The teaching profession is changing and in Ireland it is now regulated by the Teaching Council. Here are a few pointers to help you
- research the area to see if this is a career for you
- prepare an application for a teacher qualification in Ireland & UK
- options to teach without a qualification
Most importantly do you have the qualities to make a great teacher? The Head of School of Education in Trinity College, Dr Carmel O’Sullivan identified that effective teachers are those who are curious, observant and engage fully with people and life. They are responsive, reflective and observant. They have excellent communication skills and care for others. If you have all of these qualities and a commitment to the profession teaching could be for you. If you are doubtful why not get some work experience with young people and complete the gradireland Careers Report a questionnaire to explore your interests, strengths, and abilities and suggests jobs that may suit you.
Teaching in Ireland
To teach in primary and post primary schools in Ireland you need a Postgraduate Masters in Education (PME) – a two year qualification. There are lots of options to complete these courses. For post-primary PME you can apply as a final year student. For primary teaching you apply as a graduate with your final results. For post-primary courses you need to ensure that your degree is suitable for you to teach that subject. For details of subject eligibility, courses and closing dates for entry 2014 see ‘Applying for Teacher Training in Ireland’ (including Northern Ireland), Careers Week, 2013.
Following your teaching qualification you can register with the Teaching Council and are eligible to teach in schools in Ireland. Induction and probation are then required for full registration with the Teaching Council.
Teaching in UK & bursaries available
Training in the UK can be an attractive option given that the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in England, Wales & Northern Ireland & Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Scotland is one year full time. However, the living costs and fees need to be taken into account. Interestingly England and Wales are experiencing teacher shortages and offer bursaries for shortage subjects, this may be a viable option for you. Applicants with high priority subjects are eligible for a bursary from £12,000 (honours 2.2 degree) to £20,000 (first class honours degree). Applicants with the medium priority subjects are eligible for a bursary of between £4,000 (honours 2.1 degree) and £9,000 (first class honours degree). The high priority subjects for post primary include maths, physics, chemistry and modern languages the medium priority specialisms are English, Geography, History, Computer Science, Latin, Greek, Music, Biology and Physical Education and Primary.
Applications for post-primary and primary courses can be made in your final year and applications open 21st November and are made through UCAS. There are many course options available to you. If you intend returning to Ireland you are advised to choose a course that is aligned to the PME for this reason we advise that you focus on full time courses that are university based rather than school based. Work experience is required for teaching in England, some universities require that this is completed in England. As part of the application process a personal statement and interview is required as well as successful completion of computer based Numeracy & Literacy Skills Tests. The Times Education Supplement has a useful article on these tests.
For details of the application process for entry 2014 see Applying for Teacher Training in UK including Scotland and Wales.
Other options to teach include:
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and English Language Teaching (ELT) are terms which refer to teaching English to people whose first language is not English. If you wish to work in this area in Ireland you are advised to complete a course accredited by the Advisory Council for English Language Schools see their website http://www.acels.ie/search.htm. For more information on teaching English see the resources at the CAS website.
TeachFirst, UK & SABIS are two organisations that advertise with CAS that don’t require a teaching qualification. TeachFirst, UK was established to counteract education disadvantage. It offers a competitive two year leadership programme for graduates with an Honours 2.1 degree, or expected. You receive intensive training and work as a teacher and commit to completing a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in your first year.
SABIS is a global network of private schools; they actively hire Trinity College final year students to work in the Middle East. A teacher qualification is not required. They prefer if people can make a two year commitment. For more information see their website , attend their virtual fair on 28th Nov or contact Séan Cooney at firstname.lastname@example.org who comes to Ireland on a regular basis to interview students.
Many volunteering organisations offer teaching experience including SUAS.
For more information on teaching, see CAS resources at http://www.tcd.ie/Careers/resources/occupations/a_education.php
TCD Careers Week
“Working in the Creative Arts & How to Fund It”
Tuesday 1st October 2013, 3pm, GMB
Garrett Sholdice – some useful funding opps for the creative music sector in Ireland
Do you love the Irish language?
Would you like to find out about the vast array of opportunities to use it?
