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 Mary Ita Heffernan from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:


Mary Ita Heffernan

Social Worker

Health Service Executive

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  Mary Ita Heffernan

Whilst in secondary school, I changed my mind many a time regarding the career path I wanted to pursue! I always knew that I wanted to work with people but was unsure about the profession which would most suit my interests and skills in this regard.

While in school, I definitely found that being unsure about the type or area of work you want to pursue is a very difficult and confusing position to be in, especially given the array of career choices now available and the pressure one feels in trying to make one’s mind up.

To this end, I would strongly advise anybody in this position to research courses and job descriptions well in order to make the most informed decision possible at that time in your life. 

I recommend one tries to gain as much work experience as possible as it will provide you with valuable insight into your skills, ability, likes/dislikes for certain areas of employment!!!!

Also I would research the courses and job areas as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choices. If you can't gain enough information in school, contact the college directly or arrange to talk to somebody who facilitates the course. In particular, it would be really valuable to talk to somebody in the profession to gain a realistic and practical insight into the job.


The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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CAO Late Application Deadline 1st May

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CAO Late Application Deadline 1st May

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 

CAO Late Application Deadline 1st May

The CAO Late Application deadline is fast approaching. 

The deadline for late applications to the CAO is Friday, May 1, at 5:15pm.

Potential applicants for a place at a third-level institution are advised to register on the system well in advance of this deadline. Applicants can register by logging on to the CAO website and clicking on ‘Apply’.

A copy of the CAO handbook is available to view and applicants can also use the ‘Online Demo’ before submitting their own online application.

Applicants do not have to enter their course choices at this time, as they will be able to use the online ‘Change of Mind’ facility which opens on May 5 at noon.

The ‘Change of Mind’ facility is available to applicants free of charge up to July 1 at 5:15pm, however restrictions apply. Certain categories of applicants may not be permitted to use the ‘Late Application’ or ‘Change of Mind’ facilities – details of restricted category applicants and restricted courses are available in the CAO handbook and on the website.

The following steps are provided by CAO as a guide for first-time applicants:

Step 1: Read the CAO Handbook, then go to and click on ‘Apply’.

Step 2: Enter your personal information in the spaces provided.

Step 3: Select the ‘Qualifications and Assessments’ section that is relevant to you. You may select more than one section if relevant.

Step 4: Enter your payment details.

Step 5: Create a password for your CAO account – you will need this password and your date of birth to log in to your account in future, so keep the details safe.

Step 6: Click on ‘Proceed with Application’.

Step 7: Wait for your application to be processed. If successful, your CAO application number and personal information will appear on the screen – you will also receive an email and an SMS text if you have selected this option.

After this process has been completed, applicants can login to their CAO account using the ‘My Application’ facility to provide additional information to support their application, and to add, remove or reorder course choices using the ‘Change of Mind’ facility available from May 5 until July 1 at 5:15pm.

For more information go to

If you need help with choosing college courses visit Course Choice here.

The CareersPortal Team