Featured Advice
What are your interests?



The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with 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.

Peter Clifford, Probationer Garda
Security, Defence & Law Enforcement

Peter Clifford, Probationer Garda

Peter Clifford is a Probationer Garda in Waterford. Peter had previously worked as a care assistant for people with intellectual diabilities before deciding on a career change. He was also a member of the Garda Reserve for 5 years in a busy city environment which shaped his decision to join the force.

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first question!

What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

I left a job as a Care Assistant for people with Intellectual Disabilities. It was a big move to go from a comfortable job with a reasonable salary to live essentially as a Student for 8 months.

Being a Garda Reserve in a busy city centre station definitely shaped my decision to become a Garda.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

I could not have made such a big leap without the support of my fiancée, Edel. She was delighted when I got the offer even though we had a 3 year old daughter and she was pregnant with our son. She had to sacrifice a lot for the 8 months I was training.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I had been registered on publicjobs.ie for many years and knew they were recruiting soon.

I applied and we had to do:
1.  Online aptitude
2.  Online aptitude
3.  Test centre Dublin to repeat the online aptitude tests in a supervised setting along with a report writing exercise      and job simulation test
4.  Competency based interview
5.  Medical, fitness test and vetting

Describe a typical day?

The best thing about the job is there is no typical day. This was probably the biggest draw for me to the job. I love the unpredictable nature of it and that we can get called to any incident at any time.

Some days when it is extremely busy I find we are very reactive due to the high volume of calls. Other days when it is a bit quieter we can be more proactive and we can get out and prevent incidents from happening before they unfold.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

One of the main responsibilities you could have would be the member in charge of the station. This person is responsible for all of the prisoners wellbeing and safety while they are in custody.

What are the main challenges?

In a modern Ireland drink and drugs provide us with a huge challenge. Situations can and do turn very violent when people consume excess alcohol or drugs. It makes communicating with these people extremely difficult as they are impaired and their thought process is different.

What's cool?

I love the variety the job offers. It sounds like a cliché but no two days are the same. I also like the satisfaction of knowing I am helping people.

People sometimes see the Gardaí as disciplinarians but in a lot of situations we help people who are very emotional and vulnerable such as victims of crime.

What's not so cool?

I definitely don’t like getting up at 5.30 on cold winter mornings and commuting to work.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

I like to think that I have developed strong communication skills in my previous roles which help me as a Garda but also with my colleagues in the station.

I also think I am naturally a caring person and I hope this comes through when dealing with victims of crime.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I did Geography, Business studies and German in school. To be honest these subjects didn’t have an influence as I had always wanted to be a Garda. At least now I can speak a few words of German if needed.

What is your education to date?

I completed my leaving certificate in 2008. I then went on to study Arts in UCC while I was waiting for the Gardaí to open recruitment. College wasn’t for me and I did over a year and a half and left to work instead while waiting.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

I think my experience as a Garda Reserve for 5 years has been the single most important for me. I completed a training programme for the Garda Reserves and then I did a lot of on the job learning.

I was very lucky in that Gardaí in the station knew where my interests lay and took me under their wing as a Reserve.

I was involved in a huge variety of incidents and this furthered my interests in becoming a full member. My time in the Garda Reserve also provided me with a range of experiences to draw from for my application and interview.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Graduating from the college. This was the most rewarding so far because I made a lot of sacrifices to get here and for my family to be here, I was very proud.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I am enthusiastic and motivated. I also have great people skills which helps me every day. As a Garda you are constantly in contact with people by phone, in person and electronically.

What is your dream job?

As I am new to the organisation I am fully focussed on establishing myself and maybe in time I would like to like to work in the drugs unit as I have an interest in this line of work. As a long term goal I want to progress my education which I feel would be essential if I wanted to get promoted.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

Yes. The time off is very substantial. After working for six days straight you get four days off in a row.

As a family man it means I can spend time with my children and do any jobs I need to during these four days.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

To get physically fit for the entrance tests and also for the demanding physical nature of the job. Also I would tell people to enjoy themselves before they join as it’s a job for at least 30 years.

I would also informl people about the variety of avenues people can get into when they have completed their training. There really is a career for every person regardless of where their interests lie. There is so many specialised units and prospects.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Good communicator, empathetic understanding and to have thick skin.

What is your pet hate at work?

If I was to pick something it would have to be the paperwork side. I didn’t come from a background where I had experience in reports and files so I have had to ask for help from my colleagues regarding this.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

In the Garda College I have completed a suicide intervention course which has proved to be a very worthwhile course.

In the future I hope that I can further my education and build on the degree that I will attain at the end of the training. I think that furthering education will be crucial if I want to progress my career in years to come.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Anything that involves dealing with people constantly such as retail or call centres. Obviously having been a Garda Reserve I highly recommend it as it gives people a sample of what the career entails. 

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