or incorporate that into your career?

Being able to incorporate little things that make you happy outside of work into your everyday career will make your experience that much more rewarding and enjoyable. The days won't drag on where you find yourself looking at the clock every 5 minutes (even though you swore it had been an hour) or you won't feel the need to use that same old excuse that you have yet again another flat tire and can't make it to work that day. For example, can you imagine being a dolphin trainer or someone who gives skydiving lessons?! I know it seems a little far-fetched, but hey, people do it everyday. People who are excited to wake up everyday for their career never have to experience the feeling of "work." They just get to wake up and share amazing experiences with new people.

After talking to a dolphin trainer, I realized that the possibilities of my degree, or any degree for that matter, will be endless. The woman I met was not a Marine Biology major like many assume you should be. She was actually a Psychology major; her reasoning for this was that the trainers use operant conditioning on the animals, which is a very popular method of positive reinforcement training in psychology. Of course Marine Biology will make you very knowledgeable with dolphins if that's your thing, but the point is that no matter what, your possibilities are endless. You can get a great education, pursue a degree, and still find a way to do unique things that make you happy and keep you interested.

If being a dolphin trainer or skydiver seems a little out of your league, then think in smaller terms but the same idea. What interests you? If being able to express your creativity makes you forget about the aspect of work, then a career in that field would be perfect for you. The more you are interested in something, the more successful you will be. The best way to achieve this type of success is to set a goal and go for it, no matter how impossible it may seem. Do a little soul searching, gain some self-actualization, and head for the hills. Your degree is endless (well, to a point), so instead of sitting in an office all day, you could be out enjoying all the wonders of life!

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Use Parental Connections in the Search for Internships

By: Marissa Bell

It’s getting to be that time of year again where at the end of every phone conversation with the parents, they inevitably ask you, “So… have you thought about your plans for the summer yet?” Back in the, what I have affectionately coined, “The Golden Years” (aka the years around the age of 7-12), the answers were simple. Catching fireflies, going swimming, hanging out with friends, and fun things like that. As you got older the pressure was there to find a job and to start thinking about the future. Now that you’re in college, the focus has turned entirely onto finding an internship to prepare for the daunting professional future. And if you’re really lucky, one of your parents will say, “You know, my old college roommate is the CEO of *insert dream company here*. I’m sure she could help you get an internship there if you’re interested?” Well… obviously. Who wouldn’t be interested? But using a parental connection can create a somewhat awkward situation that can be harder to navigate than just sending resumes and cover letters off to a faceless recruiter. Here are 3 of the biggest tips to remember when applying for an internship using a connection from your parents:

Tip 1: Strike the Proper Tone

If it was your mom or dad’s college roommate, you’ve no doubt got some funny anecdotes about them. However, this is NOT the place to bring up the time you heard they mooned the President of their university or when they pranked their roommates. Yes, these are funny stories, but just by mentioning them before this person knows anything else about you, you’ve taken away from your own professionalism. This is still a first impression, not a time to bring up funny stories from the past. Of course, it’s still appropriate to let them know that you do have a connection with them, it gives them a reason to read your cover letter and resume, but keep it professional.

Tip 2: Don’t Let Your Parents Take Over

While this is a connection from your parents, don’t let them take over the entire process. It’s easy to just ask them to send an email directly to their friend and ask if there are any positions open, but the employers will be left wondering why you didn’t just do it yourself. Your parents are there to help establish a connection, but once that’s happened it’s up to you to stand alone on your own merit to get the job yourself. The worst thing you can do is make your parents do everything and then have everyone else think you only got the job because of them. Parents want to help you but there comes a time when you just need to tell them to take a step back and handle it yourself.

Tip 3: Don’t Slack Off

Just because the CEO of your dream company happens to be your parent’s old best friend doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a position based on that alone. It’s tempting to just send an email saying, “You knew my dad is college, here’s my resume” and expect that the connection between them and your family to do the rest of the work. But that will end up kicking you in the butt. Never slack off and expect someone other than yourself to get you a job. It’s up to you to treat this person just like any other employer. It will help you to be professional and make sure that you show the employer that you’re more than their friend’s son or daughter, but a potential candidate for a position that could bring a lot of positive things to the table.