If you have answered YES to the above questions, you will definitely want to check out the revised bi-lingual online edition of Do Ghairm le Gaeilge. 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 blogger.
Do Ghairm le Gaeilge is very well researched and laid out in a 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 bi lingual 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 in to your working life, for example, using Irish in your email signature box.
The subsequent chapters outline opportunities in sectors where competence in Irish is a distinct advantage such as Media, Translating and Interpreting, Private Sector, Culture , Arts and Language, and of course and 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
Having read 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. . All in all Do Ghairm ke Gaeilge is the essential companion for anyone looking for a career or pursue postgraduate studies in the Irish Language sector
“I warmly welcome the publication of this book. The book is full of information and practical guidance on the career opportunities that Irish offers and on how to incorporate Irish more effectively into working life more generally. It is a wonderful resource for graduates and others who have capability and interest in the Irish language.” Muiris O’Connor, Head of Policy and Planning, Higher Education Authority.
An bhfuil dúil sa Ghaeilge agat?
Ar mhaith leat eolas a fháil faoi na deiseanna móra a bhaineann léi?
Más freagra DEARFACH a thug tú ar na ceisteanna seo thuas, is cinnte gur chóir duit an leagan leasaithe dátheangach ar líne de Do Ghairm le Gaeilge a léamh. Is féidir gur bhain tú céim amach le gairid nó go bhfuil tú ar tí céim sa Ghaeilge a bhaint amach nó is féidir go bhfuil paisean mór agat don Ghaeilge agus gur mhaith leat í a úsáid i do ghairm bheatha ach nach bhfuil Gaeilge mar chuid den chéim agat. Ná bíodh eagla ort! – tugann Do Ghairm le Gaeilge léargas cuimsitheach ar réimse roghanna ina bhfuil cumas scríofa agus labhartha sa Ghaeilge ina bhuntáiste. Gheobhaidh tú amach, mar shampla, nach bhfuil na deiseanna chun Gaeilge a úsáid i do ghairm bheatha teoranta do cheantair Ghaeltachta amháin agus mar gheall ar an bhfás mór atá tagtha ar theicneolaíochtaí nua go bhfuil deiseanna nua ann chun an Ghaeilge a úsáid i do ghairm bheatha nach gcluinfí trácht orthu 5 bliana ó shin, ar nós forbróir aipeanna agus blagaire.
Tá an-taighde déanta i Do Ghairm le Gaeilge agus tá sé leagtha amach ar bhealach iontach cairdiúil. I gCuid a hAon, tá léargas spéisiúil ar fhíricí a bhaineann le húsáid na Gaeilge. An raibh a fhios agat, mar shampla, go bhfuil deiseanna fostaíochta ann do thaighdeoirí, do léiritheoirí agus d’iriseoirí dátheangacha chomh maith le saineolaithe dátheangacha i dteicneolaíocht an eolais i réimsí na meán craolta. Sin nó gur cuid shuntasach de Chomhairle Bharra na hÉireann iad abhcóidí a bhfuil Gaeilge acu agus go bhfuil níos mó ná 155 acu cláraithe mar chainteoirí líofa nó gur féidir leo a gcuid oibre a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge. Tá leideanna luachmhara sa chuid seo ar an dóigh leis an nGaeilge a úsáid i do shaol oibre, mar shampla, an Ghaeilge a úsaid sa bhosca sínithe.
Sna caibidlí a thagann ina dhiaidh tá léargas ar na deiseanna atá ann in earnálacha ina bhfuil an Ghaeilge ina buntáiste mór cosúil le Meáin Chumarsáide, Aistriúcháin agus Ateangaireachta, An Earnáil Phríobháideach, Cultúr, Ealaíona agus Teanga agus ar ndóigh An Earnáil Phoiblí. Tá gach caibidil cruinn agus an taighde déanta mar is ceart ann. I gcás na Meán, mar shampla, gheobhaidh an léitheoir léargas cuimsitheach ar ghairmeacha beatha ina gcuirtear fáilte roimh an nGaeilge, ar nós na meán clóite, na meán craolta agus na meán sóisialta. Tá cás-staidéir le feiceáil i ngach caibidil, chomh maith le leideanna chun poist agus intéirneachtaí a aimsiú, samplaí de CVanna, fíricí agus liosta ollmhór d’acmhainní ar líne. Tá caibidil faoi leith ann ar staidéir iarchéime a bheadh ina hábhar spéise do dhuine ar bith a bheadh ag iarraidh eolas a fháil ar chúrsaí iarchéime i gcuid ar bith de na gairmeacha beatha sin thuas.
