Once you finish your undergraduate degree it can be hard to figure out what to do next. There are so many options available, further study and travel being just two. Conor O’ Doherty, a DCU graduate, chose to combine those two options and set off to the Netherlands to pursue a postgrad degree in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
There are hundreds of options when it comes to going onto further education, and each have their benefits and drawbacks. Moving abroad can be a more expensive and sometimes a stressful option, but it can also provide an invaluable experience.
Conor chose to study abroad for a number of reasons, including cost and a desire to travel.
“I wanted to leave Ireland for a while, although it’s a great place to grow up, I didn’t want to live there for the rest of my life without living anywhere else,” Conor said. “The other reason is that the price difference is huge when it comes to the cost of postgraduate study”.
Fees for a year in the UvA will cost Conor around €2000, whereas the equivalent course in Ireland would cost up to €6,800 per year.
“Although I’ll pay more for accommodation and moving expenses, Irish courses usually cost a lot more and they’re generally a lot longer”.
Having lived away from home during his undergraduate degree, Conor is used to managing finances himself. While in Amsterdam he plans to find a place to live and use savings for the first while, but then try and find part-time work.
He found the process of applying for the course “relatively simple” but had some problems getting documentation together, as he hadn’t finished his course before the application deadline.
“My application was a bit of a mess to be honest because I hadn’t finished my course so I had to go to different bodies in the university, both here and in the Netherlands, to organise workarounds,” he said. “The University expects plenty of people not to have their degree yet though, so sending on predicted grades was acceptable.”.
Finding accommodation is something Conor is still trying to finalise before his move in August. Much like the accommodation crisis in Ireland, students looking for somewhere to live in Amsterdam face the same problems.
“I’m using a variety of sites to search like Volta and Pararius, but because they’re for Dutch people mostly, I might need to go through an agency,” he said. “Failing that, there’s very expensive emergency accommodation like The Student Hotel, but I’d rather not have to use that option”.
Conor advises anyone who is interested in a postgrad abroad to take the risk and go for it, but to really think it through before starting the process.
“It’s a huge leap of faith, but the only thing worse than not trying it is wishing you had,” he said. “I haven’t even started the hard part of mine yet and honestly, as stressful as it has been, I’m still very glad I made the decision and followed it through.”
For more information on studying in Europe, including information about various universities to which you can apply, visit the EUNiCAS website.
With four years’ experience as a personal tailoring expert, Damien Egan knows what he’s talking about when it comes for dressing for a professional setting. Here he talks about the dos and don’ts for men when dressing for an interview.
So, why is it important for you to put work into choosing what to wear, surely your skills should speak for themselves, right? It only takes about 7 seconds for an interviewer to form their first impression of you. Looking the part, and looking like you’ve made an effort, is an incredibly important part of ensuring that first impression is one you want to last.
Your suit should be a dark navy or grey/charcoal. It’s important to understand the difference between a fad and a timeless look. Ensure that the lapels are a regular width. Skinny lapels are a recent fad, but they’re not appropriate for a work environment, unless it’s retail. Try to choose a two button, notch lapel jacket. Peak lapels may be a bit over the top for an interview. Your trousers should sit correctly on your waist, and should have a slight break in the fabric at the bottom. Skinny trousers or trousers short enough to show socks are not suitable for an interview.
A crisp white shirt is always a good addition to your look but a light blue will work as well. Try not to wear a patterned or check shirt as they tend to look a little more casual. Do not wear a button-down shirt as they are not designed for suits and are very relaxed. What you can do to add a little bit of your own style is select a different weave on the shirt like a herringbone or an oxford weave. These are small details but a very nice touch to a keen observer. Should you have a slim face then choose a wider, more spread collar shirt and if you have a rounder face you should wear a more pointed collared shirt. For law firms, try to wear a double cuffed shirt with cuff-links.
For legal, accounting and other professional services firms a plain or lightly patterned tie is recommended. Try to avoid wearing a very bright “in-your-face” tie as it will draw attention away from what’s important. Make sure you can do a good knot in your tie, the ‘4 in the hand’ or half Windsor knot work well because you can get a nice dimple which gives a lot of character to your over-all look. Check out this video for a handy guide to tying that tricky Half-Windsor knot.
“Oxfords, not brogues”, a quote from Kingsman and one you should live by. Brogues are very casual so try stick to plain black or dark brown oxfords or maybe derby’s. Monk straps will also work fine in an interview setting.
For more information on how to dress for professional settings visit Damien’s website.
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.
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!
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!
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
2017 gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards recognises work of graduate recruiters as career opportunities continue to grow for students.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- What is a graduate programme?
- Career sectors
- gradireland Inside Buzz: graduates and interns review their employers
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:
- Abbott Ireland
- Bank of Ireland
- Boston Scientific
- First Derivatives Plc
- Jameson – Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard
- William Fry
A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk