By Marian Li, Toppel Peer Advisor
The University of Miami prides itself in its diverse campus, but when it comes to majors, there can only be so many. It’s important to know what makes you special, what makes you stand out and it’s even more important to be able to show it. Ask yourself, “What differentiates me?” or “Why would someone hire me over the next person?” Lots of people have good grades, leadership positions, and good work experiences; those are “table stakes”, you don’t get opportunities without that. So what gets you that higher hand? With all of Toppel’s upcoming events with employers it’ll be imperative to have your pitch ready to stand out among all the other young, fresh suits.

Commitment and Drive – Are you going to do what you say? Employers don’t want to worry about tasks after they’ve been delegated. If a connection is given – hint hint, a business card – they expect a follow up. Be mindful of the timeliness of these emails. Express gratitude and a genuine interest in the company and what they do. Giving evidence of hard tasks done well is a good indicator of your drive and work mentality. Employers will be impressed with things that require sustained, difficult effort. These examples can come in all various shapes and sizes: Eagle Scout or a Peace Corps Volunteer, even a marathon finisher or a founder of a non-profit.
Spark – Is there something about you that is engaging? Do you make the employer want to continue the conversation and learn more about what you have to say? Of the three qualities, this is probably one of the more subjective topics and truly depends of the eyes of the recruiter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare. When talking to employers, be engaging and conversational. Be present in the discussion and practice active listening.
Curiosity – Do you want to know how things work and how you can improve them? There are two types of people in this world: followers who take orders well and emerging leaders who are able to reach their own insights and build upon what is given. What the employers look for is if students have pushed to learn and become an expert. Taking classes outside of your discipline or the nitty-gritty classes such a programming impress potential employers. Plus it builds your skillset so there’s nothing but positives.
Professional Passion – People reveal a lot about themselves when talking about their passions. You yourself may not notice it but it can be a change in your tone or a livelier look in your eyes. Having a passion implies that you can do the work and sustain it because of your genuine interest in seeing it all the way through.
Trying to figure out who you think someone else wants you to be is a fool’s errand. It’d be a better investment of time to look inward to find what makes you the most impressionable candidate on the floor. Happy job hunting!