Many international students' final year can be overwhelming, but with proper preparation you can ease this transition. Apart from ensuring continuous academic success, making sure you have a job lined up after graduation and that you have the necessary papers to work in Canada or a third country can be daunting.
In order for a smooth transition from academia to professional work life, here is a list of important things to focus on in your final year:
(Please note: to view and register for career fairs, information sessions and workshops offered through CaPS, login to myFuture and click on the events tab.)
- CV, Cover Letter & Interviews
- Where to Find Jobs
- Networking Venues
- Professional Orders
- Essential Documents
- Life AYD
- Conference for BCom Students
Creating Your Targeted Application
If you have not yet done so, see STEP II for more details about the resources to help you develop targeted CVs, effective cover letters, and interviewing skills.
Where to Find Future Jobs
There are plenty of websites for finding jobs. But while submitting your applications online, never overlook the importance of the hidden job market. Networking and submitting applications online should always go hand-in-hand!
List of resources
- Networking resources in STEP 2 (Under tab "Build Your Professional Image - Introduction to Networking")
- CaPS' list of useful job posting websites
- On-Campus Career Fairs: You will find both recruiters and representatives of professional orders - a great opportunity to network in the field of your interest.
- myFuture is a job search and career tool suite with job postings for McGill students and alumni.
- I Choose Montreal often holds recruiting events throughout the year where all international students in Montreal are welcome to participate.
While you might be hearing that voice telling you to take the conventional career path right after graduation, you may also want to listen to the one saying, "Do something different, and do it now -- while you still can."
If you have always dreamt of taking some time off after graduation or wanted to do something off the beaten career path, this could be the time to make a courageous move.
A working holiday is when you spend a significant amount of time in another country and have the working rights to back it up.
With this setup, you are able to pick up a job or two (or 6) and break that arrangement up by travelling or moving on to a new location within the country. There are many countries in the world that offer working holiday visas.
- See a list of Eligible countries
What else can you do with your degree?
- CaPS Database: What can I do with my major?
- Career Cruising: A career exploration tool that offers hundreds of different careers and their descriptions - everything from accountant to zookeeper.
To access, contact caps.library [at] mcgill.ca or log in to the Career Databases & Periodicals for username and password.
In STEP 2, you explored how to network. Now, it's time to visit venues where you can connect with those working professionally in the industry of your interest - outside of academia. Through building these connections, you will increase your chances of landing a dream job or may simply get to know more job opportunities that are not advertised publicly.
Some of these Montreal networking events are open to everyone, and others will target your area of interest:
- Montreal 5 à 7: An extensive list of Montreal's business events
- Jeune Chambre de Commerce
- Many faculties offer speed-networking events to connect students with professionals or employers in the field. Check with the student associations in your department and/or career offices in your faculty.
- Career Fairs are a perfect way to begin connecting with your future employers and professional orders!
Professional Orders in Quebec
In Quebec, to practice a profession or hold a professional title governed by the Professional Code, you must have a permit and be a member in good standing of the professional order that governs the exercise of the profession.
Although not all memberships to orders are mandatory, they often provide many perks such as exclusive networking events, opportunities for professional development and jobs.
- MIDI’s information about professional orders in Quebec for newcomers
- Office des professions Québec
- Conseil Interprofessionnel du Québec
- Brand-new workshop developed by ISS and Promis specifically for iSTEP - to be debuted this term! Follow ISS's Facebook page to know as soon as the date is set. This workshop will cover the following topics:
- Roles of Professional orders in Quebec and the benefits of joining them
- RAMQ & Healthcare in Quebec
- Driving in Quebec
- Taxes: what are your responsibilities and what resources are available to you
- Employment support after university
- Housing rights in Montreal & the Régie du logement
- How to transform a CSQ into Permanent Residency
Completing Essential Post-Graduation Documents
Introduction to Post-Graduation Employment in Canada
CaPS Workshop: International Students: Adapting to the Canadian Job Market
In this workshop, you will:
- Learn some of the legal considerations of work in Canada as an international student.
- Convey to an employer your skills and achievements from past experiences.
- Identify the primary job search steps involved in obtaining a post-graduation job in Canada.
Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) & RAMQ Health Insurance
Students must obtain a work permit if they wish to remain in Canada as a worker after graduation. Once you obtain your work permit, you will be eligible for the Quebec provincial RAMQ health insurance.
Most students apply for the PGWP after they finish their studies. If you wish to do so, you must apply within 90 days of your graduation and then receive the RAMQ provincial health insurance.
List of resources
- ISS Webinar: PGWP and Introduction to Quebec provincial health program. In addition to how/ when to apply for PGWP, you will also learn:
- When/how to register for RAMQ (& its prescription drug plan if eligible) for temporary workers
- What RAMQ covers/ does not cover
- Waiting period and private insurance
- Group insurance plans
- ISS instructions: How to apply for PGWP
- RAMQ: How to register for health insurance in Quebec
- RAMQ: What expenses are covered
- Brand-new workshop developed by ISS and Promis specifically for iSTEP - to be debuted this term! Follow ISS's Facebook page to know as soon as the date is set. This workshop will cover many practical aspects of the post-academic working world, including an introduction to the RAMQ health insurance!
Permanent Residency Information Session
If you are thinking about applying for permanent residency after graduation, we encourage you to apply for the CSQ (Certificat de sélection du Québec) as soon as possible. Currently, if you are applying under the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ), you may submit your application no earlier than six months before the date on which you expect to receive your attestation of successful completion or diploma, and you will be issued a CSQ upon presentation of your complete and final transcripts accompanied by an attestation of successful completion or your diploma.
With a CSQ you will have access to many more services from the Government of Quebec, such as some of the free French courses from MIDI, or employment assistance services form Emploi Quebec after your graduation.
List of resources
- Permanent Residence Info Session: Presentations and live Q&A with representatives of the Quebec Ministry of Immigration and Montréal International
- Applying for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ – PEQ or regular)
- After CSQ: Applying to the federal government as a Quebec Selected Worker
- Study, Work and Stay in Canada is a newly created website by IRCC that goes through the various steps that students should follow all the way to citizenship.
- Brand-new workshop developed by ISS and Promis specifically for iSTEP - to be debuted this term! Follow ISS's Facebook page to know as soon as the date is set. This workshop will cover many practical aspects of the post-academic working world, including how to transform your CSQ to permenant residency!
How to File Income Tax: Financial Skills for the Real World
As when you were a student, as a temporary worker with a PGWP, you will need to file your taxes here in Canada.
Filing taxes and managing personal finances can be one of the many things that confuse and frustrate a lot of international students (and local students alike).
SKILLSETS provides a series of workshops "Financial Skills for the Real World" for graduate students - and international students of all levels - to help prepare for post-academic financial well-being.
The highlight of this series includes 2 workshops that cover the main T and RL slips, and activities such as a live demo of how to use free online tax software, and how to make sense of the information contained on the various tax slips by going through live examples.
Life After Your Degree (Life AYD)
Life AYD is a program providing workshops, events, and other resources to all McGill students planning for post-graduation life. It consists of programming throughout the year - giving students multiple opportunities to begin preparing for what's next.
Their program includes networking events, panel discussions, free LinkedIn photo shoots, and more.
See a full list of LifeAYD events here.
BRIDGE THE GAP Conference for international BCom Students
This conference intends to help international students overcome the cultural barriers to success in the recruiting process.
It brings together guest speakers, recruiters, professors, and international students (current and alumni) to share their experiences in the job recruitment process and their adaptation to the Canadian work environment.
Find more details and register here.