By Vinessa Burnett, Toppel Peer Advisor

As a senior who will be graduating in less than two weeks, I’ve been spending a great deal of time reflecting on all that I have been able to accomplish during my four years at the University of Miami. In particular, I’ve given much thought to the wonderful opportunities and the multitude of resources that have come my way since being here and how these will affect me in my post-grad life.

Of course, I’d be totally fooling myself if I didn’t acknowledge the impact that the Toppel Career Center has had on me, not only during my time here at UM, but will probably have on me for the rest of my career.
Let’s take it from the beginning shall we…
When I first arrived at UM I knew absolutely nothing about resumes. In fact, I remember uploading a five page resume, complete with photos and silly anecdotes about my high school experiences, to the HireACane website during my first semester. I was shocked a few days later when I received a resume critique notifying me that I would have to re-do my resume and then re-submit it, because the original one was not acceptable.
Although it was a simple critique, it felt like a big fat rejection letter. I took it personally, and because of that, I worked twice as hard to get my resume in tip-top shape. Not only did I revise my resume over and over again, but I also began to apply for summer internships. My friends, and even professors, offered mixed advice, suggesting to me that it would be nearly impossible to land an internship as a freshman. However, I was determined.
Through I learned about Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) internship program and attended an on-campus information session. It wasn’t long after the info session that I applied online through HireACane and was selected for an on-campus interview. While in the interview, the interviewer commented that I was the only freshman who had applied. And to make a long story short, I received an offer and interned as a Quality Assurance Analyst Intern for the summer of 2013 in FPL’s Feeder Reliability Department.
Since then I have been fortunate to intern with great companies, such as Teach For America as an Operations Coordinator and Goldman Sachs as a Summer Analyst. These internships were very rewarding and provided me with a ton of insight and “real world” experience in fields that interested me. It comes as no surprise that I found out about both of these internships through the Toppel Career Center as well and was able to apply directly through the website.
Aside from the internship experiences that Toppel has helped me receive, Toppel has also allowed me to gain exposure to different companies and resources that have greatly benefitted me. I’ve practiced my networking skills at events such as the Fall and Spring Career Expo as well as at the Global Careers Meet-Up. I’ve also been able to perfect my writing skills by participating in the “Writing the Personal Statement” event that was hosted in the fall of 2015.
My love for the Toppel Career Center led me to apply to become a Toppel Ambassador during my junior year. In this role I was able to represent Toppel by tabling regularly in the UC Breezeway and assisting with outreach events. Now as a senior, I am proud to say that I work as a Peer Advisor at Toppel, a role in which I am able to reciprocate all of the help that has been given to me unto my peers in the form of walk-in resume, cover letter, and personal statement critiques (P.S. I love my job!).
While I am excited about graduating and starting a new chapter in my life, I am sad that I will be leaving behind the wealth of resources, services, and inspiring mentors at Toppel that have gotten me to where I am today.  I am forever grateful for the Toppel Career Center and look forward to utilizing the skills that I have learned from it, both as a student and employee, as I move forward in my career.


Vinessa Burnett will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a major in Communication Studies and minors in Mathematics and Management in May 2016. She has accepted a summer internship with Southwest Airlines’ Human Resources division after graduation and will attend The Ohio State University in the fall of 2016 to pursue a Masters in Human Resource Management.