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 🙂

6 ways to make the most out of the Graduate Careers Fair

Careers fairs are an amazing opportunity for students, graduates and young professionals to get the ‘inside scoop’ of a company, find out the opportunities they have available as well as the disciplines that they are interested in hiring in.

Preparation is key when it comes to careers fair, so we have put together some helpful tips for the day of the fair:

Use the Jobs Wall

There will be several jobs walls within the hall at the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair. These will have live graduate schemes and opportunities listed, 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 applying!


Bring your CV

Many employers are happy to receive CVs at Careers Fairs. In addition, at the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair we will be running a specialist CV Clinic, hosted by careers advisors from your University providing over 50 hours of 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 advisors to write your CV for you – they are there to review and advise but you’ll have to do the hard work first yourself!



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. Many exhibitors bring recent graduates now working in their business to their stands, so ask them what life is really like in that company.


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 Assessment Centres to Interview advice there is a seminar to benefit everyone.


Download the gradireland Events App

The brand new gradireland events app is your personal assistant for the Graduate Careers Fair. You can create a profile, directly contact employers, personalise your seminar schedule and much more! Download it from the App Store or Google Play now.

More information about the event can be found at www.graduatecareersfair.com

Not in final year? Four things that you may get the answer to by attending the Graduate Careers Fair

It’s not unusual for students who are not yet in final year to be unsure about attending the Graduate Careers Fair. You lucky souls are still out there enjoying college life and may not have thought a lot about careers or the future.  Well here are a few of the questions that you may get an answer to by attending this year’s Graduate Careers Fair:

Do I know what Career Path I would like to pursue?


This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest decision you will have to make before leaving college. There is so much to take into account, including the area you would like to work in, job prospects, the companies that are recruiting in your field, the locations of these companies and salary expectations. It is very difficult to find credible answers to these questions without speaking to the employers in person.

Over 120 employers are attending this year’s Graduate Career Fairfrom over 20 different sectors, with headquarters all around Ireland and Europe. This is the ultimate opportunity to meet these employers and ask them the essential questions you need to know, to get a better understanding of what it is you would like to do.

What do I need to get a job?


Putting together all the documents you need to land your dream job can be very daunting. Every employer has different criteria they look for when recruiting graduates, this requires tailoring your CV and cover Letter to each job you may apply to. CV Clinics are being held at the Graduate Career Fair with experts from Careers Services throughout Ireland. These experts will provide you with the advice you need to get that dream job! Keep in mind that many Graduate Programmes open for applications in September each year, meeting these CV Experts could put you ahead of the competition for next year’s applications.

Am I interested in doing an internship?


Internships are amazing opportunities to gain experience in a particular job or to find out about the culture of a particular company. Employers also take this essential experience into account when recruiting graduates, giving your CV an edge to get a job. Many of the employers attending the Graduate Careers Fair recruit students for internships and work placements. This is a great opportunity to network with these employers to see what internship opportunities they may have.

Am I thinking of doing a postgraduate course, in Ireland, the UK or beyond?


Finding the perfect postgraduate course to suit you is really important, whether in Ireland or the UK.  gradireland are hosting seminars  with industry experts at this year’s Graduate Careers Fair to discuss postgraduate studies. There is also a Further Study Zone on the day with more than twenty exhibitors, offering a wide range of postgraduate options and information.

The Graduate Careers Fairs has something for everyone, whether final year or first year. Register for free entry today at graduatecareersfair.com

‘Events like GRADchances IT are vital,’ says graduate who landed Intel job

The team at gradireland are always delighted to hear feedback from students and graduates after our careers events, so you can imagine how happy we were when a student who attended the GRADchances IT got in touch to let our team know that he had landed a job with one of the world’s most influential IT companies.

On the 28th January 2014, Waterford IT student Sohail Muhammad attended the GRADchances IT event in Dublin City Centre. Little did he think that directly because of his participation in this event, he would secure a position as Product Development Engineer with IT giant, Intel.  

Gradchances blog

During this event, Sohail was given the opportunity to meet with top IT employers, discuss each company’s recruitment process and undertake tasks set by these employers to demonstrate his employability skills. Through these activities, he made the connections and impressions necessary to securing the job he wanted with Intel.

When speaking about GRADchances IT and his role in Intel, Sohail said;’ Intel is a fantastic place to work and it is all thanks to the GRADchances event in Dublin where I met all of you guys and Intel HR – events like this are vital from a graduates point of view’.

This year’s GRADchances IT will take place on Wednesday 27th January in Dublin City Centre. Top IT employers attending this year’s event include First Derivatives, Guidewire, Arista Networks, AIG, Smyths Toys and Workday. The event is strictly invite-only, with 100 of the top IT students who register being invited to the event. Register now and for your chance to have an experience like Sohail!

