Experience Building

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.

Check out our Guide to Work-Integrated Learning on Avenue to Learn

Discover what these experiences are all about, how you can prepare and ways you can make the most of them.

Guide to Work-Integrated Learning

Placements and programs

So, you want to build experience? Good news. You have options. Check out this section for diverse opportunities to gain experience through work placements, programs and more.

Career Treks are short-term opportunities to gain valuable workplace experience, receive mentorship and learn about a local industry. Many Career Treks with various time commitment requirements and work environments, including remote work are posted on  OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Volunteer & Experience Building >Postings.

  • Marketing and communications
  • Market validation
  • Website redesign
  • Business strategy
  • Arts and creative
  • Market research
  • Data analysis
  • Production

Experience Ventures logo

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.

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.

Who is eligible?

Any student from any discipline and Faculty registered in a Canadian college or university who is…

  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident or person with refugee protection under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations
  • Enrolled in any full- or part-time program of post-secondary study

How much do these opportunities pay?

Compensation is in the form of an honorarium. The specific amount for each position is listed on its posting page on OSCARplus.

  • The Venture host or employer must verify that you completed the project.
  • You must complete all program requirements on Avenue to Learn (A2L).

Get started

Discover Experience Ventures on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Volunteer & Experience Building > Postings. Then, filter by Experience Ventures.

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.

  • September to December: Company information sessions take place.
  • End of September: Application deadlines.
  • 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.

The Forage offers free virtual work experience programs that replicate work at top companies and connect you with the companies themselves. In only five–six hours, learn relevant tools and skills necessary to complete tasks that replicate an employee’s work day. Virtual work experience programs contain real industry tasks to develop transferable skills for workplace readiness. You don’t just learn new skills, you get to showcase your knowledge and get noticed by recruiters from top companies.

Disclaimer: Please note that McMaster University does not endorse The Forage service and has no legal relationship with The Forage. McMaster University is not liable for any damages and costs arising in contract, tort, or otherwise from the use of or inability to use this service or from any action or decision taken as a result of information provided

Most of us have a mentor, whether they’re a family member, friend or professional connection. Mentors are the people in our lives who help us 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.
  • Explore your career.
  • Receive encouragement and guidance.

Participate in our formal mentoring program to connect with career professionals. To browse current mentorship programs and opportunities, visit OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Mentorship & Career Conversations.

Formal mentoring programs

Careers in Mental Health and Counselling: Connect with recent alumni and established professionals who have experience in mental health and counselling. Through this four-month mentorship program, you get to connect, network and learn more about a potential future career.

Mentoring Program for International Students: Living, studying and working in a new country can be an exciting new experience, but it can also be difficult to navigate alone. This semester, participate in a mentoring program that’s just for international students. Through this four-month program, you get to connect with former international students who are currently working or enrolled in a further education program in Canada.

Register on OSCARplus under Student Success Centre > Mentorship & Career Conversations.

Develop employment skills and move closer to your career goals with the Student Success Centre Peer Leader Program. 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.

Explore positions and other volunteer opportunities on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Volunteer & Experience Building > Postings.

We hire peer leaders in April for the following academic year, so check back if there aren’t any postings at the time.

Need to gain skills and experience? Apply for the UpSkill Your Summer Program

Summer term (open to all first-year and second-year students)

Upskill Your Summer is a new program on Avenue to Learn for students who want to develop skills and gain experience. This is your chance to participate in a self-directed and interactive online program to improve your employability skills and gain valuable experiences. Participate in self-assessments, skills development, industry connections, biweekly discussions, reflection and more!

Why participate?

  • Gain skills and professional experiences.
  • Complete the professional development activities at your own pace.
  • Receive feedback and interact with experts at the Student Success Centre.
  • 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 and experience that all employers value.
  • Receive a digital certificate of completion that can be added to your LinkedIn.

This program helped me to have a better understanding of myself. I know my interest, characteristics, and which careers fit me so that I am easier to find a job that I love and excel at. It also helps me to know my skills level and motivates me to improve and make some skill-related goals in the future.” — 2021 program participant

Registration happens in May each year.

Volunteering and community engagement

If you want to gain experience while making a difference, then volunteering might be right for you. Volunteering unites students and communities through a shared purpose. Get involved to gain valuable experience, develop transferrable skills, help organizations meet their goals and build better communities.

OSCARplus postings

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.

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.

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.

Volunteer and Part-Time Job Fair

This fair takes place in the fall and spring each year.  Discover a range of volunteer opportunities, co-op positions and part-time and full-time jobs. Plus, connect in real time with organizations who want to hire McMaster students and recent alumni.

Guidance and support

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 and mentorship 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 > Experiential and Employment.

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.