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Undergraduate Students - December 2010

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


Articles in this edition

Working for the federal government as a summer student

Expérience requise

Summer Lab Jobs: Where to Start?

Labour Market Information


Working for the federal government as a summer student

by Shiyan Liu

Should you be looking for a summer job with the following characteristics:

  • You have your own office, your own telephone, your own voice mail, your own double-screen computer, your own scanner, … and your name carved on your office door;
  • There is air conditioning so no need to worry about heat strokes in the summer;
  • Your are on the 8th floor of a 20-floor downtown building and can see Montreal from your office window;
  • You will be constantly learning and your tasks are never too mechanical;
  • You are relatively well-paid, compared to your last summer job at the calling centre or at McDonalds;

…then I highly recommend that you apply for the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) at the beginning of the winter semester.

I applied for the FSWEP in March 2010 and after interviewing in April, I received a job offer as a Bankruptcy Analyst for the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada (OSB). I worked full-time for the entire summer and part-time during the academic year. My first week at the OSB was mostly theoretical training; I was pretty much paid to learn bankruptcy law! I later had some practical training with my supervisor, and was eventually able to replace her while she went on vacation.

The OSB administrates all bankruptcy files and ensures that the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) is enforced. I work with Official Receivers, who examine bankrupts under oath and present requests against bankrupts’ discharge in the Superior Court if the bankrupts violate a provision in the BIA. My main task is to compile a preliminary analysis of all bankruptcy files and present to the Official Receivers suspicious bankrupts. The Official Receivers can sometimes allow me to assist them in certain examinations under oath or court hearings.

My summer employment was a very rewarding experience. I learned a great deal, not only about bankruptcy law, but also about very technical, judicial procedures that will continue to be useful in my legal career.

The OSB is only one of the many federal departments that hire students through FSWEP. If you are interested in working for the public sector, I would advise that you apply for the FSWEP, a program designed only for students! (http://jobs-emplois.gc.ca/fswep-pfete/index-eng.htm)

Not only was this experience a wonderful one, but, if I apply for and am offered a job in the same federal department after I graduate, I can bypass many of the formalities of getting into the Public Service by taking advantage of their “Bridging” program. This is a huge advantage compared to students who haven’t been part of the FSWEP program. Read http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/sas-sde/stf-dot/sbm-mie-eng.htm for more details.

Good luck in your summer job applications!

Expérience requise

par Liliana Rizzuto

Quelle que soit la carrière envisagée, même la meilleure formation universitaire ne peut remplacer une vaste expérience de travail aux yeux des employeurs. Les emplois d’été, les stages et le bénévolat ne sont que quelques-unes des nombreuses avenues qui s’offrent à vous afin de développer des compétences aussi diverses qu’enrichissantes, et qui vous appartiendront en propre quelque soit le milieu professionnel que vous convoitez. Qu’il s’agisse d’aptitudes générales telles que l’entregent et l’esprit d’initiative, ou encore de connaissances techniques concernant l’utilisation de logiciels informatiques, l’expérience de travail devrait toujours être envisagée en fonction des compétences qu’elle permet d’acquérir et de perfectionner.

Ainsi, pensez dès à présent à profiter des diverses ressources du portail électronique MyFuture afin de trouver une ou plusieurs offres d’emploi qui puissent répondre à vos attentes. Guide touristique afin de développer son autonomie et son dynamisme, ou encore représentant au service à la clientèle pour améliorer son esprit d’équipe et son entregent ; les possibilités sont presqu’illimitées. Choisissez les offres d’emploi qui vous intéressent, consultez les diverses ressources disponibles sur la rédaction d’un curriculum vitae et d’une lettre de motivation (trop souvent négligée !), et osez postuler aux emplois, stages ou autres opportunités de travail qui vous intéressent, sans trop vous préoccuper de la « carrière » que vous souhaitez obtenir à long terme. Aucune expérience n’est inutile !

