COVID-19 FAQ

Many of you will be adjusting to changes in your employment and career plans, as well as facing financial challenges. We’ve received many questions about the potential for work disruptions due to COVID-19, so we’ve listed some FAQs, programs, services and resources below to address your concerns. This page will be updated as more information and resources become available.


How can CaPS help me?

Our team continues to offer students, graduating students, and recent alumni online career advising and workshops. We continue to work with employers to help them recruit, and find solutions to support student employment.

Recognizing that students and graduates may experience significant uncertainty about the job market and their future career / internship plans, we have launched a Job Search Resiliency Discussion group to support you in pivoting your plans.

Additionally, we are launching our Online Job Search Bootcamp: Crash courses in CV/Cover Letters / LinkedIn / Networking / Interviewing / Negotiating.  For information and sign-up please go to: CaPS Online Job Search Book Camp


Jobs and internships

What should I do if my New / Summer 2020 employer advises me that my internship is cancelled?

The first thing you should do if this happens is ask about the possibility of working remotely. While this isn’t feasible for many jobs, it is for some. It never hurts to ask if there is any way you can work from home (WFH) and still add value to the project or organization.

Can I ask my future employer to let me work from home (WFH)?

Many organizations are shifting to WFH arrangements in light of COVID-19 and it could be possible for you to do the same. For example, research labs may still have opportunities for remote data input, survey creation, data analysis, or literature reviews. Ask your employer, and share how you would ensure a productive WFH environment.

Not sure how to work effectively from home? See the following resources:

What financial support is available for students who cannot secure summer or who have not found post-graduate employment opportunities?

How will this situation impact my extra-curricular activities – What can I do to keep building my CV during this time?

  • myFuture lists various volunteer opportunities. Keep in mind that many employers across diverse sectors considered essential services continue to recruit and hire.
  • The Government of Canada is now offering remote volunteer positions for Canadian citizens through their National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign. This is a great way to keep building your CV with extra-curricular activities accomplished from home. You can apply directly through GC Jobs
  • The Quebec Government is also currently seeking volunteers, you can apply directly through Jebenevole.ca

Can I still apply for jobs at this time?

Keep applying, the market still has opportunities and the people who land them are going to be the ones who are intentional and persistent with their search. Keep an open mind, but do not take jobs out of desperation – think about what’s best for you in the long-run and remember that the job market is shifting on a daily basis. 

Which industries and organizations are still hiring during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Despite the uncertainty caused by the outbreak, many industries and organizations are still growing and hiring right now. Here’s a list of examples:

  • Large tech organizations (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Organizations offering products that support remote work (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.)
  • Online learning organizations
  • Food delivery services and online grocery platforms
  • Essential services (hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants with take out/delivery, etc.)
  • Digital entertainment and streaming services/video games
  • Healthcare (data specialists, researchers and scientists, communications specialists)

Interviews

How will interviews be done for future hiring at this time?

Employers will be using technology platforms (Zoom, Skype, etc.) to search for new talent. Be prepared for your remote interview by following these steps:

  1. Nail your setup:
    • Avoid any bright back-lighting, as this will turn you into a shadowy silhouette.
    • Find a place where you won’t be interrupted and where you can close the door to shut out any external noise.
  2. Try a test run:
    • Do a test run before so you can iron out any issues in advance.
    • Ask a family or friend to call you on the same platform that your interviewer will, so you know that your camera, microphone or phone connection all works properly.
    • You can also practice by recording yourself through Interview Stream. Sign up with your McGill e-mail to practice interviewing.
  3. Draft your notes:
    • As you would with a physical interview, prepare some answers to possible interview questions.
    • Keep them brief, so you are able to speak freely and naturally.
    • Sit your notes somewhere where they are visible, but not right in front of you to maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
  4. At the interview:
    • Have everything in place at least 10 minutes before the interview starts, (e.g., glass of water, notes) just like you would get in early if interviewing physically.
    • Dress accordingly.
    • Keep your intonation and body language positive and engaging as if you were in the interview room physically.
Source: Siliconrepublic.com

I recently had an interview, but didn’t hear back – what should I do?

Be politely persistent by following up with empathy during the interview process. Everyone is dealing with a lot right now and be mindful of that while showing your commitment and enthusiasm for the role.

Source: Cultivated Culture

Networking

What online resources exist for remote networking with employers or McGill alumni?

Use this time to leverage your LinkedIn profile to increase visibility and take your networking online. LinkedIn is an amazing resource right now for two reasons:

  • It’s a search engine that recruiters are using to find candidates. If you want to show up you need to optimize your profile for the roles you want.
  • With a spike in remote work, relationship building is moving online. There’s no better place to do that than LinkedIn. Start getting active by commenting on posts, engaging with people, and sharing things you like. All of those things will push people to your profile.
  • #McGillHires: If you are graduating from McGill this year, or are a McGill alum, join the McGill University Alumni LinkedIn group where additional job opportunities are being shared.

Another great tool is McGillConnect, an exclusive online network that gives you the potential to connect with fellow McGillians with relevant career and life experiences. Find out more on how to use it on McGillConnect


Developing career readiness skills

What can I do at this time to develop skills for future employment?

You can take this time to build your skills and get ready for your career with online courses and certificates through different websites, such as:

  • Take a free online course available through providers like Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Codecademy , or Udemy
  • Look through the online courses in the career skill training catalogue
  • Develop an independent project to work on during the summer
  • Volunteer remotely with local organizations
  • Hone additional skills in your subject of qualification and don’t forget to add them to your CV!

Are there any other activities that I can do in order to develop my skills and competencies?

Students who further their skills and competencies will stand out from other applicants who did not take initiative during this time. Here are some activities to consider:

  • Learning another language
  • Creating a website or online portfolio
  • Asking professors if you can help with their research
  • Managing a website or social media for a local organization
  • Volunteer opportunities for charities and non-profits

How can I show employers that I took initiative to hone additional skills during this time?

You can add your professional skill development activities in your CV. For example, a new hard skill could be added to the “Skills section” in your resume, online course training could be added in your “Education” section and a project or freelance work could be added in a section titled “Projects”.

How can I still participate in career fairs virtually?

Career fairs are a great way to network and find potential employers. Given the current situation, many of these events will be held virtually to provide job seekers with a similar experience. Consult this list to find out more about different career fairs being offered remotely at this time:

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