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Industry Insights

Workplace Etiquette

By Kim Wilks, Peer Advisor

The end of the semester is quickly approaching and this means that students will be moving into their full-time jobs and summer internships. Whether the position is short-term or long-term, you want to be sure to leave a good impression on everyone you encounter. Every day will be a networking opportunity. Keep a positive attitude and stay motivated. Here is a list of 10 professional etiquette tips to remember as you enter the workforce.

  1. When introducing yourself to someone for the first time say your full name and stand up. The higher-ranking person usually initiates the handshake. Handshakes are generally three seconds long. Keep a firm but comfortable grip.
  2. Maintain eye contact and good posture. Remain confident.
  3. Men nor women should not cross their legs.
  4. Arrive on time and be prepared! To be early is to be on time. This way you can do any last minute preparation that may be necessary.
  5. Respond to emails in a timely fashion. Address the person(s) receiving the email and say please and thank you. Check your grammar and watch your tone.
  6. Keep phone usage to a minimum and keep your phone on silent/ vibrate.
  7. It is usually better to be overdressed than underdressed. However, try to follow the dress code.
  8. Try your best to remember names, but admit if you have forgotten.
  9. Follow directions and ask questions if something is unclear.
  10. Avoid controversial topics with co-workers inside and outside of the workplace.

These ten tips are just some of the things to keep in mind as you enter “the real world.” Beyond all of this, remember to have fun and be yourself.  Take every day as a learning experience. Admit your wrongs and take responsibility. Then, move on and improve with every passing day. You’ll do great.

Good Luck Canes!

Tell Me About Yourself Question

By Kiera Adams, Peer Advisor

Spring time. It’s the time that interviews are being done for summer internships or jobs. There’s one question that is asked in all of these interviews: some people’s least favorite question, Tell me about yourself. This question can be one of the hardest for some to answer. Here’s a guide to help you answer the question:


People either say too little or go overboard when answering this question. Your answer should be focused and short, about a minute. You don’t want to go over 2 minutes because it’ll start seeming like you are rambling. You don’t need to fit all of your skills and experiences in that minutes that’s what the whole interview is for.

Present-Past-Future formula

First you start off with the present: what you’re studying, level of study, etc. Then past: briefly go over some key experiences and skills from those experiences (again-make sure this isn’t too lengthy). Then the future-what you hope to get from the internship/why you’re excited about it.

*Tip: Make sure when you are listing experiences and skills that they are relevant to the position you are interviewing for!


The tell me about yourself question is a good question to practice ahead of time. Using the formula above, you can create a little script in your head. That way you won’t be as nervous when the interviewer asks the question. It’s important not to try to memorize it word for word because you can end up sounding robotic and rehearsed.

*Pro-tip: This YouTube Tutorial by Antony Stagg is a great tool. It uses past, present, and future as the formula; however it does a great job of explaining!

Cover photo acquired from:

Good Luck on Interviews!



Asking the Right Interview Questions

By Tina Humphrey, Peer Advisor

Congratulations, you’re at the interview! You’ve prepared so much to come this far and you’ve already grabbed the employer’s attention. Now it’s time to seal the deal. When you come to the end of the interview, your interviewer(s) ask if you have any questions. It’s always important to ask a few questions to show your interest in the company. Remember the interviewer will most likely remember not what you said but how you made them feel.

According to Ashley Stahl, a career coach, here are the right questions to ask:

  1. What does success look like in this position?
  2. What would you say are the key challenges that the person in this role would be facing?
  3. What are the qualities of a person who you see excelling in this role?
  4. What is the employee culture like here?
  5. What do you enjoy the most and the least about working here?
  6. What does a day in the life look like in this position?
  7. How do you see this sort of position evolving over time?
  8. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
  9. How has this role evolved since it was created?
  10. What is the top priority for this position over the next three months?

Here are the wrong questions to ask:

1) How much do you pay?

This is like asking about marriage on the first date.

2) How much time off do you offer?

You want them to be focused on what you’ll give to them, not the paid vacation time you will take from them…

3) What’s your company mission?

4) What does your company do?

You should know this!

5) Are employees able to work on their own schedule?

6) What are the benefits in this position?

Don’t let them assume you’re going to be a diva!

7) Do you do background checks?

8) Do you monitor employee internet use?

Now they’re worried…

9) How quickly to people get promoted in this role?

They want someone who wants the actual job.

10) Do you pay for relocation costs?

You’re already making them see money coming out of their pocket! Don’t cover this until you have a job offer.

11) I’m actually even more interested in your marketing team—how long until I can be considered for those roles?

They want someone excited about the job they’re interviewing for, not someone who clearly sees it as a stepping stone (Although, let’s be honest… Everything is a stepping stone!)

Good luck interviewing, Canes!

Crawl to NYC

By Jessica Sublette, Graduate Assistant, Career Education

Let’s Crawl. No, not on the floor as if you’re looking for an earring you dropped. Besides that would take you long time to crawl from the University of Miami to NYC…No I’m talking about a Career Crawl.

