By: Elizabeth DiEmanuele
As one of McMaster University’s largest recruitment events of the year, Fall Career Fair is always an important time of year for students and alumni to connect with organizations hiring for full-time, co-op, and paid internship opportunities. Year after year, hundreds of recruiters and job seekers attend the event, exchanging business cards and resumes to further develop connections following the fair.
Building upon the success of previous years, the Student Success Centre will be enhancing the Fall Career Fair Access Hour before the fair to provide students with another opportunity to engage with organizations attending that day. Recognizing that a busy space can create a barrier for students for a number of different reasons, this year, the Fall Career Fair Access Hour will occur in a less crowded space and will feature organizations that value diversity in their hiring process. Students who attend this hour will have the opportunity to ask organizations about their diversity initiatives and learn about their diverse workforce.
In addition to the Fall Career Fair Access Hour, students and alumni attending the fair will have the opportunity to learn about other ways organizations celebrate diversity. The Fall Career Fair website identifies organizations that hire for international and global opportunities, as well as organizations that incorporate diverse and inclusive practices in their hiring and workplace culture. Additionally, organizations will be wearing “Diversity Adds Value” buttons at the fair, allowing students the opportunity to open up a conversation about diversity within their organizations of-interest, if they choose to do so.
“Today’s progressive employers are looking to build an inclusive and diverse workforce to position them for success,” says Gisela Oliveira, Associate Director and Career and Employment at the Student Success Centre. “This year’s Career Fair focus provides our students and alumni with a platform to explore these opportunities and ask employers relevant questions related to their career growth and development. Questions such as, ‘How does your company celebrate a culture of diversity?’ or ‘What supports and mentorship opportunities do you have in place?’ are great examples of how to start this conversation. My advice to students and alumni is to research the companies attending the fair and ask the right questions to dig deep and find out if these opportunities align with their career goals.”
The Fall Career Fair Access Hour is one part of a larger plan to support students and instill optimism in their career journey. This year, the Student Success Centre, Student Accessibility Services and MSU Maccess have launched the Career Access Program for Students (CAPS) to provide a customized approach to skill building and career development for students who identify as women, persons with disabilities, First Nations, Metis and Inuit persons, members of racialized communities, and LGBTQ+-identified persons. The Career Access Program offers multiple ways to access its services and a flexible time commitment to meet the individualized needs of McMaster students. Students will develop an Employment Action Plan in areas such as career exploration, goal setting, personal branding, employment opportunities and mentorship.
Additionally, the Student Success Centre recently hired Katherine Hesson-Bolton to take on the role of Diversity Employment Coordinator. Part of Katherine’s role will involve developing relationships with employers and providing diversity hiring support to increase both employment and experiential learning opportunities for students and alumni from all Faculties. Katherine will also be involved with the Student Success Centre’s ongoing career and employment programming, including workshops and appointments.
“More and more employers are coming forward as champions in leading not only diversity hiring, but also inclusion within the workplace,” says Katherine Hesson-Bolton. “Examples among some of the employers coming to campus this Fall Career Fair include gender diversity public commitments, scholarships available to community members who may not historically pursue post-secondary education, women in leadership training and awards, and employee teams that represent and speak to diversity and inclusion within their workplace and community.”
Fall Career Fair, taking place on Thursday, September 20, 2018, is proudly hosted by the Student Success Centre, Engineering Co-op and Career Services, Experiential Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, Science Career & Cooperative Education, and Student Experience – Career and Professional Development. Fall Career Fair’s Gold sponsors are Emerson Climate Technologies and Parker Hannifin Canada; the fair’s Silver sponsors are Bermingham Foundation Solutions, Imperial Oil and Shoplogix.