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Published by McGill Career Planning Service (CaPS)
Visit us online: www.mcgill.ca/caps

April 2011

Volume 12, Issue 8

Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Montérégie

NEW: Student Career Stories on the CaPS Website!

Looking for post-graduation advice? Wondering what job search strategies and tips other McGill grads have found helpful? CaPS recently launched a new section on our website designed to showcase inspiring Career Stories from McGill students and recent alumni: "Career Stories."

This section is a work in progress and will be updated regularly – so check back often!

If you would like to share your own “Career Story” please contact Jan Bottomer jan.bottomer@mcgill.ca

Graduating? Looking for work? Consider joining the CaPS Job Finding Club

May 2 - May 13
May 24 - June 3

The premise of the CaPS Job Finding Club (JFC) is that finding employment is in itself a full-time job, which may be easier if done with a group of people. The JFC consists of a group of ten to fifteen graduating students, all of whom are seeking employment. You will have each other for support, with the assistance of a CaPS facilitator and the career advisors. It is a two-week program designed to teach you the most effective means of finding work in the field in which you want to be employed.

To apply, please present yourself at the CaPS office (Brown Building, Suite 2200) with a hardcopy of the registration form and your C.V.

What do you think of the CaPSScoop?

We are rethinking the look and content of this monthly e-newsletter, written by students, for students. We want it to meet your needs! If you have any suggestions or ideas, please email them to our Editor, Christine Herr: caps.cpe@mcgill.ca.

Join our CaPS LinkedIn Group!

Our CaPS Linkedin group is designed to help you build a solid career-focused online network and to exchange job search experiences. You will also benefit from the career education expertise of the qualified staff at CaPS and have the opportunity to view information regarding job search strategies and networking events. CaPS also invites McGill faculty, advisors and other staff members interested in helping students with their career-related endeavors.

Become of a fan of CaPS

Become a fan of the McGill Career Planning Service (CaPS) on Facebook as an extra way to stay informed about the latest CaPS events!

Vault Guide (Career Insider)

Vault is the world’s leading source of career information.  It will make your efforts at researching employers, industries, and career subjects infinitely easier and more efficient.

Vault also has a ton of material on finding summer jobs and internships.

McGill subscribes to this service and you can check it out today (you must be connected to the McGill VPN).

Contact Us

CaPS is located in the Brown Student Services Building (3600 McTavish, Suite 2200).

We also have an office at Macdonald Campus in the Centennial Centre.

Check out our website for details on all our programs and services!

For further inquiries, or to book an appointment with an advisor, please email us or call 514-398-3304 or drop into our office.

For other career centres on campus, click here.

Pick up the P.A.C.E.

Do you need help choosing a major or a career path?

CaPS, in collaboration with Counselling Services, offers the Program for Advancement of Career Explorations (PACE). This amazing series of four workshops includes vocational testing and a complete self-assesment. Upon completion of PACE you will be able to understand your personality type, identify your skills, interests and values, and how they relate to various occupations. As well, you will have a better understanding of the available resources and be able to create a realistic action plan with measurable goals.

P.A.C.E. is available to undergraduate and graduate students, both at the Downtown and Macdonald campuses.

There is a fee of $20 to cover the cost of vocational testing. Each session is limited to only 25 students, so register soon to ensure that you get a spot!

To register, please go to the Career Planning Service office at either campus.

Join the Mentor Program

The Mentor Program links current McGill students with working McGill alumni. It gives you the rare opportunity to enter into a professional relationship that can help shape your career path by giving you insider information. You will have the opportunity to receive advice, build professional networks and ask any and all questions about the realities of work and life beyond the classroom.

With the McGill Mentor Program, advice is free. Sign up or get more information online at caps.mcgill.ca/ci2 or contact the Mentor Program Coordinator at mentor.caps@mcgill.ca.

myFuture Resume Builder

myFuture has within it a resume builder which you can find in your Documents tab.  This new feature provides all the resources you need to create and submit your resume. It's quick and easy to use and produces high-quality, professional-looking resumes you can access anytime, from any computer.   Check it out by going to your Document tab from your myFuture homepage and click on the Resume Builder tab. 

Click here for a quick training guide.

CaPS CV Review and Advising Drop-In

Undergraduate students can drop in to CaPS, where a Career Advisor or Peer Educator will provide basic feedback and suggestions regarding your CV. Should this revision period prove insufficient, we would recommend you make an individual appointment. Please know we unfortunately cannot review cover letters during this time.

