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Undergraduate Students - March 2009

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


Articles in this edition

Going Global: Exploring International Career Options

The Nonprofit Sector – A world of opportunity for meaningful careers!

Dalhousie’s Corporate Residency MBA Defies Recession


Going Global: Exploring International Career Options

by Vanessa Franco, CaPS Career Resource Consultant

Going Global is a subscription web service that provides employment and career information regarding international opportunities. If you are interested in working and living abroad, then Going Global is an indispensable resource. CaPS offers you unlimited access to Going Global’s extensive database of international employer profiles and job and internship listings. In addition, Going Global provides country- and U.S. city-specific information for jobseekers. With over 35,000 resources, the country and city guides include information on local industry and employment trends, professional associations, staffing agencies, recruiters, work permit regulations, and salaries, in addition to advice on local cultures, CVs, cover letters and interviews. The 27 country guides span all continents (except Antarctica, of course!) and the 40 U.S. city guides cover cities coast-to-coast. Of special interest to those considering working in the U.S. is their list of H-1B visa companies. There is also a forum open to users to make connections, find housing, get job search advice, and more.

The information in Going Global is maintained by an international team of career advisors and researchers writing about their local areas. The employer profiles are compiled from data provided by Hoovers, Dun & Bradstreet and Thomson/Gale, all very well-known and reputable publishers. Be assured that the information on Going Global is authoritative, reliable and current.

There are several ways to access Going Global (must be connected to the VPN/network):

The first time you log in, you will be connected as an ‘organization user’. You may choose to create a personal account to access Going Global from outside the McGill network and also to save bookmarks and notes.

Country guides. These provide information on job sites and internship programs, work permit and visa regulations, résumé/CV writing guidelines, headhunters/recruiters, local newspapers and government employment offices, industry trends, finance/compensation information, and cultural and interviewing advice. The guides even include work permit sample forms and letters and sample CVs and cover letters, both in English and in the language of the country in question. Furthermore, the section on industry trends includes educational requirements for various industries and lists professional associations, a very important networking and job searching tool.

U.S. city guides. The city guides list companies that have applied for H-1B visas, which are non-immigrant visas for university graduates. In addition to the same type of resources included in the country guides, the city guides also provide contact information and descriptions for the area’s largest employers. Unlike the country guides, the city guides also include links to volunteer/non-profit organisations.

Employer directory. The directory spans 32 countries for a total of 25,000 company profiles and lists local and multinational employers. You can search by NAICS code (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/subjects-sujets/standard-norme/naics-scian/2007/list-liste-eng.htm ) for a more refined and effective search, or browse by state or country. The employer profiles give the full official name of the company, type of company, description of activities, number of employees, latest financial figures available, names of company officers, mailing address, telephone, fax, and website URL.

Job and internship listings. Going Global contains links to more than 500,000 international job and internship openings and these are updated daily. You can search jobs by U.S. city or state or by country. You can also search NGO/non-profit jobs via Idealist.org. To find international internships, make sure that the appropriate search keywords are checked off under ‘academic search terms’. Start with a wide, general search and refine from there.

Other features. The chat forums are there for you to post on various topics such as internships, study abroad, living and working abroad, housing, nightlife, work permits, and networking. Please note that although you may freely browse the forums, you will need to register to post. Going Global also links to podcasts and webinars on topics such as U.S. immigration and professional development.

Going Global is a powerful ‘one-stop shop’ for your international job and internship search. Take advantage of this resource that is available to you for free! For more information, pay me a visit in the CaPS office, e-mail %20caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca or call 514-398-3304 x00950, Monday to Friday, 9h – 17h.

The Nonprofit Sector - A world of opportunity for meaningful careers!

by Jan Bottomer, CaPS Music and Arts Career Advisor

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Confucius said a lot of things right, and the above quote resonates profoundly with the many job seekers who strive to create careers and lives that are about more than just the paycheque, searching for ways to combine their interests, skills, passion and values into a meaningful career. The nonprofit sector can be an ideal fit for those looking for more than “just a job” but there are a lot of misconceptions and a general lack of understanding about the kinds of organizations the sector encompasses and the range of opportunities available. Read on for more information about this dynamic and varied sector, the rewards and challenges of a career in non-profit work and tips for entering the field.

Overview of the sector

What do the following have in common? Bishop’s University. Dans la Rue. Dix Milles Villages. Special Olympics Québec. The Elizabeth Fry Society. Journalists for Human Rights. BC Recreation and Parks Association. Kiwanis Music Festival. The Jewish General Hospital Foundation. The National Rifle Association of the US. The American Bar Association. St. Joseph Immigrant Women’s Centre. Canadian Cancer Society.

You guessed it, these incredibly diverse organizations – from universities, hospitals, and professional associations, to religious organizations and charities, serving everyone from immigrants, students, professionals, firearms-owners, children with disabilities and musicians, to the general public or citizens of a particular municipality, focusing on causes as specific as youth homelessness in Montreal to fighting cancer, which can affect any of us – yes, all of these organizations and many, many more, belong to the astonishingly varied non-profit sector.

Defining this remarkable sector can be somewhat of a challenge, but broadly speaking, non-profits are characterized by a focus on their mission or purpose, their relative independence (i.e. from the demands of governments and shareholders) and, for many, their provision of services that neither the public (government) or private (for-profit) sector can or will address. Many non-profits offer direct services to the public, such as counseling, education and medical care, but some may also offer support and assistance to other non-profits, provide financial resources, or advocate for public policy changes on specific causes and issues.

