The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brings uncertainty in your employment and career plans as well as financial challenges. We have received many questions concerning the impact on the labour market due to COVID-19. To assist you through this uncertain time, we have listed some FAQs, programs, services and resources.
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 different workshop series:
- Empower your job or internship search by taking as many courses as possible - Crash courses in CV, Cover Letters, LinkedIn, Networking, Interviewing and Negotiating: Online Job Search Series
- Are you looking for career ideas? Want to learn how specific industry sectors are organized and what kinds of roles are available within it: Industry Insiders Series
- Missed any past sessions? Check out our recorded sessions (McGill credential is required for first time user)
Jobs and internships
Keep applying, the employers are still hiring while they adapt the realities of COVID-19 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.
Despite the pandemic, demand for workers is still growing, and some sectors even face labour shortages. Examples:
- Large tech organizations (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, etc.)
- Essential services (hospitals, public safety, food services, etc.)
- Healthcare and healthcare supply companies
- Online teaching and learning companies (Udemy, Coursera, etc.)
- Technological support and telecommunication firms
- For a list of in-demand employer sectors:
- Talent Montreal: Employment sectors
- Job Bank Canada: Jobs and career options during the COVID-19 pandemic
- LinkedIn: Who's Hiring
Many employers around the world have adapted the 'hybrid model' and some even switched to long-term remote work, offering employees flexible work arrangement. 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.
For tips on working effectively from home: McGill Onboarding Central's Work from Home Guide (PDF)
What financial support is available for students who cannot secure Fall/Winter or who have not found post-graduate employment opportunities?
Visit the Scholarships and Student Aid website to learn about Pandemic-related relief measures and benefits available to you.
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 are considered essential services and continue to recruit and hire.
- Getting involved on meaningful learning opportunities: myInvolvement
- On-campus volunteering: Students Helping Students
- Volunteer opportunities in Montreal: Montréal Volunteer Bureau
- The Quebec Government is also currently seeking volunteers, apply directly through Jebenevole.ca
Employers will be using technology platforms (Zoom, Teams, Skype, etc.) to search for new talent. Be prepared for your remote interview by following these steps:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Use this time to leverage your LinkedIn profile to increase visibility and take your networking online. LinkedIn is an amazing resource right now for these reasons:
- It’s a search engine that recruiters are using to find candidates. If you want to attract employer's attention, 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.
For more resources on networking: COVID-19 Networking Scripts for Job Seekers: How to connect in a time of crisis
Developing career readiness skills
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: Free Online Courses
- Develop an independent project to work on during the semester
- Volunteer remotely with local organizations
- Hone additional skills in your subject of qualification and don’t forget to add them to your CV!
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
- Volunteering for charities and non-profits
- Getting involved on meaningful learning opportunities outside the classroom through myInvolvement
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”.
Career fairs are a great way to network and find potential employers. Given the current situation, some fairs are in-person and many are still held virtually. Consult this list to find out more about different career fairs: