Quick Links

Undergraduate Students - March 2007

The full version of the March CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.


Articles in this edition

For Those Facing the REAL World

Who Are You and What Do You Want?

Information and Inspiration at CAPS

Summer Jobs for International Students


For Those Facing the REAL World

by Vickey Habel

If you are approaching that scary graduation date and feel anxious about getting that REAL job in a REAL organisation or you simply want a résumé-building summer position in a renowned company, the application process can be a nightmare. Stress piles up and you become overwhelmed with the numerous steps for submitting your candidacy.

No fret! Many of us have had guides. By this I mean people, websites, articles, and of course the CAPS office, which give you tips and tricks on how to be successful in your job hunt. And yet we ignore them. I want to share my own knowledge and hope you will not ignore these tips!

First of all, applying to any job requires some TLC. For example, you have found an exciting posting and you feel that your background is complimentary to the requirements for the position. Sure you can simply apply online but, here are a few extra tips...

  1. Pick out the key words in the posting. This includes technical terms and active verbs, usually found in the job description and requirements sections, such as coordinating, assisting, initiating, writing, performing, etc.
  2. Find a way to incorporate these terms in your résumé.
  3. Investigate to discover the person’s name who is in charge of hiring for the position in question. If it is not mentioned in the job posting, try calling the company for this information. If all else fails, be sure to head your résumé with a sort of: To the attention of “company’s Human Resources Department”:
  4. Remember, a North American résumé is no longer than two pages and preferably in chronological order, with the exception of the United States where the maximum is one page.
  5. Finally, do not put all your eggs in one basket. Apply to many places in order to have the luxury of choosing the one that is best suited for you!

Once the résumé and/or application form is on its way, don’t be shy to contact the person or company about the receipt of your submission. To give you the courage to do so (to psych you up!), convince yourself that this call is only to assure the good functioning of the fax/email/mail! Please no flowers or chocolates. Some employers can be allergic and that will hinder your chances of being hired.

So, human resources was impressed by your initiative and decorated résumé and your are summoned to an interview! Beware on those designated dates and times, arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview, wear clean shoes and professional looking clothes (no jeans or skull T-shirts), and smell good but not overwhelmingly perfumed. Most of all try not to sweat too much, because it is not becoming of anyone! There is one phrase you must remember at all times:

In an interview, you are there to obtain the job OFFER, not the job.

It will alleviate a lot of stress and your performance will reflect a composed and confident you in all your interactions with prospective employers! The more offers you get, the more you can compare and make the best selection for your needs.

Good luck!

Who Are You and What Do You Want?

by Vickey Habel

It’s that time of year! Many students are on the prowl for a summer job to feed their bank accounts, yet few nourish their bank of experiences in their field of studies. I’m talking to you, yes you!

So you’ve spent the last year straining to absorb all kinds of information, presumably about a topic that interests you further than improving your GPA. How about applying what you’ve learned to your seasonal employment. This not only solidifies your knowledge retention but it colours your résumé with very interesting flavours for future employers to consider.

This is my story. I am a student at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. I love this multidisciplinary major appropriately named Canadian Studies. I have selected my summer jobs in the past according to the name of the company; all containing the word “Canada”. My functions were mostly call center customer service and office work, but it looks good on my CV. So much so that now I have the absolute best job in the world! I work for the travelling Canada Pavilion. I am a bilingual information officer, for the Government of Canada Exhibitions Program, at special events across the country such as the Calgary Stampede. My goal is to have an exciting career for the Government of Canada. With a bachelor’s degree from the world-renowned McGill University, sprinkled with a few strong employment experiences, I am provided with a very good chance at accomplishing that goal. I have not spent 3 years at university to end up working at McDonald’s and neither have you.

When determining what a good summer position would be, visit the McGill University Career and Placement Service located in the Brown Building on McTavish. There you will find guides to your individual program of study which outline possible positions for which you can expect to be qualified. If you need further assistance, the CAPS counsellors are always happy to help you. In the meantime, the CAPS website is a great source for career and part time jobs. You might also want to apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP), Emploi Québec, or any provincial initiatives for student employment, Monster.ca, campusworkopolis.com, jobboom.ca, and the Canada Job Bank. Interprovincial and international experience show strength of character and resourcefulness. Explore www.youth.gc.ca.

So what is your field of study? Do you like it? For the upcoming seasonal job hunt target employers who are leaders in your industry of interest. What do you like to do? What don’t you like? Who are you? Summer jobs are a fantastic method to evaluate who you are and what you are all about. If you like working with people perhaps any position that requires interaction with customers, such as in call centers, or in tourism, would develop your public relations and/or communications skills. If you prefer more solitary tasks, perhaps a position in a company specialised in your field of study as administrative assistant, secretary, or programmer, would be more attractive. If you wish to enter law or medical school but are not certain what these fields comprise of, summer employment at a law firm as a receptionist or at a hospital as a data entry clerk could expose you to the day-to-day lives of these professionals.

Whatever you choose, you will learn more about yourself and your likes and dislikes in certain industries or job descriptions. It is crucial to remember that summer jobs are NOT about performing career-related tasks but being immersed in the industry of choice. Whatever work you will be doing you will make contacts, ask questions, and perhaps discover new avenues for your future career that previously you had never considered!

Information and Inspiration at CAPS

by Lindsay Tyler

Have you ever sat staring at your computer screen, trying to write a cover letter, but devoid of ideas? Do you want to know more about a particular career or field of work? Do you want to write a great C.V. and you need more specific and reliable information than is available on the Internet?

The CAPS Career Resource Centre is the best place to start if you need information and inspiration for your job search and planning your career. We have books on everything from CV writing to applying for graduate school to personal development. There is more than just books, too. There are computers where you can work on your job search, videos and DVDs about jobs and careers to watch, and magazines and newspapers. There is also a coordinator available to help you find what you’re looking for and answer your questions.

Books and videos can be borrowed overnight after 4pm for either a $10 refundable deposit or by leaving your McGill ID card. You can also read in the centre or make photocopies. Below is a sampling of resources that might interest you.

Are you applying for internships? Check out these resources:

  • National Directory of Arts Internships (2007)
  • Field Work Savvy: A Handbook for Students in Internship, Co-operative Education, Service-Learning and other forms of Experiential Education (2003)
  • [Book + CD-ROM] Internship Advantage: Get Real-World Job Experience to Launch Your Career (2005)

Are you looking for a summer job? Check out these resources:

  • The Canadian Summer Job Directory : Canada's best directory for finding work in the summer (2006)
  • Le magazine des Camps de vacances Certifiés du Québec / The Magazine of Certified residential camps in Quebec (2006)
  • Summer Jobs Abroad (2006)

Not too sure what to do after graduation? Check out these resources:

  • Do What You Love for the Rest of Your Life: a Practical Guide to Career Change and Personal Renewal (2001)
  • Roadtrip Nation: a Guide to Discovering Your Path in Life (2003)
  • Do What You Are : Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type (2006)

Feel free to stop by the office and check out all of the great resources. We are open Monday to Friday from 9-5. You can also search to see if we have a specific book you are looking for at Library Catalog.

Summer Jobs for International Students

Are you an International student staying in Montreal for the summer? How does a summer job sound?

Off-Campus Work Permits!

As you may, or may not, have heard, Immigration Canada launched an Off-Campus Work Program in 2006. The program allows international students to apply for an OCWP (On-Campus Work Permit), which allows the student to work 20 hours a week during the semester, and 40 hours a week during over the holidays and breaks. The permit requires you to have been a student in Montreal for the last 6 months - so if you started in September, the chance is yours! For more information you can check out Working in Canada

Post-Graduation Employment Program!

Also if you are a graduating student you can apply for the Post-Graduation employment program. This permit is valid for one year. To obtain a renewal, your employer must perform a job validation. More information on job validations can be found at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

* There are processing times for applications for the permits. The estimated wait time is about 2 weeks, however it is advised to get your forms in as soon as possible. *

Social Insurance Number!

It is very important to keep in mind that to work you must also obtain a SIN (Social Insurance Number) in order to get paid. You can apply for one at your local Service Canada Centre. For international students, the SIN expires at the end of your Study or Work permit.

If you are applying for a SIN to work On-Campus you must provide the original of:

  • Passport
  • Study Permit
  • Letter of confirmation of employment – MUST be on McGill letter head

If you are applying for a SIN to work Off-Campus you must provide the original of:

  • Passport
  • Work Permit

It is free to apply for the first time (there is a fee of 10$ is you need to have a replacement SIN card). If you apply in person the process is much faster. You will receive your SIN right away and your card will be mailed to you.

After all of this work to be able to work in Montreal you need to find a job! A great place to start will be to come to the CAPS Office to register for our Job Listings website. It is full of part and full time jobs waiting for you to apply! Advisors and CV Drop IN can help you work on your CVs to make you a prime candidate.

If you have any more questions about the work permits stop by the ISS Office on the 3rd floor of the Brown Bldg.


Classified as

Follow us on: