How do you get on-the-job experience when most entry-level jobs call for at least a year of experience in a related role? We can connect you with experience-building opportunities that work for you, regardless of your current experience or skill level.
This page will help you:
- Be proactive
- Take on new challenges
- Get involved
When you have a lot going on — from classes and studying to work and personal commitments — making room in your schedule for experience building can be challenging. However, self-directed opportunities are flexible, efficient ways to gain experience.
Summer 2021, Avenue to Learn
First-year students: The Skills and Experience e-Development (SEED) Program is your chance to improve your employability skills, including virtual working, leadership, problem-solving and cultural fluency. You’ll also get to have career conversations with industry professionals to seek guidance and learn about different career paths.
SEED is a free, self-directed online program on Avenue to Learn. The program starts with a self-assessment activity, followed by online learning opportunities based on different employability skills.
Note: This program is open only to first-year students.
- Improve your resume by adding skills and professional experiences.
- Complete the professional development activities at your own pace.
- Grow your professional network — and access the hidden job market that includes up to 85% of available jobs.
- Learn about and enhance in-demand skills that all employers value.
- Working in the virtual world
- Cultural fluency
- Industry connections
How to register
Register for SEED on OSCARplus. You’ll need to log in with your MacID to access the registration.
Fall recruitment opportunities, events and services are now online
Are you an undergraduate student in your final year at Mac? By participating the Final-Year Recruitment Program, you could have a job when you graduate in April. Every fall, this program connects students seeking full-time employment after graduation with hiring employers. The Final-Year Recruitment Program is open to all graduating students enrolled in a degree program at McMaster University. All Final-Year Recruitment Program activities will be listed on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Events.
- September to December: Company information sessions take place. Check OSCARplus (Student Success Centre > Events) for details and registration.
- End of September: Application deadlines. Visit OSCARplus > Job Postings > SSC Job Postings, and search for “final-year recruitment.”
- End of September: Our annual Fall Career Fair takes place.
- October: Companies start interviewing candidates.
- November and December: Employers send offers to successful candidates.
Prepare for fall recruitment season
Build job search skills and get prepared for fall recruitment season by participating in the Final-Year Recruitment Prep Program. Through this free online program, you’ll complete a series of skills assessments and skill-building opportunities, create job search tools and get expert advice and feedback. To help you impress employers, you’ll learn how to improve your resume, LinkedIn profile, job search strategies, networking skills, interviewing skills and more.
Program modules include:
- Get Career Ready
- Job Search
- Networking (and the Virtual World)
- Branding Yourself Online
- Fall Recruitment Activities
Placements, volunteering and mentorship
Gaining experience is about more than just filling up your resume. It’s also about getting to know the job market, developing important professional skills and getting involved through community engagement and building connections.
May 2–August 15, 2021, Avenue to Learn
Getting a job isn’t the only way to gain experience and develop your skills this summer. Participate in the Summer Experience Program online to invest in your professional development, learn about the workforce, receive guidance and mentorship and prepare to succeed at your next opportunity.
Note: This program is open only to second-year McMaster students.
Through this online program, you’ll participate in flexible, self-directed activities, as well as work projects to support local organizations. By taking on new challenges, you’ll get to try new things and develop key skills to impress employers and help you succeed in the workplace. Plus, we’ll work with you to improve your resume and job search skills so you can articulate the value of your experiences and skills in applications and interviews.
- Online challenges
- Resume development and review services
- Career development workshops (topics include LinkedIn, networking, interview skills, etc.)
- Work project placement
- Reflection session
How to register
Register for the Summer Experience Program on OSCARplus. You’ll need to log in with your MacID to access the registration.
Career Treks are short-term opportunities to gain valuable workplace experience, receive mentorship and learn about a local industry. Through a Career Trek, you get to work with a local company to provide project support.
Many Career Treks — with various time commitment requirements and work environments, including remote work — are posted on OSCARplus throughout the year, so you can choose an opportunity that’s right for you. To browse opportunities and apply, go to OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Volunteering.
Career Trek categories include:
- Marketing and communications
- Market validation
- Website redesign
- Business strategy
- Arts and creative
- Market research
- Data analysis
Experience Ventures, powered by the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking at the University of Calgary, enables you to make an impact alongside real-world innovators through entrepreneurial thinking placements.
- Become future ready. Hone the entrepreneurial and digital skills you’ll need in your career.
- Make an impact. Your participation energizes companies with fresh ideas and perspectives, and innovates across disciplines to make an impact.
This pilot program takes place from Summer 2021 to Winter 2022.
Experience Ventures is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s innovative work-integrated learning initiative.
How it works
- Experience Ventures offers an entrepreneurial thinking placement with a McMaster-partnered company.
- After acceptance, you complete an onboarding process before participating in the entrepreneurial thinking opportunity.
- After completing the opportunity, you complete an evaluation.
- Experience Ventures opportunities are structured and short-term experiences that complement your academic study and fit with your busy schedule.
Discover Experience Ventures on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Volunteer & Experience Building > Postings.
Develop employment skills and move closer to your career goals with the Student Success Centre Peer Leader Program. Through this volunteer program, you get to support your fellow students by providing guidance and leadership; sharing information on services, resources, events and activities; and serving as a support system through motivation and encouragement.
By supporting one of the many program areas offered by the SSC, you can gain experience and contribute to your personal and professional development. Plus, you get to join a community of peer leaders and make connections among the wider McMaster community.
Explore positions and other volunteer opportunities on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Volunteer & Experience Building > Postings.
Most of us have a mentor. Whether it is a family member, friend or a professional connection, mentors are the people in your lives who help you find direction and clarity. There are many reasons to seek guidance from a mentor. For example, a mentor can help you:
- Gain personal and professional development
- Build your professional network
- Develop your skills
- Find connections between your skills and work
- Get career advice
- Receive encouragement and guidance
Did you know you can find a mentor on OSCARplus? To browse mentorship programs and opportunities, visit OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Mentorship and Career Conversations.
Connect with professionals, set goals and gain feedback through MentorMatch, a six-month mentorship program that connects third-year BHSc (Honours) students with McMaster alumni and community partners. We recruit mentors from a variety of medical and health fields and match them with students who are striving towards similar career goals so you can ask questions, learn and reflect. Find more information and register on OSCARplus.
To encourage women’s leadership development, we’re offering a structured six-month mentorship program. Find more information and register on OSCARplus.
If you want to learn about a career in the communications industry, we can connect you with a mentor who can offer advice and help you gain a sense of direction. Find more information and register on OSCARplus.
Volunteering unites students and communities through a shared purpose. Getting involved through volunteering is a great way to gain valuable experience, develop transferrable skills and help organizations meet their goals and build better communities.
Explore volunteer opportunities and postings on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Volunteer & Experience Building > Postings. We post opportunities throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to check often.
Community Engagement and Volunteer Fair
The Community Engagement and Volunteer Fair is an annual event that takes place in early September. Connect with organizations and explore opportunities to get involved, explore different career fields and develop meaningful connections while developing transferrable skills and gaining valuable experience. Visit our careers events section for more information.
Volunteer and work abroad
Do you want to take your volunteering and community engagement abroad? Browse our global opportunities — getting involved abroad may be easier than you think.
Are you in your first year?
Learn how to make the most of it through community engagement and volunteering. Watch this video for more information.
If you want to gain experience, but you aren’t where to start, we can help. Check in with us through a one-on-one appointment to discuss your options and receive helpful advice. We can also help you make the most of OSCARplus to access valuable experience-building opportunities.
Meet one-on-one with our experiential learning team to explore opportunities to gain experience, including job shadows, self-directed opportunities, placements, volunteering and mentorship. We can help you find an opportunity that suits your interests and goals. Book an appointment on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Appointments > Careers.
At our workshops, you we’ll support you and offer guidance on ways to gain experience, build confidence and develop skills that will impress employers. All of our workshops are hosted online through Zoom. To browse upcoming workshops and register, visit OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Events.
If you want to gain experience and build skills to increase your employability, the Volunteer and Experience Building module on OSCARplus is a good place to start your search. In this section, you’ll find programs and work opportunities that will help you discover, develop and apply transferrable skills in academic and professional environments.
To access the module, go to OSCARplus and use the sidebar navigation to follow Student Success Centre > Volunteer & Experience Building. Then, to search the calendar for programs, select Program Registrations. To search for opportunities such as volunteering, conferences, competitions and so on, go to Postings.
Odgers Berndston CEOx1Day Program (2020)
Booking an appointment with CAPS was one of the best decisions I have made for my career... I didn’t know McMaster offered a service like this, I was able to book regular meetings and do anything that I needed. The experience offered me a personalized support system for whatever my needs were, whether that was job hunting tasks like resume building or even just going over all the things I needed to do for my classes and making a plan to get them done. And sometimes, it was just nice to talk to someone and share about my day.
Richa and Rachel discuss what makes a professional and why you shouldn’t restrict your path
I used to be in nursing in first-year. I absolutely loved it — amazing program at Mac. But then I ended up switching into Commerce. At the beginning, I thought I'd wasted a year. But really, having that year of nursing on my resume, all of the employers and businesses look at [my resume] and they say — "She knows how to talk to people. She knows how to be compassionate and empathetic and understand the customer's needs."Read the Journey about Richa and Rachel discuss what makes a professional and why you shouldn’t restrict your path