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CAPS Scoop
Students' Edition
A Publication of McGill's Career & Placement Service (CAPS)
Volume 8, Issue 7
March 2007

In this issue:

1. Information and Inspiration at CAPS

2. For Those Facing the REAL World

3. What I Got Out of My Summer Job in a Health Sciences Research Lab

4. Summer Jobs for International Students

5. Who Are You and What Do You Want?

5. March Events

Backpack to Briefcase 2007

Throughout February and March, the McGill Alumni Association will be presenting workshops and seminars to provide you with practical life skills that you won’t learn in the classroom.

The topics to be presented include the following; staying healthy, dressing for success, how to manage your personal finances, how to network effectively, negotiation skills, dinning etiquette, and many more!

For more information and to register, check out our website, or contact the Student Programs Office: 398-3148, or e-mail us.

Contact Us

To find out more about CAPS' services or to get career advice, e-mail us.

To write for the Scoop or to volunteer with CAPS, contact Laura Massé.


Information and Inspiration at CAPS by Lindsay Tyler

Have you ever sat staring at your computer screen, trying to write a cover letter, but devoid of ideas? Do you want to know more about a particular career or field of work? Do you want to write a great C.V. and you need more specific and reliable information than is available on the Internet?

The CAPS Career Resource Centre is the best place to start if you need information and inspiration for your job search and planning your career. We have books on everything from CV writing to applying for graduate school to personal development. There is more than just books, too. There are computers where you can work on your job search, videos and DVDs about jobs and careers to watch, and magazines and newspapers. There is also a coordinator available to help you find what you’re looking for and answer your questions.

Books and videos can be borrowed overnight after 4pm for either a $10 refundable deposit or by leaving your McGill ID card. You can also read in the centre or make photocopies. Below is a sampling of resources that might interest you.

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For Those Facing the REAL World by Vickey Habel

If you are approaching that scary graduation date and feel anxious about getting that REAL job in a REAL organisation or you simply want a résumé-building summer position in a renowned company, the application process can be a nightmare. Stress piles up and you become overwhelmed with the numerous steps for submitting your candidacy.

No fret! Many of us have had guides. By this I mean people, websites, articles, and of course the CAPS office, which give you tips and tricks on how to be successful in your job hunt. And yet we ignore them. I want to share my own knowledge and hope you will not ignore these tips!

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What I Got Out of My Summer Job in a Health Sciences Research Lab by Renée Atallah

One cannot stress enough the benefits and importance of doing stages, whatever field of study you are in. This is especially true in health sciences, where basic research constitutes an integral part. As a summer student in a biochemistry research lab, I gained considerable technical and practical knowledge in conditions which were closer to “real-life” than the undergraduate laboratories. Indeed, you learn that it is ok to mess up once in a while, and that most of the time, experiments can be repeated if they do not work out (which is often the case!). In short, I did real research. This learning process goes on at your own pace, as usually there are no time limits to do your experiments. Being trained full-time by a graduate student, I learned work discipline which followed me throughout the remainder of my Bachelors of Science and into my graduate studies; I continued to do a Masters’ degree in Biochemistry. This practical experience was also very useful when it came to undertaking advanced laboratory courses or my honours project, as you also learn to work independently and to think critically. Last but not least, another invaluable benefit from working as a summer student in an academic research lab is that you get to know other students (undergrads and grads alike), technicians, and professors. These people can help you answer questions about jobs and further studies in the discipline you have chosen. They can also provide you with personal, relevant reference letters which can be very useful when the time comes to apply tograduate school, for scholarship, or med school. So send out those CVs, put on your lab coat and safety glasses, and you’re all set!

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Summer Jobs for International Students

Are you an International student staying in Montreal for the summer? How does a summer job sound?

Off-Campus Work Permits!
As you may, or may not, have heard, Immigration Canada launched an Off-Campus Work Program in 2006. The program allows international students to apply for an OCWP (On-Campus Work Permit), which allows the student to work 20 hours a week during the semester, and 40 hours a week during over the holidays and breaks.  The permit requires you to have been a student in Montreal for the last 6 months- so if you started in September, the chance is yours! For more information you can check out http://www.mcgill.ca/internationalstudents/workopportunities/

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Who Are You and What Do You Want? by Vickey Habel

It’s that time of year! Many students are on the prowl for a summer job to feed their bank accounts, yet few nourish their bank of experiences in their field of studies. I’m talking to you, yes you!

So you’ve spent the last year straining to absorb all kinds of information, presumably about a topic that interests you further than improving your GPA. How about applying what you’ve learned to your seasonal employment. This not only solidifies your knowledge retention but it colours your résumé with very interesting flavours for future employers to consider.

This is my story. I am a student at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. I love this multidisciplinary major appropriately named Canadian Studies. I have selected my summer jobs in the past according to the name of the company; all containing the word “Canada”. My functions were mostly call center customer service and office work, but it looks good on my CV. So much so that now I have the absolute best job in the world! I work for the travelling Canada Pavilion. I am a bilingual information officer, for the Government of Canada Exhibitions Program, at special events across the country such as the Calgary Stampede. My goal is to have an exciting career for the Government of Canada. With a bachelor’s degree from the world-renowned McGill University, sprinkled with a few strong employment experiences, I am provided with a very good chance at accomplishing that goal. I have not spent 3 years at university to end up working at McDonald’s and neither have you.

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March Events


Be sure to check out our regular workshops on a variety of different topics, such as CV and Cover Letter Writing, Internships and much more! The CAPS Events Calendar also contains a listing of career-related events on and off campus.
5th: CV Writing for Graduate Students: Humanities and Social Sciences
5th-9th: Community in Diversity
6th: Careers and Queers

9th: Networking Your Way to the Job You Want; Graduate School of Library and Information Studies Career Fair

12th: Finding and Obtaining the Ideal Internship
13th: Cold Calling as a Job Search Skill
14th: Looking for a Summer Job
15th: Alternative Careers in Life Sciences; Tree Planting
16th: Business Etiquette: More Than Just Eating With the Right Fork
19th: What Did I Learn in Grad School Anyway? Discovering Your Transferable Skills; Environmental Careers - Exploring Your Options With ECO Canada; Volt Technical Resources Information Session
20th: NetCorps Canada International Information Session
21st: Teaching Tips for Effective Science Lectures
27th: Writing an Effective CV
29th: Successful Interview Techniques

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