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What I Learned from a Summer in Retail

At the end of the winter semester, I found myself in a scramble to find a summer job. In the end, I started working as a sales associate at a popular clothing chain. While it may not be a prestigious internship, the experience has been awesome, from a learning standpoint, but also socially, since I had great coworkers. Notably, this summer I learned a lot about customer service from my experience in retail. Overall, based on the past summer, I have found retail experience to be more valuable than I would have expected. (more…)

Networking 101

credit to: https://eocc.co/professional-networking-dos-and-donts/

Whether you are a new graduate or still in college sifting through your career options, networking is a significant part of the job search. Becoming comfortable with networking is extremely important because the right contacts open the door to new opportunities. I have been working on my networking skills for some time now, and while I still have a long way to go, I did manage to learn a few things over the past couple of months. So whether you are reaching out to an alum or cold-calling professionals working in industries you are interested in, here are some tips on how to connect with people who can help you grow.

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Summer: working a job vs. taking a break

McGill’s winter term ends in late April and the fall term starts early September, which leaves 4 months of “summer vacation”. Obviously, this is the ideal and most convenient time to gain work experience, do an internship, volunteer, take classes, etc. Most people with whom I’ve talked have found the four months to be long, so without a task to keep them busy, they would quickly feel bored and underwhelmed. The great thing about having several months between terms is that there is both the time to gain valuable work experience and enjoy the warmer months.

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Seasonal Part-Time Job Opportunities

As students, when we think of part-time jobs, we think of gigs that keep us going during the school year – the workplace you go to in between classes to make extra cash. Free time during the summer means you can opt for 2-month internships, full-time jobs, and of course, catching a break. But if you’ve only started getting into the groove of university life after your first year at McGill, working during the semester might seem like added stress and an intimidating step to take. So, why not start with a part-time job during the summer instead? Because everybody has to start somewhere and a part-time job is a boost to your CV, here are some student jobs to consider doing in the next few months:

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On the In

Few university students haven’t heard of LinkedIn, pleasantly deemed the Facebook equivalent of young professionals and job seekers. Although underdeveloped, many students have started a budding profile on LinkedIn. Typical experiences highlight experiences in faculty and departmental organizations as well as research skills and summer internships.

Nonetheless, not everyone is convinced to invest time into creating a LinkedIn profile. It’s too much effort to create another social media profile and it’s intimidating to jump into a platform where you start afresh with 0 followers. If you already have a strong résumé, why bother with LinkedIn?

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Working sans Work Study

The beautiful list of jobs available to those that qualify for Work Study is a prized possession. Postings are varied, though some jobs are more popular than others, so there is an adequate selection of employment opportunities on campus. However, the seemingly abundant pool of jobs is nowhere near enough to satisfy the pool of Work Study students and applicants. And what about those that do not qualify for Work Study? I myself have tried to apply twice in my time at McGill, outlining extenuating circumstances with no success.

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STEMinine – A Supportive Community for Women and Femmes in STEM

Source: https://thenib.com/women-in-stem-speak-up

Jessica Droujko, McGill BEng 2015, retells the story of how she sat next to a rocket scientist on a plane, and how he convinced her that she too can be a rocket scientist. Now, years after that fateful encounter, Jessica is completing her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, more commonly known as ETH Zurich. As a woman engineer, Jessica saw a lack of exposure of women and femmes in STEM fields (i.e. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), which in turn indirectly discourage young girls from pursuing those fields. Jessica wants high school and university students to be able to ask whatever they want and to find support in their search. Her project, STEMinine, does aims to do exactly that — showcases women and femmes in STEM. (more…)

How to Handle Rejection – Lessons from Distributing Flyers

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as a flyer distributor or a fundraising canvasser? I know that most often than not, my first reaction when I see a canvasser is to avoid them. For these workers, rejection is a daily reality inherent to their work, and finding a healthy way to manage rejection also becomes crucial to their work and their well-being. For the rest of us. rejection is a fact of life that we will all face at one point or another, in life or in work. The past two weekends, I worked as a flyer distributor on a busy downtown street. I’d like to share my experiences with a focus on how it has helped me find a more balanced and healthy perspective on rejection.

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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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