Voici quelques rappels à propos des services (bilingues !) offerts par CaPS (Service de planification de carrière) :

  • Plusieurs facultés de McGill possèdent leur propre centre de planification de carrière, dont la faculté des sciences de l’agriculture et de l’environnement, la faculté des sciences de l'éducation, la faculté d’génie, la faculté de droit, et la faculté de gestion Desautels.
  • Plusieurs foires de l’emploi et « journées carrières » sont organisées à McGill tout au long de l’année. Vous pouvez également vous rendre à des ateliers du type : « What can I do with my studies in… ». Autrement dit : que puis-je faire, concrètement, avec mes connaissances dans tel ou tel domaine ?
  • En plus des prospectus, activités et ateliers de toutes sortes, CaPS vous propose une foule de ressources interactives : des témoignages d’autres étudiants, des consultations privées avec des conseillers, et jusqu’à des simulations d’entrevue !

J’ai moi-même bénéficié de plusieurs des très nombreux services offerts par CAPS. En plus d’avoir été reçue pour une consultation au sujet de mes choix de carrière (par la très gentille Catherine Stace), de même que pour une simulation d’entrevue (avec la tout aussi charmante Cindy Mancuso), j’ai également pu consulter quelques-uns des livres et des brochures de la bibliothèque de CaPS. Mais ce dont je suis le plus reconnaissante, c’est pour un fameux atelier sur « What can I do with my studies in… Industrial Relations », un événement marquant qui m’a permis de comprendre que faire « carrière » en relations industrielles me demanderait des compétences qui ne correspondaient pas vraiment à ma personnalité. Je vous parlerai de cette expérience, comme de bien d’autres, dans mes articles subséquents. En fait, comme vous vous en doutez probablement déjà, j’ai choisi de développer mes compétences rédactionnelles en collaborant avec Scoop. Si cela vous intéresse, n’hésitez pas à faire de même et à contacter votre centre de planification de carrière !

How to Look for a Lab Job at McGill in the Summer

by Evangeline Seganathy

If you are planning to find lab work during summer, the first thing you have to do is find out what you are interested in. There are many different labs at McGill which vary from taking part in experimental psychology to performing tissue cultures. The CaPS website is a great resource for science students who are looking for research opportunities, check out: http://www.mcgill.ca/caps/students/job-search/experience/science/ Be proactive and start networking by discussing opportunities with individual professors and students who have previous lab experience. It’s important to keep in mind the duration you plan to work in the lab and the number of hours you plan to work each week, as most labs prefer to hire students for sixteen weeks so keep this in mind when you plan your summer vacation.

Once you have put together a list of labs that interest you, start contacting the professors by emailing them or visiting them in person at their office. Having prior lab experience or knowledge of techniques is always an added bonus and you should definitely mention this when you email or speak to the professor for the first time. If you are currently taking a class with a professor whose research you might be interested in, don’t hesitate to talk to them. Usually professors encourage motivated and dedicated students to apply to work in their labs.

I found work in a McGill lab last summer through this method. After e-mailing a few professors, a couple got back to me requesting to come in for an interview or to send them my CV. Don’t forget that you can see a Career Advisor at the CaPS office to review your CV before you submit it to professors. It’s important to be persistent and don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from a professor or if they are not currently hiring undergraduates. Keep searching and you will eventually find a position. Some professors may not be able to pay undergraduates with their current research grants but may offer you a volunteer position to gain more experience. If money is of concern, volunteering part-time at the lab and working part-time elsewhere is an option. Additionally, there are many research awards you can apply for, such as NSERC.

When choosing a lab to work in, sometimes the lab ambience/atmosphere can make all the difference whether you like the lab experience or not. The location is obviously not one of main reasons you should choose a lab but if you like the location and the workplace around you it will make your summer work experience more enjoyable. The lab I worked in had an amazing view and it definitely was nice to work in. It’s best to choose a lab you would like to continue to work in during the semester. Being committed to a lab not only looks good on a CV but it also gives you a greater appreciation for the research you are working on. On a final note, if you are planning to work in the summer, be proactive and start contacting professors now! You would be surprised how fast some of the undergrad positions fill up. I started e-mailing professors in January and a lot of the labs were already full. So, start early! Good luck!

