Developing Resilience in the Graduate Marketplace

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

We all face challenges in our lives from time to time. As students and graduates, those challenges can come from many different sources and may seem overwhelming at times. When it comes to navigating the competitive graduate job market, resilience is an attribute which can be extremely beneficial to have.

What is resilience?

Resilience involves the capacity to ‘bounce back’ and even flourish when facing adverse events, obstacles or situations. Research shows that resilience can be learned so that it is available to support you when times are tough.

How can I learn to support myself?

  • Nurture your relationships Think about who in your social circle could support you, e.g. friends, family, significant others and don’t be afraid to ask for help or a friendly ear when needed.
  • Identify a mentor Who do you admire in your fields of interest? How could you get to know these people? Identifying and contacting alumni can be a good way to connect with people who are in a position where they may be able to encourage and support you though the job-hunting process.
  •  Open up your mind You may be fixed on a precise career goal, but it is always worth considering other secondary possibilities. In a difficult situation, focus on what you can change and what new possibilities that change might bring.
  •  Know yourself Spend time reflecting on what you want out of a career and what motivates you. Being clear on what you want will make it easier to face challenging circumstances should they arise.
  • Set yourself goals Remember to set yourself SMART goals (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time-based) and reward yourself after each small accomplishment.
  • Keep a positive attitude Think about the way you interpret events e.g. receiving an interview rejection letter. Look for learnings, seek positive feedback from others and maintain confidence in your abilities. Remind yourself of other things in your life that have gone well recently.
  • Look after yourself Take time out to do things that you enjoy such as exercise, reading or socialising, so that you are ready to deal with what may come your way.
  • Learn from the past Think about how you have coped with difficult events in the past. What strategies did you employ and what did you find most helpful?


How resilient are you?

Try these short exercises to enhance your resilience:

  1. Reflect back on two-three difficult or negative experiences in your life. Note what you’ve learned from overcoming and/or surviving these challenges
  2. Identify your strengths and explore how they might be useful to you when facing a challenge. Complete a strengths exercise at 
  3. When a negative event occurs, ask yourself three questions: am I solely to blame or are there other factors to consider? Could it be a temporary situation? Does it affect all aspects of my life or just one/two? Penn Resiliency Program (Gillham & Reivich (2004)



American Psychological Association (2014). The Road to Resilience.

Gillham, J. & Reivich, K. (2004). Cultivating optimism in childhood and adolescence. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591(1): 146-163.

Sant, R. (2013). Developing Graduate Resilience: Core to what we do. AGCAS Phoenix Magazine; 139: 4-6.


Fiona Hayes,
Careers Adviser
March 2014


Can a taught postgraduate course help me to get a job?

A couple of weeks ago, the Postgradireland Further Study fair was held in the RDS.  While there were certainly opportunities to get information on research programmes, the main focus of the fair was on taught postgraduate courses particularly “conversion” courses.  While many of these are at Masters’ degree or Postgraduate Diploma level there were also some Higher Diploma courses on offer.  Conversion course are usually twelve months long (though it can depend on the discipline) and they are designed to enable graduates to move from their original discipline into a new area where they have no previous experience or training.  Examples include courses in Law, Psychology, Business and Information Technology.

Last year the Careers Advisory Service commissioned Alice Kavanagh, a graduate from the MSISS course to review student awareness of conversion courses and particularly those enabling students to gain skills to work in the information technology (IT) sector.  Of the 300 final year students who responded to her survey only 45% had previously heard of such courses and only 1% had applied for one.  Not knowing about these courses was obviously an important barrier to application but the final year students also identified cost as a major obstacle.

Before looking at the cost issue will there be jobs in information technology if you decide to do a conversion course?  The answer, I think, is a resounding Yes!  In January this year gradireland did an analysis of the 223 live jobs at their website (180 graduate jobs/programmes and 43 internships).  15% them were in IT or telecoms but only 2% of graduates had studied IT or telecoms.  Even if that classification of courses underestimates somewhat the true number of IT graduates, there are still going to be opportunities in this sector.  Separately, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs has estimated that there will be 44,500 potential job openings for IT professionals in the period 2013-18 arising both from expansion in the sector and replacement demand.

But what about the cost of doing an IT conversion programme? Well the good news is that for fifteen Higher Diploma courses (where the entry requirement is an honours degree), the tuition fees are waived.  Further information on these courses and application deadlines is available at


Sean Gannon
Director / Careers Adviser
February 2014

What Employers Want

Employers Really Want Applicants Who Display Genuine Interest

15 years of interviewing and recruitment experience in the financial services, insurance and information technology sectors, has taught me what employers really want.  Like any individual person, employers need to feel wanted and special.  They want you to genuinely want to work for them.

So how can you demonstrate your genuine interest for a company and the role they are hiring for?  This sounds obvious but is often not the case, you must be genuinely interested in working in the role you have applied for and for the company you have applied to.  How can you know if you are genuinely interested?  Research.  Carefully read through the job description.  Ask yourself, is this a role you can see yourself being happy working in?  Find out what you can about the company.  Company information can be found on their website but you should also get information from other sources including the internet and from current or past employees or someone who works in the same industry.  Then ask yourself what is it about the company makes you want to work for them?  Once you have confirmed your interest it needs to be conveyed to the employer.

Conveying this interest starts with your application.  Cover letters, personal statements and CVs should be tailored for each job you apply to.  Note that most employers like two page CVs.  However, some employers, particularly banking and financial services companies in the UK, prefer one page concise CVs.  Investigate this by attending employer presentations and checking employer websites.

Your application is your first chance to convince the employer that you want to work for them and that the position they are hiring for is perfect for you.  Pay attention to the words used in the job description.  Can you include any of these words on your CV?  Many companies shortlist applications using key word searches.  While it is important to include and quantify your academic and other interests and achievements on your CV as well as any work experience you may have, it is essential to write a clear, appealing and enthusiastic cover letter or personal statement.  The letter should outline why you are applying for the specific position and why you are interested in working for the company.  This should be personal to you.  Make sure to include if you have attended presentations given by the company or if you know someone who works for the company.  This as well as highlighting what is unique about you will entice the employer to invite you to the next stage of the recruitment process, the interview.  Remember, your application is your only opportunity to secure an interview so it needs to be compelling.

The interview offers you the chance to persuade the employer of your genuine interest.  This can be achieved by being confident and providing evidence of your interest.  Preparation is the key to being confident and providing evidence.  Let the employer know that you have read and thoroughly understand the job description and that the role is exactly what you are looking for.  Then tell them why they should hire you for the role.  Also provide them with the information you have researched about the company as well as the wider industry and why you specifically want to work for their company.  Demonstrating your genuine interest and awareness will make you memorable and more likely to secure a job offer.

Finally, it always impresses me when applicants send a thank you email following an interview.  This reinforces their genuine interest in the role and is something very few applicants take the time to do.


Ruth O’Leary,
HR Professional, Mercer

Work Experience

Need some Work Experience next summer?

Here are 3 things you can do between now and New Year’s Day!


1.  First Things First …

Open your Mind and understand what it is you are trying to achieve.

For example, do you know for sure what area you want to get experience in? Could you broaden your search a little? If you want to train as a doctor after your initial degree but don’t have any obvious links to hospitals for work experience, could you try approaching voluntary organisations? St. John’s ambulance? Or even nursing homes? What about other service providers within the same sector? Or if you are interested in Politics as an area, would it be worthwhile targeting the Media too? Once you have a strong understanding of what and why you want to target areas, you will find you make better and quicker progress.


2. Secondly… Polish your profile

In order to get ready for step 3 you need to make sure you are presenting yourself on paper and online in the best possible way! Look on our website to get started, and make sure to highlight your enthusiasm, ambition and skills.

With LinkedIn,  try and create a professional and complete profile – this way you can be seen by people in industry but also you can become a little bit more connected and aware of what is going on. For example, join a handful of LinkedIn groups in the area that you are trying to gain experience (as well as the Trinity Careers & Alumni LinkedIn group, and you will be able to join in on dialogue and identify the people who are already talking.

Also make sure your CV and Cover Letter are professional and ready to be tailored once you hear about an opportunity arising. If you need more help with your CV, Cover letter and/or LinkedIn profile you can come to a Clinic in the careers service for some fine tuning!


3. Get Talking

This is possibly the hardest but definitely the most effective thing you can do … talk to people you know and even those you don’t know.

Lots of students tell us “I don’t know anyone who works in the industry I’m interested in”, but you might be surprised – for example, if you are interested in getting some experience in Marketing and you have a friend’s parent who works in an Accounting Firm … that same Accounting Firm will probably have a Marketing Department! You need to talk to everyone in your circle and then go one step further and talk to all of their circles … People are usually quite happy to help when they can – and a quick phone call or cup of coffee can give you the opportunity to ask the individual for advice, not necessarily a job or a work experience opportunity, but some advice that might lead you in the right direction.

Remember, you only get out what you put in and the Christmas period can be a great opportunity to chat to people you don’t see every week of the year … let them know what you’re hoping to do next summer and that you’re happy to hear any advice people might have. An open and enthusiastic attitude can work wonders!

Best of Luck!!!


Sarah Jones
Careers Adviser
December 2013

Qualifying as a Teacher

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 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  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


Orlaith Tunney
Careers Adviser
November 2013

Funding Resources for Creative Music Sector

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
Arts Council

Music Network

Culture Ireland

Launch of gradireland career guide Do Ghairm le Gaeilge/ Your Career with Irish, 2013 edition by Mr Dinny McGinley, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht

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

Use LinkedIn to Find Jobs, and to Get Found by Employers!

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 . 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!

Leverage Alumni

LinkedIn recently introduced the Alumni feature  – 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.

Quick Guide

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)

Marielle Kelly
Careers Adviser – International Students
June 2013

Why Internships are now a key element in your job seeking strategy

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 and on the Civic Engagement website  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.

Useful Resources

  1. CAS Use your Vacations:
  2. CAS Work Experience:
  3. Gradireland:
  4. Prospects:
  5. Target:


Mary O’Donnell, Careers Adviser
Cliona Hillery, Careers Adviser
April/May 2013

Language Skills in Demand

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: