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Undergraduate Students - November 2012

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

Articles in this edition

Go Global at GEOS Language Academy

How to Find International Work from Canada

Alumni Interviews with Winnie Hu: Naseem Awl and International Work

Labour Market Information


Go Global at GEOS Language Academy

By Stephanie Gutnik, Bachelor of Arts (2011) and CaPS Scoop Journalist

If you have been thinking about launching a career outside of your country of origin, a little bit of exposure to international experiences goes a long way.  Whether or not you have already had the chance to study or work in a different city, volunteering at the GEOS Language Academy of Montreal will give you a taste of other nations, without the jet lag.

GEOS Montreal is part of a global network of GEOS academies, and offers an assortment of language programs and courses on both full-time and part-time bases.  The company also provides private lessons, test preparation programs for exams (such as the TOEFL), as well as elective courses in business and academic writing. English and French anchor the academy's classes, though other languages such as Spanish and Japanese are also on the menu. 

While volunteer positions used to be offered strictly to people enrolled in courses, GEOS now welcomes assistance from a variety of applicants.  The administration is quite small, meaning that there are plenty of opportunities to both work in a domain that suits your interest, as well as multitask to help other departments when required.  Assisting the academic, marketing, or activities coordinators allows one to volunteer within a flexible schedule.

A commitment of full days (9 am to 4 pm) is typically required within unpaid internships of GEOS.  Interns will go through heavy training, wherein they will learn to use the unique software and servers of the company; however, like volunteers, interns will be expected to occasionally help with other facets of the administration.  An evaluation will be provided upon completion of the internship so that academic credit can be obtained.
For those of you who are certified in teaching English or French as a second language, you could be saying bonjour to a thicker wallet, as GEOS is always looking for teachers to fill paid positions.  Student teaching positions are also available on a voluntary basis to students of second language certificates.

If you are interested in joining a dynamic environment that lives and breathes linguistic matriculation and cultural discovery, send an e-mail along with your CV and Cover Letter to info [at] geosmontreal [dot] com.

How to Find International Work from Canada

By Sarah Cameron, Career Advisor at CaPS and MECC

Does the idea of another long Montreal winter have you dreaming of packing your bags and running to a dream job in the tropics? Before you hop on a plane, there are plans to be made and jobs to be found. When I graduated university, I was on the first plane out of town with what seemed like a very cushy job teaching English abroad. After an exhausting year, I was on the road again: exploring South America, studying Spanish, and eventually working. These experiences taught me a lot about how to find a job abroad, some of the pitfalls, and—most importantly—the rewards. There is no surefire approach to looking for international work; but there are some great strategies that will point you in the right direction.

Get Organized
Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Just like in any job search, you need to get organized before you begin. Having a sense of where you would like to go, and/or what you would like to do, is the first step. Before you begin applying for jobs, you need to determine what kind of work permits and visas you will need, and how to obtain them. Being able to reassure a prospective employer that you have these matters under control is vital.
Once you know what you need to be entitled to work in your destination of choice, you need to understand the job market. Read local news sources, seek out advice from people living/working in the area, and check out company websites. Being aware of what opportunities exist, as well as speaking to friends or acquaintances that have made the same leap, will allow you to have a realistic sense about what to expect.

Network, network, network!
When you are planning to move somewhere new and trying to find work abroad, networking is crucial—not just in securing work, but also in building a social network. Having people go to for advice, job leads, and moral support will make this process much easier, especially if these individuals can refer you to local employers. Don't be afraid to reach out to that friend-of-a-friend, or reluctant to take help from a friend of your parents who you have never met; the more people who know what kind of work you are looking for and who can provide advice in this process, the better.

Be prepared to compromise
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you don't have luck being hired from home. This is common; employers may be reluctant to take on an employee who they haven't met in person. In this case, you have a few options. You could pursue opportunities closer to home, with companies that have opportunities in other countries, and try to get transferred in the future. In some cases, when you know where you want to go, you may have to take a leap of faith and travel to that location before you have a job. Letting a prospective employer know that you will be there on a certain date and would like the opportunity to discuss opportunities in person can make them feel at ease. Sometimes, you may have to spend some time working in a job that is not exactly your ideal fit to build up local references and work history.
Finding a job internationally is not something that happens overnight—it requires some pretty serious planning, networking, and effort; but the adventure is well worth it!

Here are a few resources to help you get on your way!

Alumni Interviews with Winnie Hu: Naseem Awl and International Work

By Winnie Hu, U3 Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and English Literature) & CaPS Scoop Journalist

All false modesty aside, one thought that often runs around in the nifty minds of McGill students is: “Yeah, I’m smart”. Even if one is genuinely humble—or God forbid, truly dim—one will have little difficulty in admitting that the McGill student’s level of intelligence is above average. The truth is, we believe that we have great potential to be outstanding members of society. But with the dismal job-market overtaking the new decade, the Canadian version of the American Dream looks a little blurry. The competition is hotter than ever because there are so many qualified, university-educated, people. It can be very hard to find a rewarding job that we believe we deserve.

The answer to this problem may lie in the need to widen our perspectives; that is to say, looking to international careers. Naseem Awl is a UNICEF representative working as an HIV Prevention Specialist based in Lesotho. Having graduated from McGill in Political Science and International Development in 2002, she went on to University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies to complete a Master of Science degree in International Politics. Because she grew up in West Africa, Naseem looked for work that would bring her back to these roots in a professional capacity.

For Naseem, her work at UNICEF is highly satisfying. Lesotho has the world’s third highest prevalence of HIV and she gets to manage a program through UNICEF’s offices in the country that helps adolescents and young adults gain the skills and knowledge necessary to prevent themselves from being infected. Naseem works with the government and various other organizations to increase the people’s access to treatment and medical support. The fact that she is part of a global mission and directly affecting the health of children gives her a good feeling.

However, as rewarding as it is to work for an international organization dedicated to humanitarian work, you should also be aware of the disadvantages. Naseem says that working in marginalized communities or lower-income countries could mean “that you have to live in a challenging environment—war-affected, or a location with few amenities or comforts.  Jobs in these fields can be extremely rewarding but do require some level of sacrifice; you would be away from family and friends [and] communications (including through the internet) may not be so reliable”. Nevertheless, she insists that the benefits of the job, including the salary, can make it worthwhile.

Employers for international organizations are increasingly producing job vacancies with more specialized functions, asking for very specific skills. Naseem recommends students to build up their language competencies, look into public health degrees, and take courses in statistics. Those are the more common skillsets asked for by international organizations.

University students, especially those at McGill, want to do something meaningful with their lives. We want to be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves, be somewhere where our skills matter, and which will enable us to make a mark on the world. Perhaps, international organizations are the key. 

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

  • Canada adds a surprising number of new jobs
  • U.S. private sector adds new jobs in September
  • The EU warns of  an “economic and social disaster” as joblessness continues to rise
  • More Canadians start their own business
  • Occupational highlight: Registered Nurses
  • And more!

The good news

Canada’s job gains soar past expectations
Montreal Gazette, 05 October 2012
Canada’s economy created five times more jobs than expected in September.

U.S. private sector adds 162,000 jobs, beats forecasts
The Globe and Mail, 03 October 2012
U.S. companies added 162,000 jobs in September, more than economists expected but still pointing to slow improvement in the labour market, data from a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

Meagre job growth ahead
The Globe and Mail, 30 September 2012
While analysts forecast a net loss in employment, a slide in labour force participation will mean a meagre improvement to job rate.

Le salaire moyen grimpe à 906,68$ par semaine au Canada
La presse, 27 September 2012
The average weekly earnings rose 4.1% in five major industrial sectors. 

Bad news

Baristas with bachelor degrees: Canadian youth flunking job market
Metro (Ottawa), 02 October 2012
Canadian youth are more educated than ever, but it's not opening the same doors for them as it did for their parents.

Eurozone warns of ‘economic and social disaster’ as unemployment hits record
Financial Post, 01 October 2012
EU institutions and governments, businesses and social partners at all levels need to do all they can to avoid a lost generation, which would be an economic and social disaster as joblessness among young Europeans continued to rise.

Other news

More Canadians abandoning traditional work, striking out on their own: report
Montreal Gazette, 25 September 2012
A new report from CIBC points to a sharp rise in the number of Canadians starting their own businesses.
Statistics Canada - Job vacancies, three-month period ending in June 2012
September 2012
Canadian businesses had 263,000 job vacancies in June, 20,000 more than in June 2011. There were 5.3 unemployed people for every job vacancy, down from 5.8 in June 2011.

Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey
September 2012
Employment increased for the second consecutive month in September, up 52,000, mainly in full-time work. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 7.4% as more people participated in the labour market.

Statistics Canada - Payroll employment, earnings and hours
July 2012
In July, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $906.68, up 1.1% from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased 4.1%.


Occupational highlight

Registered Nurses (NOC 3152)

This unit group includes registered nurses, nurse practitioners, registered psychiatric nurses and graduates of a nursing program who are awaiting registration (graduate nurses). They provide direct nursing care to patients, deliver health education programs and provide consultative services regarding issues relevant to the practice of nursing.

Job prospects in this occupation are good.  Opportunities will open up mainly through retirement and, to a lesser degree, from employment increase. Some career opportunities will result from promotions to supervisory and management positions. There is little turnover in this occupation but some registered nurses with university grades are turning to university or college teaching positions.

For a complete profile of this and other occupations, visit Career Cruising http://public.careercruising.com/ca/en
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 "Resources" -> "Career Resources" -> "Career Resources”.

Lisa’s Corner

Looking for best employers for new graduates?
Eluta.ca (http://www.eluta.ca/search-new-grad) is a search engine that specializes in finding new job announcements at employers across Canada.  This site allows you to obtain a list of employers by degree and field of study.  Each employer profile gives you key info of the organization and information about which grads are hired and the type of positions available for new grads.


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