Toppel Peers Blog

the inside track to your career


Tina Humphrey

Building a Personal Brand

By Tina Humphrey, Peer Advisor

What is Personal Branding?

Personal Branding is a unique story that others recall when they think of you.

Why is it Important?

It’s important in the workplace because it helps it allows you to stand out. When you need a promotion or a referral, your supervisors and or colleagues should have something positive to say when they think about you.

What should you be doing now to build your Personal Brand?

Think about what makes you unique, relevant, differentiated, and special. Reflect on your strengths, skills, values, and passions. How do you STAND out?

How you see yourself is how others see you

Keys to build your personal brand

Be Authentic

Be known for something specific

Get your personal brand in check

Take steps to build and own your personal brand online


“Your personal brand is what differentiates you from others”

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!

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!


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:



Get Career Expo Ready by Preparing an Elevator Pitch

By Tina Humphrey, Peer Advisor

An elevator pitch is a 3 to 5 minute persuasive speech of who you are, what you do, what you’re looking for, and how you would be the ideal candidate for a company.

Start off by thinking about the types of jobs you are looking for, pick your most significant job from your resume and how your experience could offer something to the company you are applying to.

For example, you decide you want to visit Abercrombie and Fitch’s booth. You researched that the company values diversity and unique customers and employers. You can state in your elevator speech that you are seeking a company that values diversity because in your previous job you learned how to communicate and work with effectively with people of various cultures. You believe your culture competence could be of value to Abercrombie’s unique culture. You could end by asking to have the recruiter’s business card and leave your resume to show them how you would be a great addition to Abercrombie’s culture.

Here is a great video on how to better prepare your pitch:


Take a deep breath, be confident and practice what you are going to say. Keep in mind you want your elevator pitch to be conversational instead of an infomercial.

The more you practice the more you will feel confident in your speech!

Good luck Canes!


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