Barbara Mac Carthy
Disability Support Office
Overview of the session
Introduction – Career planning
CV Preparation
Interview Practice
Creative Job Hunting Techniques
Career planning involves decisions
Career decisions
Take action – Your Career
Match both
Know yourself/Self
Investigate career
CV- first point of contact
Your CV is one of the most important documents you will write
Culmination of education and experience to date
Your Marketing Brochure
30 seconds to make an impression!
You’re here!
The Recruitment Process – Employer
Job and Person
Qualifications; Skills;
Experience; Expertise
Short listing of
Application Forms,
CVs, Supplementary
Letter of Refusal
The Application Process –
1. Analyse the vacancy
2. Analyse your suitability
Option A:
Demonstrate a clear match
between you and the role
Option B:
Send in a “stock” CV and
No interview
CV Content
Personal details
Personal Profile
Interests & Achievements
 This is NOT a template, nor is it an exhaustive list.
Important to take a flexible approach re: the structure
of your CV.
Personal Details
 Name, address, Tel No, mobile, email address.
 Provide home AND term address if necessary.
 Email address needs to be professional
 Change email address when you leave college
 Include LinkedIn Profile?
 Weblinks to projects etc?
Personal Details
Sharon O’Connor
742 Evergreen Terrace, Bishopstown, Cork. Tel:0871234567
742 Evergreen Terrace,
Tel: 021455555
Sharon O’Connor
Personal Profile
 Personal Profile, Career Objective/Perspective, Key
Achievements etc.
 Summary information on your core strengths relative to the job
you are applying to. Operates like a clear and concise response to
the question: Why I am an excellent candidate for this job?
 Needs to grab an employers attention immediately
 Needs to be tailored to each specific application you make.
 Context is important. Do NOT merely list a number of key words
and do NOT use clichés. A profile is only useful if it is focussed &
Personal Profile
 Who you are?
- Target driven BIS Graduate
 Functional Attributes
- Excellent knowledge of key programming languages
 Desirable Personal Attributes
- Genuine desire to succeed/make a contribution
 2 or 3 targeted skills
Personal Profile
 Personal Profile: Highly motivated and results orientated
Accounting undergraduate with strong customer service,
numeracy, and problem solving skills. Keen to secure a
challenging work placement in the Accountancy/Financial
Services sectors.
 Provide information re: dates, course title, university,
 Outline details of subjects studied, specific modules,
projects undertaken, technical or lab skills acquired if
 Provide information re: results achieved in specific
Subject/Module Information
There are a number of different options re: listing
Course Modules – where you do not have a large
number of modules (particularly first year).
Core Modules – allows you to list most relevant
modules studied from across the degree programme.
More targeted.
2nd Year Modules/Final Year Modules – Self
Project Information
 Provide information on relevant projects undertaken:
 Begin with the Title and a brief Description
 What research did you carry out?
 What Methods did you use?
 What was the analysis that you conducted?
 What were your findings?
 What result was achieved?
 Optional: Include web link to project – BIS, CS
Technical Skills/Lab Skills etc.
 Important to outline the expertise you have developed in specific areas.
 Do not just simply name the techniques/skills but provide some
context that will help you to describe the level to which you have
developed it.
 For example:
- HTML: Excellent knowledge of HTML, developed while
undertaking individual web design project.
2008 – Present: Masters of Social Science (Social Policy), University College Cork.
Result: Expect to Graduate with 2nd class Honours Grade 1 (2.1)
Core Modules
Social Policy & Social Exclusion
Gender & Social Issues
Research Dissertation
Social Policy Issues
Applied Social Research
Practice Assignment
2nd Year Project
“An evaluation of social service provision for the travelling community in Ireland”
Carried out an extensive literature review of existing social policy and social service provision pertaining to the
travelling community in Ireland.
Conducted face to face interviews with the key stakeholders including members of the travelling community, Pavee
Point, Social Services and the HSE
The project was presented in the form of a 3,000 word report which outlined the purpose, research methods, analysis
and result of the study.
