Making the most of your internship

Poppy Harrington, gradireland Events Intern

According to the 2017 gradireland Graduate Salary & Recruitment Trends Survey (coming soon) over 75% of businesses said they offer work experience or internships to college students. Also, 66% of students surveyed by gradireland saying they had completed work experience or an internship. We take a look at the internship experience from the perspective of a pre-final year student. By Hannah Kelly. 

“Internships give students a taste of working life, equip them with vital industry experience and can help them choose where they want go to in their career,” says Poppy Harrington, a 3rd year Events Management student from DIT, who is currently four months into her six month internship here at  gradireland.

“My role is Events Intern, so I liaise with the events manager and events co-ordinator for all of our events,” she explained, “my main role has been to organise Summer Fair which is on June 7th in the RDS”.

More and more courses at third level are adding work placement as a module. Poppy believes her “course wouldn’t be the same without” the internship because in this field experience is everything. Poppy had some previous experience of running events in college, but not comparable to the scale she is now working on in her internship.

“For the Summer Fair we already have 1600 people registered and for my event in college only 50 people came, so it’s definitely on a different level to what I was used to,” she said.

Above all, Poppy feels like her internship has given her a chance to explore what her future career might look like and what aspects of events she enjoys.

“It’s opened doors for me about what I want to do when I finish, because I’m still not 100% sure what I want to do, but everyday I’m here I learn more about what I want to do, what I don’t want to do and what interests me and what doesn’t,” she said.

A concern Poppy has is how she will feel returning to a college environment after being in the workplace for six months. She feels internships would be better suited once a student is finished with their degree.

“I’m not looking forward to go back to assignments and having tutors tell me what to do instead of working on my own initiative and making my own choices with a team,” Poppy said, adding “I think having this experience at the end of my degree would have been more beneficial as my internship is so long”.

Once finished her final year in college, she hopes to go on to further study after gradireland introduced her to the possibility of graduate programmes and believes the internship has been hugely beneficial and will stand to her once she enters the working world.

“The way I see it, these six months of my life will be really beneficial in terms of what I can learn and learn about myself” Poppy said, “I didn’t even know what a graduate programme was before gradireland and it has opened my mind as to what is out there when I finish”.

 

Next week, Poppy will share her top tips for starting your internship on the front foot. 

Find out more about internships on gradireland.com .


Our top tips for making the most out of the gradireland Summer Fair

How to make the most out of the Summer Fair (2)

Unfortunately we won’t have flamingos or cactus at our Summer Fair BUT we have plenty to help you on your career pathway!

We’ve put together our top tips for making the most out of next week’s Summer Fair!

Keep an open mind

Employers hire graduates from any discipline. So don’t pigeon-hole potential employers – IT companies need marketing, finance and language graduates; accountancy firms recruit from any disciplines, you don’t have to be an accountant. Indeed most of the companies at the gradireland Summer Fair recruit from a number of disciplines, so don’t walk on by their stands – get in there and ask them if they are on the look-out for graduates from your discipline: you might be pleasantly surprised!

Download the gradireland Events App

The gradireland Events App is your personal assistant for the gradireland Summer Fair! We have packed our entire fair information into this must-have app which is FREE to download and gives you the tools that you need to have a productive and successful gradireland Summer Fair! The app will help you:

  • Research companies before and during the fair
  • Keep up-to-date with all the pre-fair developments e.g. new exhibitors, exciting new seminars
  • Find companies who are hiring students and graduates with your skills
  • Locate exhibitors quickly with a floor plan at your fingertips, so you can make the most out of your day.
  • Create your own schedule of seminars with built-in reminders
  • Bookmark your key exhibitors; have immediate access to companies’ gradireland profiles and contact information
  • Interact via the app with exhibitors and other attendees; post photos of your day, comments and messages.

Download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play now

Use the Jobs Walls

There will be several Jobs Walls within the hall at the gradireland Summer Fair, showcasing live jobs from a number of sectors. These will have numerous graduate schemes and opportunities listed, so bring a notepad and pen or use your phone and take a photo of any that you are interested in applying to – then go home, find the job, internship or graduate programme on gradireland.com and start putting together your applications!

Bring your CV

Many employers are happy to receive CVs at careers fairs. In addition, at the gradireland Summer Fair we will be running a specialist CV Clinic, hosted by careers advisers from various Universities providing specialist advice, at which you can have your CV reviewed.

However, a word of caution – the CV Clinic has a limited number of slots and gets booked up very quickly, so get there early to book your appointment and don’t expect the advisers to write your CV for you – they are there to review and advise but you’ll have to do the hard work first yourself!

Attend the Seminars

Make sure you attend one or more of the specialist careers seminars – they are designed to give you the edge when it comes to applications and interviews! From Social Media to Life after Graduating there is a seminar to benefit everyone. Check out the line-up of seminars for the Summer Fair here!

Prepare

Make sure you have researched the exhibitors who are attending and decide beforehand which ones you would like to talk to. Think of questions which might not be answered already in brochures or on their websites, read our other blog for some examples you might consider. Many exhibitors bring recent graduates now working in their business to their stands, so ask them what life is really like in that company!

Visit summergradfair.ie today and get your free ticket!


5 questions to ask a potential employer

5 Questions (1)

The gradireland Summer Fair is a fantastic opportunity to meet and ask questions of potential employers. Many employers also bring graduates who are currently on their graduate programmes to attend their stand, so you can ask them what life inside these companies is really like!

These conversations are unbelievable opportunities for networking, and can help you decide on future career paths or give you that nugget of ‘insider information’ that can help you through the application and interview process and ensure that you beat the competition to land your perfect graduate job.

We’ve put together 5 questions to ask a potential employer below:

1: How many graduates do you take on each year and do you employ graduates from courses like mine?

This question helps determine whether or not it is worth asking the next questions! It’s important to ascertain that an employer is hiring, or, that they will be doing so in the not too-distant future. Equally it’s good to know if the employer has successfully hired graduates with a similar background to you – this question can get the conversation off on a positive foot, or end it nice and early! If the answer is no but you are keen to work for that employer or in that sector, ask about any conversion courses that you might take that they have successfully hired from.

2: What are the most important competencies you look for in graduates during the selection process?

All employers have criteria they look for when hiring. Some are quite defined, others relate to that elusive ‘fit’. Discover the answers to this question and, if you decide to apply, present your application in a way which showcases your corresponding attributes.

3: What would my first year in your organisation be like?

This question allows the recruiter to talk about your induction, training and development, opportunities for travel, and any promotion opportunities for high performing graduates. gradireland research has shown that these are the most significant factors for students and graduates when considering which employer they would most like to work for.

4: Tell me the single most important thing you would advise any graduate considering applying for a role with your organisation to do!

Not strictly a question, but if you can get the answer then you have the inside track which could give you that all-important edge over your competition throughout the selection process.

5: Do you have internship programmes and how can I get on them?

An internship is a great way to find out about a company, a sector of work, and of course to land a graduate job further down the line. gradireland research shows that over 86% of graduate recruiters run internship programmes, and that the recruiters themselves see completing a relevant internship as the single most useful thing a graduate can do to improve their employability.

Finally don’t forget to register today for your free ticket at summergradfair.ie


6 skills graduates need to work in the food and drink sector

The Food and Drink sector is growing and thriving with new opportunities for graduates developing all the time. However, as Hannah Kelly explains, a new report has highlighted skill gaps graduates will need to fill if they are to be successful in the industry.

The recently released Food Wise 2025,a report compiled by the Department of Agriculture & Food, sets out a plan for the development of the agri-food industry over the next decade, said they expect to see a further 23,000 jobs created, including the creation of additional graduate programmes, over the next ten years in the Irish Food and Beverage Sector.

“The Food and Drink sector has grown strongly over the period from 2010 to 2016 and has recovered”, the report said. “Employment in the sector increased to 54,000 in 2016, an increase of 6,600 from 2009.”

To achieve further growth though, it was stressed that gaps in skills required for the sector need to be addressed. Graduates eager to work in this sector should aim to focus on developing skills in the following areas that the report highlighted:

  1. Think internationally: Develop your knowledge of, and skills in, international trade and logistics. Companies also place a high emphasis on language and multi-cultural skills. More specifically in this area you should work on developing experience in customer management, dealing with international customers and suppliers and supply management.
  2. Innovation: In particular, companies are looking for graduates with production development skills. More specifically the report identified gaps in portfolio management, packaging technology and design engineering. Talk to your careers advisor or look up companies who could help you bridge this skills gap.
  3. IT and Numeracy: Employers are looking for graduates with good numeracy and IT skills no matter what section of the company you’ll be in. These skills are particularly useful as companies seek to merge roles within their organisations through automated manufacturing procedures.
  4. Supply Chain Management: Focus on customer requirements and standards, managing money effectively and reducing inventory levels. These are all skills companies are looking for in potential employees no matter what part of the business you might be working in.
  5. Leadership: In the gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, we found that 37.1% of employers identified lack of leadership hard skill shortfalls. Being able to demonstrate the potential to lead a team is important as both more strategic and engaged leadership is a skill gap identified in the industry.
  6. Financial and Commercial Acumen: As mentioned above, a lot of companies are moving towards less structured roles, with cross-functional teams and a broader variety of work the ever increasing norm. This means no matter where you are in the business; you’ll be expected to have good financial and commercial judgement.

For more information on different career sectors visit: https://gradireland.com/career-sectors

 


gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2017

2017 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards recognises work of graduate recruiters as career opportunities continue to grow for students.

GradIreland_Awards_2017_Winners_28

April 27th 2017 saw the 11th gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards held at Dublin’s Mansion House, a gala event for almost 600 of the country’s graduate recruiters, talent developers and industry stakeholders. As always, the awards were held in partnership with the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS) and this year’s sponsors, the Irish Management Institute (IMI). The 2017 event attracted over 150 high-quality submissions from many of Ireland’s top employers, with over 7,000 students, from north and south, participating in the vote to select Ireland’s most popular graduate recruiter.

