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Launching Your Career in PR, Communication, and Marketing

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On Nov. 24th, industry leaders in communications, PR, and marketing shared their unique insights with McGill’s students.

Everyone that attended the Speaker Series session got their hands on some top tips for the next step in their career. The presenters spoke with great candour while reaffirming that there is no specific path to become a communications professional. Here are just a few of these fantastic tips:

 Valery Pasionek: self-confessed agency addict.

  • There’s no vanilla flavour in an agency —no one’s bland!
  • If you decide to work in an agency, you’ll have a chance to learn from the industry’s superstars.
  • When job-hunting, don’t sell your skills, sell yourself.


Darini Vedarattiname: lives to help others and has managed to make a career out of it.

  • Don’t waste your time working for an organization if it’s not right for you.
  • Build your network and brand—stand out and rise above the noise.
  • Help people and be genuine while doing so. You never know what may come of it.


Deborah Hinton: believes that it’s ok if your career path looks like a squiggly line.

  • Give yourself career goals to help you stay on track. Figure out what you want to achieve and give yourself a deadline.
  • Embrace curiosity: ask questions and get involved.
  • Make sure your network is diverse—we can learn a great deal from different people.

Many of us walked away from this memorable evening with a new set of tricks up our sleeves.

Thank you Deborah, Darini, and Valery for taking the time to come to McGill—we can’t wait to put your tips into practice!

Also, we would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the support of Investor’s Group for sponsoring the post-event networking session.

Many students voiced interest for professional mentoring. For further information about the resources at the SCS, please feel inclined to send an email to Emilie Nketiah at labourmarketconnections.scs@mcgill.ca.


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FREE student membership: Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals

camplogoThe Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP) is a Canadian based organization of marketers who collaborate, share insights and work to augment knowledge to elevate the marketing profession. CAMP’s focus is on keeping the marketer relevant to meet the ever changing business landscape while providing a trusted community to their members.  Membership is comprised of marketing executives in large companies, marketing directors and managers in SMEs, marketing entrepreneurs and consultants, SEO experts, graphic designers, copywriters, agencies of all sizes and students embarking on a new career in marketing. (more…)

Young Communicators In Motion

The International Association of Business Communicators’ (IABC) Montréal “speed style networking” event for student-professionals is back for its 2nd edition on May 3rd, 2016.

Upcoming SQPRP Events

Start your professional new year on the right foot! SQPRP (Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques), the largest network of public relations professionals in Quebec, is pleased to kick-off 2016 with a number of new professional development events and workshops. Register for these upcoming events or learn more about membership with SQPRP!

Canadian Public Relations Society: Professional Development Webinar






Social purpose, business value: The global trends that are transforming PR
Date: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In this webinar, Dan Tisch APR, FCPRS, former chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, will argue that like every profession, public relations needs to articulate both a social purpose and a business value. The good news is that communicative organizations around the world are doing just that, creating living examples of two-way, symmetrical communication. Join Dan to discuss how understanding these practices and trends can help every professional articulate a stronger case for public relations – while helping PR become the management discipline of the twenty-first century.

Learn more and Register

Exclusive IABC/Montreal Event: November 4

Looking to find out more about what it takes to build a career in communications? Find out how the comms leaders that power Sid Lee, Hill+Knowlton, Massy-Forget and Mediative started their professional journeys. Attend this exclusive IABC/Montreal event on November 4 and share your CV with our outstanding panelists. We’re looking forward to meeting you and supporting the next generation of communicators!

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/billets-soiree-pour-connecter-et-sinspirer-inspiring-connections-for-your-future-19064256705 (more…)

Networking Event with PR Industry Leaders – Friday, October 16

Join industry leaders as they share tips and advice for your next step in career success. Includes opportunities to mingle with featured speakers, students and alumni.

Marketing, Public Relations & Communications
Friday, October 16
5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Frederic Harnois – Campaign Manager, Bloom Search Marketing
Leslie Quinton – Leader – Strategic Communication Practice, LRN
Lauren Scott – Communications and Public Relations Manager, Distech Controls
Jackson Wightman – Founder, Proper Propaganda

Free for McGill SCS students and alumni!
Places are limited.



Copyright © 2015 McGill University School of Continuing Studies. All rights reserved.
For more information:
McGill University School of Continuing Studies
E-mail: labourmarketconnections.scs@mcgill.ca | Telephone: 514-398-8800 ext. 04553

The whole new ballgame of social media

Jack Layton debating with Stephen Harper

H+K VP Brad Lavigne recently contributed to Policy Magazine with an article that takes a closer looks at how social media is changing the political game. Former director of communications and principal secretary to the late Jack Layton, Brad looks back to 2011 debate highlights and looks forward to how social media will further evolve political campaigns in Canada—especially for the upcoming 2015 election.


Get crunch-time writing help now!


Students up against final papers and exams can get help from the McGill Writing Centre. It offers a range of workshops, free to all McGill students. Check out the offerings at www.mcgill.ca/mwc/

Course on writing for digital media

People who want to hone your writing for the web, blogs, social media, etc., here’s your chance. Starting April 25, the McGill Writing Centre  (MWC) is offering a six-week course on writing for digital media, in collaboration with the Personal and Cultural Enrichment Program of the School of Continuing Studies. The lecturer is veteran presenter Nancy A. Locke, a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. See the MWC website for further information or call 514-398-7109.

