Undergraduate Students - April 2010
The full version of the April CAPSScoop can be found by clicking here.
Articles in this edition
by Rachel Kattapuram, U1 Arts (English and Political Science)
Are you interested in participating in an enriching, career building experience? Eager to develop your own cultural diversity and global understanding? Looking to be a part of rich network of students and professionals around the world? If these opportunities are just the experience you’ve been looking for, AIESEC McGill is looking for you!
AIESEC McGill, being one of the founding local committees of AIESEC established in Canada, has been serving students and companies for the past 50 years. Through our highly recognized Global Internship Program, AIESEC McGill sends students abroad for international working experiences. Furthermore, we receive international exchange participants and provide them with opportunities to live and work in Montreal.
The global internship is the most rewarding learning opportunity that AIESEC offers and is facilitated by our entire global network. Each year, we provide 7 500 students and recent graduates with the challenging opportunity to live and work in a foreign country in the areas of management, information technology, and development. While on internship, students are offered the unique experience of living, working, and integrating into a new culture, aided of course by the always-helpful AIESECers in that city. AIESEC’s extensive global network is an extremely advantageous asset for any student in an new environment.
The Global Internship Program has four main streams. These include: Management– internships in general business functions (marketing, finance, HR etc.), Technical – internships in IT and engineering, Development – internships focused on community and social development, Educational – internships focused on teaching others. Internships in any of the above fields are available to students in any faculty, and all students are encouraged to apply to internships in different fields if they are suitable match for the position.
Essentially, AIESEC’s Global Internship Program provides an out-of-the classroom, international experience in a variety of rewarding positions. The unbeatable combination of exploring a new culture while simultaneously exploring potential careers paths is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on!
For more information, please email us at communications [at] aiesecmcgill [dot] ca or visit http://www.aiesec.ca/mcgill.
par Marina Gerard, Masters en Literature Française
S’il y a bien une couleur à porter ces temps-ci, c’est le vert. Et tout le monde est invité à participer à cette mode! Que ce soit sur le campus, à la maison, au travail ou en faisant du shopping au centre ville, le « concept vert » a trouvé sa place dans les moindre recoins de nos vies. Notre nouveau mandat, c’est le recyclage. Nous avons des poubelles spéciales, des sacs de recyclage, des thermos recyclés de chez Starbucks, ainsi que des matériaux recyclés. Même les Jeux Olympiques ont pris part à cette frénésie, malgré leur importation de neige qui contredit leur éthique pro-environnement.
Depuis environ dix ans, le « concept vert » bourgeonne de partout, nous implorant de sauver la planète coûte que coûte. Ce mouvement a même permis de réveiller les créateurs et designers qui sommeillaient en nous et le monde a besoin de ces idées innovatrices, afin de repayer la dette écologique. Cependant, même si nous avons une idée de ce que le « concept vert » sous-entend, dresser une liste de tous ses éléments prendrait une éternité, et ce n’est pas garanti de ne rien manquer.
En tant qu’étudiant qui termine son premier cycle universitaire, l’idée de dresser une telle liste ne me paraît pas très excitante, surtout en tenant compte de la multitude de choses utiles qu’il reste à faire en préparation du Jour J. Mais si l’on pense à cette question dans un contexte professionnel, la situation devient plus intéressante. Le secteur de l’environnement a beaucoup à offrir à de nouveaux diplômés. L’écologie est un domaine assez récent et très prospère. Les employeurs cherchent constamment des jeunes talentueux, qui désirent participer à cette aventure dynamique. Que ce soit sous forme d’un stage ou en faisant du bénévolat, il vous y sera possible d’obtenir de l’expérience de valable.
À propos, la semaine verte de McGill en version 2010 vient juste de s’achever. Du 2 au 4 mars de cette année, le centre de planification de carrière de l’université, CaPS, a organisé une réunion de professionnels et d’anciens étudiants qui travaillent maintenant dans la conservation de l’environnement. Tous sont venus discuter des possibilités d’emploi dans ce secteur. Du 8 au 12 mars, c’est l’association des étudiants de premier cycle de McGill, SSMU, qui a pris le relais en organisant des conférences et des ateliers, dans le but de familiariser les jeunes aux possibilités qu’offre le secteur écologique. D’autant plus, la SSMU a engagé des bénévoles afin de faciliter cette semaine de sensibilisation. Bref, les activités du CaPS et de la SSMU étaient le moyen parfait de combiner vie étudiante et avancement professionnel.