I ndiaidh Do Ghairm le Gaeilge a léamh, beidh tú ar an eolas faoi réimse chorraitheach deiseanna fostaíochta inar féidir leat do chudi Gaeilge a úsáid agus beidh liostaí agat de theagmhálacha agus d’acmhainní luachmhara. Tríd is tríd, is acmhainn riachtanach é Do Ghairm le Gaeilge do dhuine ar bith atá ar lorg fostaíochta nó atá ag iarraidh tabhairt faoi staidéar iarchéime in earnáil na Gaeilge.
“Cuirim fáilte ó chroí roimh fhoilsiú an leabhar seo. Tá an leabhar lán d’eolas agus treoir phraiticiúil ar na deiseanna gairme a thairgeann Gaeilge agus ar conas an Ghaeilge a ionchorprú níos éifeachtaí i saol oibre níos ginearálta. Is acmhainn iontach é do chéimithe agus daoine eile a bhfuil cumas agus suim acu sa Ghaeilge.” Muiris O’Connor, Ceannasaí Polasaí agus Pleanála, An tÚdarás um Ard-oideachas.
27 June 2013
LinkedIn is a great tool which can help you to build and expand your network, keep up to date with developments in your area of interest and find out more about people’s career paths. Recruiters are increasingly turning to LinkedIn to find new employees, so it’s important to have a good LinkedIn profile to increase your visibility. Follow these tips below to get the most out of LinkedIn.
Create an All-Star Profile
If you don’t have an all-star profile, you’re going to come up around page 15 on searches, unless somebody is looking for you by name. This isn’t good news if you’re looking for work. Take the time to follow LinkedIn’s profile building guidelines and get your profile to come up more frequently in searches. Amongst other things you need to upload a profile picture, complete the headline, summary and background sections, and 50 or more connections to reach all star status.
Keywords Keywords Keywords
Did we mention keywords? Recruiters look for potential new employees by running keyword searches, so if you don’t have typical keywords for your desired role in your profile, employers probably won’t come across your profile. A great way to check if your profile is well populated with the keywords that are relevant to the role you’re looking for is to copy and paste the content of your profile into www.wordle.com . Your keywords should be in your profile multiple times, and should stand out in the Wordle graphic.
It’s All About Relationships
At the heart of LinkedIn are relationships with people, so make sure to cultivate these relationships. Personalize every connection request you make, whether it’s to somebody you don’t know yet, or to someone who sits beside you in class every day. If somebody sends you a request to connect, send them a brief message to acknowledge this, rather than just clicking “Accept” and leaving it at that. And remember that the best way to build real connections is in person, so don’t forget to come out from behind the computer and meet people for coffee once in a while!
LinkedIn recently introduced the Alumni feature - www.linkedin.com/alumni. This is a great career research tool which allows you to find people who have done the same course as you and to learn about their career paths. Leverage these alumni connections, most people are happy to share their career stories when asked, and this can provide you with ideas about how to go about your own career planning.
The Careers Advisory Service has produced a Quick Guide to LinkedIn* showing you how to use some lesser known LinkedIn features that can help you in your job search.
*(link restricted to TCD students & staff)
Careers Adviser – International Students
So what is an internship and why should you do one? An internship is a structured work experience programme offered by employers across a range of sectors including academic institutions. It gives students and graduates an opportunity to gain work experience in an area related to their course of study and can last anytime from 4 weeks up to a year. An internship very often involves the completion of a written project/report which has then to be submitted for assessment. Trinity students often undertake summer internships but a number of Schools/Departments now include a 6 month internship in industry as part of their degree programme. In Ireland and the UK the term internship is often used interchangeably with the term work placement particularly when the employer is referring to a longer term opportunity. Internships/Work placements can be paid or voluntary so before you start one it’s important to establish what is on offer.