Free lecture on consumer behaviour

As part of Financial Awareness Week, one of our marketing instructors, Charles Royce, is giving a free public lecture on how people make buying decisions. Apart from the general interest of the topic, people considering work in consumer relations or marketing communications might find it a useful introduction to the field. Charles is a really good presenter. The presentation will take place March 12, from 6 – 8 p.m.  in room 1041 of the Continuing Studies building, 688 Sherbrooke St. West. All welcome.

Financial Awareness Week is being organized by Carrefour jeunesse emploi in collaboration with the Jamaican Canadian Community Women’s League of Montreal and the Autorité des marchés financiers.

Free guest speakers on new (and old) media!

Students in all our courses in all our PR programs will have free access to some leading-edge expertise on Thursday nights this term. Professionals such as Bruno Guglielminetti (that’s “Mr. Social Media” in Montreal), Andre Chapleau, media spokesperson for Desjardins (and previously Bell), Alain McKenna, of the Gazette and Isabelle Poirier, founder of social media company Intelegia, will talk about their work and take questions from students.

All this, thanks to Huguette Guilhaumon, who teaches Media Context and Applications in our graduate programs. She lined up an impressive roster of guest speakers for the course, which has grown so much it had to be split into two sections this term.  Charles Pitts and Nicolette Papastefanou are taking on the second section.  To accommodate the two classes, both sections will use a lecture theatre in the Leacock Building (Room 219) when guest speakers present. This leaves some extra seats for visitors. Huguette, Charles and Nicolette have kindly agreed to let students in other courses join in for the speaker sessions. (Note from program coordinator – only if you don’t have another course that evening!)

Here’s the line-up:

Thursday, February 28 – Alain McKenna on Defining and Working with Media in the Digital Age

Thursday, March 14 – Bruno Guglielminetti on Working with Media in the Internet Age

Thursday, March 21 – Andre Chapleau on Handling Difficult Issues with Media

Thursday, March 28 – Isabelle Poirier on the Use of Social Media

All guest lectures begin at 6:30. Take advantage if you can – you’d pay big bucks to hear these people at professional conferences!

New Canadian on-line PR/communication journal – free

The professional communication world has a new interdisciplinary, peer reviewed journal for practitioners, journalists, artists, policy makers and academics to exchange ideas. The Journal of Professional Communication (JPC) publishes case studies, interviews, research articles, works of digital media art and sound, works of design and commentary. Really relevant stuff for our instructors, students and recent grads.

Too much, too soon? Job interview questions you should avoid answering

"Are you single?"

Job interviewers, whether they work in HR or are a part of the management team, are crafty gatekeepers. They read your body language, they play mind games with you to uncover your hard-wired tendencies, and they extract information you didn’t even know you were giving them. Filtering candidates according to the company’s values is the name of their game.

Sometimes you’ll get asked questions you’ll think twice about answering. Here’s a few from my personal experience as a candidate: “Where do you live?”; “How old are you?”; “Do you live with someone?”… Whoah! I realize that there are lots of interesting parallels between job interviewing and speed dating, but we’re not exactly sitting in a resto-lounge chatting over mojitos on a five-minute rotation! Are these questions legal? No.

Be wary of topics concerning race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, or mental or physical disability. The Canada Human Resources Centre made a neat chart that highlights some popular no-no questions you should be aware of. Although this article is geared toward the U.S. employment market, it will tell you what kind of questions you should watch out for and what you’re inadvertently releasing about yourself during a job interview.

Bullet points for dodging dodgy questions

So, you’re sitting on the other side of the table with your interviewer and getting a “did you just ask me that?!” feeling?

  • Ask your interviewer to elaborate about the purpose of their question. How exactly is this question related to the position they’re hiring for? Perhaps their explanation will legitimize the situation in some way.
  • You can simply (and politely) decline to answer the question.
  • Whatever you do, stay calm and don’t get defensive!
  • Above all, ask yourself why you’d want to work for an employer who makes you feel uncomfortable!

With that said, good luck playing job interview dodgeball!

Online Tools for Group Projects: Communicate and Collaborate

PR Program students are well aware that group projects are an important part of courses. Group project challenges can include the scheduling of group meetings at mutually convenient times and the creation of one cohesive final project from the individual contributions of each group member.

Luckily, a number of free online tools can help with these challenges. These are just a few of the many online tools available to make your group projects easier to manage.

If a group member is unable to make it in person for a meeting, use Skype to have them join virtually using the voice or video call features. Skype also has a screen sharing feature. Group video calling and group screen sharing are also available through Skype’s Premium Service.

Google Docs is a cloud computing service for creating, sharing, and editing documents online. It also allows for real-time collaboration with other users. Google Docs works on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms, and supports  formats such as .doc, .xls, .ppt, and .pdf.

Dropbox is a web-based file hosting service that also uses cloud computing. Dropbox allows users to store and share files and folders with each other. Each user gets 2GB of storage for free and there are subscriptions available for storage up to 100GB. By sharing folders, each group member can work together on the same documents.

Good luck on the ‘virtual’ collaboration!


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Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.