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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 🙂


4 things you didn’t know about this year’s Graduate Careers Fair

It’s less than two weeks away from the most anticipated event in the gradireland events calendar, the 14th annual Graduate Careers Fair. This event will see 120 of Ireland’s leading graduate employers, start-up companies and further study providers showcasing what they have to offer in a range of different sectors. Ahead of this event we have put together a list of four things that you probably didn’t know about Ireland’s Official Graduate Careers Fair.

Top employers will be there-it’s all about jobs!

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We have over 100 of Ireland’s leading employers attending this year’s Graduate Careers Fair. The exhibitor list to date is made up of 58 of the Irish Times Top 1000 companies as well as 15 international Fortune 500 companies! The best part, all of these organisations are actively recruiting for students and graduates in a range of sectors, there are interviews happening on the day itself, so come prepared!

CV Advice to beat all other

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Have you hit the wall when it comes to getting your CV or application ready to send to employers? Worry not! The Graduate Careers Fair has not only a dedicated CV Clinic with over 50 hours of free careers advice but also a rolling CV Seminar with specialised advice for both international and Irish students. This is the perfect opportunity to perfect your CV and get ahead of the competition.

Opportunities with NGOs

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Ever considered working as part of a non-for-profit organisation? We are excited to announce that this year’s Graduate Careers Fair will welcome some nationally and internationally established NGOs, including Oxfam Ireland and The Peter McVerry Trust . Chat to representatives about any opportunities available with these organisations.

Introducing Start-Up City

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Not sure if you want to go down the traditional career route or apply for a graduate programme? This year’s gradireland Graduate Careers Fair will host our very first Start-Up Zone, which will see some of Ireland’s emerging tech talent exhibiting. Pop over to Start-Up City at the Graduate Careers Fair and find out what it’s like to be part of a high growth, fast paced start up team! Exhibitors include Gamex, Huggnote, Aromatrix and many more.

So there you have it! Four things that you might not have known about the Graduate Careers Fair, all the more reason to register now and we’ll see you in the RDS on October 5th.

Register for free entry at www.graduatecareersfair.com

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

 


Guest blog: Irish Feet Touchdown in España

Ever wonder what it is like to teach in a foreign country? Check out this blog by Sarah G. about life as a teacher in Spain with Meddeas.

A small fish in a big pond is how I’d describe the initial shock I felt in January of this year when I came to teach in Spain as a language assistant.

On mid week Wednesday mornings, when it’s almost 8:45am, before you finally get the courage to get out of bed, it’s arriving at school and one of the children from my one year old class coming up to me saying “Hello Sara” -instead of the usual “Hola”-, that makes teaching worthwhile; or when a three year old boy comes up to me and says “¿Cómo se dice ‘te quiero’ en inglés?” and then proceeds to spend the day telling every man woman and child “I love you”.

Those are the moments that make me want to do this forever and those are the moments that make me already apprehensive about leaving! The same three-year-old also melted my heart with love for him on February 14th of this year, Día de San Valentín, when he came up to me with a ring and said “Quieres ser mi novia?” (Do you want to be my girlfriend?).

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This experience abroad to date has been incredible and I regret nothing: I am learning more Spanish working with kids and living with a Spanish family than I ever would in University. Why? Well it’s difficult to explain. I’m completely immersed: my family speak English quite well but apart from the conversations I have with Javier (eight year old host brother), I tend to speak Spanish for the majority of the time I spend in the family home. Every day I’m learning new words and phrases. Every day there is something different to eat, something with a new difficult-to-pronounce name: “Gazpacho”“Albondigas” (meatballs),  “Pulpo a la gallega” to name but a few. With every new dish that’s placed before me is a new word to learn, so by eating (a favourite pass time of mine), I’m learning too!

Initially, coming to teach in Spain I knew I was going to find out so much about the culture and the food and the language, which was one of the reasons why I felt theMeddeas programme of staying with a family was ideal: you have no choice but to immerse yourself in everything that is España. I knew that the life of the people in Jerez would be different to that of what I had been used to in Spain. I don’t think it’s possible to live in Jerez without being constantly reminded of “caballos”“tinto”and, of course, bull fighting!

The initial feeling I received in school was fame. You would think children, from one to five years old, that a pale-skinned ginger-haired girl from Ireland would scare them, that they’d take awhile to get used to you. This is not the case, the more you stand out the more they like you. Clearly, I can never be mistaken for Spanish. Constantly, I have kids hanging out of me “¿Me toca? ¿Puedo ir contigo? Señora Sara, Señora Sara, Señora Sara” (Is it my turn? Can I come with you? Miss Sarah, Miss Sarah, Miss Sarah) , most days I love it! (Note: Most days). Within my first week, I had marriage proposals and invitations to birthday parties. I was both humbled and overwhelmed by the welcoming I received from the children in my school.

But the experience is not all that rosy rosy rosy: teaching children who have limited English at such a young age is difficult. I wanted nothing more than to be swallowed alive half way through my first class with the 3 year-olds. I constantly have to remind myself to breathe. My three and four year-olds are the most difficult to teach as their attention spans are short and their need for movement is quite substantial. Surprisingly, facial expressions, tone of voice and lots and lots of pictures can keep the one year-olds entertained for the duration of the class quite easily. Side note: Do not say/do anything you don’t want the children to repeat. If you say “Touch your head” and, while you are waiting for the children to do it themselves, you get an itchy nose so you scratch it, your nose will forever be your head in their eyes!

Both Meddeas and the teachers in my school have been amazing. I really have got two families here in Jerez: one with my host family and the other in my school. I’m growing so much as an individual. I love the independence that Jerez has offered; it’s been an incredible experience so far. I can’t comprehend the fact that I arrived to teach in Spain almost two months ago.If someone could please slow down time that would be “estupendo”, I really don’t want to leave!

Meddeas are currently recruiting for teachers in Spain, find out more here.


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!

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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!

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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….”

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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.


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.

 

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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.


Skills supply report points to particular graduate opportunities in science, IT and health

Skills

‘Monitoring Ireland’s Skills Supply 2015’ is the tenth in a series of reports produced by SOLAS on behalf of the Expert Group for Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). The purpose of the report is to provide an overview of the skills profile of the population.

The main findings of the report point to the fact that there are over one million qualification holders, or a third of the population, who have studied in one of the following areas:

  • (SSBL) Social science, business & law (including commerce)
  • Accountancy
  • Marketing
  • Business management

Further to this, another 320,000 persons have post-secondary qualifications, with engineering/construction, such as craft awards, accounting for a third.

Areas of opportunity

Science: Highly-skilled professionals such as actuaries, statisticians and teachers are particularly in demand in this field.

Engineering and construction: The difference between those with post-secondary qualifications and those with third level qualifications is much smaller in these areas, with the report revealing employment rates almost as high for those with qualifications such as apprenticeships, as for graduates.

SSBL: The career paths in this sector, according to report are very much determined by the level to which the candidate has studied.  However, there are many business related occupations which have been identified as experiencing shortages and growth prospects are positive for the financial and professional services sectors.

Health/welfare: There are high levels of employment for graduates with the right qualifications in this field. Employment opportunities in the health sector are mostly in government funded organisations; although there have been limited opportunities in recent years due to restricted healthcare budgets, demand for these skills are expected to be sustained and most likely to increase.

Education: Third level graduates are very much in demand for certain posts in this area and there is a higher than average proportion of recent university graduates employed overseas in the education sector. However at home, employment opportunities depend very much on government policy and funding according to the report. Demand for educational professionals is also affected by the size of the school going age population; “these factors will impact on the demand for teachers in the coming years,” says the report.