The University of Miami Toppel Career Center is proud to announce our FOURTH Career Crawl and this time we are headed to New York City! Here’s what you need to know:

Who: UM sophomores and juniors with a 2.4 or higher GPA and in good standing with the university

What: New York City Career Crawl

When: Monday, March 13 – Thursday, March 16, 2017 (spring break week)

Where: New York City!!

Why: Interested in exploring career opportunities in media and branding? Eager to connect with UM alumni and employers in the New York City area? Apply now to join the Toppel Career Center in this week-long immersion experience that will give you the opportunity to explore career paths in media outlets and brand strategy and development, visit New York City area employers on site, meet UM alumni from a variety of New York organizations and industries, and discover what it’s really like to live and work in New York.

How: For more information and application instructions:

Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 5pm



Professional Dining Etiquette Basics

By Jake Ducharme, Peer Advisor

Where things are:

Above is the general set up of a formal dinner. The number of glasses and utensils varies but the rest is relatively constant. An important thing to remember is to start with the outermost utensil and work your way inward.

Table Manners:



When you arrive be mindful that your host may have seating arrangements in place. If the meal is honoring somebody wait for them to sit before you sit. Once seated, practice good posture and remain upright in the chair without your back against the chair. Additionally, when eating, remain upright and don’t lean over your plate


Unfold napkin in one smooth motion without shaking and immediately place it in your lap after being seated


  • Hold your fork in your left hand, tines downward.
  • Hold your knife in your right hand, an inch or two above the plate.
  • Extend your index finger along the top of the blade.
  • Use your fork to spear and lift food to your mouth.
  • When you are not actively using your knife, but it has food on it, you should rest it on your plate with the sharp edge facing toward you; this symbolizes that you are peaceful and non-aggressive.
  • If your knife is not needed, it remains on the table.

Dinner Conversation


  • “stop” – do not speak without stopping to think about what you are about to say;
  • “look” – pay attention to the expression of the person with whom you are talking;
  • “listen” – listening is the most important conversational skill.
  • “watch” – keep your eyes on whomever you are talking with.


Small Talk

Many times you will be engaged in small talk with a variety of people. The best way to be prepared for small talk is to be up to date on current events. Other appropriate topics include work, hobbies, family, pop culture etc. Keep the conversation light and don’t bring up controversial topics. Those may include religious beliefs, politics, financial situation, illness, divorce or an affair, someone’s weight, height, shoe size, age or mental health, harmful gossip, and racial, ethnic or sexually oriented jokes.


Remember F.O.R.M. for conversation safety:






Be Prepared for Business Meals

Execute proper table manners as well as:

  • Be sure of the date and time of your meal
  • If you are unsure of the location of the restaurant scope it out before hand
  • Dress well. Over dressing is better than under
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early
  • Wait to discuss business
  • Follow up and send a thank you note after the meal


Always remember: TURN YOUR PHONE OFF

Good Luck Canes!


Top Personal Statement Mistakes

By Kiera Adams, Peer Advisor

A personal statement is an extended essay about yourself used when applying to different types of programs. It’s the perfect way to highlight your experiences and thoughts to stand out among the pack. Here are 5 types of common personal statement mistakes that you should avoid:


Your personal statement should be a chance for you to stand out among all the other applicants. The people who review your personal statement have seen many statements before yours. Avoid common opening sentences like “From a young age…”or  “I’ve always been fascinated with…” These recur in hundreds of personal statement and don’t say anything unique about you.

Another cliché you should avoid would be single phrases such as, “I am a determined person” Use the personal statement to give specific examples that speaks for that quality itself.


Don’t use quotes from other people when opening up your personal statement. The people reading your personal statement want to hear your voice-not Einstein’s. You should only use quotes if you think it’s very necessary to convey a point. It can take up words that you can use to talk about something else.

Other people

In order to tell another about yourself, it is sometimes necessary to talk about other people. Avoid talking too much about friends, family or mentors as a personal statement is supposed to be about you.

Instead, You can talk about how these people have inspired you and then shift gears to talk about how you plan on channeling that inspiration yourself and to your future work.


It’s important to keep your personal statement positive. It is not necessary to make your personal statement only about a negative experience. But, if you decide to talk about negative experiences, make sure you can talk about how you overcame and learned from the experience.

Spelling and Grammar

Make sure to check your personal statement multiple times before sending it in. It’s also important to have someone else check it before in case you miss something.

Here’s a link to the University of Miami’s writing center where someone can review any writing concerns:

Your personal statement is the perfect way to highlight your strengths as a person. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll be on your way to a great personal statement!

How important is company culture in your job search?

