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Undergraudate Students - November 2011

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

Articles in this edition

Academic Exchange to Singapore

Working in the United Kingdom

Kick start Your Job Search Now!

Labour Market Information


Academic Exchange to Singapore

Haley Wasserman, Bachelor of Arts- Honours Political Science U3

For many students, venturing beyond the ‘McGill bubble’ is a rare occurrence, never mind leaving behind the city we know and love to embark on a journey overseas. The thought of stepping outside our comfort zones is oft a daunting task – be it exploring off the beaten path in Montreal or abroad.

 In July 2010 I packed my bags, said my goodbyes to my family, friends, and boyfriend, and landed in Singapore as a bilateral exchange student – not knowing a single soul in Asia. Little did I know at the time that my adventure would constitute more than merely study and travel- it would leave a profound mark on how I saw the world around me. My decision to do to Singapore was based on the travel opportunities it offered as the hub of Southeast Asia, as well as its linguistic comfort as an English-speaking country.

 It wasn’t difficult to adjust to Singapore life and school at the National University of Singapore. The residence where I stayed was filled with exchange students from all over the world, just like me, and these peers soon became my classmates, travel buddies, and lifelong friends. The university itself seemed to offer many more courses than McGill in my field of interest; that is, political science and communication studies. Thus, I chose to take five courses, did quite well in each of them, and still managed to travel to eight different countries during my five month stay.

 I have since settled back in Montreal with ease, and while I am happy to be back, I cannot wait to return to Asia as soon as possible. My experience abroad was one that I would not trade for anything in the world. After all, how many people are fortunate enough to travel to another country and experience another culture while only paying McGill tuition fees? If you have the chance or the slightest desire to go on exchange, do it. You won’t regret going, you’ll only regret not being able to stay longer.

Working in the United Kingdom

Laura Macshane, U3

As a U3 student at McGill, I am now finding myself in the daunting position of many others: how to find myself a job once I graduate. The difference is that I am a British International student, and will most likely be returning to the UK. McGill has so much practical advice to students who will be beginning their graduate careers in North America, but what about Europe? Where can I find the information to help me?

With this in mind, I went to the CaPS offices and proposed that we work together to help any student (including myself!) that might be thinking of working in the UK. As president of the British Appreciation Society (BAS), I know that many of us here at McGill would welcome any kind of information to help make the jump between North American higher education and either graduate school or just simply, a job in the UK.

Of course, as an undergrad at McGill, I don’t have any experience with graduate school in Britain. I also don’t have any experience with the intimidating task of beginning my career there. However, what many members of BAS and myself, do have an understanding of, is the general working environment in the UK. Like many of my friends here, I have had a part time job in England since the age of 16, and so we feel we can give advice or suggestions on this topic. For example, if you wanted to supplement your income with a Saturday job while doing a post-graduate course or an internship in Britain, we could tell you which were the best websites and temping agencies through which to find one. We also have friends from the BAS who graduated from McGill last year and who are currently in the process of doing the very things described above. They can share their lived and current experiences with us, which will be of invaluable help.

Christopher Little, from Lancaster University, UK, will give an information session on this very issue in November. BAS will also be present and give their account on working in the UK. Also November 24th is the Worldwide Careers Fair where we will have a stand with some typical British fare for you to sample while you ask us any questions you may have!

Kick start Your Job Search Now!

Vicky Tobianah, Bachelor of Arts 2011, McGill Alumni

As a student about to graduate during an economic recession with record-high unemployment rates, I knew that finding a job with “just” a Bachelor of Arts would be a challenge. But I was determined not to let that deter me.

When I entered my final year at McGill, I started looking for a job in September – eight months before I graduated, even though most graduates only start job searching in their final month of studies. I persisted, ignoring the confused looks and laughs from my friends, because I knew that most employers hire new graduates in September. I kept an eye out for any interesting job opportunities, internship programs and government jobs and began following job sites on Facebook and Twitter and I started blogging about my experiences for CaPS. I wrote down all the programs and jobs I was interested in, listing their deadlines and application requirements. I was spending almost as much time writing cover letters and editing my resumes as I was on my studies. Was it a bit too much? Maybe. It’s obviously important not to neglect your studies but too many students neglect their career search and then wonder why they have no job lined up when they’re set to graduate in a month. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

I’m not going to pretend the process was super easy or fun. It was challenging: I had to fit in going to CaPS workshops and attending events with industry professionals around my school schedule. I also really tried to tailor my resume to each job I was applying to – which got exhausting pretty quickly. But thanks to great online resources, the hard work did pay off: I applied to over fifty jobs, was interviewed by about ten and was offered three positions. I decided to work for TalentEgg, a career resource for students and new graduates. I had been writing for their online magazine, the Career Incubator, for over a year and I was able to demonstrate my passion for their work – helping ease the school to work transition for students and new graduates – along with my strong communication and writing skills. When they began looking for a Marketing and Editorial Coordinator, I immediately applied. After two skype interviews and a phone interview, I was offered the position.