Arts/humanities: Graduates in these fields are most likely to continue their studies, specialising in a particular area, according to the report. The report also says that arts/humanities graduates may be more flexible in meeting labour market needs “but they may also be susceptible to having to accept lower skilled employment as many arts/humanities courses do not have a vocational element.”

Services: Tourism and hospitality is a sector highlighted by the report as one which presents significant opportunities to graduates. The report adds that while graduates in this area do find employment opportunities, it is a sector particularly affected by the economic climate.

The report comes only a short time after its companion research, the National Skills Bulletin, was released. Read our article on the Bulletin here.  For more on sector based advice from graduates, visit our sector hubs.

 


Combining a postgrad and work with distance learning

Distance LearningDistance learning in postgraduate education has risen in the last decade on the back of greater flexibility and suiting the needs of the modern worker, writes Fergal Browne.

Distance learning has increased massively in recent years. The Open University (OU), the oldest distance learning university in the British Isles, is now the largest academic institution in the United Kingdom and Ireland catering to almost 250,000 students, 50,000 of which are overseas.

OU was first created in 1969, so the concept is not new but with the rise of fast and ubiquitous internet, the advantages of this style of postgraduate learning has increased, especially for people working full-time.

“It’s ideally suited to full-time workers”, says Susan Sharkey from the Open University Ireland. “Nowadays, all the courses are online and we are across a whole range of degree subjects. There’s a massive support network for students whether by phone, email, online forums or online classrooms with all materials supplied, and the majority of courses provide a one-on-one tutor. We have amongst the highest student satisfaction rates in the UK and Ireland”, she says.

Unlike in universities where you have to go on campus and attend lectures at set times, in distance learning, students can tailor their degrees with their work needs. “You take it on a module-by-module basis. It’s stretched over a longer period of time so you can fit it around your working schedule”, adds Susan.

Patrick O’Hare studied an undergraduate degree in Marketing in DIT and moved into a full-time marketing position at an SME after finishing university. While there, he did a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing at the Digital Marketing Institute.

“My undergraduate degree covered all aspects of marketing so I wanted to specify and felt digital marketing was a growth area and something I’m passionate about”, says Patrick who set up his own website shortly after finishing the postgraduate diploma. “It augmented the experience I was getting in my role at the time and with it I was able to implement my own marketing strategy as a result,” he adds.

Patrick says he was never concerned that the degree wouldn’t be recognised by employers in the same way that a degree in a ‘bricks and mortar’ university would. “You do hear stories about degrees that have no accreditation whatsoever, but I was comfortable this wasn’t the case here. It had a lot of accreditation and from my research seemed to be really valued by employers”, says Patrick.

“In the past that perception was there but that’s just not an issue anymore. All the courses are FETAC-accredited and on the same level as any other university in Ireland. The only piece of advice we would give is that, as students study with us from across the world, make sure the degree is recognised in your country. But in Ireland, that’s never an issue”, affirms Susan.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing course is mixed between distance learning and attending the tutorials in the institute. “The tutorials take place at the weekend so you could attend if you wished. But they were all recorded so you could watch online later. It was really good and flexible in that sense,” says Patrick. “Separately they also did what were called ‘webinars’ where all the students would login remotely and a lecturer would be live and answer any questions that a student typed in”, he adds.

This flexibility extends to the range of modules students can do too. “STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) have been big in the last few years. For example, you get a lot of teachers looking to do a topic they haven’t covered in an undergrad, for example, maths. So they go to the Open University, get the qualification and they have permission from the Teaching Council to teach the subject. We get that a lot in business and management too”, says Susan.

Funding distance learning is often tailored to the need of full-time workers. “A 60 credit module course would cost in and around €3,000 at the Open University”, says Susan. “But that includes everything. All course material and there’s no relocation or commuting costs. Students can pay monthly, the state gives tax relief for further study and in a lot of cases employers fund the course in part. There are a lot of options”.