Although graduation may seem far away, it is never too early to begin making plans for a career or continuing education after McGill. It is normal for students to feel anxious about postgraduate plans, and it can be daunting to not know where or when to start. Here’s a comprehensive to-do list to quell common worries and leave McGill students feeling prepared to face life beyond the Roddick Gates.
Request copies of your transcript from Service Point
This is one of the most commonly overlooked steps of applying for jobs or grad school, and it is also one of the simplest. You can easily order your transcript on Minerva or in person, and they will mail the copies to your address, or you can pick them up at Service Point. Doing this early will ensure that you don’t need to stress about the processing time (which can be up to a week during peak periods) that it takes for your transcript to arrive. You can also avoid the $15 fee that is charged for urgent transcript requests.
Attend career development workshops hosted by CaPS
CaPS hosts a series of different workshops and info sessions to help students plan for careers and graduate school. These seminars start in September, and are held throughout first semester into November. Presentations include everything from “Discover the Hidden Job Market” to “Time Management for Busy Students.” These events are also great opportunities to speak to other students who are also experiencing the same trepidation, and share advice.
Browse job listings
McGill provides several comprehensive databases of companies and organizations to check out. myFuture is the CaPS job and internship search tool that is only available to McGill students, and has a long list of reputable employers. You can apply for jobs directly through myFuture, which can help to ease access to employers who normally would be more difficult to contact. You can also tailor your job search by industry, location, and type using different job search engines listed on the CaPS website.
Attend career and/or graduate school fairs
CaPS hosts several of these, in cooperation with various faculties and student groups. The fairs take place throughout September, October, and November, and they provide plenty of valuable information on different opportunities to explore, and are a great place to begin networking.
Create a LinkedIn account
Although some people view LinkedIn’s form of cyber-networking as superfluous, it is a useful tool to research different companies and to explore the interests and connections of your contemporaries. If you already have a LinkedIn account, now is the time to update your profile with any relevant experience that you gained over the summer. Don’t forget to join groups like McGill University Alumni and your faculty’s group on LinkedIn to stay up to date on networking and employment opportunities. CaPS also has a LinkedIn peer advising service coming soon.
Draft your CV and go to CaPS’s Daily Drop-In to have it reviewed
Registration for drop-in visits opens at 9 a.m., and you must go in person to the CaPS office to register for a meeting the same day. Your CV can make or break a job opportunity, so it is imperative that it is formatted and edited to perfection.
Ask your professors for recommendations
Most employers and graduate schools will require at least one recommendation from a professor. Instructors therefore get inundated each semester with requests from students to write them shining, thoughtful, and personalized letters. Ask your professors as early as possible to write you a recommendation to avoid the rush that usually happens closer to when job applications are due. It is courteous to give professors at least one month to complete the letter. When asking a professor to write you a letter, be polite in your request and make them understand why you value their perspective. Don’t forget to bring along supplemental materials like your resume, personal statement, and any information pertaining to the job or graduate program to which you are applying.
Prep for interviews
The more you practice, the less nervous you will be for your important interviews. You can schedule an appointment for a mock interview with a career advisor, or even just practice what you plan to say with a friend. CaPS also provides a comprehensive how-to guide for preparing for interviews and making sure that you ace each one.