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 Kieran Magee from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Kieran Magee

Farm Manager - Dry Stock

Teagasc

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  Kieran Magee
Someone who wants to be where I am today shall need bucket loads of ambition and not be afraid of hard work.  They will need to not be afraid of starting at the very bottom of that big high ladder but at the same time have the eagerness and determination to get to the top of that ladder because the opportunities are there.

Education is very important.  It may only seem like a silly piece of paper but it's that Cert, Diploma or Degree that gets you that job and not the man/woman beside you.

The one thing that is vital in not alone this job, but any job, and alot of people don't seem to have it, is common sense. It's something so simple but really important. if you have no cop-on then nobody wants to know you.
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Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be drawn towards the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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What Employers Want

It is important to spend some time understanding what employers are looking for in their employees. Every employer is looking for 3 main things:

  • An appropriate level and type of education ('Knowledge requirements')
  • Evidence of well developed 'Soft skills'
  • As much related experience as possible

1. Knowledge requirements

This refers to the skills learnt through specific educational programmes. This can be general learning, for example a Leaving Certificate, or more specific e.g. An Honours Degree in Architecture.

In many cases, applicants for a particular job will share similar levels of educational achievement, so this alone will not ensure a position.

The educational requirements are almost always specified in a job advertisement so it is important to be fully aware of what is required.

2. Soft Skills

Soft skills are also called transferable skills or career skills. These refer to general employability skills and include such things as communication, problem solving, positive attitudes and behaviours, adaptability, and working with others.

These are skills that employers want you to have, regardless of the type of job and the knowledge base skills (or Hard skills) that a particular job might require.

To the employer, someone who can show that they have these skills will be able to learn and grow in a job, get along with co-workers and will be a long-term asset for their organisation.

The good news is that most job-seekers possess these skills to some extent. The better news is that job-seekers with weaknesses in these areas can improve their skills through training, professional development, or obtaining coaching/mentoring from someone who understands these skills.

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 practise your underdeveloped skills.

Download:

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

Explore Career Skills in detail here

3. Experience

Employers view previous experience as very significant for a number of reasons:

  • If you have experience in a similar role or organisation, you are likely to work effeciently more quickly, as you would require less time to learn what to do and how to do it.
  • Significant previous experience suggests you may have developed a good level of competence, and the possibility that you may bring new ways of working to the benefit of the organisation.
  • For people entering the workforce early in their career, previous work experience suggests that you would have already some sense of what working life is, and that you have successfully adapted to a business work environment. Employers will seek to find out how closely related your previous experience has been compared to the position they are now offering, and the 'closer the better' is the general rule.

In all cases, employers will look for evidence that you posess the knowledge, skills and experience that you say you have - simply telling them will not suffice! You communicate your knowledge / skills / experience in a number of ways, typically through your CV, the Cover Letter that goes along with it, and any interviews and follow up communications that may arise.

10 Things Sought by Employers


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The following list is typical of the things that an employer will be looking for in many cases:

1. Communication skills - Excellent communication skills are the number one thing that employers and interviewers look for in a candidate. These can be either verbal or written communication skills but you must be able to prove that you can communicate and work alongside others in an excellent manner.

2. Honesty and integrity - This is the 2nd most important thing interviewers and employers look for in a person, so it is worthwhile to remember this during the interview process and make sure that any answers you give to questions you answer honestly as you may be caught out later during the interview if asked the same question in a roundabout way.

3. Teamwork skills - These are another important asset you must have, preferably you will have backed up any claims you make regarding teamwork in your CV with evidence presented during the interview showing and confirming previous experiences you have had with teamwork skills.

4. Interpersonal skills - You must be able to prove your interpersonal skills to the interviewer or employer during the interview, skills such as working alongside others, being able to evaluate and accept responsibility, make team work more efficient and identifying methods used when dealing with conflicts.

5. Strong work ethic - you must be able to prove that you are willing to go beyond the call of duty for your employer and that you are willing to give 100% commitment to the company and the job.

6. Motivation and initiative - You should give examples during your interview to demonstrate that you are willing to show initative and can show motivation when left to your own devices.

7. Flexibility and adaptable - You should be able to give examples from previous positions that show your adaptability to situations that can arise and that show you are able to be flexible and not stuck in a rut.

8. Analytical skills - try to give examples showing off your analytical skills backing up claims with evidence from previous work during the interview, employers and recruiters look for ways that you have been able to analyse and clearly identify problems.

9. Computer skills - With today's modern technology focusing on the use of computers excellent computer skills and understanding of various types of software are essential. Try to prove that you are literate in the use of computers and software in your CV or portfolio.

10. Organisational skills - You will have to prove that you are able to organise in a quick and clear manner and show that you are not afraid to take charge of a situation and find a solution. This again can be shown in your CV with examples from previous jobs.

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ask the experts
  Hint: Health Service Executive

I am currently seconded to the National Project Office as an Acting Grade VIII - Operations Manager. The job itself was advertised both by circular and on the internet.

Application for the job was in the form of detailed application form with career history, educational achievements, reasons why you think you are suitable for the job and then the completion of competencies which are essential to the position.

After shortlisting took place, i was invited for interview. The interview itself was structured in format requiring "live" examples of where I met the competencies required for the job. I was informed by letter of my success at interview.


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