Undergraduate Students - April 2009
The full version of the April CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.
Articles in this edition
by Linda Cicuta, CaPS Career Advisor
Although we are in an age of high technology and constant use of emails, text messaging and video conferencing, the basic telephone is still an integral form of communication between you and a potential employer. Effective use of the telephone is an essential part of your job search.
When using the phone, you need to ensure you are always professional and polite, which can be difficult, especially if you are caught off guard. This is why preparation and anticipation is important.
Start by making sure the message on your home phone, or cell phone, is simple:
- Do not have music playing in the background
- Never make crude remarks or talk slang
- Do not have multiple people recording message
If you receive a message from an employer, return their call promptly. But before picking up the phone, be prepared:
- First of all, use a land line; cell phones are too risky of having spotty connection or even losing its connection, having too much background noise, and / or your battery could die at any time
- Wear a smile: they cannot see you, but they will hear it in your voice
- Do not eat, smoke or chew gum while talking
- Make sure the room you are calling from is quiet, no TV or radio, nor full of people
In addition, you need to have some materials handy:
- Your job-log: know who you are calling, how to pronounce their name, and why you are calling them (ie. job posting, referral)
- Have paper and pen by the telephone and your CV handy
- Have a list of questions prepared for them depending on the reason of the call
Note that all this will give the employer a good impression of you and your interest in their organization by the time they hang up.
If you have to leave a message, speak slowly and leave your name and number at both the beginning and end of the recording. It may also be a good idea to let them know when you are available for their return call.
If someone answers (whether it’s a receptionist or the person you are trying to reach), keep these tips in mind:
- Be prepared to stay on the phone for as little as 5 minutes and as much as 30 minutes; they could be pre-interviewing you without you even knowing it
- Be confident, polite, and enthusiastic
- Be sure to listen carefully and take notes
- Never put an employer on hold to answer your call waiting
- Do not talk to others in the room while you are on the telephone
- Speak at a moderate pace and enunciate so the employer can understand
- Avoid any slang terms; always speak with respect
- Do not interrupt the employer or anyone else you may be speaking with
- Always remember to thank them for the time they spent with you
Here are a few more points on telephone etiquette:
- Make sure the other people in your household are prepared to take messages for you
- Do not provide an employer your cell phone number if you think you might be caught off guard
- Make sure you answer the telephone by saying, "Hello." Not "Yeah" or "Yo!"
- If you are asleep when an employer calls, have whoever answers the phone wake you immediately, particularly if an employer is calling during the late morning
- If you can not stay on the phone, use phrases like “I’m so happy you called. I have about 10 minutes before I have to run out the door. Is that enough time or can I call you back later this afternoon?”
First impressions are very important during a job search, so use the telephone effectively. Employers often use the phone to screen applicants, so do not get caught off-guard; always answer the phone as if you are expecting an employer to call.
by Corey Anne Bloom CA, CA•IFA, CFE
The perception of the dull, boring, quirky accountant has changed radically with the advent of the forensic accountant. Forensics is thought to be both sexy and glamorous as forensic accountants seek to discover and help right financial wrongs. What could be more edgy and exciting than working closely with the RCMP or the FBI when following a money trail cross border without alerting the fraudsters?
The forensic accountant is in great demand to provide assistance to the public who have been unwittingly duped by corporations, business partners, or even trusted friends. The elderly who are deprived of their retirement money, the college student who has unwittingly lost his tuition money in a pyramid scheme, the real estate investor who trusted his friend and partner in a joint venture, the owner of a company whose employee has embezzled funds as well as many others whose dreams have been shattered along with their financial security need the help of investigative forensic examiners.
Misplaced trust in the corporate world often results in misplaced money. Note the case of a successful and experienced businessman who thought he was investing his money wisely in a real estate venture with people he trusted. As it turned out, his trust was misplaced along with most of his money. A forensic team was hired to ‘follow the money’. They found that too much trust and non-existent controls had allowed for massive amounts of funds to be siphoned from his account and misappropriated for other non-project purposes. The ensuing forensic investigation resulted in substantial savings for ‘Mr. Trustworthy’.
Forensic accountants utilize accounting, auditing, and investigative skills when performing an investigation. Their clients are individuals, banks, insurance companies, police forces, government agencies, and law firms, etc. They are hired to investigate and analyze financial evidence and are often asked to communicate the findings in the form of reports. In addition, forensic teams are invited to evaluate accounting controls in small, mid-sized or large corporations, to determine what deficiencies may exist and to recommend appropriate controls to deter fraud.
How do forensic accountants differ from auditors? Most auditors can determine whether an error has a material effect on the financial statements. But fraud is something else: its hallmark is intent. ‘Accidental frauds’ don’t exist. The fraud examiner investigates allegations using a fraud theory approach. If adequate predication exists, the investigator compiles information from various sources, such as: ledgers, co-workers, and even the suspect in order to prove or disprove the theory. Interviewing is part of the task of gathering evidence and as such is part of the fact-finding process. Often, upon conclusion, a report is written that can be used as a basis for court testimony.
A former Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, in an interview, equated the role of Investigative Forensic Accounting to that of Forensic medicine. Both are forensic sciences which, as many of us have observed in the popular television program CSI, require highly developed and specialized skills and knowledge of their respective fields. However, unlike certain elements of the TV show mentioned above, investigative forensic accountants must remember that discretion is of utmost importance and often the key to a successful investigation.
In summation, I will quote Joseph T. Wells, Founder and Chairman of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners: “A good fraud examiner is part cop, part accountant, part psychologist and part lawyer”. It takes both an investigative mindset (i.e. question, question, and question) and accounting knowledge to resolve allegations of fraud.
Be sure to look for the new course: Control, Prevention and Detection of Errors and Fraud that will be offered in the Fall 2009 semester in the Desautels Faculty of Management.
About the author: Corey Anne Bloom CA, CA•IFA, CFE, Vice President at RSM Richter Inc., has over 15 years of experience in fraud investigations, forensic accounting and auditing. She is a Past-Chair of the Board of Regents of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Ms. Bloom is a Chartered Accountant, a CA-designated Specialist in Investigative and Forensic Accounting, a Certified Fraud Examiner and Regent Emeritus of the ACFE. She can be reached at: cbloom [at] rsmrichter [dot] com.
by Jan Bottomer, CaPS Music and Arts Career Advisor
It’s a question which has probably become more and more pressing and even more frequently repeated as the number of weeks remaining in your final term tick by. While you know you *should* be devoting some time to figuring out your answer – researching jobs and employers, working on your CV etc., it’s challenging to balance these important tasks with the urgency of papers due shortly and exams on the horizon. Starting early with regards to your post-graduation job search has its advantages but the key word here is STARTING, and this is definitely a case of better now than later or never!
One thing you can start doing immediately is treating the above question as an opportunity for a productive conversation as opposed to a threatening situation to be avoided at all cost! Even if you don’t feel like you have anything approaching a concrete answer just yet, tell whoever’s asking what you do know – the kinds of activities and courses you enjoy, career options which have crossed your mind and equally important, what you’re missing. Are there careers or fields you’d like to know more about? People you’d like to meet? The people in your network are a great potential source of career-related information, but you won’t find out what and who they know if you don’t ask. Additionally, the vast majority of job seekers hear about possible employment opportunities through family, friends, friends of friends, their friend’s third-cousin’s neighbour’s Mum…you get the point! If you mention being interested in a particular field or company and the person you’re talking to knows of someone working there, chances are very high that they’ll offer to put the two of you in touch. You never know where such conversations might lead and at the very least talking about some of the options you’re considering can often help clarify your ideas and priorities in your own mind.
If you’re feeling clueless about the nuts and bolts of job hunting – networking, CVs, Cover Letters, researching potential employer, where and how to begin etc. – jump-start your job search savvy and motivation by applying to be part of the CaPS Job Finding Clubs, an intensive program for graduated students. There are three two-week sessions this summer, the first beginning on May 4th (additional sessions are held starting on May 25th and August 17th). The premise of the club is that job searching is in itself a full-time job and is much more enjoyably and successfully done in a group with the support of both a group of your peers and the friendly and knowledgeable counsellors at CaPS. You’ll do some self-assessment to help focus your job search, learn how to write a stellar CV and cover letter, prepare and practice for interviews, discuss techniques for accessing the hidden job market, and more!
