Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How Do I Choose a Favorite?!?!?!

By Ali Rodriguez, Director of Employer Relations

My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. But I also really love Cherry Garcia. No...wait, chocolate chip cookie dough is delicious and makes a wonderful milkshake. What I've learned over the years is that you don't have to just have one favorite.

Think about how you can apply this notion to finding a career you will find satisfying. Have you ever worried about finding a career you will love? I know I did. Having family members who enjoyed the work they did, I remember being in college and trying to find that one thing that would resonate with me. We all have different interests at various points in our life, depending on experiences and life circumstances.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to figure it all out in too short of a time frame. Instead, open your mind to the variety of possibilities that exist. Look carefully at the companies who recruit at the Toppel Career Center for full-time jobs and internships. Consider things that are also a good fit: is part-time work, freelancing, or starting your own business a better choice? Don't judge an opportunity by the organization and/or job title alone. Often times, at smaller organizations, you have the chance to get exposure and experience in a variety of capacities.

Let me share an example to illustrate my point. For the past several years, UM students have consistently rated Google as the #1 company to work for.* It used to be that Google did not recruit on campus (now they do), but the brand recognition was so strong and company culture transparent that students ranked the company highly. Now I will challenge you to think about the fact that for every Google, there's a Jazwares. You may never have heard of Jazwares, (they invent toys and related products that are new to the marketplace, featuring the licenses that kids want) but we have UM alumni working there and the workspace fosters creativity.  And what about the Miami Dolphins?  The organization has provided internships for numerous UM students over the years, and they have rated the experience positively. 

So, the next question is, how do I get engaged? Of course, I am biased, but attending Toppel events (such as career fairs, industry nights, and career programs hosted by employers) is a great way to build connections.  I challenge you again to think of other ways to do that. Attend a Launch Pad event. Talk to faculty and discover if any of them work in your industry. Talk to family members. Try to get as much info as you can that will help you make an informed decision and find your “fit.”

One important aspect of my job is to bring companies and organizations to campus to recruit at the U for jobs and internships. This keeps me busy! In my role, I help expose students to the variety of options that exist. Google is like my mint chocolate chip, Jazwares resonates with me like Cherry Garcia does, and I can liken the Miami Dolphins to chocolate chip cookie dough. I don’t/can’t have a favorite, there are just too many options!

Do you have a company that you've always wanted to work for who doesn't recruit at UM? Please don't hesitate to let me know by emailing me at alrodriguez@miami.edu.

*Source: Universum survey

Monday, June 16, 2014

Creative Careers

By Carsyn Crane, Events and Marketing Intern 

Every student’s wish after graduating college is to get that ideal job. “Make the big bucks”, you may have heard this expression before.  Majoring in marketing, political science, philosophy, or studio art makes you wonder what you actually can do with $50,000 degree. You’ve learned various skills throughout your undergraduate career and still are not sure about your career path.

My undergraduate major was media studies. I know what you are thinking. What does that even mean? My dad continued to ask me this question until the day I graduated. 

I had no idea what I wanted to do once I graduated. I figured I would go into marketing or advertising but I never really explored my options.

I didn’t know how I was going to take my degree and transfer it into career. As a student you may be feeling the same way. The pressure of deciding your career path may be a frightening, but it is good to take a few steps before you make a decision. Some helpful tips when it comes to finding a career:

BE OPEN-MINDED. The first job you get after college may not be your dream job but it could open doors into a direction that works for you.

EXPLORE. Do the research and look for jobs you may not have thought of before.

PASSION: Figure out what you’re passionate about then narrow down your job options based on your desire.

You can always transfer the skills you’ve learned from your past experience and articulate why it would be good fit for that specific new job. The major you may be in might not be the exactly fit for the career you choose and it’s OKAY :)

You have skills. Prove it. Make us proud at the Toppel Career Center.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Think Before You Post

By Emma Melissa Reyes, Social Media Intern

Summer is here! That means fun in the sun, new adventures, backpacking across Europe, traveling to new exciting places, and making lifelong memories.
However, sometimes we can get so caught up in our fun that we forget to think twice before posting pictures or a Tweet. We have to remember that the Internet is a place for the good, but also for the "what did I just post?"  

