Toppel Peers Blog

the inside track to your career

Interview Questions

By Kiera Adams, Peer Advisor

The Spring Career Expo is coming up February 22nd, 2017! This is a great way to make connections in order to get an interview for a job or internship. There are many components that make a good, solid interview. A part that isn’t always utilized or is forgotten about is asking the interviewer questions. gives a nice quote saying, “Interviews aren’t just about giving the right answers—they’re about asking the right questions.” Here are some good questions that you can ask an interviewer:

About the Job:

1) What’s the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days?

This is a good question to ask because the interviewer will be able to explain what the expectations are for you right away. This can help you determine how demanding a job will be and if you will be able to handle those demands.

About the Company:

1) What do you enjoy most about working here?

2) Can you give me some examples of the company’s culture?

Both of these questions give you an idea about the type of work environment you will be immersed in. For some, type of environment is super important so you don’t want to go through the whole employment process just to enter a culture that isn’t something you would be happy or thrive in.

To the Interviewer:

1) Has your role changed since you’ve been here?

This question will tell you about opportunities for growth within the company. You want to join a company or organization that will support you growing as a person. Even if it’s a short, summer internship, so you should get all the information you need now just in case the company becomes a long-term option in the future.

Questions not to ask:

1) What are the requirements of the job?

2) What does the person in this job do?

It’s important to do your research before going into an interview. You should have a general idea of what the position you’re applying for does. But feel free to ask the employer about more expectations they have, examples of what you would be expected to do, etc.

3) What is the salary for this position?

Even though this answer is important, you shouldn’t ask this question right off the bat.  This is a better question to ask once you’ve been offered a position.


Good luck interviewing, Canes!

Resume Quick Tips!

By Kimberly Wilks, Peer Advisor

It’s that time of the semester again! Dust off your dress shoes, grab your best suit, and brush up your resume because it’s time for Career Expo! On Wednesday February 22nd from 1:00 -5:00 PM, there will be a long list of employers and grad schools here waiting to meet YOU!


Be sure to stop by Toppel beforehand to prepare. Your resume is the paper representation of you and it needs to be spick and span! You can find sample resumes on! Toppel’s Peer Advisors, such as myself, are very excited about helping our peers land their dream job or internship. You’ll definitely want to stop by before the career fair to make sure that you are ready to impress these employers.

Here are six quick tips to remember when working on your resume:

1) Your name should be the largest words on the page. Employers shouldn’t have to search in a tiny corner to find out who’s resume they’re holding. Claim all the hard work that you put in and on that resume!

2) Avoid having paragraphs of information. Use bullet points!!! These will aid in the flow of your resume.

3) Use your experience statements to talk about what you did in the company and include results if possible. Employers are more interested in what you did, rather than what the company did altogether. However, avoid personal pronouns such as I, me, or my.

4) If you don’t have relevant experience, then emphasize the relevant skills that you have gained from the experiences you do have.

5) Find the right balance of information to make your resume look just right. Your resume should not have too much white space but it also should not be packed with information in size 8 font.

6) Last but not definitely not least, be completely honest! This way you can get a position that fits!

Toppel Peer Advisors are here to help! Good Luck Canes!

Finding THE ONE

By Varuna Rampersad-Singh, Peer Advisor

With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of you may be getting restless,—- did you think this was a post to help you with your love life? Unfortunately for some, it is not. For others, today is your lucky day and you’re going to learn how to find your one and only internship.

With the spring semester just beginning, summer may be the last thing on your mind. However, in the world of internships, now is the time to start looking and applying in order to land the best one for the summer.


How do you land the best internship?

First, you should figure out what you are looking for in an internship. Do you want something in your area of study or are you trying to widen your horizons? Are you looking to get paid or is a great experience payment enough?

Check out Handshake, LinkedIn, Glassdoor or other websites where employers have their job postings. This can help you get a feel for what types of internships are out there. Select a few that you would like to apply for and pay attention to what they are looking for in an intern.

Reach out to employers or the Human Resources department asking for more information about the internship. When you apply, it won’t be the first time they are seeing your name which will be a nice advantage to have.

Come in to Toppel to have your resume and cover letter looked over. If you bring some information about the internships you are applying for, we can help tailor your documents to the specific internships.

If you land an interview, do a practice interview with one of our peer advisors to help you get a feel for the interview process and hopefully get rid of some of your nerves. Send a thank you email or letter after an interview.

Even if you don’t get the position, send a thank you so they will remember you if you decide to apply again next year. You probably applied to more than one internship and if all goes well, you’ll land the others.

Then you’ll be ready to check out our event “How to Rock Your Summer Internship” on April 11th at 6:30pm (more details on Handshake).

Good Luck Canes!



