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 Mark Maguire from Construction Industry Federation to give some advice for people considering this job:


Mark Maguire

Apprentice Electrician

Construction Industry Federation

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  Mark	Maguire
The advice I would give is firstly talk to someone you may know that is already in the trade and ask them any questions that you may have or ask them about some of there first hand experiences.

Another good piece of advice would be to go onto YouTube and search some basic electrics, keep in mind that these are the kind of things that you will face when you go to the college phases of your apprenticeship . There are books and e-books that can be purchased to get an understanding.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Finding Vacancies

Knowing how to look for a job is a skill in itself, and one that most people overlook and few are prepared for. In this section we will describe the various ways new jobs become known, and provide some useful tips on how to find out where new positions might become available.

The Hidden Job Marketplace

Estimates are that as much as 70% - 80% of vacancies are filled without using formal advertising methods. These positions are filled by --or created for-- candidates who come to an employer's attention through employee recommendations, referrals from trusted associates, recruiters, or direct contact with the candidate. Such candidates come "pre-recommended" by someone the employer trusts. Networking, using your contacts to connect with the employer's contacts, is the key to this Hidden Job Market.

You can use a variety of tactics to find work that hasn’t been advertised. No matter how you approach it, though, your search for work is just like a marketing campaign – where employers are the buyers, and you’re the product! There are two basic paths you can take here. One is called Cold Marketing, which simply means that the employers you apply to do not know you previously, and thus you are “going in cold.” The other type is called Warm Marketing. As its name implies, here your path has been paved for you by someone who has a connection to the employer. As a result, you receive a “warm welcome” instead of a cooler reception.

Cold Marketing, (also called speculative applications) when you get down to it, is all about getting your CV in front of people who can employ you. Warm Marketing, on the other hand, is all about getting YOU in front of people who can employ you.

One popular form of Cold Marketing is mass mailing - when you gather the names of companies and organisations that might be of interest and you send as many of them as you can your CV, either by post or e-mail. Usually you address the message generically, as in "Dear Sir/Madame," or "To Human Resources."

A slightly more beneficial route is targeted mailing - similar to mass mailing only now you take the time to customise each letter. Getting the correct name, title and spelling of the HR manager can help, as does showing that you have researched the employer beforehand, which can be demonstrated in your cover letter.

In both cases it is wise to follow up within five business days of sending your application with a polite phone call, asking if they've received it, and if you might come in to discuss opportunities.

In some business areas it is useful to go to the workplace and drop in your CV. This approach is good for clerical jobs such as administrative assistants, accounting clerks, restaurant/bar staff, retail sales assistants and similar. Since there are many more positions in this pay range than at higher levels, and since the turnover is therefore that much higher, an employer may just keep your CV on file because something may crop up sooner than later. Also while you're there dropping off your application, you can ask to see the manager and introduce yourself in person.

Advertised Jobs Market

For many jobs, recruiters have to rely on some form of advertising to ensure they get people with the right qualifications and in the right quantities. There are many different ways in which a recruiter can advertise, and this can change over time as the marketplace changes.

There are two main methods available, direct advertising, as when a job advert appears in the local newspaper or jobs website, or indirect advertising, as when notification of a position is given to particular agency or consultant who are paid a fee to assist in finding suitable candidates for the position.

Indirect Advertising - Recruitment Agencies / Services

Recruitment agencies act as an independent contacts between their client companies (those offering jobs) and the candidates they recruit (jobseekers) for a position. They are the matchmakers of the recruitment world, and often are aware of job vacancies long before they are advertised publically. Registering with a recruitment agency can open up opportunities that would otherwise be missed.

Professional Employment Agencies

Broadly speaking there are three types of professional employment agencies available in Ireland. All of these can have access to vacancy information prior to advertising them.

Intreo & SOLAS ~ The former FÁS Employment Services and Programmes transferred to the Department of Social Protection. October 2012 saw the launch of Intreo, a new service managed by the Department of Social Protection. 

Intreo Offices act as a single point of contact for all employment services and supports for both Jobseekers and Employers, providing support regarding benefits entitlements, advice on training options and assistance in securing employment/employees. 

