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3 Steps to Striving Through Uncertain Times – Living your Questions

The feeling of uncertainty is hard to describe, but we have all felt it. It can be the doubt that inhibits action, the lack of conviction in a particular choice, or the ambiguity surrounding the future. We will all go through phases when everything familiar seems to change – starting a new career, moving to a new city, losing a loved one, starting a new relationship. For some people, graduating from university is one of those times, specifically graduating without any specific plans.

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How to Negotiate a Job Offer – Workshop Overview

Life is full of negotiations and compromises. However, when we think about negotiating a job offer, the stereotypes of greedy, bossy and uncommitted people quickly surface. Many people fear that negotiating a job offer will lead to tension in the workplace, or even cause them to lose an offer*. Consequently, many people shy away from negotiating and from asking for a better work experience for themselves. To help us navigate the complexities of negotiating a job offer, McGill’s Career Planning Services (CaPS) hosted a workshop called “Negotiating Your Academic Job Offer” on March 30th, presented by Dr. Niem Huynh, as part of the Academic Career Week. Here, I summarize the main strategies for negotiating a job offer.

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Let’s Talk: Don’t Suffer the Agony of Job Searching Alone

I have spent the last two months attending counseling on resumes, cover letters and interviews; applying for jobs online, and meeting with employers. I have heard sayings such as “when you don’t have a job, it is your full-time job to search for one,” and “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I figured, it can’t be that difficult, you just put in the time and, like school, you apply where you want, they realize your merit and bam! you’ve got a dream job that you’re passionate about and pays really well… How naïve of me. I have agonised over cover letters and resumes, with each application requiring 5 hours of grueling preparation. I have been faced with rejection time after time, and all of it has had a mental toll on me. Coming out of McGill, I have hardly had to prove my merits because they were there clearly posted on my transcript. I had rarely been rejected for research or VP positions that I had wanted. Now, I am stewing in self-doubt, doubting my credentials and my ability to work, and I am unsure of what kind of work I want to do. In order to snap out of it, I have found that the greatest way to get my spirits up is to relate to others. Here are 3 groups of people that are helping me piece out this time in my life.

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The Magic of a Regular Extracurricular

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When I was on the Varsity Badminton Team, it was difficult to recruiting new talent because students believed that it is a huge time commitment. Personally, I felt being on the team did not take my time away, but rather it saved my time. Unfortunately, I only joined in my third year due to injuries. But my first semester on the team, I achieved my best GPA. And despite no longer playing for the team, currently I continue to train in a private badminton club. Here are the three main reasons why I believe having a regular extracurricular activity makes me more efficient and effective with my time:

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“This is the year I’m going to-“: Advice for Building a Balanced Semester

school-life-balanceWe’re back in the thick of it now. The school semester is as follows (monthly); Septry-anything-out-and-apply-for-everything, Octotally-in-over-your-head-with-work, Novacate-life-and-camp-in-the-library, Decearnestly-study-for-exams-and-wait-for-Chrsitmas.

It can seem like all too much at once. You want to get better grades this year and find an internship and be an executive while also penning your early memoir and inventing the time machine.

Sometimes it’s best to take a second and slow down. Here’s some info and advice for those of us (myself included) that need a pre-break to pre-manage our prospects.

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How to Have a Cup of Coffee

CFMcGill Connect (the Ten Thousand Coffees networking platform) is taking off and people are seeing great results. It makes it easy to break the ice and ask professionals out for a meet…because in being on the platform, they’ve agreed to be open to meeting. It’s engaging, interactive, easy to use and incredibly resourceful. There’s even a tinder-esque feature that can randomly show you profiles based on your interests.

I love it. It’s tech-savvy and progressive and so easy to use. Although, it can be nerve racking. Especially for those of us just starting out. I know a lot of people that think talking on the phone is weird, let alone contacting a stranger to sit down for life chats about their ambitions.

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Interviews, Editors, News and Networking

friends-coffee-workLooking back, I think I stumbled into journalism with more curiosity than career drive. I’m the kind of person that always needs to ask, and runs up a phone bill because I crave talking. Journalism began as a way to keep myself busy and my writing sharp but evolved into a love of storytelling. When my boss found out about this, she raced over to my desk and told me that she was going to connect me to the McGill News Editor, Daniel McCabe.

She emailed, I emailed, he accepted, and I was genuinely impressed at how it all happened so quickly.

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Fight or Flight: The Fine Line Between Taking and Talking Back

177800017Recently, I ran into a difficult experience. I was writing an article and approached it from an opinion my superior did not agree with.

First, I was shocked. I was annoyed because, like a true McGillian, I didn’t want to be wrong. On the other-hand, I began second-guessing myself and launched into a spiral of creative self-doubt.

I’ve written about criticism before and this isn’t wholly dissimilar. What do you do when you feel challenged? When is it the right decision to take the heat or to stand your ground?

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Is Passion a Reality?

4dbc1f1e4c2099399307131I recently got in a very heated debate with a good friend over the idea of following your passion.

As an English major with a deep set yen for all things literary, I consider my passion pretty strong and worth following. He disagreed, saying that graduates today are too often told to follow their passion and pursue outlandish dream jobs with no real perspective for the careers that actually need to be filled.

What I thought was interesting, though, was how often I began hearing this “Don’t follow your passion” speech.

It seemed to be popping up everywhere as convocation ceremonies began. What exactly does this mean?

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Everyone’s a Critic

Constructive-CriticismCriticism is a difficult tool. In the right hands, it can fix, improve and perfect. But it’s all in how you take your tea, so to speak. Not everyone is going to sugar coat it and oftentimes it’ll just be given to you straight. It’s understandable that these things can make you feel a bit bitter, but criticism is meant for you to use so that you can be better. It’s meant to be considered and applied but not destructive. You should be proud of the work you accomplish but open to the possibility of imperfection. Everything in moderation *sips tea*.

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