Toppel Peers Blog

the inside track to your career

Email Etiquette

By Sterlie Achille, Peer Advisor

With the close of Spring Career Expo, many of us might have to reach out to professional recruiters by email. Whether to network, apply for a job, or follow-up after an interview, it is important to keep things professional. An easy way to ruin your chances of success is to send a conversational email filled with grammatical errors.

Here are some tips that can improve and sharpen your professional email writing skills!

1) Strong Subject line

This is one of the simplest parts of the email, but it can often be the hardest to create. Keep the subject line brief and simple to convey the main idea of the email. Avoid leaving the subject area blank or with meaningless words that do not convey the specifics of the email. This section should give the reader an idea about the email before they open it. It should be an accurate description with any relevant dates or deadlines.

2) The Greeting

Most mistakes with the email greeting happen because people get too personal. The best way to greet someone is with formality such as “Ms. Last Name” or “Mr. Last name”. Unless instructed by the person directly, it is generally not a good idea to address them by their first name.

3) Organization

It is important to have a well-organized email that clearly conveys a message. Structurally, the email should include an introduction, body, and closing paragraph. In your intro, highlight your reason for contacting the person, then give all the information they need. Finally, end your email by letting them know if you would like them to contact you, or if you will be reaching out to them at a later date.

4) Timing

Make sure to send follow-up emails after several days have passed.   It is best to allow the person enough time to see your message. However, it is still important to send your reply emails on time to keep the interest of the recruiter. Once you have a reply, it is your responsibility to respond as soon as possible.

5) Proofread

Once your email is complete, proofread it for grammar and punctuation errors. Avoid making the mistake of sending it quickly without reading it over several times. Taking that extra step shows you care and will help you stand out in a positive way!

Happy writing!

Meeting with a Full Time Advisor

By Lindsey Shanck, Peer Advisor

So you have already come in for a walk-in appointment with the peer advisors…what’s next? You have had your resume and cover letter critiqued, maybe had a mini mock interview and a LinkedIn session.  Your next step is to meet with a full time advisor!

The full time advisors at Toppel are your go-to help for any questions you might have. While the peer advisors act as a liaison to share resources available at Toppel and keep your documents professional, the full time advisors can help you make the road map to a successful career after graduation. They can help set goals based on your major and career aspirations and give you tips in the industry you are interested in. With experience in the real world and with employers in your industry, they are essential in your career education.

Each of the eleven advisors are in charge of different fields and industries, but they are all experts in career education, and have the tools you need to make you successful post graduation. Devin is in charge of STEM fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Carly is the pre-health expert, and specializes in nursing and health science, life sciences, and psychology, and Edward is the pre-law guru. Ali is Toppel’s artsy advisor with specializations in architecture, art, art history, and theatre, and Debbie advises on music and communication. Richard and Kim specialize in the school of business, and Richard also advises athletics. Hilary resides in Washington D.C. and advises through Skype and phone on all things government. Betty handles the social sciences, RSMAS, and all international opportunities, along with Anna who also works in the school of education. Last but certainly not least, Esther works with graduate students, alumni, psychology, humanities, and liberal arts students.

To make an appointment with your advisor, log on to Handshake, and start planning 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!

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