Some Intreo offices have already been established and further offices will continue to be rolled out during 2013/4. Contact details of Employment Services/Intreo offices are available on

The Department of Social Protection have their own job site linking to vacancies called Jobs Ireland where you can post your CV for potential Employers to view and search for jobs: click here.

Commercial Recruitment agencies ~ Ireland has a huge number of commercially run recruitment agencies [see]. They range in size from large organisations with hundreds of employees to small businesses with just a handful of recruiters.

Using a recruitment agency or consultant gives you access to jobs not advertised directly by companies. A specialist consultancy will have a good knowledge of the sector they work in, knowing many companies operating in the area. They can advise on types of opportunity available, and because they only get paid for successful placements, they are motivated to get you a job you will stay in.

For many people, their first contact with an agency is made after having seen a particular job posted on one of the many job boards (see Sample Jobsites panel, right), or through an advertisement in the press. The recruitment consultant dealing with that particular job will be your main contact in that recruitment agency.

Most recruitment agencies work on the basis that a particular recruitment consultant works with or 'owns' particular clients (you), so it is important that you establish a good relationship with your consultant. If you are not happy with the consultant assigned to you, you can try and find the same job with a different agency (most jobs handled by agencies are spread over at least five different recruitment agencies).

Tips for getting the best from recruitment consultants:

  • Register with several agencies that operate in the sector you are interested in
  • Work to build good relationships with consultants assigned to you - you need them on your side!
  • Sell yourself to the consultant just as you would to a potential employer - you will have more time to brief them on exactly what you are looking for than you would in a job interview. Be aware that they can match you better if they know you better!
  • Recruitment agencies provide professional advice. They know the market and perhaps more importantly they know the company that you are applying to. Thus they can help you better your chance of getting an interview and prepare you for that interview.
  • Make regular contact by calling or emailing - they may have many clients to deal with and you need to keep yourself to the front of their mind when a new suitable job comes in.

Recruitment companies should be licensed by the Department of Trade and Enterprise and should preferably be a member of the National Recruitment Federation (applies to Irish agencies). This ensures that the agency adheres to a common code of practice/conduct.

Further information:
List of registered agencies (NRF)
Hints and Tips Guide To Using Recruitment Agencies

Career services of academic institutions ~ Universities and similar institutions maintain a full-time career advisory service. Funded by the colleges themselves, they serve as an employment agency for graduating or recently graduated students, and are centers of information for graduates about employment opportunities and for employers who are seeking to recruit students with particular knowledge/degree speciality.

Graduates looking for jobs should notify their colleges' careers service, and also register with the college website Additional jobs can often be found on a colleges' own job boards and newsletters distributed within the college.

Direct Advertising

Direct advertising is, by its nature, the most visible form of job advertising. Companies use every available method to inform us of new positions; newspaper, radio, mobile (buses etc) billboards, job fairs, and more frequently now, the internet.

National Press (The Appointments Section)

This is the most traditional form of advertising and is still popular. Read the requirements carefully and apply as appropriate. Examples include:

  • Irish Times – Friday
  • Irish Independent – Thursday
  • Evening Herald - Every evening
  • All Sunday Papers
  • Financial Times

Also watch out for other newspaper and magazine sources such as:

  • Local Press and recruitment magazines
  • Professional Press Specialist/Trade Magazines, e.g. “Irish Marketing Journal”

Some newspapers also have internet sites on which they advertise available positions, as this form of advertising has become the most popular format in recent years.

Internet Job Sites

The internet has become a primary tool by employers to advertise new vacancies. There are two main sources of job adverts, those website's dedicated to job advertising (Job Boards) and company website's that advertise positions within their own organisation. Job boards tend to have jobs advertised directly by companies alongside jobs managed by recruitment agencies - who also use them to find candidates.

Company websites ~ Most of the medium and larger companies will have a 'careers' section on their website that will contain advertisements for positions when they are available. If you are targeting particular companies, check out their websites regularly to see if something interesting appears. Company websites also usually contain the contact information for those in charge of recruitment should you wish to contact the company directly.