For a listing of C.V. Drop-In times, please click here.

Please note space is limited.

Undergraduate students can also drop in to CaPS to speak with a Career Advisor without an appointment for a quick question as a preliminary meeting to help you set your future goals.

For a listing of Advising Drop-In times, please click here.

Please note space is limited.

Don't have time to come by our office in person? Then check out our online "Ask a Career Advisor" service. Click on the icon below.



'Will you take a Gap Year?' Edition

Are you graduating soon?  Thinking of taking a break from your undergrad before you start graduate school?  Gap Years are growing in popularity and becoming a Canadian trend.  Gaining life experience is not only looked favorably upon by graduate admission committees but the skills you learn can shape your future career path.

Tanya Abelhauser-Gosselin, Canadian International Development Agency Internship, Dogon Country, Mali

The CaPS website has a detailed section on “Taking a Year Off”: http://www.mcgill.ca/caps/students/job-search/experience/gap-year/  Check it out for an extensive list of FAQs and resources!  The key to a successful Gap Year is planning, and there are tons of books, websites and organizations to help you along the way.  Also, visit the “Engage in New Experiences” section of the website for ideas on what you can do during a Gap Year:  http://www.mcgill.ca/caps/students/job-search/experience/ 

If travelling from the Cape to Cairo or saving sea turtles on the Galapagos Islands isn’t your thing, not to worry, you can gain Gap Year experience by staying in your home country!  Volunteer or work experience in Canada can be valuable experience, the goal is to build life experience and learn something new – regardless of where you are. 

Need more convincing?  Check out this article in Verge Magazine on “How to Plan Your Gap Year”:   http://www.vergemagazine.com/articles/40-departments/73-how-to-plan-your-gap-year.html or this article by the Harvard College Office of Admissions on the importance of taking a year off:  http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/apply/time_off/index.html 

If you are considering taking a gap year and want to discuss your options with a CaPS Career Advisor, drop by our office to make an appointment or call 514 398 3304.

In this issue:

Heather’s Picks: Top Two Gap Year Books
My Gap Year in Japan
The McGill Mentor Program
Mentor Program in Action
Labour Market Information Report
Upcoming Events
Intro to Grad School Funding
Contact Us

Heather’s Picks: Top Two Gap Year Books

by Heather McTavish, U3 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

Thinking about taking a year off? Or have you decided to take a year off and haven’t the slightest clue what to do with it? These two really great books will give you endless possibilities, ideas and great advice to make the most out of your gap year!

The first book I checked out is titled Your Gap Year: Everything you need to know to make your year out the adventure of a lifetime by Susan Griffith. What is great about this book is that it easily lays out sections for not only world travel but for gap year placements with tips and first hand accounts of student’s experiences. If you are worried about your bank account before jetting off around the globe, this book offers several programs and employers throughout Europe that hire seasonal labor. If you are looking to volunteer in the Costa Rican rainforest or work with children in Thailand there are numerous organizations and contact information. What I found great about this book is the first hand accounts; I thought they were a very honest and accurate portrayal of individual experiences. The only drawback of this book is the layout. But definitely a good book to check out!

The second book is my favourite, titled The Big Trip: Your Ultimate Guide to Gap Years and Overseas Adventures by Lonely Planet. This bright and colourful book is exciting and easy to read! From going over travel smarts and tailoring your trip to where you want to go, this book has it covered! This book takes you through step-by-step planning including what to pack, money, costs and culture shock. “The Big Trip” helps you plan who to travel with, where to stay, how to get there, options for adventure, festivals or courses! There are great visual maps of regional trips and information at each destination of where to stay and what to expect. All in all a fantastic book!

Both books are available in the CaPS library so please feel free to take a look for yourself!

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My Gap Year in Japan

By Candice Stoliker, M. Ed., Counselling Psychology

Before heading into my final year at university I knew I would be taking a gap year. I am the type of person that tends to work hard, but then needs time to play hard. This playing hard I thought could best be achieved by getting away from ‘it’ all; ‘it’ being academic pressures, social pressures, personal pressures … oh the list could go on but I figure if you are reading this you’re there, so you know what I mean.