Graduates and internships
Graduates too participate on internships and it is worth noting that a recent report on the government internship programme, Jobbridge, suggested that 3 out of every 5 people who participated on an internship programme are now in paid employment. Jobbridge was developed as a response to the high unemployment rate in Ireland but graduates in sectors such as the creative arts have always worked as interns before getting more permanent positions. In the USA it is quite common for graduates to do a yearlong internship before taking up a graduate position.
Why do an internship/work placement
So why do an internship and why wait until you have completed your degree to get this experience? The Careers Service staff is in regular contact with employers and we have noticed that in this competitive environment relevant work experience is now becoming a significant factor for employers when selecting students/graduates for those much sought after graduate programmes/vacancies. Research would indicate that in the UK up to 80% of graduates in UK companies have completed internships and similar statistics are beginning to emerge for the larger companies in Ireland. An internship will give you an insight into the work environment of your chosen sector and an opportunity to put into practice what you have learned at college. You will develop a range of transferable skills such as team work, communications and presentation skills and you will be able to assess whether you need to develop additional skills in your final year in college. An internship gives you the opportunity to decide if this is the sector in which you wish to work or if there are other careers to which you might be more suited. It should be noted that not all Irish employers can offer a structured work experience programme but any relevant work experience is valuable and looks good on your CV when making applications for graduate positions.
How to get internships/work placements
Internships and other types of work experience are advertised on the vacancy section of the Careers website www.tcd.ie/Careers/vacancies/ and on the Civic Engagement website www.tcd.ie/Community/ which offers volunteer opportunities. See below for other sources of internship opportunities.
Academics in Schools and Departments can be a useful source of information as they are in contact with companies regarding research etc.
In Ireland networking with friends and family is often an effective way of getting work experience especially during the summer months.
Making the most of your internship/work placement
- Keep a diary: Keep a list of new skills, training, challenging situations, teamwork, tangible contributions, and personal achievements.
- Look the part: Avoid denim, sportswear and tee shirts. If in doubt err on the side of formality.
- Be professional: Get stuck in, even if you are asked to do the photocopying. Behave as professionally as you can, they may be testing you out for a longer term position.
- Request feedback: Ask for a reference for future employers. It is useful to ask about your strengths and weaknesses too, for the future.
- Ask questions: Observe the person doing the job that is of most interest to you. Who does what, how, why, when. How did they get the job? What did they learn on the way?
- Follow up: So that you can follow up during your final year or after you graduate, make contacts, enquire about their graduate opportunities.
- Talk up your part time work! Depending on the type of job, you may have notched up customer-facing experience, problem-solving skills, team working ability, event management experience or strong communication capability.
- CAS Use your Vacations: http://www.tcd.ie/Careers/resources/use_your_vacations.php
- CAS Work Experience: http://www.tcd.ie/Careers/students/advice/work_experience.php
- Gradireland: http://gradireland.com/
- Prospects: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/work_experience.htm
- Target: http://targetjobs.co.uk/work-experience/work-experience-and-internships-advice
Mary O’Donnell, Careers Adviser
Cliona Hillery, Careers Adviser
By Claire Doran
The areas of foreign language teaching, English language teaching, translating, and interpreting continue to attract Languages graduates but these are not the only options. A wide and growing range of opportunities for graduates with a high level of foreign language competence, is welcome news to counteract some of the doom and gloom. Susan Moran, Global Director, Customer Interaction Center at SAP has advice for students: “Use every opportunity to develop your skills. In Ireland there is an increasing demand for proficiency in a second language, so if you have an opportunity to improve your competence or learn a new language I would strongly encourage you to do so”.
Languages are in demand
Languages skills were very much in demand in Customer Service, technical support, and sales and marketing roles[i] . Active recruiters include multinational companies such as Google, Yahoo!, PayPal, Facebook, and eBay, who have established their European headquarters in Ireland. German is particularly sought after, and there is also significant demand for French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Nordic languages. Although some jobs require native-level linguistic competence, many companies place significant value on native English speakers who have spent time abroad, immersed in a foreign language environment.