Last Minute Tips for Career Expo

By Tina Humphrey, Peer Advisor

Practice your Elevator Speech

Perfect practice makes perfect. The more you practice saying your name, major, what you are looking for in the company, and how you will make a contribution, the more confident you will be.

Perfect Your Knowledge

Have at least one to two facts ready about each company’s booth you are planning on visiting. Career Expo’s are for you to network with the company. Per Vault, employers are looking for students who interested in their companies. “I think that the thing that I look for is whether they first ask me about SecondMarket, or they already know about it,” says Sarah Robinson. She’s the recruitment coordinator for the investment trading company, and the “resume keeper” after fairs. “I usually take notes on resumes of people who stand out,” she says. “I definitely put my two cents in about how they made an impact on me, how I think they’d be a culture fit, how I think the candidate would contribute to second market.”

Prepare your Suit

Here’s a guide below on what to wear:



Follow Up

Most of the companies at a career Fair recommend sending a thank you/follow up email with an electronic copy of your resume to whomever you spoke to at the fair. If you didn’t get a card, try emailing through the company’s web site, especially if it’s a small company.

Here are great samples of “thank you” and follow up emails.

Good Luck Canes!


Toppel is Hiring!

Not everyone can say they love their job. But I can. I have been with the Toppel Career Center for almost 6 months as the Graduate Assistant for the Career Education team. Hi, I’m Jess. I am a University of Miami graduate student working toward my M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration (code for I want to work at colleges and universities in administrative roles #forever). At Toppel, my main responsibility is to oversee our walk-in advising which includes supervising our Peer Advisors. I have done a lot in the short time that I have worked here. But one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of my job is being able to work with the Peer Advisors to assist students who come in for walk-in advising. If you told me a year ago that I would be giving advice on how to improve resumes, I would have called you crazy. But, I learned that it isn’t rocket science, and that if you are willing to be taught, you can do it, too! Working at Toppel is a lot of fun and every day is a new adventure.

Check out my mini collection of just a few pictures from my first 5 months on the job:


Toppel Values Wall in the Toppel Career Center #toppelcollection 


Toppel Professional Staff at the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce Networking Event at the Lennar Center


Working the photo booth for cap & gown distribution #classof2016 #hireacane #iamready


Working my first outreach event with Toppel at Canefest and teaching new students what resources Toppel has to offer them! (Peer Advisors Josh and Lindsey on the left) #lovethem


Roaming campus with Sebastian to promote Fall Career Expo!


Wearing purple to support pancreatic cancer awareness month

Toppel is actively searching for students who are energetic, willing to learn, flexible, and genuinely enjoy helping others. Working at the Toppel Career Center has many benefits, but the ones that come straight to mind are as follows: opportunity to connect with employers, grow personally and professionally, gain experience in a professional environment, have co-workers that support you, and have immediate access to resources that can help you land a job or internship.

To work at Toppel you must be Miami Commitment or Work Study eligible. If you are interested in applying for an immediate opening for the spring 2017 semester to work as a Peer Advisor, please call 305-284-1822 and ask for Jess.


If you are interested in openings for the 2017-2018 academic year, I insist that you join us for one of our info sessions (February 8th or February 28th at 6pm – sign up on Handshake). Here you will have the opportunity to ask questions and gain greater insight about what it means to work in one of our Toppel student staff positions.

Toppel Hearts,


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



Staying Sane in School

By Varuna Rampersad-Singh, Peer Advisor

As we approach the end of the semester, most students are anxious and stressed. Rather than giving out study tips to pass your finals, I’m going to make sure everyone does more than just study these next couple weeks. You still have to stay healthy and sane so that you aren’t left in a slump after finals. Here are a few tips on how to keep calm and carry on during finals.

1) Make sure you are getting enough sleep.

Your body needs this to function and it will actually help your retention after studying. Don’t try to pull all-nighters because they end up doing more harm than good.

2) Eat healthy and consistently.

I often tend to forget to eat when I get busy so I know I need to make eating a priority on my list. Lack of eating can mess with your metabolism and cause weight gain. Try to keep fruits around to snack on during the day.

3) Too much stress can lead to many things like illness or hair loss.

Try some deep breathing, meditation or yoga in order to de-stress and calm your nerves.

4) Have some fun.

You will need a break from studying at some point so hit pause on the books and go spend a few hours with some friends. Trust me, you’ll feel much better afterward.


Good luck on your finals and stay sane!

Winter Break Boredom?