Result: Received First Class Honours for the project.
 Work Experience, Professional Experience, Relevant
Experience, Engineering, Teaching, Accounting, Placement
 Different headings can be used to highlight particular
experiences that you have.
 Provide good, clear and concise information re: the duties that
you had/have, and the work that you carried/carry out. Use
professional and descriptive language to outline this
 The information is best presented in bullet point form.
 Resources:
 Also provide details on what you achieved in any given job.
Information should be results based where possible; not just task
based. For example:
– Received 2 monthly sales awards for exceeding sales targets.
 Look at sample job descriptions with regard to Jobs you have
held. Useful in writing your own information in a professional
 Do NOT copy and paste! Look at the language that is used and
the points that are made. Can you apply any of this information
to your own experience? Make it your own.
Key Action Words
Assigned to
Summer 2006: Barnardo’s Ireland, 18 St Patrick’s Hill, Cork
Student Support Worker:
Worked under the supervision of Senior Support Workers.
Provided practical support as appropriate to service users in crisis.
Liaised with relevant organizations & statutory bodies on behalf of service users.
Maintained accurate records and compiling written reports.
Accompanied Senior Support Workers to meetings, conferences etc.
Summer 2005: Cork Youth Information Centre, Marlboro Street, Cork.
Youth Information Officer:
Advised service users in relation to available resources.
Worked within a multidisciplinary team and participating in associated meetings.
Contacted clients and setting up appointments.
Report writing; maintained and updated client records.
General research and kept up to date with changes in legislation.
 Skills section is useful in certain circumstances – particularly where you
are applying for positions where you have no experience, or in areas
that are different from your degree background.
 Transferable Skills: Skills learned in one field of work that can be
easily adapted to a different field e.g. Communication, Teamwork,
Decision Making etc.
 Job Related Skills: Skills of qualifications that are directly relevant to
a specific job e.g. proficiency in C++, AutoCAD etc.
 Providing some context is also important. Anyone can say they have
good Teamwork skills so you need to provide some context that is
evidence based
 Teamwork: Good Teamwork & Communication skills acquired through
continuous work within academic, sports, and work related teams over the past
3 years. Developed strong interpersonal skills and enjoy working with other
 Data collection and interpretation: Numerous projects conducted involving
qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (statistics) data collection and
interpretation. Have developed an excellent ability to collate and present large
amounts of information in a clear and concise manner.
 Presentation: Experience in formal presentations, conducted before fellow
class members, academics and project sponsors. Sponsors included members
of the Economic and Social Research Institute and heads of an international
Project management group.
 Computers: Have completed European Computer Drivers Licence (ECDL).
Excellent working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint,
Internet and Email. Also have a good knowledge of SPSS and have strong
typing skills i.e. 50 wpm.
Interests & Achievements
 This section of the CV is frequently overlooked by applicants. It
is NOT overlooked by employers!
 Highlight your interests & achievements be they sporting,
academic, work related etc.
Interests & Achievements
 You will need to provide good information on current
interests and involvements.
 Involvement in clubs & societies is increasingly important.
 Use subheadings if necessary. This can be useful from the
point of view of presentation and clarity in this area.
Interests & Achievements
Travel: Have travelled extensively throughout Europe & South East Asia.
Lived and worked in America during the summer of 2008.
University: Active member of UCC Philosophical Society attending debates & workshops.
Served as committee member with philosophical Society for 2009 academic year.
Sport: Member of Lee Valley Rowing Club & participate in numerous competitions.
Member of UCC Rowing Club & compete at Senior Intervarsity level.
Computers: Completed European Computer Driving License (ECDL)
Volunteer Work: Regular volunteer for both Cork Simon and AWARE
Full clean driver’s licence.
 In general 2 references are required. Usually at this point, students will
use 1 work reference and 1 academic reference.
 You will need to ask permission first before including their details on
your CV.
 Keep the referee’s informed about positions you are applying for.
 It is also a good idea to give a copy of your CV to the referee’s.
 When applying abroad, include the country code in the phone
numbers i.e. +353
Patricia Mahon - Course Coordinator, Department of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork. Tel: 021
4123456, Email:
Jennifer Purcell – Principle Social Worker, Barnardo’s Ireland, 18 St Patrick’s Hill, Cork. Tel: 021 4123456, Email:
Available on request
Proof Read!
• Worked in a busty office
• 1999: Career Break to renovate my horse
• Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year
• Skills: Strong Work Ethic, Attention to Detail, Team
Player, Self Motivated, Attention to Detail.
• Revolved customer problems and inquiries.
Targeting your CV
 A successful CV is targeted to the specific job criteria set
out by the employer. These criteria will be found in the job
description and the person specification.
 In short you need to find out what the job involves and
then think about how you meet the requirements.
 A targeted CV will highlight the evidence an employer is
looking for. A generic CV will hide it.
Targeting your CV
 Employer Needs:
- excellent academic record
- IT skills
- communication skills
- written, verbal and presentation skills
- initiative
- problem solving skills
- good command of English
- commercial awareness
- enthusiasm and motivation
- leadership potential
 You will then need to provide concrete evidence of the above in your
Targeting your CV
 Is the job description enough or do you need more
information before applying?
 How can you find out more about the post?
Cover Letters
 Every time you make an application, your CV should be
accompanied by a cover letter.
 Why cover letters?
- Opportunity for you to personalise your application and to
stand out from other applicants.
- It is your first chance to make a strong impression.
- Opportunity to give an overview of your suitability for the
job being applied for by focussing on key strengths and
Cover Letters – Structure
 Presentation:
One typed A4 page only
Own address top right
Employer address top left
Important to include the date
 Dear Sir/Madam? Use a persons name where possible. This
can increase your chances of your CV being reviewed.
Cover Letters – Structure
 A well written cover letter should have a natural, logical
progression and flow.
 Opening Paragraph: Introductory Info
- Who you are
- What you are applying for
- Where you saw the job advertised
- Brief details of your Degree, University etc
Cover Letters – Structure
 The Main Body of the cover letter will address some key
Why them & why that job?
- Why are you interested in the job?
- Why are you applying to that particular organisation?
Why You?
- Why are you a strong candidate?
- What particular skills & experience do you have?
- What do you hope to gain from the job?
- How does it fit into your career plans?
 Important to provide concrete evidence to support all
Cover Letters – Structure
 Use the Job Description & Person Specification to
target your cover letter.
 Identify the key requirements for the job and address these
points in the letter.
 In the job description & person specification, the employer
is saying “This is what we are looking for”
 In your cover letter you are replying: “I have what you are
looking for and this is the context in which I have it”
Cover Letters – Structure
 Final Paragraph: Brief wrap up
- Sign off by requesting an interview and indicating your
availability to attend same.
- E.G. “I would be delighted to attend interview to discuss
the position and my own background in further detail.
Looking forward to hearing from you.”
 If sending a speculative application mention that you will
be in touch with them to follow up your application.
Phases of the Interview
“Settling In”
“Business” -
Interviewer looks for a match
“Over to you”
Candidates chance to ask Q’s
Interviewer thanks candidate
and explains the next move
Hello!- relaxing small talk
Interview Preparation
 Know yourself: Review your strengths, skills and experience
that make you the ideal candidate for the job.
 Know your CV/Application form
 Know the Company
 Know the industry
 Know the Job: What are the key responsibilities and
 Match your ‘evidence’ to fit the criteria for the job vacancy
Prepare: Know Yourself
Ask yourself:
 Why do I want this job?
 Why should this organisation select me?
 What are my ambitions?
 What are my strengths and weaknesses?
 What have I gained from my degree?
 What skills have I gained from my work-related and
extracurricular activities?
Prepare - Know the Organisation
Read company brochures, website, annual report,
press release etc.
Talk to current and past employees.
Then ask yourself:
 What do I know about this organisation?
