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 Brian O'Connor from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Brian O'Connor

Analytical Chemist

Smart Futures

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  Brian O'Connor
Science is a fascinating subject and you truly have to immerse yourself in it. When you do the rewards are fantastic. It is of course a tough subject but once complete you learn how to solve many problems yourself.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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CV & Interview Preparation
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CV and Applications

Job Applications are the first vital step to getting a job interview. In this area, we look at how to give employers the information they need to ensure that they put you on the shortlist.

The majority of recruiters ask job applicants to complete a Job Application form, either online or on paper. Application forms typically ask you to provide standard biographical information and summary detail of your education and experience, together with some 'open' questions - these will give you a chance to highlight your suitability for the particular job.

The alternative application procedure is to submit a Curriculum Vitae (CV) accompanied by a Cover Letter.

There is a whole industry built up around how these two documents should be written, so it is wise to familiarise yourself with some of the advice available and avoid some of the potential pitfalls. In this section we provide some useful links to get you started. 

Your Cover Letter is the first thing a recruiter or potential employer will see, so it has to make a strong impact.

The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce your CV in the best way possible. There is no such thing as the perfect cover letter, but following some basic pointers will help make your letter a worthy build-up to your CV. It should make a strong impact - strong enough to make the reader want to know more about you.

Your Curriculum Vitae is the other document required. It is normally written first, and then accompanied by the Cover letter.

Follow the links for useful help and advice on preparing each of these.