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Toppel Center aims to guide Hurricanes in job market

One of the reasons you decided to attend the University of Miami is because you want to get a great job or be admitted to a graduate or professional program after you graduate.

At least that is what you told the parents.

The Toppel Career Center, or Toppel for short, can help, even if you are not sure about what you want to study. Toppel has all the features of Monster.com and CareerBuilder, and you already paid to use it.

Although 25 to 100 students visit Toppel on a daily basis, too many students wait until they are about to graduate to visit the center, and some never take advantage of the resources at all, Associate Director for Career Development Alicia Rodriguez said.

Visiting the Toppel Career Center early in your college career will help you build your resume and can make a big difference in your job satisfaction after you graduate.

In a national survey of college students conducted by Career Treking LLC, 81 percent of students said that if they had been offered career counseling earlier in their college years, they would have chosen a different field of study.

“Your schedule starts to get hectic and crazy your senior year,” Rodriguez said. “Don’t wait ‘til you graduate.”

Although the Toppel Career Center does not place students into jobs after graduation, the specialized staff works to give both current and former Hurricanes the tools they need in an increasingly competitive job market.

Toppel brings employers to campus for Career Expo and specialized career fairs like the Green Career Fair and the Government and Non-Profit Career Fair. Additionally, employers like Exxon Mobile, Nestlé, the CIA, Target and Burger King regularly interview students on campus for internships and full-time jobs.

And Toppel is not just for jobs.

This fall, the center is launching a new program called CANE Explorers, which will help students who are undeclared and looking at different majors. Additionally, several different programs each semester such as Careers in Healthcare and Careers in the Sports Industry help students meet professionals and learn about different career paths. Toppel also offers programs and resources for students wanting to apply to graduate school.

Senior Steven Glasser has worked at Toppel as a peer advisor for two years, got his resume critiqued his freshman year and has had three internships since then.

“Getting involved at Toppel early on was one of the best decisions I have made as a student,” he said. “Searching for jobs and internships can be very intimidating, but with help from the programs and services offered at the career center, I gained confidence and worked my way to a dream internship.”

The Toppel website, www.HireACane.com, includes valuable tips for anything job related, and Career Links features some obscure sites for industry-specific employment.

Here, students can sign up for CaneZone, a career management system that is only for University of Miami students and alumni. Registering on CaneZone gives you access to exclusive job and internship postings. More than 13,000 UM students and alumni have already searched for jobs by creating their own CaneZone accounts.

“CaneZone makes applying for interviews and learning when businesses come onto campus easy,” junior Jason Weintraub said.

On the CaneZone homepage, seven premium products are available at no additional cost, perfect for those of us scrounging for change.

“The earlier you start, the more polished and competitive you will be,” Glasser said.

CareerShift, which is the most recent, is an aggregated job search engine that pulls jobs and internships from any job board and company website on the internet. You can also create a job campaign that e-mails you new job postings every week. The Launch Pad was created to encourage entrepreneurship among students.

In 2008 the Princeton Review ranked Toppel as the 18th best career center in the country.

August 10, 2009

Reporters

Ben Cathey

Contributing News Writer


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.