By Kimberly Wilks, Peer Advisor

Company culture is extremely important these days. Many companies have thrown out the traditional suit and tie work-space for a more casual environment. As a job seeker, it is important that you do not overlook a company’s culture because this may play a huge part in your job satisfaction. In some companies, employees who stay extra hours are praised because it shows their dedication to their work. However, in other companies, employees who stay past their normal work hours seem as if they are struggling to keep up with the demands of the job. Not every company culture will fit your personality, and it is important to remember that. Some have a horizontal culture meaning that it can be hard to distinguish who are the senior employees. On the contrary, others have a strict hierarchy and you may never meet the c-suite employees. Does the company you’re applying to place extreme importance on employee input or do they have their established customs that they are unwilling to change? Here are some tips on piecing together a company’s culture:

1) The company website!

A company’s website will tell you all about the company and what it has to offer. However, the way that this information is delivered is a key indicator of company culture. Is the website colorful and filled with images of happy customers and employees? Or is it black and white and filled with paragraphs of information? Of course, these are the two extremes but the website should be an accurate depiction of the company atmosphere. Is the site extremely user-friendly or is it a bit complex? What is the general tone of the website? Is it very formal and professional or is it playful and conversational? Compare these to what you are looking for in a company. Figure out if you prefer a company that has a more relaxed atmosphere or if you’d fit the very formal environment.

2) Current employees!

If you met a current employee, what did they emphasize the most about the company? Does the employee feel that they never know what to expect when they walk into work each day or do they have a very strict outline of their duties? Remember to compare their experience to what you are looking for. Figure out if you thrive in ambiguous environments or if you require detailed instructions. The company website will probably tell you company values. Does the employee know these values by heart and do they play a role in employee conduct?

3) The interview!

The company thinks that you may be a fit for the position, so they have invited you for an interview. Pay attention before, during, and after the interview to the clues that the recruiter give. Some employers may tell you the logistics of the interview beforehand, while others will just tell where to be at what time. This can show you how much ambiguity to expect. It is becoming more common for employers to tell candidates to dress in business casual. Some have even said jeans and a t-shirt are fine. If you feel uncomfortable showing up to the interview in the recommended attire, then business professional is usually safe. However, you should think about why it makes you uncomfortable and if you would prefer a company that is more formal. Showing up in business professional when it is not recommended may work against you. During the interview, present yourself in the most honest way possible. Do not pretend to be who you think the company wants the ideal candidate to be. Remember to pay attention to subtle hints the employer gives about the culture. The formality or informality of the interview will provide insight.

4) Ask!

Whether it is at a career fair or at the end of an interview, be sure to ask questions about the company culture. Ask about the different ways that the company invests in its employees, performance measures, and what an employee would change about the company culture. Employees will usually give an honest opinion because they want you to know what to expect from the company. This will help you find a job within a company that you love and will help the company find an employee who fits.

Good luck, Canes!

Why You Should Have a Professional LinkedIn

By Jake Ducharme, Peer Advisor

LinkedIn isn’t like other social sites. While sites like Facebook and Twitter have more users, LinkedIn is a professional way for people to connect. With over 300 million users world-wide it is an incredible way to get into the business world. Even if you aren’t pursuing a business related field, it is great to have LinkedIn and stay connected.


Here are some of the main reasons you should have a professional LinkedIn:

  • It’s a quick and easy way to be found

Instead of looking for jobs, jobs can come looking for you with LinkedIn. There are millions of users on LinkedIn who are currently looking for their newest employee. By having a profile, they can reach out to you and potentially offer you a job.

  • You can easily find recruiters

Similarly to how recruiters can find you, you can easily search for open positions. Just by attending the U there are many positions recommended for me to look at because alumni work there. That is just one of the many filters that can be applied in the job search process.

  • Others can recommend and endorse you

When you hand a prospective employer your resume, it doesn’t come attached with recommendations and endorsements from past and present colleagues.  A great feature of LinkedIn is the ability to easily right a recommendation that can be found along with your work experience. In addition, people can “endorse” you. People you have connected with select things like “hard-working”, “public speaking”, and “leadership” which will appear under a skills section.


Additional information on how to make a great profile and personal brand can be found at

Need to prepare for an interview? Have no fear, practice interview questions are here!

By Tina Humphrey, Peer Advisor

There are different styles of interviews employers use: behavioral, situational, open-ended questions, and brain teaser questions. Behavioral questions particularly ask what have you done. You should answer these questions by explaining the situation, explain the task, talk about the action and clarify the result. Situational questions ask what would you do in a given situation or under circumstances. Open ended questions generally allow you to discuss your career experiences and or soft skills you have gained. Brain teasers are questions that have no right or wrong answers, but are asked to see the way in which you think.


According to
New Career101, see the top 20 Interview Questions in this graphic and check out some examples below:


Behavioral Questions Example

How do you handle criticism?

How have you helped your employers save time and money?

Situational Question Example

You’re working on a project with a tight deadline but you find that you’re unable to complete your section because your coworkers and your supervisor are unavailable to answer a few key questions. How do you deal with the situation?

Open Ended Examples

What are greatest strengths and weakness?

Why do you want to work for our company?

Brain Teaser Example

Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.

Final Tip:

At the end of the interview, employers may ask questions for you to ask them. It is highly recommended to ask questions for your interviewer as it can show more of your interest in the company. According to, here are impressive questions to ask an interviewer:



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