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Undergraduate Students - September 2012

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

Articles in this edition

The CaPS Welcome Back Checklist

Lending a Hand at Head and Hands

Alumni Interviews with Winnie Hu: James Bassil from AskMen

Labour Market Information


The CaPS Welcome Back Checklist

By Sarah Cameron, Career Advisor at CaPS and MECC

Another year is upon us. It can be hard to jump back in to things when the sun is shining; so, in these autumn months, spend a bit of time looking back at your summer break, reflecting on your experiences, wrapping up loose ends, and set some goals. Here is a checklist to help you say goodbye to summer and start the school year totally fresh:

  • Send a goodbye email to your summer colleagues.

A quick farewell email is a nice way to end your summer job; it is professional and will leave your colleagues with a strong impression of you. Thank your colleagues for the opportunity and support you received, and let them know what you enjoyed about the job. Don’t forget to provide people with your current email address.

  • Update your resume.

This is easiest when your summer experiences are still fresh in your mind. Drop by to see a career advisor to get some help – stop by CaPS during daily drop-ins or to make an appointment. Don’t forget to update your Linked In profile while you’re at it.

  • Reflect on how you spent your summer.

Whether you were on exchange, working, or lying on the beach, you had experiences that will help you plan your career. Did you love office culture or long to be outside? Was the quiet of a cubicle a haven, or were you feeling a bit claustrophobic? Did you love learning a new language while on exchange? By reflecting and recording these experiences, you will be able to better approach your next experience – whether to get back to what you already know you love doing, to find a job or field of study that compliments your new interests, or to test out something completely new.

  • Get involved!

Hone your skills and contribute to your community by joining a club or volunteering. Participating in extracurricular activities is not only a fun way to get involved on campus, but also will allow you to continue developing valuable professional skills. Consider taking a role on an executive team or council to further challenge your abilities!

  • Look ahead to next summer.

Summer 2013 is a long way off, but it is not too early to start looking ahead. Whether you are graduating, looking at internships, planning on attending grad school, or not quite sure which path to take: take advantage of all of the activities on campus.  Attend information sessions and career fairs to get a sense of what is out there and to get to know professionals in your field.

Lending a Hand at Head and Hands

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

With the Fall semester unfolding, the energy on campus is contagious, as students make school year resolutions and do their best to start off on the right foot.  Another body-related expression, “lending a hand”, is one of the most common of said ambitions or goals, and it is my hope that this monthly column will help some of you in finding the volunteer or internship position you desire.  Or at least assist you in getting a head start.

Founded in 1970, Head and Hands provides medical, social, and legal services (mostly free of charge) to youth between the ages of 12 to 25.  The local non-profit organization envisions a society in which youth are active participants, providing the necessary tools and support for individuals of all socio-economic backgrounds to reach their full potential.  Head and Hands is modern and forward-thinking, leading initiatives such as: a youth drop-in centre (Jeunesse 2000), a support system to deal with institutional racism and racial profiling (Project X), and a peer-based sex education program (the Sense Project).  Volunteers will soon be needed for several other services, including the tutoring and Young Parents programs.

Should you be skilled in a subject such as Math or French as a Second Language, you may want to consider applying for the position of a tutor, whereby you would meet with a middle- or high school student for one hour each week through the duration of a semester or academic year.  If you are interested in working with babies and tots, the position of Childcare volunteer within the Young Parents Program might be more up your alley; working with a Childcare Educator and other volunteers, you would engage children in activities such as arts and crafts, and story time, while their parents participate in workshops and discussion groups.

For those more oriented toward the business side of things, use your event coordination and fundraising skills to host an event in the organization's honour.  Previous successes include the likes of yoga classes, birthday parties, and brunches; but the team at Head and Hands has many other ideas up their sleeves.  The use of the Head and Hands name and logo requires permission, so make sure to contact the group well before your scheduled event. 

Head and Hands is looking for volunteers who are familiar with their mandate (providing a youth-positive environment free of judgement and discrimination) and who are prepared to help determine and fulfill a wide variety of situations and needs brought by the youth using the organization's services.  As a large number of applications are received throughout the year, Head and Hands asks that you apply to only the specific volunteer opportunities posted on their website, as opposed to submitting an unsolicited request.  For further information, please visit www.headandhands.ca.  Working toward the betterment of your immediate community is definitely worth a good old pat on the back.

Alumni Interviews with Winnie Hu: James Bassil from AskMen

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

Although it is not often said, September is a problematic month for many of us. From first year jitters to almost-graduating stress, we students harbour a generous dose of anxiety under that back-to-school cheer. But that feeling of uncertainty is exacerbated especially at the beginning of U3. What is my life plan? What am I to do after I graduate? How to make the big bucks? In other words, the future transforms into an obese elephant every time we converse with our mothers…or with ourselves. If only we knew what to do with the short time we have left to prepare our entrance into society.

James Bassil from AskMen.com says it’s absolutely normal to panic a little as you near graduation; and also completely unnecessary. An alumnus since 2001, James began his career with a small publishing company run by a McGill professor and has since become the Editor-in-Chief of the most widely read men’s lifestyle magazine on the web. Students like to panic about jobs as graduation nears, but looking back, the man behind the print says that he should have taken some time off after finishing university to do what he wanted.

At a towering height of around 6’4”, James seems less intimidating than his stature or title suggests. He moves blithely around the office and speaks engagingly about his team’s plans for their brain baby – a strategy to rein in more profit for the magazine. Everything seems to be going for him, just as his career path seems to have immaculately fallen into place after McGill. Listening to him speak of his work experience, one may note how incredibly lucky James was to have found work in the wake of a recession and 9/11. But in retrospect, James was quite shrewd. He had taken a web publishing class at Concordia after graduation just as the .com phenomena emerged into the public sphere; and paired with his degree in English Literature, James had all the necessary tools to work in both journalism and publishing. James made his own luck.

How did he do it? James advises students to build a sense of what exactly employers are in want. A good way to stay informed is to take a good look at job sites, looking at qualifications, getting an idea of where your industry of interest is right now. And of course, the next step is to qualify – by learning what is most pertinent to your field. During the job application process, the main concern is to distinguish yourself. Employers are looking for creative people, a trait that is best perceived through demonstration. Don’t be afraid to reveal your personality and your opinions in the interview process. Your employers want to know who you are and who they might be working with in the future.

But all of this career-prepping depends on the one simple detail – knowing what you want to do in life. What if we don’t know what we want? Sitting in his white leather plush chair, James exclaims, ‘not knowing what you want to do is a good thing!’ University is a time to discover what you like and forging friendships. Build your skills around your interests and things will eventually fall into place for you. University, regardless of what year, is a time and place where you should enjoy yourself. Although you may not know it yet, McGill is preparing your red carpet entrance into the real world.

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

  • The U.S. employment rate is picking up in the end of July
  • Fewer Canadian employers expect to add permanent full-time jobs
  • Quebec lost 28,700 jobs in July
  • Occupational highlight: Natural and Applied Science Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers
  • And more!

The good news

Brighter employment picture masked by loss of part-time jobs
The Globe and Mail, 10 August 2012
A closer look at July’s sharp drop in employment reveals a brighter picture of full-time job gains and modest job growth over the rest of 2012.

Hotter U.S. employment picture in July is a good sign for economy
Montreal Gazette, 04 August 2012
The U.S. job market picked itself up off the mat in July, shaking off three months of dismayingly feeble payroll growth.

L'emploi continue de croître dans le secteur des services
La Presse, 25 July 2012
The employment in the services sector will continue to grow at a different rate according to the industry sector.


The bad news

L'emploi s'immisce dans la champagne
La Presse, 11 August 2012
Quebec has lost 28,700 jobs in July, the worst performance among the provinces.

For young job seekers, no relief in sight
The Globe and Mail, 05 August 2012
The Canadian economy churned out an impressive number of new jobs over the first half of the year, but is not likely to repeat the feat in the second half.

Fewer Canadian employers to add jobs in the second half of 2012: survey
The Globe and Mail, 05 July 2012
A new survey suggests fewer Canadian employers expect to add permanent full-time jobs in the second half of 2012 than they did in last year’s poll.


Other news

Le salaire moyen atteint 894,61$ par semaine au Canada
La Presse, 26 July 2012
The average weekly salary rose by 2.5% in all provinces.

Montreal Top Employers 2012
Montreal Gazette, February 2012
Listing of top employers in Montreal.

Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey
July 2012
Following two months of little change, employment in July declined by 30,000, the result of losses in part-time work. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 7.3%.

Statistics Canada - Payroll employment, earnings and hours, May 2012
May 2012
In May, average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $894.61, up 0.5% from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased 2.5%

Occupational highlight

Specialists in Human Resources (NOC 1121)

Specialists in human resources develop, implement and evaluate human resources and labour relations policies, programs and procedures and advise managers and employers on personnel matters. Specialists in human resources are employed throughout the private and public sectors, or they may be self-employed.

Job prospects in this occupation are good. Over the past few years, the number of specialists in human resources has increased sharply. The development of new human-resources management concepts, growing importance of manpower training and changes to legislation and work organization methods largely explain this growth. Given that these trends should remain positive, the number of specialists in human resources is expected to continue to increase sharply over the next few years.

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 career fairs outside campus?
National Career Event (http://www.ecarrieres.com/en/index.php) is a website offering information on job fairs.  The website covers 6 specific fields: Technology, Engineering, Aerospace, Healthcare, Banking/Financing/Insurance, Sales and Customer Service, and All-in-One careers.  The organization also involves in organizing virtual career fairs.   Most of the fairs take place in September-October.


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