It is clear that non-profits play an important role in terms of community service, but just how important are they economically?

According to Statistics Canada, the GDP (calculated using standard measures) of the nonprofit sector was estimated at $61.8 billion in 1999, accounting for 6.8% of the total economy. And if an extended measure, taking into account the replacement cost value of volunteer work, is used, this figure rises to 8.6%. In Canada, the nonprofit sector’s extended GDP is more than eleven times that of the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, over four times larger than agriculture, and over twice the value of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry. It is more than 50% larger than Canada’s entire retail trade industry.

CharityVillage, Canada’s supersite for the non-profit sector, estimates that there are around 80,000 registered charities in Canada, and around 70,000 other non-profit organizations. According to Idealist.org, there are over one million IRS-recognized non-profits in the USA, employing more than 12 million people (around 9% of the US workforce). Annual assets of the US non-profit sector total $2.9 trillion, a far from trifling figure.

Opportunities, rewards and challenges

What kind of opportunities are available in the non-profit sector? It’s commonly thought that this field is populated only by those in the traditional “helping professions” and maybe a few social sciences majors. While there are certainly legions of opportunities for counselors, educators, social workers, nurses and other professionals, the incredibly broad scope of issues addressed by the non-profit sector demands a diverse set of skills, experiences and specializations resulting in interesting and meaningful career paths for individuals with a passion for everything from sustainable business, and the environment, to arts advocacy, engineering and IT. On a recent perusal through the job listings on https://charityvillage.com/, I came across available positions in: communications, volunteer management, publicity, fundraising, webmaster, office coordination, event planning, human resources, project management, research…to name just a few. And one of the great attractions of non-profit work is the potential to take on a variety of roles and greater levels of responsibility than might be possible in other sectors, to gain new skills and experiences.

Additional rewards associated with work in this field include the potential for effecting positive change, be it at the local, national, or international level, to have a meaningful career with a conscience, one which is ultimately about much more than just the bottom line. The depth and breadth of the sector allows for diverse and exciting career paths, and the possibility for career advancement within the sector. Non-profit organizations can often be more flexible and informal than those in other sectors, and while salaries are indeed usually less than comparable positions in the public and private sectors, it is definitely possible to earn a good living in the field.

Challenges of the sector include the relatively lower wages, potential burnout due to the nature of work in the field, high turnover and the unpredictability of social change, government policy, and financial resources. The exact impact of the current economic climate on non-profit organizations is still an open question, but many fear that widespread economic and financial woes will lead to reductions in donations from companies and individuals and more limited sources of funding from governments.

Finding a job

When considering a career in the non-profit sector it is important to know that very few organizations have either the budget or the staff to actively recruit through traditional methods such as job listings. Competition for advertised positions in well-known organizations like the United Way or the Red Cross is stiff – determined job seekers need employ different strategies to find their dream non-profit job. Non-profit hiring is also difficult to predict as it doesn’t follow a regular calendar and can be subject to changes in budgets and funding. Many non-profits rely heavily on the services of volunteers and/or interns to help fulfill their missions, and these individuals represent a ready pool of candidates when paid positions in an organization become available. They also tend to looking internally or to recruit through non-profit networks.

Thus, to conduct a successful non-profit job search, it is absolutely critical that you be proactive!! Make use of job listings in the field like CharityVillage and Idealist.org to be sure, but invest only a small percentage of your time and energy here. Familiarize yourself with the organizations working in your field of interest. Volunteer or do an internship in a non-profit to gain experience and contacts. This can be a great way to eventually transition to full-time work in the field, but you need to have a strategy and focus on the causes and organizations you believe in. Talk to family, friends, professors and acquaintances to find out if they or anyone they know is working in the sector. Meet these people and conduct informational interviews with them to find out more about the field and the range of work possible. Attend career fairs and other events for those working in your area of interest to meet more people and keep abreast of current issues and developments. Tailor your CV and cover letter to the organizations you apply to and hone your interview skills so that you are able to communicate your passion, skills and relevant experience to potential employers. Non-profit organizations don’t necessarily have the luxury of extended training time for new employees, so they look for people who can learn quickly and make immediate contributions.

Useful resources

CharityVillage: Canada’s supersite for the Non-profit Sector, with job postings, articles and useful resources for job seekers and current employees.

Idealist.org: US based site with job postings, news and resources including useful guides to the sector.

Directory of Community Services of Greater Montreal – Comprehensive directory including both government and non-profit organizations in the city. (http://www.mcgill.ca/caps/students/services/resource-centre/catalogue/?func=full&id=11342)

Blue Book 2007: Directory of Community Services in Toronto (http://www.mcgill.ca/caps/students/services/resource-centre/catalogue/?func=full&id=11451)


(1) Emploi Québec. (October 2007). Information sur le marché du travail, retrieved Feb. 17, 2009.

(2) Statistics Canada. (September 2004). Canada’s non-profit sector in economic terms, retrieved Feb. 17, 2009.

(3) CharityVillage: Canada’s supersite for the non-profit sector: www.charityvillage.com

(4) Idealist.org (2008). The Idealist Guide to Non-Profit Careers for First-time Job Seekers, retrieved Feb 17, 2009.

Dalhousie’s Corporate Residency MBA Defies Recession

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.


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