Those posts can sometimes backfire when it comes to future employers. Employers take to social media to find out more on the person he or she is considering to hire. To avoid a misunderstanding, put your best face forward and think about what your future boss may say about that picture of you taking shots with your bros or your girls before hitting post. 

Here are a few tips to contemplate before posting content… 

1) Don't post any photos of you drinking alcohol. If you post photos of yourself drinking, that image will become a part of the perception the employer has of you. Be aware of posting content that includes any illegal substances, because what you do in your own private time, is that … YOUR private time. Keep it that way. 

2) Don't post pictures of yourself with a lack of clothes. No nudity whatsoever. You want to convey an image of professionalism.

3) Don't post any content that includes profane language. Might be funny at the time to post something that has inappropriate language, but think of what your future self would say about it. 

4) Don't post emotionally reactive content. Remember summer is supposed to be a fun and memorable time while on break from school and the last thing you want is to post something negative that you will regret later. Because you will regret it. Please keep this tip in mind every time you feel the need to post a reaction to something when emotions are high. 

5) Be careful of leaving your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account open for anyone to login and post. You will always have that one person who wants to play a joke on you by posting or Tweeting something you have no approval of and before you know it, you'll find yourself deleting the post and explaining what happened to people. The last thing you want is for a post like that to be on your profile at the exact time an employer is viewing your page.  

To ensure your profile is as private as you want it to be, check the privacy settings on each social networking site because they are constantly changing. However, remember, anything posted on the Internet will live forever, so no matter how private your profile might be there is always a way to find it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's All About Passion, Attitude, and Patience

By Eddy Cruz, Director of Career Development

For our recent May graduates, for many, walking across the commencement stage brings with it a sense of jubilation as well as a perceived end point.  However, what many recent graduates fail to realize is that this point is not necessarily the end, rather a new beginning to what is to come.  So now after walking across the stage you begin to mentally prepare yourself for your impending job search, which ultimately leads to the first day within your new role as a professional. You realize the ability to take naps between classes is no more! The transition from college to career begins to set in and now you find yourself asking now what?  Well, it’s your lucky day, I would like to share three tips with you that were shared with me when I made a similar transition - oh, so long ago. So when starting out, keep in mind, it's all about passion, attitude, and patience.

Passion is key when beginning something new regardless of what it is. If you are not passionate about what you are doing it will show through in all that you do and will impact the outcomes of your work. Without passion, getting up every day for work will be work. This will lead you down a path of an unfavorable experience for both you and the organization. If you find yourself in a situation that is not what you hoped, you have two options, first, move on to a new position or second, find something within your role that you are passionate about and use this to inspire and motivate you. Passion propels you to do better and to be better. Every aspect of a position as you start your career will not always be something you are passionate about, however, it is all in how you approach it.

Attitude is your approach to people, tasks, and conflict. Over my career I have had the opportunity to learn by observing and doing. Some of the greatest lessons I learned were from situations that did not directly involve me. I was able to observe from afar and gain some knowledge to use during similar situations in the future. When you find yourself in a new environment, take time to observe how your peers and leadership handle themselves in a variety of situations.  A wise man once said all humans make mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. Do not blame others or circumstances for your mistakes. Take accountability and move forward. Another lesson learned is when I choose to have a positive attitude, I produce positive outcomes. You can learn a lot from others; emulate the positive and stay away from the negative behaviors.

Your approach to work is determined by the attitude you come in with. People do not want to be around others who are negative, a gossip, or a know-it-all. Keep focus in your work and maintain a positive attitude in all that you do. Leaders of your organization are always seeking out individuals with the right attitude with the desire to move the organization forward.

Another valuable lesson learned from a past mentor was the importance of patience. He would always say, "Let the DNA wrap around you!" Meaning, be patient and take the necessary time to learn about the organization. Allow yourself to become a part of the organization's DNA makeup.  By gaining this understanding you begin to understand where the organization is going and begin to live it as well. Additionally, it becomes easier to understand expectations; they make sense and become clearer.

All in all, I hope you are able to take some of these suggestions and learn from my experience. As you begin your career remember these three things as you start your journey. It's all about having passion for what you are doing, having the right attitude, and practicing patience, and you will get going in the right direction for career success!