Autre que ces deux semaines, McGill regorge de possibilités à l’année longue pour les personnes qui s’intéressent à l’écologie. La SSMU comprend plusieurs organismes pro-environnement, dédiés aux étudiants de tous les niveaux, au centre ville et au campus Macdonald.
Comme solution pratique, je vous invite également à découvrir le « Plate Club », un service offrant des plats, des assiettes et des verres recyclés à l’occasion de fêtes et de réunions.
Toute cette information est disponible en ligne, dans la section environnement du site SSMU : http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/environment/?q=projects. N’oubliez pas d’éteindre vos lumières et de mettre vos ordinateurs portables en veille. Et surtout, ne perdez pas de vu l’objectif vert!
by Xi Li, Masters Student in English Education as Second Language
Discrimination Against Women in the Job Market
In China there are many other things that graduates have to worry about besides the glass ceiling. Women graduates especially face hurdles in the tight job market. According to China Daily, on November 12th 2003, they are faced with an extra obstacle as many employers dangle "Men Only" signs at job fairs. "It is so depressing that I almost wanted to switch and become a man," said a graduate student from Renmin University of China.
In 2002, when job fair was held at Beijing's Friendship Hotel, specially tailored for female students, only five out of the 500 employers invited, presented themselves. The hearts of hundreds of job-seekers sank as they did not even get a chance to apply. Female students complain that recruiters ask more from women candidates applying for the same positions than their male counterparts. For instance, when Band-4 English language Certificate is required from male candidates, the female counterparts have to present at least Band-6 level. Likewise, when "basic writing skills" is required of men, women must achieve "professional writing skills". Other disconcerting qualifications are the ability to binge drink and wear low-cut dresses.
However, not everyone has sympathy for the "weaker sex". Some recruiters claim that the positions available require extensive travelling, which is inconvenient for single women. Others attribute subsequent pregnancy and maternity leave as a huge cost to the employer. There are even people who question the whole premise of gender discrimination. Some experts just blame the female students themselves stating that they are less competitive in the job market.
In general, it is thought that women tend to be less flexible in searching for their first jobs. They insist on getting into enviable firms, for example, foreign-owned or large State-owned companies, in cities that pay good salaries. Men, on the contrary, are seen as more willing to take a step down when necessary, they argue. It is also assumed that female students tend to take an intuitive approach to job hunting. They are perceived as not spending as much time researching potential employers or preparing as meticulously when it comes to presenting their credentials. “They often have a passive mentality," states one commentator.
However, Li Xiandong, associate professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said that preference of men over women in hiring constitutes discrimination. "It is against the law," he said.
The above piece of news presents readers with a harsh but realistic situation of the job market in China—a masculine-dominated market, in fact. However, even in such cases, I still keep my finger crossed for new graduates to be able to land a fair and decent job there.
Etiquette in China
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” If you would like to do business in China, you might want to think about the custom and etiquette in China. In this issue, I would like to talk about two issues, namely, Seniority and Giving Face.
Seniority is very important in China, especially if you are dealing with a State-owned or government institution. Instead of addressing the other party as Mr. or Mrs. so and so, it is always appropriate to address the other party by his designation, such as, Chairman So and So, Director So and So or Manager So and So.
b) Business Cards
When giving out name cards or brochures, make sure you start with the most senior person before moving down the line. When giving out a name card or receiving one, ensure that you are stretching out with both hands with the card. Remember to face the card you are giving out in a manner such that he receives it facing him correctly.
c) Giving Face
Giving face (or giving due respect) is a very important concept in China. You must give the appropriate respect according to rank and seniority. For example, if you are buying gifts for an initial contact, make sure you buy better gifts for the senior managers instead of buying similar gifts across the board.
Good luck on your job search both here and abroad!
by Vanessa Franco, Linda Cicuta and Gregg Blachford, McGill CaPS Staff
Every year universities, government bodies, private organizations and external institutions offer a variety of funding to help you financially survive graduate school. The following sections define some of the resources available and provide a link to where you can obtain more detailed information.
Definition of terms
- Scholarships are gifts of money or other support for students who have shown exceptional talent, academic performance, or other special ability.
- Grants and bursaries are awards of money for education. Repayment usually is not required.
- Loans are specific sums of money for education which must be repaid.
- Fellowships are usually at the graduate, postdoctoral or professional level. Merit is based on scholarship, promise and leadership. They are similar to salaries and repayment is not required
- A stipend is a modest, fixed payment occurring at regular intervals.
Sources of funding
When looking for funding, you should explore sources of funding both from the university at which you’d like to study (called internal sources) and from other sources outside of the university (called external sources).
