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 HireACane.com. 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!