Transfer those skills!
While linguistic competence is a major learning outcome of studying languages, learning a language also allows students to develop a myriad of transferable skills – effective communication (verbal and written), cross-cultural and intercultural awareness, analytical, critical and problem-solving skills, presentation skills, the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, flexibility and openness to change, ICT skills, research skills, etc. These skills are highly desirable in the workplace, and can help Languages graduates move into more senior managerial roles in many sectors.
Languages give the competitive edge
There are also many areas in which language skills give graduates a competitive edge. Foreign languages have been identified as a key skill in Accounting and Business Services, Banking and Financial Services, Computer Technology and Gaming, Digital Media, Engineering, Healthcare, Law, Programming and Software Development, Publishing, Sports and Leisure, and Travel and Tourism. Yet companies in the above-mentioned sectors in Ireland have reported difficulties in filling vacancies.
More advice from Susan Moran at SAP: “Successful leaders must also have an open and collaborative communication style, be innovative and possess integrity. The ability to adapt quickly and embrace change is crucial, particularly in the IT industry as technology is moving at an incredible pace. Finally, there is a huge gap for fluent language skills in Ireland, and many experts have to be hired from abroad, so language skills are a definite bonus”.
We live in a globalised world where English is widely spoken. That does not mean, however, that all employees feel comfortable doing business through English. Irish-based companies that cannot deal with current and potential customers in languages other than English risk missing out on significant business opportunities. This is not just an Irish problem, however. The European Commission has reported that a lack of language skills across Europe is costing businesses serious amounts of money, with 11% of respondents in a 2005 survey[ii] attributing the loss of business contracts to a lack of language skills.
Get working & studying to improve your proficiency
So how can you take advantage of the current buoyancy in the languages jobs market? Students on modern languages programmes could consider study abroad and work placement opportunities. Not only will this provide you with the opportunity to immerse yourself totally in the language, you will also gain valuable insights into the cultural, political, and business practices in the country. When it comes to job-searching, some jobs are available at graduate entry level, but others may require postgraduate training.
For links to jobs abroad use:
Adding a qualification in one of the sought-after areas mentioned above can open up additional job opportunities. Students in other disciplines may not always have the opportunity to study languages as part of their formal university programme, but extracurricular language classes, exchange programmes, and work placement opportunities can give you that competitive linguistic edge.
For studying some useful links:
“You will be expected to participate in a case interview as part of the selection process…” These are words which can fill many an applicant with dread at the prospect of a real world business challenge. This blog aims to demystify the process and give some advice and tips for success.
The business case interview is usually an oral exercise, but can be written, and is used by many of the well-known consulting firms (e.g. Bain; Boston Consulting Group; Deloitte, McKinsey) as part of the selection process. The classic case interview consists of an in-depth discussion with the interviewer focusing on a typical business problem or scenario. Within the available time, you are given a brief overview of the context, ending with a question that defines the problem. Candidates are expected to analyse the issue, query any points that are unclear, perform any required calculations and make sound recommendations. It is worth noting that there is usually no one correct answer; the company is interested in how you approach the case and your process of coming to a conclusion.
Does that sound achievable? Great! Let’s discuss your strategy for success:
In order to maximise your performance on the day, you should know what the interviewer is looking for. If you think about it, there are many skills which may be required. The list could include an analytical approach; deductive reasoning; creative problem-solving; working with unfamiliar information; clarity and organisation of thought; attention to detail; clear communication; the ability to work under pressure, numerical ability and the ability to defend an argument. It may help to perform a quick audit of where your strengths lie and where you may need to improve.
Some pointers to consider during the interview itself:
- Listen to and understand the business problem. Write down any important information as you hear the problem being presented to you.
- Make no assumptions. Remember to ask questions to deepen your understanding.
- Before going into detail, describe your overall approach and rationale to the interviewer. What issues will you prioritise and why?
- Break down each issue and explain your rationale clearly. Answer the interviewer’s questions as they come (taking time if you need it) and incorporate any new information into your consideration of the case.
