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Laying Foundations

Welcome to Step 1! 

The last thing you may be considering at this time is preparing for a job. But, what you know now as a freshman can influence what job you get in the future. Planning for life after your McGill education starts NOW!

(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.)

Discovering Academic Interests

The first few years of university are the best to get a feel for your future studies and career. With increasing amount of information available, deciding your future after you graduate can be tough.  However, the resources below can guide you through this process: 

List of resources

  • Free access to professional Self-Assessments through CaPS (Career Planning Service)
  • P.A.C.E. Program: PACE is a program designed to help students make decisions about their field of study and/or career options. It consists a series of workshops including vocational testing and a complete self-assessment for a fee of $70.


Involvement and Experiences

Have you ever wondered what to put on your CV if you don't have formal work experience yet? Don't fret! Campus involvement and extra-curricular activities do matter for employers, particularly here in Canada. Not only will you enjoy working with people who share your interests, you will also develop important transferable skills at the same time!

Extra-Curricular Activities

Getting involved on campus can be recognized on your Co-Curricular Record. This record demonstrates your skills beyond the classroom to future employers.

List of resources

  • Co-Curricular Record is a document that recognizes a student's involvement in learning opportunities outside the classroom. It showcases your campus involvement to your employer. 
  • Official campus associations and opportunities: Engage McGill 
  • Student associations: Campus Clubs
  • myInvolvement: list of workshops, events, volunteer, and other meaningful learning opportunities.



Volunteering helps build and demonstrate skills to help you land a new job or advance at your current company. Volunteering also shows that you take initiative, like to keep busy, and be useful. If you are looking for your first job, next job or changing careers, volunteering shows a prospective employer that you are dedicated to your community and seek diverse opportunities.

If you are not sure where to start, we have compiled a list of resources to help you:

List of resources

  • SSMU Volunteering database is a list of available volunteer opportunities throughout the Montreal community.
  • SSMU Volunteering Consultation: If you are unsure about where and how to start volunteering, go talk to an advisor and discuss all the possibilities! 
  • SSMU Volunteer Fair: Come out and meet many of the volunteer organizations around Montreal to learn about how you can volunteer with them!
  • Montreal Volunteer Bureau's mission is to promote community volunteerism. They recruit volunteers, offer referral services, organize volunteer fairs, and provide support to a network of 70 Meals on Wheels and Community Lunch groups.
  • Alternative Spring Break is an initiative during McGill’s Reading Week, engaging students with five days of volunteering, learning, and interacting with the local Montreal community.

Expanding Skills


Each additional language you master increases your chances of getting into today's global market!

If you wish to stay in Quebec after graduation, your knowledge of the French language will be a determining factor in your employment opportunities.

For those intending to apply for permanent residency, achieving B2-level French fulfills the language requirements for the PEQ program - the accelerated immigration program that many students choose after studying in Quebec.  

Don't be intimidated if you've never studied French before; you will find the right level to get started through the McGill French Language Center, which provides a series of French as Second Language (FRSL) courses, varying from entry to advanced levels.  

All 300-level courses are considered B2 level by MIDI, meaning that successful completion of one of those courses will fulfill the PEQ french language requirements. Additionally, other resources are available both on and off-campus for French learning:

List of resources


Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are the skills you acquire and can be transferred to future employment settings. Common examples include communication, interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills. 

Many employers, particularly here in Canada, give weight to transferable skills in addition to proficiency in your area of studies.

List of resources

  • SKILLS21 is a new skill development program for McGill undergraduate students. It aims to provide flexible opportunities and support for McGill undergraduate students in the development of 21st-century skills, values, and attitudes through workshops in five different streams. 
  • SKILLSETS is a suite of skills development offerings aimed at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. It intends to improve participant skills and knowledge in one or more of the following themes: Plan Your Career, Expand Expertise, Solve Problems, Lead Projects, Communicate, Be Well, and Work with Others. These themes represent important areas of development for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows that can complement their academic training. 
  • The CL&E Emerging Leaders Program offers free Workshops and Mini-Conferences that help students develop their leadership.

Identifying Job Search Tools

An employer's first impression of you will often come from your CV and cover letter. These documents are crucial as they determine whether you will be invited for an interview. As such, they must showcase your most impressive skills and accomplishments. Read the listed information below and attend CaPS workshops about the basic components of successful CVs and cover letters.

Always have an updated CV ready to go - you never know when an opportunity could arise! That being said, even if you are a first-year student, take advantage of these amazing workshops and start drafting your first CV today!

List of resources

Interested In Staying In Quebec After Your Studies?

You may assume it is still too early to think about applying for permanent residency. But if you are even considering this possibility, we recommend taking a look at MIDI's website to get an idea of the requirements. Should you wish to apply in the future, you will know how and when to take the next steps, as some requirements may take longer to fulfill than others and require preparation in advance. 

Other recommended actions: