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Undergraduate Students - October 2009

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


Articles in this edition

Are you interested in serving the Canadian public by working for the Federal Government? Don't miss out! Post-Secondary Recruitment (PSR) runs until October 8th and hundreds of jobs are available

A brilliant career in the Canadian Public Service

Unexpected Rewards at the Canada Revenue Agency

Do you have a Mentor yet?

Brace yourself for the Macdonald Campus Career Fair


Are you interested in serving the Canadian public by working for the Federal Government? Don't miss out! Post-Secondary Recruitment (PSR) runs until October 8th and hundreds of jobs are available

by Carrie Armistead, CaPS Mentor Program Coordinator

Public Service of Canada Job Fair

Public Service of Canada Job Fair will be taking place on October 6, 2009 at the Palais de Congres in Montreal from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the various departments and agencies. Make sure you are dressed in your best business suit and that you make a good impression while you are passing out your polished CV. 

At the fair, you will: discover the vast choice of careers in the public service of Canada; find the federal departments and agencies for which you would like to work; obtain information about job openings in the short and medium terms and opportunities of internship; improve your chances of finding employment in the public service of Canada; get answers to your many questions concerning salaries and benefits, measures in place to help employees strike a balance between work and their personal lives, advancement opportunities, bilingualism and training programs.

Increase Your Chances of Getting a Job in the Federal Public Service is a workshop that will be hosted by the Public Service Commission as part of the Canada Public Service Job Fair.

Post-Secondary Recruitment (PSR)

Post-Secondary Recruitment (PSR) has been launched and ends on October 8th. It provides entry-level officer positions to university and college graduates. Positions are available across Canada, in a variety of fields and work environments. Job opportunities are posted on the website.

Make sure you attend CV drop-in and do any necessary final touches as well as make an appointment with a career advisor within your faculty for a mock interview. Look at the reminders and tips for applying and if you need help you can book an appointment with a career advisor for extra advice and tips.

Although the majority of job opportunities are now posted on the website, applicants are encouraged to visit their site regularly as additional job opportunities may be posted throughout the year. View a full listing of the job opportunities currently available.

I am a student

The Public Service of Canada offers programs for university, college and high school students who want to work for the public service while still in school. Managers know that students who work under these and other programs can become invaluable members of their team.

  • The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) provides full-time students with work experience and learning opportunities that are related to their field of study.
  • Register in a Co-op/Internship Program with your academic institution and consult the notice boards at your campus career centre or the co-op/internship placement office for federal public service placement opportunities.
  • If you are a post-secondary student interested in obtaining experience in research (design, execution and evaluation), check out the Research Affiliate Program (RAP). Students in this program are normally placed with ongoing research operations in federal public service facilities. The research projects should be structured to assist the student in developing specific knowledge and research skills.
  • Students Providing Aligned Research and Knowledge (SPARK) provides graduate students with the opportunity to conduct public administration and public policy research needed by the federal public service, while working from their current location.

I am a post-secondary graduate

The Public Service of Canada offers a variety of employment opportunities to graduates. Put your talents to work.

The Post-Secondary Recruitment (PSR) program provides entry-level officer positions to university and college graduates. Positions are available across Canada, in a variety of fields and work environments. You may apply to individual career opportunities or to the general inventory.

If you are interested in a career that will enable you to help shape public policy, check out the Recruitment of Policy Leaders (RPL) Program. RPL is open to exceptional university graduates from all areas of study and takes into account aptitude and ability demonstrated through academic, volunteer and work experience. Middle- to senior-level positions are available.

A brilliant career in the Canadian Public Service

submitted by Public Service Commission of Canada

He served his fellow citizens and followed his passions. After 27 years in the Canadian Public Service, Guy McKenzie, Deputy Minister and President of Economic Development, is turning to young people to persuade them to believe in their dreams.

What did you study in university?

I did a bachelor's degree in law and graduate studies in notarial law at Université Laval.

Where did these studies take you?

I started off working in private legal practice. Shortly thereafter, when the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was implemented, I worked with the Kativik Regional Government, which oversees Quebec's northern villages and native communities. Then came the draw to public service…

Was that the starting point of your career with the federal public service?

Yes, in 1982, with the department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. It seemed like the next logical step. I've been at the service of my fellow citizens now for more than a quarter century, since the age of 28…and despite the offers that have come along, I never considered going back to the private sector.

You've held a variety of positions within the federal government?

Yes, in about 10 different departments over the years. That's the beauty of the federal public service: there are opportunities to work from coast to coast and to take on new challenges in the various departments and agencies. Advancement, skills development and mobility are highly encouraged. In my case, this led to strategy, planning and communications jobs in Quebec, Ottawa and Montreal, working as an advisor, chief of staff, regional director, associate deputy minister and now, deputy minister. And I've had more than my share of hot files land on my desk: the Oka crisis, the ice storm, the sponsorship inquiry, to name but a few. The public service is chock-full of challenges!