Labour Market Information

by Lisa Lin, CaPS Career Resource Consultant

This monthly bulletin aims to inform you of major news and trends in the Québec, Canada and U.S. labour markets. Your feedback is welcome caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

In this issue

  • U.S. economy emerging as unemployment benefits claims at lowest level since early July
  • Job picture brightens a little in Canada as unemployment rate remains the same
  • Aspiring younger staff have nowhere to go as older workers delay retirement
  • B.C. is facing a looming shortage of skilled and qualified workers in the "green" field
  • Occupational highlight: Recreation, Sports and Fitness Program Supervisors and Consultants
  • And more!

The good news

U.S. jobless claims fall sharply
Global and Mail, 10 November 2010
The initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped by 24,000, the third drop in four weeks; hinting that the job market is showing signs of life.

Hiring in Canada still in holding pattern
Globe and Mail, 05 November 2010
Canada’s labour market is drifting like the economy; the jobless rate has remained around the 8-per-cent mark for the past seven months.

Jobs returning but slow pace still a concern
Financial Post, 05 November 2010
The United States added 151,000 jobs in October but the overall unemployment rate still failed to budge from its stubbornly high 9.6% and nearly 15 million Americans are still out of work.

Immigrant program launched
Leader-Post, 10 October, 2010
A new program is designed in Saskatchewan to make it easier for international engineering grads to enter the workforce.


The bad news

Conference board predicts only tepid wage gains for next year
Montreal Gazette, 27 October 2010
Private sector expected to do better than public or unionized employees in 2011, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Older workers who won't retire hurt successors' careers
Montreal Gazette, 15 November 2010
U.S. late-night show host Conan O’Brian’s on-the-job experience is shared among people who felt their careers were being stifled by an older generation.

Jobs boomerang bittersweet
Montreal Gazette, 06 November 2010
Despite the rebound in jobs in Canada, full-time positions have not recovered since 2008 when employment have fallen by 102,000 to be replaced by 110,400 less stable and lower-paying part-time jobs.

Taux de chômage : la région encore dans une classe à part
Le Droit, 05 November 2010
The average unemployment rate is around 7.9 percent in October; the number of employees in the private sector has grown while the self-employed have decreased.

Lost Workers
Montreal Gazette, 23 October 2010
Unemployment is harder when you've been away from the job for a long time.


Other news

Labour shortage could hurt province's green economy
Vancouver Sun, 28 October 2010
A report has found that B.C. is facing a looming shortage of skilled and qualified workers in the "green" field over the next decade.

The World's Largest Employers
Vancouver Sun, 01 November 2010
A list of the world's largest employers in the Spectator magazine.

Statistics Canada - Unionization
On average, just over 4.2 million employees belonged to a union in Canada during the first half of 2010, up 64,000 from the same period last year.

Statistics Canada - Labour Force Survey
October 2010
In October, employment remained virtually unchanged for the second consecutive month, as full-time gains offset part-time losses. The unemployment rate edged down to 7.9% and has been around 8% for the past seven months.

Statistics Canada - Payroll employment, earnings and hours
August 2010 (preliminary)
Between August 2009 and August 2010, the average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rose 4.4% to $860.67. The last time earnings growth exceeded 4.0% was in February 2008.


Occupational highlight

Recreation, Sports and Fitness Program Supervisors and Consultants (NOC code 4167)
This unit group includes those who oversee and administer recreation, sports and fitness programs and activities, provide consulting services, conduct research and develop programs and policies related to recreation, sports and physical fitness.

In view of the increase in demand for sports and recreation, the number of recreation, sports and fitness program supervisors and consultants is expected to increase sharply over the next few years. Opportunities will arise mainly in sports and recreation clubs and health and fitness clubs, where the turnover rate is very high because of difficult working conditions.

The labour market status of graduates in bachelor of recreology programs is relatively good, but far worse for graduates with a bachelor's degree in physical education.

For a complete profile of this and other occupations, visit Career Cruising http://www.careercruising.com/Default.aspx. Contact us at caps [dot] library [at] mcgill [dot] ca for the username and password or login to myFuture https://csm-caps.mcgill.ca/students/ and search for Career Cruising under Documents - Career Resources.


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