5 Reasons you should attend the Graduate Careers Fair

Ireland’s Official Graduate Careers Fair is taking place on Wednesday 4th October 2017 in the RDS Simmonscourt. This event is your opportunity to meet leading employers, course providers, careers advisors and find out all the opportunities available to you!


Still not convinced? We have put together five reasons why you should attend Ireland’s largest graduate careers event!

It’s Ireland’s Official and Best* Graduate Careers Fair


Whether you are job hunting, want to find out more about further study or simply career curious about all the opportunities available to you, the Graduate Careers Fair has everything you need. Also did we mention that the Graduate Careers Fair *won best exhibition in the national Event Industry Awards 2016?

Face to face interaction with leading employers


This is your chance to make a great first impression with over 120 of Ireland’s top employers, who are all actively recruiting students, graduates and young professionals in a whole range of disciplines. Make a list of the exhibitors you would like to speak to, bring along your CV and get networking; this is your time to shine!

A killer seminar schedule


This year we have really outdone ourselves when it comes to our seminar schedule. Whether it’s advice about writing the perfect CV or cover letter, employability skills or top interview tips and hints, we have something for you! Check out the full list of seminars on our website.

CV Clinic


So you have had a list of employers that you may be interested in applying to put together. Now you have to create the perfect CV and cover letter to show off all your experience and skills. The Graduate Careers Fair will host a CV clinic, providing more than 50 hours of expert advice from career professionals – but make sure to get there early to secure your spot as the CV clinic fills up really quickly!

Your one stop shop for job hunting and advice


In final year? Be smart with your time- meet all the key people, find invaluable information and discover all the different opportunities available to you all in one day under one roof! Best of all – it’s completely free to attend by registering at graduatecareersfair.com

See you there 🙂

Your next steps after the gradireland Summer Fair

Last week saw thousands of students and recent graduates flock to the gradireland Summer Fair in the RDS to meet with graduate employers, further study providers and start-ups. It was a great event with lots of advice on hand, both for those who know exactly where they want to go and for those who need a little bit of direction!


Of course the burning question for everyone who attended the fair is what do you do next, particularly for those of you in job hunting mode? You took the first step at the fair by meeting different employers and (hopefully!) impressing them with your skills and enthusiasm. It can be difficult to figure out how, and when, to follow up with these contacts but that’s where we come in! Follow our tips below and you’ll be on your way to your ideal graduate job in no time.

Shortlist employers

The likelihood is that you spoke with a myriad of different organisations at the Summer Fair, but some organisations and opportunities will appeal to you more than others. As always, it’s important that you consider what fits best with the career path you’d like to pursue. This will help you to focus on which organisations you definitely want to follow up with and which just had the really great free stuff!


Once you have reviewed the organisations you talked to at the event and selected those you want to follow up with, write down the details and at least one follow up action for each employer. This could be writing a short introductory email and sending along your CV, or it could be that you need to research the organisation more before you make any speculative contact.

Contacting employers

The good news is that employers are used to being ‘followed up’ by students and graduates after events such as the Summer Fair – in fact, in most cases, they actually expect it. The important thing here is to follow up in an appropriate manner and to stand out from the other messages they will be receiving. The fair was last week so it’s about now that you should be getting in touch, if you haven’t already.

If you have a personal contact (e.g. sarah@perfectemployer.com rather than hr@facelessfactory.com), use it. It’s important to remember though that this person is likely to receive many emails from people just like you, in addition to their day-to-day emails! Be polite, be friendly, but keep it business-like. Imagine how many people he/she talked to that day, so your email will probably serve as a second introduction to yourself. Don’t presume the employer remembers any specifics about what was discussed, and use this opportunity to suggest, briefly, why their organisation is where you want to work.

An introduction like this is fine; “Thanks for taking the time to talk at the gradireland Summer Fair in the RDS last week, it was really interesting and made me realise that I’m really interested in a career with (name of employer). As I mentioned on the day, my degree focused on elements which I believe would make me suited for this role, such as….”


As with any job though, make sure you tailor your email for each employer. Don’t spam every email address you got with the same letter, it’s a recipe for disaster! It doesn’t matter if you’ve already given the employer your CV at the fair, send it on again, highlighting where and why you believe it makes you a good candidate for an available position.

End your correspondence with a suggestion of future contact, such as; “If it suits, I’ll give you a call next week to discuss?” Remember, be eager, but if you don’t hear back, wait, try to contain your frustration and remember that if you have a good CV for the role, have done your research properly and there is a role available, the recruiter will be likely be in touch, whether you are ultimately successful or not.

Using social media

Social media affords an easy way of building a professional relationship with employers. But be careful, on two fronts. Firstly, as we have written about before, make sure your social media presence is something that you would be happy for employers to see, and that includes all platforms, not just LinkedIn. Also, LinkedIn is great for research, but don’t try and connect with potential employers in advance of an interview or just after writing to them; it’s not good etiquette and will likely seem far too forward.

No matter the format you use for getting in touch, remember the basics; manners. Thank people for their time, be grateful for their advice and always be respectful. If you do this, invest in your research and be creatively persistent in your approach, your careers fair ‘follow up’ could be very successful indeed.

Remember you can also research employers on the gradireland website for even more information on what different employers are like.

Tips for your summer internship programme

Summer is just around the corner, and with it brings the beginning of this year’s summer internship programmes. With the arrival of a brand new group of summer interns to your organisation, we have asked leading graduate recruiters, who have been shortlisted for Best Internship Programme in this year’s Graduate Recruitment Awards, to give their top tips for summer internships.

Summer internships

Cora Buckner, Global University Relations & Intern Programs Senior Manager, Abbott

“In starting an internship program, it is recommended that a company start small and engage business leaders early.  Ultimately, it is the businesses that will employee the interns, so it is important to get business support early on. Additionally, start with the end in mind.  Examine gaps in key skillsets and develop a programme to fill the gap.  A strong program will also have a clear career path for successful students.  Clear career paths can include development programmes, director hire and/or multiple internships.  During the internship business leaders should have access to interns to evaluate their cultural fit and technical skills”.

Deirdre O’Donoghue, HR Director, HedgeServ

“At HedgeServ, internships are an excellent way to get to know the graduate population, as well as giving graduates the opportunity to get to know us.  Our offering is different to that of the traditional internships and we actively engage with those programmes that best fit our Graduate Development Programme requirements. Our top tip would be to ensure undergraduates experience meaningful, interesting work; supported by relevant training. Developing strong relationships with the careers offices and placement programme managers is also a must, ensuring both the students and those advising are aware of our opportunities”.

Paul Vance, Head of Resourcing, KPMG

“A well run internship programme can yield a number of positive results. Your interns can be your future graduates, they can be your informal ambassadors back on campus and they can positively contribute to your organisation. So my advice is to have a structured programme in place, dedicated mentors and meaningful work. Always remember, while you are assessing the performance of your interns, they too are assessing your organisation as a future workplace.”

Caroline Burke, Senior Marketing Analyst, Accenture

“Considering that the Summer Internship is a short placement (90 days) our top tip is to have everything in place before the student arrives.

Have a calendar setup with all induction, training, project presentations and evaluation dates placed and agreed. This will guarantee that all activities will be executed, and that the expectations are aligned.  It can be a turning point to guarantee a successful internship experience”.

Gillian Ellard, Human Resources, William Fry

“William Fry sees the Internship Programmes as a vital recruitment tool.  Benefits include a first look at future business and legal talent.  For the graduate, it offers an opportunity to sample life in a large corporate law firm.  Our programmes offer the opportunity for a 3 year training contract”.

Nessa Kiely, Trainee & Intern Recruitment Manager , A & L Goodbody

Provide continuous feedback; Internships are really great learning experiences and Interns who join our Firm are always eager to develop and  learn as much as possible.  Most internship programmes include a formal evaluation process, both midway through and at the end of the internship.  However, whilst, these formal evaluations are beneficial, we always encourage our Partners and Associates, working with Interns to provide them with continuous, on the job feedback.  Interns really appreciate getting this feedback, making them aware of what they are doing well and giving them the chance to improve on their development areas.  We would also encourage our people to say “thank you”  “good job” and “well done” as  these words can be very motivating, proving to be the key differentiator in providing a positive internship experience.

On behalf of all of the team at gradireland, we would like to wish you the very best of luck with your internship programmes this summer. The full list of companies shortlisted for Best Internship Programme in this year’s Graduate Recruitment Awards can be viewed here.

For more details about the Annual gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards contact a member of our team on 01-6451500 or email contact@gradireland.com.

Early careers engagement – Is final year too late?

The simple answer is yes. In recent years, gradireland have received significant feedback from employers to say that many graduates leaving college, though highly skilled academically, often do not have the soft skills needed for the modern world of work nor an understanding of the career pathway options available to them.

It will come as no surprise that the majority of students do not start to focus on their future until far too late in their 3rd level journey, with many only starting to look at career opportunities and life after college in their final year. The problem for employers and students alike is that this leads to students graduating without the employability skills that employers need, as well as a general unpreparedness for the realities of working life.

early careers engagement

It is clear that due to the improving economy and a deepening understanding by many employers of the importance of graduate recruitment, competition has really begun to intensify. Therefore graduate attraction and engagement with final year students has become a more crowded space, putting the graduate in the driving seat. At the same time recent gradireland research found that 49% of graduate recruiters anticipate challenges in finding candidates with the right skills to excel in their organisations.

So what can be done?

The good news is that there is a, “two birds-one stone” solution. Early engagement allows employers to influence and educate at the same time by helping to foster a relationship between the potential future candidate and the employer brand.

One such example of a leading graduate recruiter that is actively participating in early careers engagement is Accenture. In January 2016, Accenture hosted an event targeting second level students to raise awareness of all the career opportunities in the field of STEM. This event was not only an amazing opportunity to showcase all of the fantastic opportunities available with science, technology, engineering and maths but also an effective introduction of the Accenture employer brand to students who will start to make career decisions in the not-too-distant future.  At a recent gradireland Breakfast Masterclass, Ingrid Devlin, EMEA Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Dell Ireland explained that many of the world’s leading graduate employers have now even started engaging with students at primary level.

gradireland is at the centre of this movement, having introduced the brand new, innovative #FYI  content initiative this year. This campaign is driven by bespoke video and infographic content, created in partnership with the employer; it is designed to highlight the importance of career pathway awareness and soft skill development. We are so proud to have some of Ireland’s leading graduate recruiters on board for this initiative; you can view some of the #FYI videos here.


A new face to guide you through the 2016 gradireland/postgradireland directory

It’s a hectic time here in gradireland, and this week the first two of our range of titles for 2016 have been sent off to the printers. Along with the 2016 Finance Sector Guide, we are very happy to send our 304 page, bigger and better, gradireland and postgradireland directory to print.








To help you guide you through the various sections, whether it be job hunting tips, career sector advice or postgraduate study help, we are delighted to introduce ‘gradman’, your perfect guide to the 2016 gradireland/postgradireland directory. Keep an eye out for it on your campus from mid-September!


We’ve a host of other titles off to print over the coming weeks, packed with careers and postgrad information. If you’ve missed any of our current publications, download them here.

Not all doom and gloom; the benefits of an arts degree

It’s a common misconception that arts degrees are for those who don’t know what else to do. Contrary to popular belief, holding an arts degree can be very beneficial, depending on what you make of it. 

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) degrees often get a bad reputation due to the stereotype that a humanities-based degree will lead to a low-paying job. Students are encouraged at second-level to study science, engineering, technology or business-related subjects, as these are seen as more lucrative career sectors, which will contribute to economic growth and development. However, while the importance of the science, engineering, technology and business sectors is indeed significant, a new study carried out by Oxford University in the UK has shown that humanities-based degrees are of vital importance to society, the economy and to the graduates who hold these qualifications despite the fact that ‘the need to demonstrate the impact and value of Humanities higher education to society and the economy has intensified during the recent period of economic crisis’. A similar report was published in 2010 by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS), which sheds light on the importance of AHSS degrees within an Irish context. Both reports show similar general trends in the careers of humanities graduates.

The report carried out by Oxford University is based on data acquired from surveying 11,000 humanities alumni from Oxford University. It surveyed the career patterns of the alumni over a significant period of time (1960 –1989, encompassing all kinds of economic trends), displaying the long term career achievements of the alumni, rather than relying on data acquired six months after graduation: ‘The length of the period and the time elapsed since their graduation allows for a better understanding of employment trends than immediate graduate destination surveys do’. The report shows that investing in AHSS is worthwhile due to the social and economic contributions made by the graduates in this field. According to their research, 80% of graduates found careers in the following five sectors: education, media, law, finance and management.

The report carried out by the HEA and IRCHSS also draws attention to the important role arts, humanities and social sciences play in the Irish economy, both directly and indirectly:

‘We also need to be careful about stereotypical assumptions about disciplines, for example, assuming that economics is only about improving the financial functioning of society or that law is about regulation. Each of these disciplines may in fact contribute much more to societal cohesion and sustainability; and it may well be the literature scholars who have greater economic impact.’

Both the HEA and IRCHSS report and the Oxford report draw attention to the fact that many humanities graduates go on to work in the law, finance and education sectors, contributing extensively to the development of society and the economy.

Vast opportunities

One of the most interesting findings from this report is the vast range of career sectors in which AHSS graduates are employed. Similarly, it is interesting to note that both reports found that a substantial number of humanities graduates changed career sectors from their first graduate position. The movement between sectors is perhaps the most appealing aspect of a humanities degree; it should serve to offer graduates more certainty of securing a position, as opposed to entertaining the notion that those with a humanities degree will find it more difficult to find a job than those in other sectors. Movement between roles and sectors also shows a graduate’s first job does not define the entire course of his or her career path and offers options and diversity. The IRCHSS report also displays how the most valuable aspect of a humanities degree is the vast skill set graduates are equipped with upon graduation. Both reports state that these degrees provide graduates with the skills that are most sought-after by employers, such as communication skills, research and analysis, creativity, self-confidence and critical and analytical thinking.

‘… [Humanities] disciplines make a unique contribution to the creative and cultural industries and contribute to developing a wide range of generic skills beyond specific qualifications, such as critical and analytical thinking, cultural awareness, communication, etc.’

The IRCHSS report notes that the contributions made by arts and humanities graduates ‘make Ireland an attractive place in which to live and do business’, thereby indirectly playing a part in economic growth. The arts are also an intricate part of Irish culture and history, and give us our ‘national identity and sense of self’, and promote tourism into the country. One of the major successes during Ireland’s recent presidency of the Council of the European Union was the agreement reached to invest €70.2 billion in research and innovation; €11.9 billion of that will go to the European Research Council, with 38% of this figure being used to fund research into societal changes through both sciences and the humanities (Irish Times – 25th July 2013 http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/budget-boost-for-horizon-2020-an-irish-success-1.1473928).

There are countless options open to graduates due to the valuable skills associated with these degrees. Ultimately, humanities graduates who are currently job hunting should emphasise their transferable skills on their CVs and gain valuable work experience, rather than believing the often untrue rhetoric which says that a degree in humanities will lead to a low-paying job; it is therefore up to the graduate to decide how valuable their degree is and how they will put it to use.

For more information on career sectors, visit gradireland.com.

You can download our careers guide for this sector at: http://gradireland.com/sites/gradireland.com/files/SCG_arts.pdf

Do you love the Irish language? Download gradireland’s new online guide

Your Career With Irish

If you can answer YES to the above question, you will definitely want to check out the revised  online edition of Do Ghairm le Gaeilge, now available on gradireland.com in both English and Irish versions. Catherine Lyster of Letterkenny Institute of Technology explains how the guide can help you discover the vast array of opportunities to use Irish in your career.

Perhaps you are a recent graduate or about to graduate in the Irish language or you may have a great passion for using the Irish language in your chosen career area but do not have Irish in your degree.  Fear not! Do Ghairm le Gaeilge  provides  a comprehensive overview of the range of career options where competence in written and spoken Irish is a decided  advantage. You will discover, for example, that opportunities to use Irish in your career are not confined  to Gaeltacht areas and that the burgeoning development of new technologies have spawned  career opportunities to use Irish that would have been unheard of 5 years ago, such as apps developer and opportunities in online media.

Do Ghairm le Gaeilge is thoroughly researched and presented in an attractive, user friendly manner. Section One gives an outline of interesting facts regarding usage of Irish . Did you know, for example, that  job opportunities exist for bilingual researchers, producers, journalists, IT and other technical experts in the areas of broadcast media? Or that barristers with Irish make up a significant proportion of the Bar Council with more than 155 registered as having fluent or a working knowledge of Irish? This section also contains valuable hints and tips on how to incorporate use of Irish into your daily working life.

The subsequent chapters outline opportunities in sectors  where competence in Irish is a distinct advantage such as Media, Translating and Interpreting, Private Sector opportunities, Culture , Arts and Language, and, of course, the Public Sector. Each chapter is concise and thoroughly researched.  In the case of media, for example, the reader will gain a comprehensive overview of careers where Irish is welcome such as print, broadcast and social media. Each chapter is peppered with case studies, job and internship  hunting tips, sample CV’s, facts and an extensive list of web resources. There is a special chapter on postgraduate studies which will be of interest to anyone seeking information on postgraduate courses in any of the above career areas

With Do Ghairm le Gaeilge, you will be well informed on the range of exciting career opportunities  in which you can use Irish and will be provided with  lists of valuable contacts and resources. Do Ghairm le Gaeilge is the essential companion for anyone looking for a career using Irish or to pursue postgraduate studies in the Irish Language sector.