Gaining work experience

Gaining work experience

Gaining professional and degree-related experience as early as you can while studying, will help you to stand out from the crowd. A 2015 survey showed that 31% of graduates won’t secure full-time employment within four months of graduation. However, graduates who had degree-related part-time work or experience in their final year of study found full time employment in their field much faster and more easily.

Start building your experience early

This helps you to:

  • become job-ready 
  • develop as a well-rounded graduate, which maximises your employability 
  • learn more about yourself, your skills and values  
  • acquire technical, practical or interpersonal skills  
  • allows you to highlight your professional qualities and achievements on job applications 
  • build your network and industry contacts 
  • practise and improve your English language skills. 

There are two programs that we run yearly which are excellent ways to gain experience.  You can be a careers fair volunteer during a semester, or a representative for the entire year.  Our volunteers assist with all of the logistics, catering, and evaluation of our careers fairs held throughout the year.  We recruit our representatives during the summer break for the following year.  They act as team leaders for our volunteers and ambassadors of our service to the greater university. 

Univative is an inter-disciplinary, inter-cultural, and inter-university case study competition held during the winter break each year.  Competing universities include UTS, WSU, UNSW, UOW, the University of Sydney, and newcomers to this year's competition are ACU and CQU. 

When considering work experience, degree-relevant experience is the most valuable. There are several ways to do this:

Curricular activities

PACE offers you a chance to gain relevant work experience while you study. 

PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) 

Macquarie's unique PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) program engages you in real world learning activities with organisations across Australia and around the globe. You will complete a PACE unit as a part of your Bachelor degree, usually in your third year of study. Our network of over 2,500 host organisations both within Australia and around the world provides extensive opportunities to explore potential career paths. Through PACE you gain that all-important practical experience employers really value.

PACE International 
PACE International offers a range of exciting learning experiences in over 25 countries around the world. Whether you are assisting with native land rights in Borneo, supporting an archaeological dig in Italy or working with a social media agency in Paris there is an international experience to suit you. Founded on the principle of reciprocal benefit to students, organisations and communities, an international PACE activity will help you to explore real world challenges while you gain professional skills.

Co-curricular activities 

Macquarie offers exciting opportunities to enhance your degree through its Student Exchange program.  

Exchange program
Gain a better understanding of global issues, develop your capacity to deal with change, build a global network, interact with people from different cultures and learn a new language. With over 200 partner universities in more than 50 countries, there are plenty of choices for short term or full semester exchange.

Extra-curricular activities 

Participating in extra-curricular activities (ECAs) can hugely assist your employability and future job prospects. ECAs help develop your personal brand, expand your social networks and help identify career pathways. 

Employers will assess your involvement in activities on and off campus to see if you’ll fit into their organisational culture and whether you have leadership potential. Employers favour ECAs that demonstrate your maturity, responsibility and reliability – so get involved! 

Global Leadership Program
Macquarie's Global Leadership Program (GLP) can equip you with the leadership potential, professional skills and international experiences to pursue a truly international career. GLP is an extracurricular program undertaken alongside any degree at Macquarie. Your global understanding and skills will be put into practice studying, volunteering and participating in activities in Australia and overseas.

Student groups and societies
Join a student group if you’re passionate about it, or it’s closely related to your degree and/or professional career path. Getting involved by organizing events and working on industry projects will develop a network through your group.  

Volunteering is a great opportunity to create a professional profile and to give back to the community. Gain personal satisfaction, help others and add experience to your resume. Spend some time looking at volunteering projects and sites such as:

The Centre for Volunteering 

Do Something Near You  



Seek Volunteer 

And here on campus: 

Session 2 Winter Careers Expo Volunteers

Macquarie University's LEAP program 



Graduates can struggle to break into their chosen field, but building a professional portfolio with relevant work experience as early as possible can make all the difference. Internships are a popular way to increase your employability.

Undergraduate students 
Macquarie's PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) program is dedicated to providing opportunities for undergraduate students across all disciplines to gain vital practical experience. A PACE internship offers a minimum of 30 hours in the workplace. 

Postgraduate students
Several Masters degrees offer internships to students as part of their study program. See your Faculty Support Centre for more information.  

Paid internships

Search for paid internship opportunities through: 

CareerHub’s online job board 

Graduate Opportunities Website 



ACS Foundation Scholarship 


Inter-disciplinary Competitions

Our growing range of competitions both internal and external to the university offer immersive and intense professional experience. 

Industry competitions


An inter-disciplinary, inter-cultural, and inter-university case study competition held during the winter break each year.  Employer partners such as EY, Accor, The Salvation Army, and the Australian Maritime Museum present either actual or fabricated case studies for students to solve.  Competing universities include UTS, WSU, UNSW, UOW, the University of Sydney, and newcomers to this year's competition are ACU and CQU.  Students from all faculties and disciplines, both local and international, and undergraduate and postgraduate, are encouraged to apply.  Applications for 2017 are now closed, but you can find out more about Univative with this video from Study NSW.   

Media and Journalism

Entries for the 2017 YAJA Awards (Young Art Journalism Awards) are now open.  The competition helps media and journalism students showcase their talent in capturing art and culture in a creative way.  YAJA is designed to offer current students and recent graduates media opportunities, industry mentoring, networking opportunities, and a large audience reach.  There is no entry fee.

International students

Join us at Interchange, an international student competition run during the month of August, with the aim to develop your inner entrepreneur. This competition is proudly funded by Study NSW.

Paid employment 

Gain experience through paid employment such as part-time or casual work over the semester or during university holidays. This kind of experience is highly valued as it will build your employability and technical skills and show that you can balance your study and work commitments.

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