And on a final note, all CaPS services are available to McGill alumni for free for up to a year after graduation, so once the dust of finals settles, make an appointment with an advisor to discuss anything from your career plans (or lack thereof!) and job search strategies to CV writing and grad school applications. We look forward to meeting and working with you!
by Vanessa Franco, CaPS Career Resource Consultant
The end of the semester is nigh and perhaps you’ve been thinking about finding a summer job. In between assignments and preparations for final exams, the task can seem overwhelming. For tips on summer job success, see Jan Bottomer’s January 2009 Scoop article. Armed with those strategies, you will need to know where to look. Below are some suggestions.
myFuture is CaPS’ jobs database and more. Sign in using your McGill e-mail address and password. You can search for summer jobs in the database- select 'Summer' under the 'Position Type' drop-down menu. You can also create a search agent, upload your documents and apply for positions directly through the site.
You can also access our digital career resources through myFuture. Under the 'Documents' tab, choose ‘View Career Resources’. Select ‘CaPS- Subscription’ from the ‘Type’ drop-down menu and then click on ‘Apply Search’. Canada Employment Weekly and Current Jobs in Liberal Arts are good resources for summer opportunities and they are available in PDF.
Career Resource Centre
At the CaPS Career Resource Centre, section 5.5 is where to find books about summer jobs. Notable titles include:
- Back Door Guide to Short-Term Job Adventures: Internships, Summer Jobs, Seasonal Work, Volunteer Vacations, and Transitions Abroad, 4th ed.
- The Canadian Summer Job Directory 4th ed.
- Gazette Summer Camps 2009
On the shelf, there is a box containing pamphlets and flyers for summer opportunities that we receive from time to time. Be sure to also check out the free stuff cabinets as you walk into the CaPS office- more flyers and pamphlets are to be found there.
Jobs Jobs Jobs is a pan-Canadian print resource. The job listings include seasonal and student positions. It is available for consultation at the front desk.
There are dozens of job search sites out there. Of special interest for summer jobs:
- Part-time positions
- Retail positions
- Emploi Québec- Placement étudiant
This service provides students jobs with private-sector employers, municipalities and Québec government departments and agencies.
- City of Montreal is hiring students for various summer positions.
Networking/ Hidden Job Market
Searching the Web and other resources is an integral aspect of the job hunt but did you know that 80% of job opportunities are not advertised? This means that you will have to tap into this ‘hidden job market’ through networking or direct contact with organisations of interest. See this CaPS page on networking, which includes helpful tips, handouts in PDF, and recommended books and websites. You may also want to consult the following items in the Resource Centre:
- The Canadian Hidden Job Market Directory, 7th ed.
- Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market!
- Tapping the Hidden Job Market [Video]
For more information, pay me a visit in the CaPS office, e-mail caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca or call 514-398-3304 x00950, Monday to Friday, 9h – 17h.
submitted by Dalhousie University
As graduating students cope with an impending era of fiscal constraint, Dalhousie’s School of Business director reminds us that hard times call for wise investments. “Senior HR executives have to manage not just for the present but for the future of their organization,” says Peggy Cunningham, the new director of the School. “Having the right people being groomed now to face the leadership challenges of tomorrow is a wise strategy. Our Corporate Residency MBA delivers highly employable self-starters to organizations who can then partner with the student to tailor the academic, professional development and work experience components of our program to meet their leadership needs.”
Students of the Corporate Residency MBA will start classes in July and head off to earn management-level salaries for eight months starting in January. They will compete with their classmates for a position with one of 24 employers that have partnered with the program to date. The school is engaged in partnership negotiations with at least another 20 private and public sector employers looking to take advantage of the recruitment efficiencies offered by the program. Pat Creaghan, Vice President Business Management with Shell says that partnering with Dalhousie in the delivery of the Corporate Residency MBA is a great investment on many levels. “When we were first approached to participate in this unique program, the benefits to us were obvious. Recruiting, especially at the management level, is a lengthy and expensive process; this program eliminates major elements of that process. It also eliminates a certain amount of risk in that the eight-month residency gives the student and the employer an exhaustive test-drive so both parties can make a decision around an offer of full-time employment with confidence.”
The July start date for the program means that the admissions process shifts into high gear much sooner than other MBA schools across Canada. The design of the program also means that the program is accessible to recent graduates with little or no work experience. “We're only offering 50 seats in the first year of this program and interest has been high from every province. Our deadline for scholarship consideration is March 15. While we have already issued a good number of offers, many of our applicants will not be writing their GMAT exams until they finish the school year. Anyone interested in this program should open an application now so that they can enter our rolling application process before we complete our quota of acceptance offers,” said Scott Comber, Executive Director of the Corporate Residency MBA.
Potential Corporate Residency MBA candidates are encouraged to visit http://dalmba.ca for complete program and application details.