Some days ago my oldest son graduated from Maynooth with a primary degree. It was a truly wonderful and happy day for us all. In an outstanding and short address University President Professor Phillip Nulty emphasised the importance of continuing learning and how education is an important bulwark of democracy and a truly civilised inclusive society.
I strongly believe in continuing formal and informal learning. I really believe that it is particularly crucial for any young graduate or school leaver who has not yet got a job to take on a new course. This might only be a short course or have nothing to do with previous study. It could be in IT,word processing, or some other work place skill. No matter what it is it will be worthwhile and impress a prospective employer. Nothing looks as bad as a gap in a CV with no activity. It is very likely to reduce your chances of shortlisting.
Thankfully the job situation is greatly improved. We are well on the way toward effective full employment but there can be no let up. Sadly a number of great young people cannot gain employment. Sometimes this is due to unemployment but often the problem is how they go about job hunting. I would like to offer some advice based on my own previous experience on interview panels, as a teacher,as a public representative,and as a job seeker.
The first requirement is a good CV. It should be well laid out and presented. I would recommend a nice cover and good quality paper. Do not overload with information eg two hobbies or special achievements are sufficient.
Next find all websites displaying jobs in your area such as public jobs.ie. Check local and national newspapers regularly. Register with the many excellent private employment agencies around the country and also the services of your intreo office if you are on job seekers.
The most vital thing of all is that you begin personally visiting potential employers in your area or a reasonable catchment area of where you want to live. This has huge potential. Of course you will be fobbed off and treated badly in some cases but just when you are about to give up you will strike oil and meet an engaging employer or human resources manager. Your personal contact is best of all for two reasons. You are being lnformally interviewed and the effort really impresses. Needless to say you will meanwhile be posting or emailing CVs elsewhere and applying for advertised jobs.
When called for interview do good research on the employer, the job, and if possible talk to someone who has done the job. Reference all this at interview. Turn up about ten minutes before interview. Vary your tone of voice during interview and make eye contact with all panel members. Look smart and smile occasionally. Above all if asked a question you don’t know say so indicating that you know it will be necessary to study this or find it out. If asked express a willingness to work different hours occasionally or whatever. The reality will always be better. It’s often a way of checking attitude. If asking a question at the end make sure it’s not silly or superficial.
Keep the head and keep your heart up. Thankfully the job stats are now in your favour. If you live near my office you are welcome in for a chat.