 What attracts me to this organisation?
Prepare - Know the Industry/Sector
 Any recent changes or developments?
 How might these impact on the organisation?
 What is going on in this industry/sector at the
moment? (Read relevant journals, newspapers).
(Perfect material for forming your questions!)
Prepare - Know the Job
Do you know…
 What the job involves?
 What qualifications, skills and experience you will need to
perform the job well?
 What the job is really like? Have you spoken to people already
doing this kind of work?
 Also, what evidence do you have to demonstrate that you
have the skills sought by the employer?
Could You Be More Prepared?
 Of course!
 Don’t forget the obvious but essential…
 Format and duration of interview?
 Date, time, location?
 Distance and mode of transport?
 Who are you meeting?
 What will you need to bring?
 What are you wearing?
Types of Questions
 Open e.g. How you feel about …?
 Closed e.g. Do you enjoy ….?
 Probing e.g. What did you learn from…?
 Problem e.g. What was difficult about…?
 Challenging e.g. ‘I see you’re not very analytical’
 Scenario e.g. What would you do if...?
The Elevator Speech (career commercial)
Elevator speech
 An elevator speech is an important networking tool
 that can be used to : market yourself in an interview
• network effectively
 Duration: 60 to 90 seconds
 Concise:
succinct, as few words
as possible
 Clear:
audience understands what’s in
it for them
 Informative:
talk about demonstrable
accomplishments and
 Engaging: a conversational starter, you
want to spark the interest of your audience.
Quick Fact:
It’s called an
elevator speech
because you
could use it to
pitch an idea to a
employer you
happen to meet
on the elevator in
the time it takes
to travel between
Why don’t you start by telling me about yourself?
 What is required here is a short commercial about yourself, which you
should prepare in advance and which should include:
Your qualifications
Your key strengths
Your most recent experience
A recent (relevant) achievement and
A summary of what you will contribute in
the position
 Align your answer to the core competencies!
 Your answer should take no longer than 90 seconds.
Types of Interviews
Telephone interviews
Video Conferencing
1st and 2nd round interviews
One-to-one interviews
Panel interviews
Assessment Centres
Competency Based
Case Study/Scenario
Some Perspective on Competency Interviews
Past is an indicator of the
Past is an opportunity to
provide evidence of your
Person specification – identify
essential and desirable
Skills audit – identity
opportunities where
competencies were
Prepare questions to test
Prepare verbal summaries of
your evidence - stories
Preparation for Competency
Job description
Person specification
Blue print
Forensic review
Identify competencies
Essential and desirable
Provide evidence X 3
Prepare stories
Diagnostic tool
Use the STAR technique
Brainstorm questions
Interview types
Structured, formal interview
Sample Questions
•Tell me about yourself
•What are your strengths & weaknesses?
•What experience have you got of ….?
•How would you approach ……?
Past behaviour predicts future behaviour
Sample Questions
Teamwork: Describe a team project you worked on.
What problems arose? How did you deal with them?
Communication Skills: Describe a situation when you
had to persuade others to support your view. Give an
example of any reports you’ve written which illustrate
your writing skills
Interview types
Past behaviour predicts future behaviour
Sample Questions
Interpersonal Skills: What kinds of people do you
find it difficult to work with? How do you handle these
Organisation Skills: Describe a situation where you
generated a plan leading to a specific goal.
Problem-solving: Tell us about an error you made and
what you learned.
Answering questions
Behavioural /
STAR Technique
What was the SITUATION you faced
What TASK were you assigned
What ACTION did you take
What was the RESULT
Question: what is your approach to dealing with students? STAR answer
I can illustrate my approach through an example. Last year, I was a
tutor on a …….course “…….” with over 20 students in the tutorial class.
Near the end of the term, I was approached by a student who was
unhappy with her grade. She thought I had graded her final paper too
I realized that the way I handled this situation would have very
important implications, because if I was too lenient with this student I
could acquire a reputation as a pushover. Yet I also needed to listen to
this student carefully to assess whether she had a valid complaint.
I asked the student to bring a copy of her paper to me during office
hours where we would discuss the situation. When we met, I first
discussed with the student the criteria I used for grading, why points
were subtracted, and the basic requirements for an A paper. Then we
looked at the paper and how I had graded it. I identified ways in which
her paper failed to meet the criteria for an A paper and suggested ways
to improve her organization and writing.
While the student was still unhappy with her grade, she was satisfied
that she had been graded fairly. She no longer contested the grade, and I
felt that I had dealt with the student both fairly and respectfully
Employers’ Wish List (Competencies)
Problem Solving
Communication/interpersonal skills
Delivering a quality service
Task/Project Management
Time Management
Drive and initiative
Manage change/Flexibility
Pick a competency
Use the STAR format to structure your response
10 mins
Remember.....its what you did, not what was done
What is Creative Job Hunting
“Hidden” Jobs Market
Graduate Employer
Careers Fairs
Social Media
Work Experience
Hidden Opportunities
What is networking?
Networking is developing
mutually beneficial
relationships - before you need
At it’s simplest “Asking people
for Help”
Most people find a job by word
of mouth: “the more people you
know in a particular industry,
the better your chances”
Benefits of Networking
• The most effective way of getting realistic information and advice about
career opportunities and jobs.
• It can enable you to raise your profile among the community/sector you
want to join.
• 70% of all jobs are found through networking – it may be one of the
only ways of finding work in jobs where graduate training schemes are
uncommon – e.g. Art and Design, sport, media, charitable sector,
environmental careers etc.
Your Network
How do successful people get jobs?
68% Informal methods
6% Created/negotiated new role
6% Asked questions in other areas
10% Invited by previous manager
11% Alerted by network
35% Invited to apply due to reputation
32% Formal methods
12% Internal ads
20% External ads
Prospective Applications
 Here you can illustrate the insight you have acquired into
the role/organisation/field through:
Informational interviews
Internship/voluntary experience…
In your cover letter and CV.
Search for jobs
Keep Up to Date: Be up with business
Whether you are looking for a job, or simply want to be in the know, you will find a wide
range of information is available on who’s who in business Ireland.
Search for Jobs
Find advice and information on internship opportunities
across Ireland and overseas:
Search for Jobs ……
Interested in exploiting and enhancing your creativity? There are lots of
opportunities open to you. Check out the following links:
Search for Jobs
Find information and advice on a huge range of volunteering
opportunities throughout Ireland and worldwide:
Search for Jobs
Careers Service
Also: Check out Vacancies listed on the web:
Search for Jobs
 Finance Jobs (Ireland):
 eFinancial Careers Ireland:
 Company Research:
 Investment banking:
Use forum for interview tips
Professional networking site, can provide insight into the type of competition
for investment banking roles – also check Doostang Facebook page
• – recommended for those interested in asset management,
hedge funds, trading
Search for Jobs
 Financial Regulator: Graduate Scheme
 European Bank of Reconstruction and Development
 European Central Bank
Search for Jobs
Food & Drink
 The Food & Drink Industry Ireland
 N,Ireland Food & Drink Association
 Bord Bia
 Bord iascaigh Mhara
 Irish Dairy Board
 Food Safety Authority
Contact Details
Disability Support Service, South Lodge, UCC
Tel: 021 4902985 main reception
Tel: 021 4903768 (careers support)
Fax: 021 4903123
Email: Website:
EmployAbility Service Cork
Unit B Russet Court
Churchyard Lane
Ballintemple Cork
Tel: 021 429 4949
Fax: 021 429 3828
Career Services 3-4 Brighton Villas, Western Road, Cork (In front of Castlewhite Apartments)
Email: Tel: 021 490 2500/2349
Twitter: Blog:
Contact Details
Barbara Mac Carthy
Careers Advisor
Disability Support Service
South Lodge
Phone: 021 4903768 or 021 490 2985
(Thursdays and Fridays)

Supporting Students with Disabilities in Practice Placement