Even though this decision was made in advance I hesitated when I saw what my friends were doing: applying to graduate school, studying for the LSATs and GREs, getting jobs, etc… Ahhhh!!! Various thoughts spun around in my head: “Am I making a mistake by getting up and going?”; “Will I be able to get into graduate school if I take time off?”; “What if I never come back?”; “What am I going to do with this year off anyways?”

These anxieties were fended off by really focusing on myself and what I needed- and I needed a year off.

[continue reading]

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The McGill Mentor Program

By Alexander Dyck, Bachelor of Music, 2010

I decided to enroll in the Mentor Program just before graduating, a time when I was looking for opportunities outside my degree program and certainly needed to find a job! During our arrangement, I saw my mentor in person every month or two and made an effort to keep in touch by email. Our meetings began more formally at his office and gradually relaxed over time. It was always a good idea to dress up a little. Before a meeting, I would sit down with a pad of paper and list the things I wanted to ask him about - his work and life experience, ideas I wanted to develop, things I wanted to learn about or people he knew that I might want to meet. Once we would start talking, I seldom had to think back to the list. It was also a good idea to meet his assistant and always advisable to book a session through her at least weeks in advance.

One good idea after we talked about my career interests was to bring in a list of cities I would be traveling through over the summer and to ask for recommendations of people to meet. Another was to make a list of academic programs I was applying for, which became the groundwork for some invaluable reference letters. When he recommended books to read, I bought and read them. When he recommended people to meet, I tried my best to connect with them in person. In the end, the effect of our relationship was multiplied by some great people he introduced me to.

What ultimately led me to job-hunting success was using the skills and confidence I developed with my mentor to network more broadly. Granted this took me outside my comfort zone and required hard work, it paid off when I met my present boss, the CEO of a national arts institution who happened to have a significant professional connection to my mentor.

In my view, the mentor program is an "everything to gain, nothing to lose" proposition. Like anything, you can get out of it exactly as much as you put into it and possibly much more. With some curiosity, courtesy, and motivation, any student or recent grad stands to benefit... and what better way to start your professional life than with a seasoned coach cheering you on!

For more information on The McGill Mentor Program visit http://caps.mcgill.ca/ci2/  or contact the Mentor Program Coordinator at mentor.caps@mcgill.ca.

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Mentor Program in Action

International Development undergrad Alicia Bruce meeting with her mentor at the UNICEF headquarters in New York City.

Mentors offer career planning that you can only expect from someone in your field!

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Labour Market Information Report

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.library@mcgill.ca.

In this issue:

  • Alberta is back as a “job-creating machine” for its notable employment gain

  • Canada’s job creation is slow but the outlook of the manufacturing sector continues to look good

  • The U.S. job machine is finally moving out of its low gear

  • It takes more than a computer science degree to secure a hi-tech job

  • Occupational highlight: Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters

  • And more!

[to view this bulletin, click here]

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Upcoming Events

The events below are only a sampling of the many taking place this month. For a full listing of all events offered this month and to register, log-in to myFuture. Select the event you would like to attend and click on "RSVP."

  • SWAP Info Session
    April 6, 6:00-7:00pm, VOYAGES CAMPUS office Shatner Bldg.

  • Where to find Summer Jobs: Beat the Heat
    April 6, 3:00-4:30pm, Brown 3001

  • Journée Contact – 4e édition
    April 7, 12:00-7:00pm, External to McGill

  • Intro to Grad School Funding
    April 12, 9:30-11:00pm, Leacock 232

“Thinking of going to grad school? Make your application as competitive as possible by applying for federal and provincial funding”

This workshop is designed to assist you in your planning for graduate funding by focusing on the basic information required to apply. After attending this session, you will be able to answer the following questions:
•How does graduate funding work at McGill?
•What are the resources to help me understand, and apply for, funding?
•How should I prepare to apply for graduate funding?

Other questions that will be addressed during the session include:
•What is the difference between ‘external’ funding and ‘internal’ funding?
•What funding is available and what are the major sources of funding?
•What are the general eligibility requirements?
•What timeline should I follow for funding applications?

Open to all Undergraduates (U2s U3s encouraged especially).

  • Salon carrières et emplois
    April 19, 12:00-7:00pm; April 20, 10:00am-5:00pm, Palais des congrès de Montréal

  • Graduate School of Medicine, University of Wollongong Australia Visiting Campus - Interveiws
    April 25, 10:00-2:00pm, Brown 2200


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