Finding a job as a McGill student isn’t always an easy task in Montreal, especially with Quebec’s language laws. An on-campus job can be a convenient and rewarding alternative to getting a job elsewhere in the city, but students often don’t know where to start their search. Although there are many options available, there are three primary resources: the Work Study Program, MyFuture, and networking.
Work Study is a program offered to students with financial need to find on-campus jobs including clerical, research, technical, or library positions. In order to be eligible for Work Study you must be a registered full-time student in satisfactory academic standing, and be receiving the maximum government aid allowed to you. If you fit these criteria, Work Study can give you a leg up for certain jobs on campus. The online application is available in the Financial Aid and Awards menu on Minerva.
It is a common misconception, however, that most jobs on campus are available or reserved for students who are part of the Work Study program. In reality the number is split pretty 50/50 between them and regular applicants.
Although some spots are reserved for the former, it is a lengthy process for employers to apply for wage coverage under Work Study. An employer who wants to fill an employment gap efficiently and hassle-free may find the process unpleasant—for example, professors seeking to hire research assistants. Slip employee-seekers your resume, because if they can’t find any Work Study students for the job, you’ll be next on the list.
CaPS’ online job search and career tool, MyFuture, is one of the rare places where you can browse for job opportunities from different organizations and employers in aggregate. You can further narrow your search to on-campus jobs by utilizing the ‘more options’ button. While this still doesn’t make MyFuture an instant solution for job-hunters, it provides much more than initially meets the eye.
MyFuture can be a little underwhelming because it’s often slow to post new job opportunities. In fact, departments often put job listings on MyFuture after they have already advertised open positions in their department, so it might be worth your while to go and personally visit some departments too.
Perhaps the best way to get a job on campus is to find a quality stretch of time, don a thick skin, tuck a folder of CVs under your arm, and tour McGill. You will be surprised to find all the nooks and crannies that hire people, like Frostbite ice-cream parlour in McConnell Engineering, or SNAX in Leacock. Approaching these little places and asking for a job face-to-face will be statistically more rewarding then browsing for one on MyFuture.
Some of the more widely known campus employers include McGill Athletics, Alumni Phonathon (soliciting donors), the McGill Bookstore, MFDS, and IT Services. For these ostentatious departments, you can simply openly ask for job opportunities. For other jobs, you will have to resort to old fashioned ‘networking.’ Although associated with pretentious first-year business cards, cheap wine, and unimpressive cheese, networking is not just a formal event with exchanges of resumes. You partake in networking every day— you hear about jobs through your friends, Facebook groups, and student clubs. You actually know more people than you think you do, and your network ties are a lot denser too. Take advantage of these existing relationships, and openly advertise the fact that you are seeking a job.
In reality, McGill’s financial situation and budget cuts are not friends to anyone—especially students seeking on-campus jobs. It therefore becomes paramount to explore all the little cracks of campus and scourge for that on-campus job hidden in plain sight. You may be surprised at what turns up!