What has motivated you throughout the years?

A desire to serve Canadians! Contributing to the development and flourishing of this country by being in the heat of the action, at the centre of the decision-making process, is really what drives me. Canada's democratic system is often held up as an example and whenever we travel abroad we are reminded of how fortunate and privileged we are to have an impartial and apolitical public service. I derive great satisfaction from serving my country and my fellow Canadians.

What are your guiding principles?

The sound management of public funds, transparency, rectitude and honesty. The ethics and values of the public service are the cornerstones of my commitment. We have a responsibility toward taxpayers, and through the government's programs and services, it is their well-being that ultimately reigns supreme.

What has been your source of inspiration for this value code?

My father, who was a police captain at Station 22 in Verdun, was a model of moral rectitude and instilled this and other fundamental values in me. He encouraged me to pursue higher education and was always a powerful source of inspiration and support. With his down-to-earth approach, he was the very epitome of simplicity. While he always offered sound advice, he would also tell me that I had everything I needed to tackle problems and situations myself and to find my own solutions. I owe much to him.

Outside of work, do you have any special interests?

I have always had a weakness for dogs. In fact, for a long time I trained dogs for drug detection, guard or attack functions and even for agility and acrobatics contests. Now I content myself with my little Bichon. I also love nature. Whenever I get the chance I head out fishing or hunting. Hunting, especially, has become one of my great passions…and an exceptional outlet. I'm also very interested in ornithology and have set up feeders all around my property for the birds to enjoy.

Is there any particular book that has had an impact on you?

Two, in fact. The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which I re-read religiously every year.

Any special movie?

Of the films I've seen recently, Ce qu'il faut pour vivre is one I especially liked . I tend to watch about three to five movies a week.

How about music?

I like listening to Jean-Pierre Ferland and Richard Desjardins, but I enjoy all genres... as long as the music is good!

Any life lessons to share with us?

Believe in yourself, believe in what you're doing, but never fall into the trap of arrogance or self-importance!

What do you say to young graduates who ask about the value of a career in the federal public service?

I tell them that the perception they have of the public service is often wrong. It is an open, dynamic and lively environment with countless opportunities to thrive and flourish while striking a healthy balance among work, family and leisure. There is such a diverse range of positions and careers available in the public service, and with so many people retiring, staff renewal is not only a key priority for the Government of Canada, it is also a golden opportunity for students.

Any closing words?

A few, in fact! Throughout my career I have had many great mentors, many footsteps to follow. Now it is my turn to try to help young up-and-comers. I am deeply committed to the renewal of the public service. I make it my duty to go to Quebec's universities and other educational establishments to meet these young people, and my message to them is always the same: believe in your possibilities, believe in your dreams!

Unexpected Rewards at the Canada Revenue Agency

by Christopher Calce, Student B.Com, Accounting, Ambassador for the Canada Revenue Agency

My name is Christopher Calce. I am currently a second-year management student, majoring in Accounting. I am writing to you, students of McGill, to talk to you about my experience at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) with the hope that my journey may intrigue you enough to consider the CRA as your future employer.

The adventure started in November of 2007, when someone I knew at the CRA provided me with the link to apply for a summer internship. I applied, and several months later I received an e-mail informing me that I had the necessary scholastic background and could now proceed to the second step: the exams. Skip ahead several months, and after two exams and one interview, I received a phone call telling me that I got the job and was now a civil servant of the Canada Revenue Agency.

I was not told what my job was going to be, so I went into my first day of work with no idea as to what I was going to do. It turned out that the CRA believed in the abilities of its new employees and thus, along with four other students, I was immediately placed in training to become a tax collector. It was from this moment that I knew that I was involved in something special. We were simple students and yet we were given the same job as people who had finished their university studies and had been working at the CRA for many years. After two weeks of training, we were ready to make our first phone calls. I have to admit I was scared at first, thinking that all tax payers were mean and angry, but the first phone call went smoothly and since then I have loved every minute spent at the Agency. My colleagues treated me no differently than any other employee and were not hesitant to teach me the tools of the trade that they had acquired over the years. We quickly became a tight-knit family, which created a superb work environment.

As the summer was ending, I was starting to get disappointed as I could see this amazing experience get closer to its end. To my surprise, my colleagues and I were given a part-time contract extension with the only fine print being that we remain in school. Since then, I was given many different tasks and learned a lot about the different divisions of the Agency. I am hoping that this short testimonial is enough for you to consider the Canada Revenue Agency as an employer and, if so, come visit our information kiosk at the Public Service of Canada Job Fair on October 6th, 2009, at Palais des Congrès.

If you have any questions about the Canada Revenue Agency Student Recruitment Program or any other questions about the CRA, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at %20christopher [dot] calce [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca. Also keep a lookout in the CaPS building as I will be holding drop-in hours for people who would like information.

Do you have a Mentor yet?

by Carrie Armistead, CaPS Mentor Program Coordinator

McGill CaPS has one of the best kept secrets! It doesn’t have to be that way any longer. Now is your chance to learn how to get a mentor and get connected with McGill Alumni. Currently we have mentors from very diverse industries such as accounting, biotechnology, government administration and relations, international affairs, law, media, medicine, pharmaceuticals and many more. McGill mentors are past graduates and they volunteer their time to help students make the transition into the workplace. They are friendly and informative and genuinely want to see their mentees succeed.

The Mentor Program began in the late 90’ and was founded by the Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) to help students in their search for advice, direction and a slice of reality of what the future has in store. Since its establishment it has helped hundreds of students meet alumni who either graduated from the same program or who have gone into careers that are similar to the students’ interests. The McGill Mentorship program has undergone some changes, the most significant of which being the new tri-partnership in the management and administration of the program between the McGill Alumni Association (MAA), Career Planning Service (CaPS) and the Student Organization for Alumni Relation (SOAR). This promising partnership has allowed the Mentor Program to reach even more students and enlist a wider variety of Alumni as mentors.

Getting matched with a mentor is not difficult and the fun part is that the main objective is for you to be matched with someone that you admire and would like to learn from. In order to see the list of available mentors, please go to http://caps.mcgill.ca/ci2/. When you are filling-out the application, you will be asked to put down your top three dream jobs. Be honest so that you can be matched with your most ideal mentor. You will also be asked to pick your first and second choice mentor. You will be given information concerning their degree, job title and name of their organization. You will also see where the mentor is located geographically. After you have submitted your application you will be contacted and informed about what your next steps are concerning being matched with your mentor.

Once you have been matched, it is important to be proactive so that your mentor can help you in your career development. Your first step when making contact with your mentor is to send them an introductory letter as well as an updated CV. CaPS offers multiple services that can help you to reach your career objectives. Some of the services that are offered are meeting with career advisors, CV drop-in, workshops and on campus recruitment, mock interviews, job listings and career education resources at the centre and on-line.

Now is the time to apply for a mentor and to start making contacts within your designated industry. Don’t be left in the dark any longer, if you don’t have a mentor, you should!

For more information please contact the Mentor Coordinator, Carrie Armistead at mentor [dot] caps [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

Brace yourself for the Macdonald Campus Career Fair

by Doaa Farid, CaPS Peer Educator Program Coordinator

Looking for your dream job? Not finding employers who will give you a chance? Well, here is an opportunity you definitely don’t want to miss. The McGill Macdonald Campus Career Fair, taking place on October 29th, is an opportunity to have employers come knocking at your door. Career fairs are an excellent place to make an impression on several potential employers in a short period of time. All students are invited to have an informal meeting with a vast array of employers; ranging from Environmental Care to Engineering. Taking the time to prepare for such an event is crucial, for doing so will enhance your chances of landing an interview or job offer virtually on the spot.

Last year’s career fair, featured over 30 employers! But before you head out there, make sure you follow these beneficial steps, and you will definitely see the difference.

Prior to the Fair:

  1. Check beforehand the list of participants who will be present at the career fair by logging on to myFuture using your McGill student ID. Do some research on the companies slated to attend in order to gain some background knowledge of what they are looking for.
  2. Polish your resumé for the employers you’re interested in, and bring plenty of copies. You could have it checked and reviewed by our professionals at the CaPS office where resumé drop-ins are accepted daily.
  3. Make sure to look and act professional: wearing proper (i.e. business) attire is always a good idea. It sends the message that you’ve come prepared to meet with a company’s representatives. Ensure that the documents you wish to present are in a folder and properly organized. Taking these steps will ensure success, as well boost your confidence.

At the Fair:

  1. Be polite at all times; this includes smiling profusely. Career fairs are always crowded and so you need to be patient. You should meet with everyone, and if time does not permit, make sure to meet with those who interest you the most. It is important to show them that you are an asset to their company.
  2. Know what to say when they ask you something along the lines of “what are you here for today?” or “what do you do now”? Prepare a summarized introduction of yourself, and remember: you only have 3 minutes to make an impression. During the interview, try and end it with something along the lines of “what should I do to get a second interview with the company?” In other words: don’t hesitate to ask questions; be firm, and avoid bad habits such as fidgeting or looking uninterested.
  3. Prepare a list of questions about the company, in order to learn more about what they are expecting from potential candidates; and to show that you have done your homework. If you are waiting in line to be interviewed, get some information about the company at their booth to read, and find out more about their activities.
  4. At the end of the day, be sure to pass by your coveted recruiters and thank them again for their time. Be sure to Follow-up! After receiving all these business cards at the fair, do keep them in a safe place, and contact the recruiters with a “Thank You” note. Some say that this is one of the most important steps that will give you an edge over your competition.

If you are unable to attend this fair, try external ones such as the annual National Job Fair of Montreal which will take place on October 14-15, 2009.

If you have any enquiries about the Macdonald campus Career Fair please contact: lorna [dot] maceachern [at] mcgill [dot] ca.


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