Internal sources of information and funding for graduate study at McGill
These offices can provide you with information about how to fund your graduate studies at McGill and they can also award funding. Requirements vary, but they are usually based on grades and proven financial need.
- McGill Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
The GPO simplifies the funding process and provides funding opportunities for the duration of graduate studies. It offers external awards and McGill Fellowships.
- McGill Fellowships and Awards Calendar
You will find an online version of the Awards Calendar for awards available to study at McGill.
- McGill Student Aid Office (part of Student Services)
They can help answer your questions about finding and managing the money you need for attending McGill. Awards are based on financial need.
- McGill Research Grants Office
McGill faculties have the distinction of holding some of the most prestigious and innovative research grants awarded both within Canada and abroad. The McGill Research Grants Office is a key player in the support structure that facilitates this advancement of knowledge.
External sources of information and funding for study at McGill or at other universities
The following list of sources is to help you get started in your search for external sources of funding. You may find others on your own.
- McGill Student Aid Office - external scholarships
- Career Planning Service (CaPS) – external scholarships and awards
- The McGill libraries also carry external scholarship directories - search their catalogue using ‘scholarships’ or ‘fellowships’ as a subject keyword
- Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - External Awards
Government sources of funding
- National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
- Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture
- Fonds de la recherche en santé
- Fonds de recherche sur la nature et les technologies
Funding for study outside of Canada and the U.S.A.
- Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport - Programme de bourses des gouvernements étrangers
- Government of Canada - International Scholarships
- Université du Québec à Rimouski - Bourses pour l'international - a list of funding sources for international study
by Linda Cicuta, McGill CaPS Career Advisor
The key to being successful in your job search is to start early, be prepared and be proactive. Once you are able to identify your personal strengths, skills, interests and values, and have outlined what type of job you are seeking, you can research which organizations or companies would hire someone like you. At this point, you should be able to express, in writing and in person, why you would be a good fit for an employer and, from there, you can start the networking and the application process.
In doing so, keep in mind the following job search dos and don’ts:
Top tips for your CV
- Tailor your CV for every application
- Describe your research in detail if relevant
- Have a good flow, use clear font and be consistent
- Don’t be too minimal and don’t be too inflated
- Don’t put all publications if overwhelming
- Don’t list references unless required or it’s an academic C.V.
- Include most relevant info first; think of the reader
- Using a ‘summary’ or ‘profile’ section is a personal choice
- Maximize your space with small margins and even text
- Proofread and then proofread again
Top tips for your cover letter
- Tailor your cover letter for every application
- Don’t reiterate all the details of your CV; just highlight the experiences and skills that are most relevant to the reader
- Have a good flow, use clear font and be consistent with your writing style
- Avoid phrases like “I believe, I think, eager to learn, I love, I feel”
- Include why you are good for them and they are good for you
- Be original, grab their attention, sound confident
- Ask yourself the question “so what?” after each sentence
- Address everyone (reader, referrals, supervisors) with proper title
- Mention your CV is attached or enclosed at the end of your letter
- Proofread and then proofread again
Top tips for networking
- Ask for info and advice; not a job
- Don’t be shy or afraid to ask for help; but don’t be over confident either
- Find contacts creatively; professional org, mentor, social groups and events
- Find a system for organizing your contacts
- Speak with people who do what you want to do
- Have copies of your CV or business cards with you
- Know what style of networker you are, by phone and in person, and use it to your advantage
- Think of networking as a reciprocal relationship
- Keep in touch with your contacts and always thank them
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people
Top tips for interviewing
- Be prepared by researching the employer, the posting and why you are the best fit
- Dress the part, arrive early (10-15 minutes), greet everyone with courtesy, shake hands and sit down when prompted
- Be aware of body language and posture, don’t ramble or use slang
- Enthusiasm and confidence stems from voice intonation and eye contact
- Don’t say anything negative about supervisors, colleagues or bosses
- Evaluate the interviewer and their non-verbal communication (facial cues) to help you determine the length of you answers
- Provide examples / stories that prove your qualifications
- Don’t make up answers and don’t just say “I don’t know”
- Thank them and get business cards and follow-up
- Don’t try to prepare for every question imaginable
Top tips for negotiating your salary
- First reveal you’re a good candidate
- Don’t be rough or abrupt
- Wait for them to talk money
- Only talk once the job is securely yours
- Know what you’re worth and what’s your minimum (rent, loans)
- Consider other options / incentives if it’s a low salary
- Be flexible with your working hours
- Speak in a professional and polite tone, and reiterate your qualifications and reasons for wanting more money
- Anticipate objections and have room to negotiate
- It’s all in how you say it