Ireland’s brightest students shine at National Student Challenge

National Student Challenge Winner Matthew Foyle

National Student Challenge Winner Matthew Foyle

Matthew Foyle from Griffith College Dublin was crowned National Student Challenge winner at the annual competition held by gradireland, writes Fergal Browne.

Bringing together over 50 of Ireland’s brightest students – who were the top performers in an online assessment specifically set to mirror the qualities employers are looking for – and some of Ireland’s top graduate recruiters like Lidl and PwC, the event was branded a success by both the competitors and the graduate recruiters.

“It’s been really stimulating. The most valuable part I’m going to take away from the day is a new way of thinking in stuff like supply chain management, and communicating,” said eventually winner Matthew Foyle who was the first National Student Challenge winner from Griffith College Dublin.

Matthew, who received a cheque for €1,000, highlighted that the event is also a brilliant networking opportunity. “The networking part is vital for me. I’m applying for a lot of graduate programme positions and this is an opportunity to talk to employers about what they are looking for and how to tailor my CV appropriately”, said the 2015 champion.

The event saw six employers – Lidl, the Public Appointments Service, PwC, EY, Bank of Ireland and AbbVie – challenge students in a range of tasks and competencies which were designed to be fun but demanding.

“We have been really impressed by the standard of students here. Some of them seemed to have the complete package; brains, personality and charisma. It’s great to see,” says Susan Murdock, Graduate Programme Manager at Bank of Ireland (BoI).

BoI set students the task of designing a mobile phone app in small groups. “We are looking for imagination and creativity because these are the qualities that we look for at Bank of Ireland”, says Susan. BoI is bringing on 80 students from across all disciplines for its graduate programme. “We are happy to consider anybody from any discipline. If they have creativity, there’s a place for them here”, adds Susan.

Major pharmaceutical firm AbbVie, which has manufacturing plants in Sligo and Cork, alongside offices in Dublin and internationally, set students the challenge of working in small teams to design and fly paper airplanes.

“What we were looking for is a good attitude”, says Angela Haran, AbbVie’s Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist. “We are very much a team-orientated environment, so a great attitude is a major part,” she adds.

The importance of a positive attitude was highlighted by Lidl too. “We are looking for three things; for students to enjoy themselves, contribute to the overall team effort and throw themselves into the task”, says Lidl’s Graduate Programme Manager, Russell Palfrey.

Lidl’s inventive task involved blindfolding four students while the other team members led the blindfolded students to certain parts of the room by directing them only by using whistles. “It’s directly linked to our business because we have trucks leaving our warehouses everyday to reach our stores,” adds Russell.

“The Lidl challenge was brilliant fun. It’s a great mix between doing something fun and serious team building,” says Stephen Brennan, a final year Engineering and Electronics student from TCD who took part in the event.

Want to be in demand by Ireland’s top graduate employers? Take the gradireland National Student Challenge

The National Student Challenge (NSC) is open again offering a great opportunity to students and a chance to kick start their career in the best possible way, writes Fergal Browne.

The annual event, run by gradireland alongside some of the biggest graduate recruiters in the country, tests the abilities of students throughout Ireland and finishes by finding Ireland’s brightest student.

The possibilities coming from winning the Challenge are massive. “I’ve had job offers come into my LinkedIn from Google, Accenture, a lot of companies and recruitment consultants just because I won the gradireland National Student Challenge”, says Ava Mahoney, 2014’s NSC winner.

Ava, who is going to complete a PhD in Taxation in University of Limerick, can’t speak highly enough of the challenge. She tutors 3rd year Taxation students and has told them all to go for the challenge. “It’s great practice. It’s great for getting your brain active”.

The Challenge takes on two forms. The first is a series of online exercises to test the competencies that make for a great business person. It consists of a range of tasks in four categories; verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning (make sure you’ve a pen and paper close by for this part), commercial competency and multitasking. The latter was added this year in response to employer’s desires for candidates to demonstrate this necessary attribute.

Ava advises that it’s best to do the test when your head is clear. “Make sure you don’t do it at the end of a busy day. Just be as relaxed as possible”.

The competition culminates when the 60 best performers in the online competition come together for a series of tasks as provided by some of Ireland’s leading recruiters. The students will be split into groups and must complete a series of tasks, which are chosen by Ireland’s top graduate employers.

It’s this opportunity to network with some of the country’s most prestigious employers that can be the biggest benefit. “It’s just unbelievable the networking opportunities that comes from it”, says Ava.

“One piece of advice I’d give to anyone who takes part in the event is to stay back after the day is finished and talk to the companies. It’s a great chance to impress them further and I heard of some candidates who got interviews just from the chat after the event was finished”, she adds.

The leaders are listed on gradireland’s website. At the moment Trinity College leads in terms of entrants in both the top-60 with nine, while Ireland’s oldest university also boasts a quarter of the top-20 and the coveted number one spot.

Despite its seeming strength this year TCD has never boasted a winner with two former winners coming from Northern Irish universities – University of Ulster and Queens University Belfast – while last year’s victor was Ava from University of Limerick.

The overall winner will receive €1,000 and recognition as Ireland’s brightest student, while each contest is sponsored by a company who will offer a prize to the best-performing student in their category.

With the cash prize an incentive, it’s still important that students don’t be overly-competitive. “Just relax and be yourself”, says Ava. “Employers will see straight away if you are putting on a persona to win”.

The online test is open to all students, undergraduate or postgraduate, and is available here if you think you are Ireland’s brightest student.  Make sure you have 40 minutes to spare and your head is clear. After all, you only get one chance.

Take the National Student Challenge, reap the rewards

Ava Mahony from University of Limerick (UL) was this year’s winner of gradireland’s National Student Challenge 2014. The first female champion, she qualified for the final with an online test score of 3870 points and went head to head with other finalists to emerge victorious with the National Student Challenge Trophy and a cheque for €1000. She spoke to gradireland of her experience at the Challenge and why it makes sense for students and graduates to take part.  

ava blog image

Ava Mahony, winner of the National Student Challenge 2014. 


So how did you hear about the Challenge, and what made you want to take part?

I heard about the National Student Challenge through my career services centre at UL. Psychometric tests are often not a student favourite; however, I really enjoyed the online challenge and how it was structured.  I never imagined the end result would include a ticket to the final in University College Dublin, an incredible experience and of course winning made it extra special

Tell us about the Final and your experiences on the day?

I was both excited and curious for what was in store for the finalists. The day began with an ‘ice-breaker’ task, giving us the opportunity to get to know our team-mates before tackling the day’s challenges together. All six challenges set up by the employers were entirely different from one another, each aiming to test a particular competency. The variation of the tasks kept my attention, so I managed to stay thoroughly engaged with every challenge we faced.

As a finance student, I expected to enjoy and perhaps excel at the challenges set by PwC and EY. I found EY’s debate and PwC’s presentation orientated tasks to be well suited to me. My experience as a tutor at UL means that I am comfortable taking on a public speaking role, which is an advantage when confronted with these particular situations.

I have to admit I found myself quite outside of my comfort zone when faced with Jameson’s challenge. With my educational background, I am more familiar with structured assessments, so having to harness my creative side to ‘think outside the box’ for their marketing task was definitely the most testing experience of the day for me. However, every task challenged me to some degree; Boston Scientific, Lidl and SAP all arranged innovative and enjoyable challenges that tested my aptitude for creativity and my team work abilities. I found every moment of the day to be enjoyable, stimulating and an invaluable experience.


Ava (centre), working with her team during a challenge.

How did you feel hearing your name being announced as winner?

I was in utter disbelief! Unable to register the winning announcement, I stayed seated awaiting the winner to claim the prize, until my friend shook me, then I realised that it was my name. I thought I preformed relatively well in both tasks set by EY and PwC, and perhaps an individual prize awarded by one of the two firms was not entirely out of reach, but to win the entire Challenge was beyond my imagination. I was absolutely thrilled!

How can students benefit from taking the challenge?

The National Student Challenge gives students the opportunity to challenge themselves and see how they would perform in a workplace environment. In my opinion, the experience will stand to me and all the other participants when confronted with the often daunting process of finding a job and making a successful start to our careers. The Challenge emulates some of today’s most popular methods of recruitment, including psychometric tests and assessment centres. I believe the Challenge boosts your confidence and helps the job seeking process.

The experience also gives students an insight into what recruiters seek in their future employees; each employer was testing for a particular competency through their tasks, revealing the skills they value when recruiting for new graduates.

What advice would you have for future finalists? 

The event closed with a drinks and food reception which we all enjoyed. To be in a relaxed social environment with a room full of employers is an opportunity that does not present itself too often. My advice for all future finalists is to take FULL advantage of this situation; take the opportunity to network and establish contacts. The reception offers a further chance to network and impress a potential employer, and it’s in a comfortable and friendly environment.

Finally, be yourself, trying too hard to impress your team-mates or the assessors may fall flat, let your own natural ability shine when the opportunity arises. Don’t obsess over the tasks, just do your best and get to know your team-mates as well as the other participants, and most importantly enjoy yourself and all the National Student Challenge has to offer.

For further information on the National Student Challenge, visit http://challenge.gradireland.com/.