Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Last Day of Classes!

Congrats on finishing all of your classes this semester!  Enjoy the Canes Carnival this evening, and if you're feeling stressed, walk by the Foote Green and you'll see an elephant and puppies.  Best of luck with your final exams!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Answering Impossible Questions

Written by: Oleg Ignatenko

Have you ever received a question in an interview that just seemed to come out of the blue with no relation to the job position at all?  Well, I have and let me tell you its a good thing that I knew how to answer them otherwise there would have been a extremely long and awkward silence.  So why are these questions even there to be asked?  Employers use these type of questions to see how quickly you can think under pressure.  They realize that sometimes you have done a lot of research and you are fully committed to professionalism but they try to approach different tactics to try and throw you off by using these "interview traps" which are designed to reveal more personal information than maybe you planned on initially revealing.  How do you answers these questions?  How do you compose yourself?  All the answers and more will be provided so keep on reading.

First things first, don't freak out!  Interviews can be stressful without those type of questions so this might set some people over the edge but remember, the main goal is to stay composed.  If you look a bit flustered, its understandable and the interviewer probably expects you to be.  At the same time, they also expect you to give a confident and a reasonable response.  So, lets go over some of these questions and how to properly answer them.

1.  Interviewer: How would you react if I told you that so far, this interview has gone horrible?
     You:  This is usually a test to see if you get flustered easily.  Ask politely why and for specific reasons of what  you have said or done to make such a bad impression on the interviewer.

2.  Interviewer: If you won the lottery, would you still work?
     You:  Try to be honest but maybe not too honest.  The best type answer is mentioning that while you would be obviously thrilled, you would still try to find a job that you find satisfying and that it would be have to be something that you love to do.

3.  Interviewer:  What was the last book you read?
     You: If you answer "I don't read books" or "I read 'It's a shore thing' by Snooki" you can assume that you won't get a call back.  Instead, try to mention a book that made a memorable impression on you and choose a reputable author that the interviewer has probably heard of.

4.  Interviewer:  If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you be?
     You:  This question might really throw you off but instead of saying things like "are you serious?" you should say something like "Italian of course, because I go with anything and I am favored by most".

5.  Interviewer:  If you were a superhero, what kind of super powers would you have?
     You:  This is probably not the best time to mention that you would have the powers of Magneto to take over the world.   Instead, mention a superhero that you like for their actions and someone who you respect.

If you've been asked a crazy interview question, you're not alone.  Here are some online articles with interesting questions candidates have been asked:

When preparing for an interview, make sure you check out's Interview Questions.  
Best of luck in your next interview!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Are you LinkedIn for your Job Search?

Written by: Sandi Vidal, BBA '88, Executive Director of Christian HELP
 Social Media has become a major player for recruiters to find future employees and for them to research potential candidates.  Having a presence on social media can have its ups and downs.  If you are a crazy party animal and you have a ton of pictures on Instagram that you wouldn’t want your parents to see… you might be taking a risk when it comes to what you put out in the cyberworld.

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site out there with over 200 million members in 200 countries. It is a trusted source for branding, networking, and research. If you are job seeking, it gives you the opportunity to get your profile out there, connect with people you know, network with those you don’t, share common interests, and share wisdom through relevant articles and comments. It is also the one place where you don’t have to worry about visibly placing your resume when you have a job!

So, how do you get started? 

·         Go to
·         Set up a profile page- complete it with the care you would give a resume
·         Add a professional picture (I stay away from using my favorite Mr. Potato Head shot that I use on Facebook)
·         If you have a website to list, hit other and it will allow you to name it rather than using the generic
·         Upload your address book
·         Search people you know and invite them to connect
·         Get recommendations (I have seen these work as references!)
·         Look for groups to join (Like the Toppel Career Center )
·         Search for jobs
·         Be a Contributor by posting articles and commenting on postings


Having a great LinkedIn profile will give you a chance to connect with and meet people you may not have access to in real life.  Also, you can see how you are connected to people who know people at companies you are interested in.  When I added my company to LinkedIn, I found people who were connected to us rather than having to add them. The great thing for you is that you will be able to find them too.

This is just one of many tools in your search, but it is a powerful one to use, even after you start your career.

Sandi Vidal, BBA ’88, is a graduate of the University of Miami. She currently runs Christian HELP and the Central Florida EmploymentCouncil in Orlando, Florida. She is a subject matter on employment with a bi-weekly column in the Seminole Voice and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Sandi is married with 3 children and 3 cats.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Have U found an Internship Yet?

Written by: Oleg Ignatenko

The summer is almost here and while you can be looking forward to spending your time off hanging out with friends and going to rave concerts, there's a better alternative.  A summer internship!  An internship is the best way to feel that in the space of three months you did something productive other than helping your mom vacuum the carpet or take out the trash.  Think about it this way, you will get a chance to get a head start on your career and be one step ahead of the other students who might be applying for the similar position when it comes to your graduation date.  It's a chance to meet some professionals and see what they do on a daily basis and how much they "like their job" or "really like their job."  Ok, but seriously let's leave the quotation marks behind and face the truth, and that is a lot of people graduate, and get hired doing something that they may not be very fond of after a few months have gone by.  You  wouldn't want to be that guy or girl, would you?  So, if you're still not convinced about this, let me mention that you might also get some school credits or extra money!

All that good stuff aside, many of you might be saying ok, how do I get an internship?  Well, lets go through some of the checkpoints:

1.  Go to and create a profile (Personal and Academic)
2.  See how to create a professional Resume
3.  Upload your freshly created resume to your account under the Documents tab
4.  Once accepted, you are free to start applying for internships (if not, go back to step 2)
5.  Simply hover the mouse over the tab labeled "postings"and click on Jobs
6.  Now,  you can select the type of position that you are interested in or you can do an advanced search to further narrow down your options.
7.  When you finally settle down on a few choices, click on the title and then click on the apply button.  This will bring up a box that will ask you to upload a resume from your file (sometimes they might even ask for a cover letter or a writing sample, but don't freak out yet, you will have time to upload those to your account)
8.  Once you have selected the documents you wanted to use, click on the apply button again and you are all set.  Now all you have to do is apply to a few more positions just so you have some options.
9. You are officially set and now its time to sit back and wait for an email or a call from one of those employers or if you are super awesome you might hear back from two.

An alternative site to use is UCAN.  It is a system that is solely based for internships and is available to only a number of universities with UM being one of them (don't you feel lucky for being here!).  If you are interested and would like to find out more, you can go to this amazing blog post written by yours truly.

I should warn you to not get too comfortable.  If you do not hear from these employers for two-three weeks, you might want to send them a friendly email asking if they have received your application and possibly if they could tell you when to expect a reply from them.  Don't forget to thank them in the process for their time and coonsideration.

Don't forget, an internship could play a vital role in your decision of what you want to do in the future so don't wait until the final minute to try to get one because you will most likely be regretting your decision of not doing it early or not doing it at all.

If you happen to have  any more questions, feel free to stop by Toppel Career Center during internship walk-in advising on Mondays from 2-4pm and Thursdays from 10am-12pm or email

Good Luck!

Friday, April 12, 2013

UShadow at Zensah: The Employer’s Perspective

By: Ze'ev Feig CEO, Zensah Performance Apparel

As CEO of a fast growing sports apparel company, I need to be very efficient in how I manage my time. When I was contacted by the Toppel Career Center to participate in the UShadow program, I immediately accepted. There are a number of people who help mentor me, and I feel it is important to return the favor.

Daniel Englert came to visit my company, Zensah® Performance Apparel, and he showed a keen interest in everything related to apparel. His time at Zensah® was initially spent with me where he had the opportunity to ask questions on topics ranging from the founding of the company to our current day operations. He was able to gain valuable insights into what it takes to build an apparel company. The heartaches and the successes. I also had the opportunity to ask questions of Daniel, and learn from a young, inquisitive, and talented person. I definitely learned from Daniel.

After speaking with Daniel, I had him spend some time with our Director of Design, which is the area that most interested Daniel. He was able to learn how a product is created from concept to production.

Finally, after Daniel finished his time in the design department, I gave him a tour of our office and warehouse which gave him the opportunity to ask any more questions he might have had.

I believe the experience was mutually beneficial, and I hope to continue to participate in the UShadow program, as there are always opportunities to learn.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Exploring Zensah: My UShadow Experience

By: Daniel Englert

When I arrived at Zensah’s headquarters, I walked inside through the bay door and greeted two staff members who were packaging apparel, who then directed me up a stairway to the second floor of the warehouse to meet the founder and CEO of the company, Ze’ev Feig.

Ze’ev and I began talking about Zensah and the business of compression apparel. At a point Ze’ev asked me what my intentions were in shadowing at Zensah, and I told him about my plans to start a casual men’s clothing brand. This led into a discussion about the best current start-up clothing companies that were currently launching, including Gustin jeans beginning from a Kickstarter, and the rapid growth of Bonobo’s into Bloomingdale’s nationwide. He also shared advice on how to go about working with manufacturers with me, which he had picked up in the nine plus years Zensah had grown from a bootstrapped business into a more professional organization.

After my conversation with Ze’ev, I was taken to the designer of the company, who created both the patterns and the packaging for all the products they sell. I learned that the design process was especially unique at Zensah, since the seamless apparel which they sell requires a one-of-a-kind type of machine. This machine is able to sew a garment directly from computer software into a cylinder shape using multiple needles that can reach the fabric from all around. This, I learned, is different than traditional contract manufactures which are called cut-and-sew manufacturers (where rows of people sit behind tables with foot pedal powered sewing machines).

Following my time with the designer, I was given an entire overall tour of the building taking me through the one man HR department and back down to the first floor to see the inventory, packaging process, and finally the accounting office.  The entire team consisted of no more than ten people, an interesting fact I was unable to predict through my prior online investigation. As five o’clock approached, I bid my farewells to all the members I had met after the three hour all-around immersion experience in the warehouse and left having enjoyed an inspiring UShadow afternoon arranged by the generous people at Toppel.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Is Graduate School Right for You?

By: Bree Blair

Have you been thinking about graduate school? Are you still not sure if it would be a good fit for you? I don't know about you, but thinking about even more school after this is a little frightening to me. With big commitments, making the right decision is extremely important. Here are some tips and questions to ask yourself to make sure you're making the best decision possible for your future!

What is your ultimate career goal? If you have a career in your mind that you know you would love waking up everyday for, then it's worth the time to see if it requires graduate school. If it does, then graduate school would be perfect for you because you have a strong reason behind your decision. Although it may be a lot of work, it will be well worth it in the end to be able to wake up everyday with the career you have always dreamed about! On the opposite hand, if you lack motivation, it may be too much to take on. Sure, many people have ideal jobs in mind, but not everyone is willing to do whatever is necessary to get there. If you are having any doubts or lacking passion in that subject matter, then there are plenty of other options for you; graduate school just might not be the right one.

Another thing to consider is the dreaded F word: finances.
You may or may not already have an amount of money on your loans to buy a mansion, but you're about to pile on even more. If you have plans to move into a new home right after graduating undergraduate studies while still attending graduate school, you might want to rearrange your plans a little bit. Unless you're a millionaire- then it's fine. Graduate school is an investment of not just your time but your money as well, which is why it is so important to make sure you're passionate, confident, and ready to take it on.

 If you're thinking about taking time off before going to graduate school, you might want to look a little more into your ultimate career. Is it easier to advance within the company if you have a graduate degree? If so, of how much importance is that to you? It's a lot to think about all at once, but it is really helpful in the long run. Talking to current employees who are a part of your ideal company could also be very beneficial to you. Learning about the experience of others, especially those whose paths you are interested in, can give you a new insight as to what you should be accomplishing. Lay out your options, follow your passions, and choose what is best for you!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Right Way to Reject an Internship

By: Marissa Bell

Summer internships. The bane of your existence until you get one. Once you have an internship, you're golden. When people ask you what you're doing for the summer, you've got a perfect, and insanely impressive, answer to give them. However, in the search for an internship in this job market, presumably, you're casting your net as wide as it can go: applying to internship after internship, and having multiple interviews. And, as University of Miami students, you'll probably get multiple offers. But just like The Hunger Games, there can only be one winner. So what do you do about the other ones? It's like having to break up with a significant other. Rejecting an offer for an internship (or even a regular job) is stressful and uncomfortable, but something that needs to be done. Are you in the position where you have more offers than time? Read on to find some basic tips on how to appropriately reject an offer for an internship.

Tip 1: Don't Leave Them Hanging
The second you know that you aren't going to accept an offer from a company, you need to let them know. It's not fair for you to keep them waiting thinking that they've got an intern and then two weeks before you start, tell them you're going with something else. They need time to send offers to other people, to interview others, and it's in bad form for you to leave them in a lurch. Even if you don't plan on working with them, you still owe that employer the benefit of professional courtesy. The simple fact of the matter is this: they can always get a new intern, you are only hurting yourself by not calling them and appearing unprofessional.

Tip 2: Call 'Em Up
Maybe I'm the only one, but the thought of having someone on the phone and telling them that you can't accept their offer fills me with ill-disguised anxiety. All I can think about is what their reaction is going to be, are they going to yell? Cry? Okay probably not cry, but still, rejecting an offer over the phone can be awkward. But the fact of the matter is, you need to call them, its the polite thing to do. Imagine how you would feel if they didn't call you to offer you the job or tell you they weren't going to hire you, it wouldn't be fair to you, just as it wouldn't be fair to them to not call and let them know you're going with someone else. It's the same thing with breaking up with a significant other. You can't just text them and be like, "Sorry, it's not you, its me, lets break up." E-mail them a follow up if they need it in writing, but still, call them first to let them know. They took the time to read your resume and interview you, so you can take the time to give them a call. So suck it up and give them a call, rip off the band-aid. It'll be over before you know it.

                                                                                    Tip 3: Be courteous
This seems obvious to mostly everyone, but you'd be surprised by the things people do when they think they'll never have to talk to someone again. The one thing that's certain is that the future is not written in stone. You have no idea where your life is going to take you and even if you don't want one internship one summer, it might be the perfect internship for you next summer, or even for a full-time position. If you sacrifice your professionalism, you can burn bridges for the future. Just because it isn't right in that moment doesn't mean you won't see that employer again, so make sure you treat them with the same sense of respect and professionalism that you did during the interview process.

The moral of the story is simple: Do it quickly, do it over the phone, and do it nicely. If you follow these simple tips, what has the potential to turn into a horribly awkward situation can go easily and painlessly. By following these tips, you not only get out of an internship, but still manage to maintain the networking connection that has the opportunity to benefit you in the future.