The biggest thing is to use these connections. Your parents have gone through their entire lives meeting people who could potentially be your future bosses. It’s an amazing opportunity to be connected to someone you might not have necessarily been able to get in touch with otherwise. But just remember that you are more than just your parents child. Make sure the employer knows that too.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

3 Things Worse Than Searching for Jobs Online

Written by Thien Van Tran

Nobody wants to apply for jobs online, and understandably so. It's a daunting task. Not only do you have to explore a vast wilderness without so much as a starting point or a map, you have to constantly fight off would-be foes who try to deter your from your path. Like Facebook or Tumblr. And in many cases, you never hear back. Or it takes forever to get a reply. But honestly, it's not that bad. You just need to decide what types of jobs you want to find. This time around, I'll be focusing on USAJOBS, which houses almost all of the hiring opportunities available in the United States government.

If you want a federal job, is the place to go. There are other job boards, but they usually just redirect you to the agency website, where you will need to create an account, upload resumes, documents, etc. before you can apply. This is different. USAJOBS lets you upload documents, almost like your HireACane account, that you can reuse for each additional job you decide to apply for. Almost all USAJOBS postings, with the exception of a few agencies such as NASA, allow you to reuse documents, which drastically shortens the time it takes to complete an application.

Remember what I said about not hearing back from jobs that you've applied to through the internet? Well USAJOBS has a function that mitigates that. You can check the status of your job application, so that you'll know if you're ineligible, qualified, or selected for the next level of the hiring process, so that you won't have to blindly wait for a response that may never come. They'll let you know if you've been rejected almost immediately after the posting date ends, so if you don't hear back, it may be a good thing. It's beneficial to not get attention once in a while.

Another aspect that makes this federal job board so simple to use is its standardized formatting. Every posting is arranged in almost the exact same way. There is a simple description of the agency, followed by duties, then minimum requirements, then required documents, and so on. The job search takes on a much more familiar feel, so that you can quickly find the information you want rather than reading the entire page.

Starting to not look so bad eh? Well to cement this idea, I've compiled an extremely exhaustive list of 3 things worse than searching for jobs online.


I've had bad experiences with dentists. Here's what happens to every patient who has ever gone to get his/her teeth cleaned. Immediately after forcing your mouth open he/she will try to stuff as many instruments as possible at the same time into it. Then he'll ask you some questions to try and make small talk. You reply to each question with, "Errhmfggsjhdf." You know, because your mouth is forced open and stuffed with more metal than Ozzy Osbourne's iTunes. Then he will turn on some tools and immediately slice and dice your mouth. Once there's enough blood to satisfy his twisted Edward Cullen-like needs, he'll make a comment like, "Oh there's a bit of blood. Try to floss more often." Jerks.


If you cannot finish Rainbow Road in Mario Kart, you should not be able to get your license. There are two main reasons why driving in Miami is so infuriating, and both of them are because the drivers here are terrible. But it's not just the drivers from Miami. Everyone who drives here just becomes awful, including myself. When I went back home to Virginia for Christmas Break, it was like returning home from a war zone. I didn't have to worry about running red lights just to fit in, or constantly look over my shoulder to make sure a helmet-less motorcyclist wasn't trying to blend in with the road. Trying to get to work on time? Sorry, the Tour de France is held every morning in Miami, and every biker thinks he's Lance Armstrong and can keep up with cars in the middle of the highway.