The most frustrating part of my experience was that opportunities were very limited for Arts students, despite the fact that we learn the same analytical and communication skills you might get from a business course. When employers limit their candidates to just business students, they miss out on creative, smart individuals who can think out of the box and further their company. That’s why I’m happy I work for a company that is trying to improve the way employers and students connect and make the school-to-work transition easier, and frankly, a lot more inspiring.  TalentEgg’s Student Voice project allows students to share their stories and make recommendations directly to employers. If more and more students share their experiences, together we’ll have a strong voice to transform the Gen Y employment process.

If you’re about to graduate and you’re not sure where to start, I encourage you to check out TalentEgg to get started. You’ll find jobs from top Canadian employers, hundreds of articles to help jump-start your career and career guides for specific industries. Don’t wait until you’ve graduated to start the career you’ve always wanted.

Labour Market Information Bulletin

Lisa Lin, Resource Consultant CaPS

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

  • Alberta continues to lead gains with fifth straight monthly increase
  • Unemployment in the U.K. has jumped to its highest level since 1994
  • Occupational highlight: Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists' Assistants
  • And more!

The good news

Le Congrès américain approuve trois accords de libre-échange
La presse affaries, 13 October 2011
According to the White House, the agreement with Korea will increase exports and support jobs for American workers.

Bright news on the job front
Montreal Gazette, 08 October 2011
Job markets produced a nice Thanksgiving-eve surprise, with Canada showing a surge of nearly 61,000 new jobs. 

Alberta on five-month jobs streak
Edmonton Journal, 08 October 2011
Alberta's labour market continued to shine in September, gaining 8,600 jobs from August.

Post-secondary education a sound investment
Montreal Gazette, 19 September 2011
A TD Economics report says graduates of universities and colleges have a built-in advantage when they look for jobs.


The bad news

U.K. jobless rate hits 15-year high
The Globe and Mail, 12 October 2011
Unemployment in Britain jumped to its highest level since 1994; private companies failed to make up for job losses in the public sector, piling pressure on the government to boost a stagnant economy.

U.S. private sector adds jobs, planned layoffs rise
The Globe and Mail, 05 October 2011
U.S. private-sector employers added more jobs than expected in September, but another report on Wednesday showed a jump in planned layoffs in the month.


Other news

Role reversal: U.S. job seekers head north
The Globe and Mail, 13 October 2011
Canada's stronger economy is becoming a magnet for Americans hunting for work.

Statistics Canada – Study: Sources of stress among workers
In 2010, about 27% of working adults, roughly 3.7 million people, described their lives on most days as 'quite a bit' or 'extremely' stressful, meaning that they went through a regular day feeling a high level of stress. Another 6.3 million (46%) said they were 'a bit' stressed.

Statistics Canada – Study: Financial well-being of the self-employed
Self-employed households in Canada had more than twice the 'wealth,' or household net worth, of paid workers in 2009, and were also more knowledgeable about finances.

Statistics Canada - Study: Layoffs during the last three recessions
1981 – 2010
Canadian workers were less likely to be laid off during the last economic recession than their counterparts during the two recessions in the early 1980s and 1990s. They were also more likely to find a job in the short term.

Statistics Canada - Payroll employment, earnings and hours
July 2011 (preliminary) (Previous release)
In July, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased 0.1% from the previous month to $872.70. On a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings grew by 2.2%. This was the slowest earnings growth since January 2010.

Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey
September 2011 (Previous release)
Following two months of little change, employment rose by 61,000 in September, all in full time. This increase pushed the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 7.1%, the lowest rate since December 2008.


Occupational highlight

Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists' Assistants (NOC 3211)

Medical laboratory technologists conduct medical laboratory tests, experiments and analyses to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Pathologists' assistants assist at autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens or perform autopsies under a pathologist's supervision. Medical laboratory technologists who are also supervisors are included in this unit group.

Job prospects in this occupation are fair. After declining slightly in the middle of the 90s as a result of budget cuts in health care and in automation of diagnostic and treatment procedures, the number of medical laboratory technologists and pathologists' assistants increased sharply. This increase is a result of the end to budget cuts and greater demand for medical analyses and tests. Considering the government's health care priorities, the number of medical laboratory technologists and pathologists' assistants is expected to increase sharply in the coming years.

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/index.php and search for Career Cruising under the tab View Career Resources.


Lisa’s Corner

Thinking to work, volunteer, intern, teach or study abroad for next year?
Verge Magazine (http://www.vergemagazine.com/program-search.html) is North America’s premier magazine for exploring opportunities to study, work and volunteer abroad.   On the website, Verge offers a comprehensive directory containing programs that can help you to find right opportunities to enrich your life experience and make you a better global citizen.  You may also check out their Go Abroad resource e-guides for planning your time abroad:


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