By Jackson Pollock, Peer Advisor

Although we aren’t quite done with the semester yet, winter break is not too far away. No, this blog is not about how to study for finals, if you want tips on how to study for finals you can direct yourself to my past blog titled “Study Tips” where I go into depth on ways to study right. This blog is about how to make good use of your winter break. Although winter break is not for a couple weeks, it’s good to think ahead and plan out your break. At UM we, students, get a whole month off from school to think and do other things than academics (you might see where this is going). Since you have academics off your mind you can start thinking of your internship and job search. Although there won’t be any Peer Advising hours (crying emoji) you can work on important documents, and important applications throughout the break without us to guide you. Take the first week or two of break to just relax and be with family, but for the rest of the time when you find yourself bored, out of Netflix shows to binge watch (The Office can always be re watched multiple times) you should sit down and check this to-do list:


1) Work on Your Resume

For some of you, your resume is pretty up to date from this semester, but for others you may have not looked at it in a while. Your resume is like your hair. It will look really good after you get a haircut, but that hair cut will only last so long and you will need to touch it up and get a new haircut. New experiences that you do should be added to your resume immediately. When grades come out and you made the Dean List, put it on your resume. If you just joined an activity on campus, put it on your resume. Acquire any new skills over the semester? If so add them to your resume. When you add all of this new information to your resume, make sure you are following our resume guidelines. Although you cannot come in to see us over break, our New York Times Bestselling Resume & Cover Letter Guide Book is available online at, under Career Resources in Guides & Handouts. After you find the obvious things, take a second to look back and make sure nothing fell through the cracks this semester. As a barber or hair stylist would, take that last final look and make sure everything is right before sending you out on the streets with a potentially bad haircut. For those of you who already have an up-to-date resume, use this time to look over it again to make sure there are no grammatical errors. Even the slightest grammatical error will displease an employer.

2) Find Internships & Jobs

So you have worked your resume to death and it is nearly perfect, and you ask yourself, “self, what do I do with this polished resume?” This resume will be, as DJ Khaled would say, the golden key to your success in applying for jobs and internships, but first you have to find these opportunities. There are tons of ways of finding different jobs and internships, but the easiest place to start is my personal favorite: Handshake. Never heard of Handshake? Please direct yourself to my article titled, “Handshake for Dummies.” This platform will link you up to tons of jobs and internships that are offered to UM students specifically. They range over many countries, and from many different disciplines and qualifications. Once you get your eyes set on a few that you like, you should take a closer look at the application process and see what exactly they need from you, because you might have to draft a cover letter.

3) Work on your Cover Letter?

If you have a job or internship that you are interested in and they require a cover letter, then winter break would be the perfect time to crank that out. Your cover letter is a very important part of your application and should be thoughtfully written. For more in depth information on how exactly to formulate and execute a stand out cover letter, look no further than our Resume & Cover Letter Guide book as mentioned above.

4) Apply to Internships and Jobs

Once you have your eye set on the internships and jobs you are interested in and have all your materials ready you should finally apply. This process is the easiest out of the activities listed above, but is the most important. Look at deadlines to make sure you have enough time to get all your materials together and apply. Also another important thing is to find how long it will take for them to get back to you, this is important for the next step.

5) Follow up on Applications

This is if you already have put in an application prior to winter break and haven’t received any form of contact from the employer. It is important, as I mentioned before, to check the date they said they would get back to you before following up.


If you do all these things during winter break and find yourself bored, I’m sorry I have no additional tips for you, although it is good every once and awhile to just have nothing to do.

Good Luck Canes, and Happy Holidays!

Soft Skills

By Kim Wilks, Peer Advisor

Personal Qualities are EXTREMELY important!


There are some key skills that employers are looking for in candidates that they believe cannot be taught. However, these skills can be developed during your undergraduate career through your involvements. Students often focus mainly on their professional development, but personal growth is just as important. The skills that employers are looking for include communication, teamwork, integrity, and adaptability. Employers want to know that the people they hire can produce results. Nevertheless, sometimes failure is inevitable and they want to know that you will learn from your mistakes and use them to move forward. The best way to develop the personal qualities employees seek is through involvements!


Whether you are a waitress or a lab supervisor, having a job while you are a student is a great way to learn responsibility and time management. You will learn the importance of being punctual. You may not get along with everyone that you work with and this will teach you how to maintain your professionalism in every situation. Whether the job is relevant to your field or not, employers understand that working and being a full-time student is not always the easiest thing to do. Your ability to manage both will reflect greatly on your skills.


Being involved in on-campus organizations can mold you into a better leader and communicator. Once you are on an executive board, you must communicate ideas within the board and to your general body. Try to run for a position that will push you out of your comfort zone and develop your weaknesses. Holding leadership positions in organizations throughout your college years will signal to employers that you possess the skill to successfully lead others.

Your intelligence and work will speak for themselves, but don’t miss out on an opportunity because you lack the personal qualities that companies now search for. Develop these skills during your undergraduate career and watch doors open. Even if you do not possess the technical skills that a company desires, your demonstrated ability and willingness to learn may be all you need. Technical skills can be taught!

Good Luck Canes!



Blog at

Up ↑