Other than existing in general, there are a few things that, for some reason, make us absolutely hate spiders. But just in case you don't already hate them with the burning passion of a twelve-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert, I'll enlighten you. For example, did you know that the microscopic hairs on certain arachnids' legs are so tiny that they exert tremendous forces on their prey? The only way for these poor creatures to escape is to tear their own limbs off. Some of these may be insects you don't want anyway, such as moths (AKA ugly butterflies). To be fair, they are just trying to survive. But also to be fair, they are still spiders.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The 2013 Spring Career Expo: Your Career Superbowl

By Robert Vanisko
Now that the Superbowl is over, it is time for you to turn your attention to your very own Career Superbowl, the 2013 Spring Career Expo.  After putting in long hours of practice studying and honing your skills in the classroom, you now have the chance to be in front of dozens of employers looking to hire UM students.

Like Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis had to prepare for their Superbowl, you need to prepare as well.  Instead of practicing on the football field however, you are going to need to practice in other ways.  First, you need to make sure your resume is up to date and has been critiqued by the Toppel Career Center. In preparation for Career Expo, Toppel will be hosting Resumania on Monday, February 11 and Tuesday, February 12  from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. to get as many students’ resumes critiqued as possible. You should also be prepared by having numerous copies of your resume to hand out to all of those potential employers. Participating in a Mini-Mock Interview at Toppel could help prepare you for the questions these employers will be asking.   

No matter how good a football player is, they would not be able to play in the Superbowl if they did not show up in uniform, and the same goes for you. For the Career Expo, your uniform will be dressing business professional. For both men and women, that means wearing a suit, preferably black, grey, or dark blue. Men should have a matching jacket and pants, black socks, and a conservative tie. Women, if you are wearing a skirt suit, it should go to the knee. For more tips on dressing for success, click here

One of the best parts about the Career Expo is that you do not need to travel all the way to the New Orleans Superdome to get there. The Career Expo will be taking place in the Wellness Center on campus on Wednesday, February 13 from 3 - 7 p.m. We also promise that there will not be any blackouts to delay your job seeking experience.

While landing a prized job or internship may not be quite as exciting as winning the Superbowl, it is still a great accomplishment that can go a long way towards a future career. Good luck and perform your best at the Expo and you could be well on your way towards a rewarding career!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Quick Start the Spring Semester

By Oleg Ignatenko

The spring semester is in full swing and what better way to fully maximize your time and make something out of it than by getting involved and attending the many Toppel Career Center events that will occur throughout the upcoming months.

Many of you may have attended the Spring Kick Off at The Rock and got a chance to be introduced to Toppel, win a prize or get a slice of pizza.  For those of you who didn't, don't stress out because there will be plenty of other events where you will be able to get involved.

Lets focus on the next big event not to miss on February 6th - the EPIC Program (Employer Practice Interview & Critique).  During this event students will get an opportunity to receive a mock interview as well as get their resumes critiqued by various employers and it is a great way to prepare for the upcoming Career Expo.  Students will get the experience of being able to talk to the employer about their resume and find out what the employer will be looking for on certain resumes. During the mock interview appointment, the employer will conduct the interview and afterwards critique the student and allow them to ask any questions they might have on what they can do to improve.

Is your resume up to date, do you want to improve it or just create a brand new one and you don't know what to do?  Then make sure you come to RESUMANIA!  This is the biggest resume event we have all semester.  Students will have the opportunity to meet with peer advisers, members of the staff or the graduate assistants on a walk-in basis who will be ready to help in an instant with any questions about resumes.  

Moving on to the next event and it is the one you absolutely do not want to miss.  Get ready for the Career Expo!  This is the single biggest event that is sponsored through the Toppel Career Center.  This year there will be over 100 various employers looking to speak to bright and ambitious students with various aspirations in hopes of finding a good candidate for their company.  This event is specifically designed to expose University of Miami students to different career paths and allow them to network with professionals. Students will have a chance to meet with representatives from various companies and ask questions about the company and inquire what type of students they are looking for as well as internship, development, and other opportunities.  Don't forget to dress in business professional attire and bring plenty of resumes.  Career Expo is Wednesday, February 13 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. in the Herbert Wellness Center.

If you are not sure what to wear to the Career Expo, you can check out the How to Dress for A Career Expo blog by our star peer adviser Robert Vanisko.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the events and visit us at the Toppel Career Center! 
You can our calendar here.