Company websites are also very useful insofar as you can find out what is going on in the company from browsing the website - essential information if you want to work there. If you ever do get as far as an interview with a company, you will need to show that you understand the company and its business - so their website will form one aspect of the necessary company research needed for the interview.

Job boards ~ There are a great many websites dedicated to the area of recruitment, and they compete heavily against each other for advertisement revenue. Because of the nature of the internet, these jobs websites can offer a range of useful services that go beyond all other forms of advertising.

In their simplest form, these websites will contain a variety of jobs organised by category (industry sectors) and region (counties). Use these filters on the site to locate possible jobs that might suit you. If you find a job you like, then, depending on the site you are on, you may have to register (provide details such as your name, address, email etc) to make the application, or simply email the company advertising the position with your CV.

Most of these sites have additional services to assist you find jobs that interest you. If you register with them and indicate the types of jobs (and other criteria) you are looking for, they will be able to automatically send you (via email) details of jobs that match your criteria as and when they are found. Checking your email regularly will keep you up to date on what jobs are on offer.

Another popular service offered arises when job seekers are allowed (encouraged) to upload their CV to the job site. This allows recruiters the possibility of searching for candidates in much the same way as you search for jobs. These recruiters pay a fee for this service, so no charges are expected from the jobseeker. This allows for the possibility of you being contacted by a company because your CV appeals to them, even if you didn't know there was a job on offer.

Apart from the different services offered, there are different types of job sites.

Generic Job Boards such as and do not specialise in any given industry sector, location or level of position.

Offer a wide variety of job postings throughout the country, and the bigger ones will have the option to show international positions also.

These boards can yield irrelevant jobs and/or business opportunities masquerading as jobs.

Meta-Search Job Boards sift through several other search boards to help you achieve more results with less effort. Job boards like will search many different generic, niche, and geographic-specific boards in order to aggregate job leads for you.

You can identify more job leads while spending less time searching multiple job sites

These boards will tend to offer you a broader selection of jobs to choose from, which may overwhelm you. It can be difficult to narrow down to jobs that match your criteria. These sites usually don't have the additional services offered by the sites they search, like CV matching for example.

Niche Job Boards like or specialise in particular industry sectors, and offer jobs only in that industry.

Niche boards offer a broad perspective on the types of work available in any given field.

Not all industries, or position types have their own job boards. Niche boards are often smaller and tend to offer fewer features than the major generic job boards.

Geographic-Specific Job Boards showcase jobs that have a geographic locale in common. Examples include and London Jobs

Geographic boards will often list jobs that aren't listed on the major niche, generic, or meta-search boards.

If you’re looking for higher level, higher paying, or corporate positions, these often are not advertised on geographic boards.

Executive Job Boards cater to the unique career needs of executives, who are loosely defined as professionals with significant experience. One such example is

Most executive job boards offer ancillary services that are helpful to executive job seekers, such as live and virtual networking events for executives only.

Many, though not all, executive job boards charge a membership or subscription fee, unlike most other job boards which only charge employers and/or recruiters for job postings.

International Job Boards cover a broad geographic regions or include a global focus. Examples include and Eures.

If you’re seeking work outside Ireland or in the global marketplace, international job boards will present you with more appropriate job leads than most other boards.

Not all international job boards cover the same countries or regions, so it may be necessary to search through more of these boards to source the same quantity and quality of job leads available on other types of boards.

Work and Live in Europe ~ everyone can apply for a chance to study or work in Europe. The EU Blue Card is a work permit issued by 25 out of 28 EU Member States to highly-qualified non-EU citizens, as well as students, vocational trainees, seasonal workers and professionals for areas where there are skills shortages such as medicine or technology. For more information see 'Who can apply for the Europe Blue Card'.

As you can see, job boards vary widely in scope, purpose, and usefulness. It is both common practice, and highly recommended that you to use several as part of your job search.

For people who are currently employed and actively looking to change their job, a word of caution. Posting your CV on a jobs site leaves you open to being discovered by your current employer! 

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