- Perform analyses if required. Decide which calculations need to be done to help you make your conclusions.
- The interviewer is on your side. If you have made an error and the validity of your conclusion is questioned, take the hint and try another approach. On the other hand, at times you may need to hold your own and defend your suggestions.
- Summarise your thoughts and give final recommendations. What are the next steps and which are most important?
- Pay attention to your body language: maintain eye contact and a confident demeanor. Try to look enthusiastic and energetic.
If the above sounds like a tall order, remember that practice makes perfect! Consider your approach to common case topics such as identifying the reasons for a company’s drop in profits; entering a new geographic market; introducing a new product/service range; mergers and acquisitions and responding to competitor activity/regulatory change. Try the sample case studies available on company websites and utilise your experience e.g. if you have worked for a College paper, practice a question on identifying ways to increase advertising revenue. It will also help to become aware of basic business concepts such as opportunity cost, cost-benefit and SWOT analysis.
Finally, it goes without saying that you should aim to remain calm, focused and enjoy the experience. After all, the business case interview is a real life example of what it is like to be a Consultant!
Sample Company websites with information and practice case interviews:
Fiona Hayes, Careers Adviser
On Saturday, 10th November, I attended the National Media Conference held in Trinity Arts Building. This conference was co-organized between representatives of the student journalism sphere of Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Times; this was the first conference of its kind in Ireland.
I tweeted excitedly that morning on my way to the conference, as did many other conference delegates under the hash tag #NMC12. There was an almost electric atmosphere, with a hubbub of rushed conversation and a frenzy of fingertips finely tapping upon touch screen devices, eagerly awaiting their submission’s appearance on the live Twitter feed that was projected in front of us.
The first speaker, Kevin O’Sullivan – Editor of the Irish Times, soon quelled the buzzing conversation, but only served to increase the frantic tapping, as delegates attempted to disseminate his ideas rapidly to their followers across the twittersphere. O’Sullivan proved to be a very capable and inspiring speaker, and had a lot of advice and wisdom to offer with regard to both the future of journalism, and a future in journalism. His main focus was arguably the shift from print media to online media, and the far-reaching implications that this stood to have on national broadsheet newspapers, like the Irish Times. Time and time again he hammered home the need for good quality journalism, which explored the ‘Why’, in terms of analysis, critique, opinion pieces, investigative journalism and insight. He recognized the reality that anyone anywhere could get the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, from a myriad of sources in a rapidly emerging digital world, and he further indicated the challenges that this would implicate in terms of print media.
‘The old hierarchical model of we will tell you the news is over…(in this) age of upheaval fuelled by technology and exacerbated by recession.”
In spite of the pessimistic forecast for print journalism, O’Sullivan described himself as a ‘digital optimist’ and went on to describe the way in which irishtimes.com, would again move to coordinate its content with the daily broadsheet editions, and especially with the weekend review, again in terms of the ‘Why’. O’Sullivan also expresses his view that as the internet continued to mature, consumers would be willing to pay for sophisticated online content through a subscription based service, as offered by the Economist and the New York Times.
In terms of a future in Journalism, O’Sullivan has this to say on the theme of blogging, and getting your name out there in terms of student journalism,
‘Whatever way you are communicating, if you are good, you will get into journalism.’
An inspiring nod in the direction of, keep practicing, keep writing, and keep improving because in this competitive industry, you need to be the best.
Next up was Storyful’s Claire Wardle, to discuss the merits of social journalism and problems of verification, digital Darwinism, and Twitter. Storyful is a relatively new news organization founded by Mark Little which describes itself as, ‘the first news agency for the social media age.’ According to their website, Storyful also works on the propagation of the ‘Why’ rather than the what, and their website cites its influence through partnerships with some of the biggest news brands in the world, including ABC News, Reuters and the New York Times, and social platforms such as YouTube.
Claire Wardle, in her speech, addressed many of the issues that arise when positioning oneself at the forefront of social journalism, in terms of verification, and debunking false leads. Wardle also remarked upon the logistical constraints of navigating one’s way through the 72 hours of YouTube footage uploaded every minute, in order to glean useful user generated content. This is perhaps something significant to consider, in terms of new skills required for these new areas of online journalism.
Wardle referred to Digital Darwinism in the course of her speech, the idea that things are shifting so quickly in this information age, that those who fall behind will inevitably find themselves left behind, she cites companies Nokia, and Chartbusters, as pertinent examples of this phenomenon.
Wardle subsequently discussed the merits of Twitter lists, which enabled the user to create specific, and reliable streams of content around a specific issue, a valuable tool for the budding journalist. Wardle tells us that, ‘journalism is as strong as it has ever been,’ and personally I am inclined to believe her. Overall the message is clear, the focus of journalism has changed, we must change and adapt with it, or we too will become obsolete.’
Tom Lowe, former editor of the University Times, and current Marketing Director at NewsWhip media also imparted a great deal of advice to students, advising all those involved in student media to create their own websites using a format like WordPress as a way to get noticed and gain traffic online. Lowe spoke of the benefits of Google Analytic plug-ins to monitor traffic, audience sources and age demographics. He also recommended Twitter and Facebook plug-ins to allow users to share content on their site via social media. Lowe too, spoke about the advantages of harnessing the power of the Internet to advance your career.
Niall Harbison, of Dublin-based social media marketing agency, Simply Zesty also implored delegates to consider the possibilities of developing their online presence, he cited entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates, who had started from scratch, young and inexperienced in the middle of a deep recession with their designs for Apple and Microsoft, and who had become billionaires. He urged delegates to learn code, like HTML, through free online code academies, such as codeacademy.com, which he said could be learned in a weekend or two, and would majorly aid career prospects in digital media. In conclusion, he reminded delegates that he himself had started with just a laptop and €10,000, sleeping in a friend’s spare bedroom in Sandymount and he expressed his view that with determination and hard work, a thriving career in digital media would be very achievable.
In terms of following a career in journalism, the writing really does seem to be on the wall, in terms of the direction in which media is heading. One message, which I think resonates strongly from each speaker, is the idea that journalism as a profession is not in decline, but it is adapting and transforming rapidly in response to changes in the way that we communicate and in the way that we consume news. It is our responsibility to change and adapt alongside this, and to develop new Internet based skills, like coding, like verification, like web design and like social media skills. If we can adapt and up-skill, then there is every reason to believe that these emerging media forms will continue to provide a wide range of career opportunities, if we cannot however, we condemn ourselves to a form of journalistic inertia, and we will inevitably find ourselves left out in the cold.
SS European Studies 2012
A few months ago I went to London to visit the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The purpose of the visit was to find out more about the recruitment processes at the firm. Freshfields is a very large, global firm recruiting about 100 trainees annually at its London office. On the face of it, the application process seems remarkably easy. To quote their brochure – “To apply for either a place on a vacation scheme or a training contract visit our website and complete our application form: just some details about you and your exams, and something about yourself”. That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?
Well it must be more difficult than it sounds because there were 1200 disappointed applicants last year (1500 applied but only 300 were called for interview. At least if you get to the interview stage you have a one in three chance of getting an offer). The application process is actually a two stage process. Applicants fill in an online form and once that is submitted they are sent an e-mail inviting them to take a 20 minute online verbal reasoning test. While online verbal reasoning tests can be a bit intimidating, it is an innocent section towards the end of the application form that causes applicants the most concern. The instruction is “Please write about yourself in no more than 850 words. You may wish to mention any positions of responsibility held at school or subsequently, any regular employment or other work experience, any sporting or other achievements and any particular interests and personal qualities which are relevant. Please also state briefly why you are making this application.”
Written communication is a critical part of any lawyer’s job and this short statement – both in the way it is put together and its content can make the difference between an interview and a polite rejection letter. Here are some tips for success:
- Be attentive to the writing style. You have to think and write like a lawyer. The writing style has to be concise. There should be paragraphs and a logical connection between the main points that you are making in the statement.
- Think carefully about the content. Why are you choosing to work as a commercial lawyer? Why Freshfields (amazingly, some statements don’t even mention Freshfields!) as opposed to other London or Dublin based firms? The recruiters are looking for a real understanding of the firm and not just simply parroting the website. If you’ve had an opportunity to participate in a vacation scheme (even if it has been at another firm) how did that experience confirm your interest in commercial law? What was it about particular deals that you might have observed that really interested you? Use this statement to show off your commercial thinking. Work experience isn’t the only source of commercial experience. Budgeting for a student event you are helping to organise can help you to understand what loses money and what makes money. Provide evidence of how you overcame problems or challenges associated either with your course or with other parts of your experience.
- Use the statement to show off other personal attributes such as curiosity or resilience. Law firms of this size and global reach take on high profile, complex and cutting edge legal work. Writing about a project that mentally challenged and excited you helps to show your appetite for complexity. Similarly trainee solicitors work long hours and are given significant responsibility. Use your experience (part-time work, hobbies etc) to demonstrate your resilience.
Rushed applications do no one any favours. Interestingly at Freshfields, even when candidates do poorly at the verbal reasoning test, their online application is still read and evaluated. Don’t underestimate those 850 words!
Sean Gannon, Director / Careers Adviser
“The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill
Have you a glass half full or half empty approach when it comes to your job search and your career? When it comes to seeking out job opportunities, networking, filling out applications and performing well at interview, your mindset can have an impact. Despite the challenges presented in the current economic climate, being positive can have significant benefits, many of which could aid our career.
The field of positive psychology examines how developing resilience and thriving from life’s challenges, focusing on our strengths and values, helping others, and engaging in rewarding activities may act as “buffers” against everyday trials and tribulations in our personal lives (e.g. Cook, 2004; Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Applying this approach to career would suggest that having an optimistic and flexible attitude, identifying and promoting our strengths, finding work tasks we enjoy, engaging in voluntary work, developing good networking skills, reflecting on our failures and seeking feedback to improve are all important strategies that may aid us in fulfilling our goals.
There are a number of stages to the job search process, and ways in which a positive mindset may help us along the way. For example:
In your job search, a positive approach to finding a job could be characterised by networking at events, organising informational meetings, seeking feedback from any setbacks and remaining flexible and open to where current opportunities may lead. You can find lots of networking resources at the CAS website: http://www.tcd.ie/Careers/resources/networking.php
When completing application forms and CVs, it may help to brainstorm your skills and provide evidence to support these. What are your strengths and how can you best demonstrate them? A personal or skills profile can be one way to represent your skill-set and achievements to prospective employers. Think about the wording used to represent tasks performed in your work positions, e.g. ‘worked at the till’ does not explicitly demonstrate skills developed. Incorporating the skills using action words such as ‘developed’, ‘led’, ‘researched’ or ‘initiated’ may have a more powerful impact. Taking our previous statement, ‘developed communication skills through serving customers at the till’ may be a more positive representation of that task. To find out more, see http://www.tcd.ie/Careers/students/jobsearch/apply/write_your_cv.php.
When preparing for interviews, think carefully about the language you use in these situations. Sometimes our general attitude can slip into answers at interview. For example, using statements such as ‘I only got X grade in the exam’ or ‘it was just a part-time job in retail’ may dilute the effectiveness of your answer. Interview answers tend to be stronger if they reflect the most accurate positive image of you. It is also common to be asked a negative question, such as about a time when your performance in a particular task was not as good as expected . In these situations, it can help to describe the situation and then add what you might do differently next time, thus bringing the answer back into the positive. Similarly, when asked about a weakness, it can help to focus on what steps you are taking to address the issue, if it is still current. It is also worth seeking feedback if you are unsuccessful at interview, so that you may reflect and use the learnings for next time. For more information please see http://www.tcd.ie/Careers/students/jobsearch/prepare/prepare_for_interview.php
A final word of advice: be disciplined but kind to yourself in pursuit of your career goals, and try to keep positive company along the way. Remember, success comes in cans and not cant’s!
Fiona Hayes, Careers Adviser
Cook, E. (2004). Positive Psychology: Making the most of our lives. http://aphroweb.net/papers/positive-psych.htm (accessed 30th April 2012).
Seligman, M. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000) Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1): 5-14.