Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Aoife Lyons from Civil and Public Service Jobs to give some advice for people considering this job:


Aoife Lyons

Occupational Psychologist

Civil and Public Service Jobs

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  Aoife Lyons
Psychology is a very broad area and I would encourage people to reflect on the field that would suit them best. If you study pharmacy, you will graduate as a pharmacist. It is different in psychology. The role of a Clinical Psychologist differs significantly from the role of an Educational Psychologist, a Forensic Psychologist or a Sports Psychologist. A post graduate qualification will be required to practice in any of these fields. Regardless of the area of psychology that interests you, respect for and an interest in people is a key value that is required. Once you have qualifications, networks and professional bodies are a good way to meet prospective employers.

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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Task Skills

Task skills are a range of general skills that are important in order to be able to successfully complete many common tasks found in most work environments. They refer to general situations only - and are to be distinguished from the more occupation specific skills that come from specialist training.

Few jobs exist that would not benefit from a good level of competency in the categories below. Many of these skills can be improved by specific training, or through seeking out opportunities that would require you to gain more experience of the task.

It is reasonable to assume that employers will favor people who can demonstrate successful achievements in these areas.

Examples of Task Skills:

Planning / Organising Creates clear goals, identifies and finds the resources (e.g. time, people, materials) needed to achieve them, and schedules tasks so that work is completed on time.
Time management Takes the time to organise events and tasks carefully so as to use time efficiently. Uses a diary/planner to ensure tasks are undertaken
Practical skills Uses equipment, tools or technology effectively. Easily follows instructions and shows willingness to use whatever tools or technology is required.
Computer skills Confidently uses a computer to write documents, browse the internet or use email programs. Can save files, locate them efficiently and print them.
Problem solving Shows interest in finding the cause of problems, looks for and chooses effective solutions and takes the necessary action to resolve them.
Business awareness Shows understanding of the main business activities of the company/organisation. Has a good sense of the business opportunities available, and the primary competitors.
Customer focus Shows understanding and concern for customers’ needs, is helpful and friendly to them, and deals effectively with any questions or complaints they may have.
Your Career Skills distinguish you from others more than you might think!
Where do I start?
You can use the exercise on this downloadable worksheet to discover the most sought after skills needed to get jobs in the modern workplace. By rating yourself on these skills, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses may lie. Then, you can look for opportunities to develop and practice your underdeveloped skills.

Worksheet - Career Skills Self-Assessment
[pdf - 540Kb, 4 pages]
Download Self-Assement Worksheet