The awards were preceded by a gala dinner and speeches from gradireland Director Mark Mitchell, who said that the awards represented an endorsement of the tremendous work being done by those involved in the area of graduate career development.

He was followed by Dr Simon Boucher of the IMI who said that despite facing a world order that is  “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, it is a fundamental truth that there has never been a more exciting time to be a graduate and there has never been a more exciting time to be involved in graduate development.”

The awards were presented, as has become customary, by RTE’s Brian Dobson, and the winners were chosen from across the graduate recruitment sector, reflecting the range of interest in the awards and the quality of the submissions received.

Professional services firm EY were named Graduate Employer of the Year while Deloitte replaced KPMG as Ireland’s Most Popular Graduate Recruiter in the student vote, with Google once again in second place. KPMG was named as having the best professional training and development programme, while Glanbia landed the same award in terms of business training and development. The competition for Best Internship Programme was especially stiff, with two categories, those companies with an internship intake of less than 50 and those with an intake of over 50. EY were named the winner in the former category, while AbbVie took home the award for the latter. AbbVie also won Graduate Employee of the Year when Michael Redmond.

GradIreland_Awards_2017_Winners_25 (1)

The full list of winners at the 2017 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards are available here.

The awards are now a firmly fixed event on the graduate recruitment calendar, representing a unique cross-section of industry, including recruitment professionals, employment stakeholders and careers advisors alongside course providers. Dr Simon Boucher added that; “many organisations now recognise that leadership development starts at the point of career entry, giving graduates the opportunities to develop their leadership style, research has shown that talent development features as a top priority for the majority of CEO’s and it is gratifying for professionals involved in the recruitment and development of graduates that their work has never been higher profile or more strategically significant.”

The awards also saw the official unveiling of the new look gradireland website, Ireland’s leading portal for graduate careers advice and jobs.


Ireland’s Top 100 Graduate Employers 2017

gradireland awards 2017

 

Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers reveals Ireland’s most sought-after employers from the perspective of those that matter most – the students and graduates who will provide the next generation of innovators and leaders in Irish business.

The Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers survey is part of the European Student Barometer, the largest pan-European survey of graduate trends and is conducted by Europe’s leading graduate research firm, trendence. The data produced decide the winners of Ireland’s 100 and the winners of the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards and contribute also to a wider study across all 24 European Union countries.

Here is the 2017 list in full.

You can find more information in gradireland’s book Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers, published every Autumn and the 2016 edition is still available to view via gradireland.com/publications.

Follow us on twitter @gradireland for graduate recruitment  updates and like gradireland on Facebook


Choosing the right graduate employer

The rustic kitchen

Picking a graduate employer is one of your first big decisions in life so you need to be rational, thoughtful and well prepared.

To get the best start to your graduate career you need to think about the kind of place where you will fit in. Even within a single career area, employers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and they offer a diverse range of working environments, training options and opportunities for career development. With so many organisations to explore it’s worth sparing some time to reflect on what you want and to think about the attributes that will be vital in your future graduate employer.

Be curious and think about what’s important for you

Think about the key things you would want to compare and contrast when you mull over employers. Here are some points to get you started:

Size

Do you dream of being part of a gigantic multinational corporation, a valued employee in a company of around 150 people, or an essential cog in a small business? Find out if there are both small and large firms in the career sector that interests you and think about the benefits each size of employer  potentially offers?

Company culture

Graduate jobs don’t all require a suit and a briefcase, and different employers have their own ways of doing things, even if they are in the same business sector. Explore different the work ethics, methodologies and values of different firms. Try to get a feel for whether employers are more formal and hierarchical in structure, or laid back and dress down on Fridays.

Commuting

Depending on the location of where you are happy to work, you’ll also have to consider where you’ll live… and then think about how far you are really prepared to commute. If you have no car, find out if there are good public transport links to where an employer is based.

Work/life balance

When choosing employers, think also about the nature of the work you want to do. With some careers longer hours are par for the course, but employees are usually rewarded financially in return. Look into the flexible working opportunities offered.

Training

To progress in certain careers, training is essential. Assess what training is offered and how it is typically provided – will you be trained in house, on the job, or have opportunities to attend external courses. If your career choice involves sitting professional exams, find out what study leave might be available.

Career paths

You don’t want to be stuck in a dead-end job with no prospects of promotion. Find out what opportunities are available with the employers that interest you and see if you can find out how graduates in a company typically move up the career ladder.

Travel

Some employers offer the chance to travel – six-month assignments abroad, or lots of national or international business trips. If you love travelling, see whether this is a possibility. If you don’t want to live out of a suitcase and you really aren’t prepared to be mobile, this might also dictate your career and employer choice.

More help from gradireland

On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House and the following companies have employees nominated in the Best Graduate Employer of the Year:

A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk