Working in recruitment for the last 10+ years, I get asked this a lot in interviews and the answer is always the same. The experience I had at Maynooth really allowed me to think critically, explore areas of interest and passion and question what it was I wanted to do in the big bad world. Fast forward to 2024 after a lot of growth and putting those skills to use in various roles/spaces/industries, I now live in Vancouver and lead a diverse team of HR professionals and it's the exact same skills I have to showcase every day - whether that's thinking critically about a business problem, leading projects that will impact 5,000+ staff and most importantly showing up as a leader every day with passion for what I do, empathy and a curiousty for people. These are all the key power skills I was learning over a decade ago at Maynooth and now i'm just getting to put them to practice in my work.
After graduating, I worked for Sony in Citywest for a while before making a big change and moving half way across the world to Vancouver. Like a lot of Irish people since who have made the move, I assumed I would be here for a year or two and fast forward 11 years and I'm still here, having found a career that I love, and a strong community of friends around me. Initially as a recruiter, I started out working in the technolgy sector and partnered with Canadian universities building co-op programs for engineers, developers and finance and marketing students. I soon realized that leading and developing people was something I was extremely passionate about and got the chance to move to Lush Cosmetics, where I worked on projects across the whole HR spectrum - learning & development program design, recruitment, performance development, employee engagment, employer branding and eventually back to recruitment where I now get to lead an amazing team for our North American corporate and retail businesses. All of the roles that I've had have had a few things in common which tie back to my time at Maynooth. They are all areas that I've found to naturally be curious and passioate about, i've had the ability to put my hand up and work with diverse teams on exciting iniatitves and continually hone my skills in critical thinking and people.
Be intentional with the steps you take while also being open to other areas beyond what you initially feel to be the path for you. By being intentional, making a plan for how you're going to network, putting in the time and effort to learn about companies and industries will really give you a foot up when it comes to standing out in the talent pool of recent graduates. Whether that's doing a co-op, internship or finding out what networking events companies you look up to are hosting and taking the step to attend them - all are areas that will help you immensely. I didn't initially intend to work in recruitment or HR but by thinking beyond what my diploma said and rather looking at the skills I learned as part of that overall BA is what really opened up doors for me. I would also say that the 'hot' industries are always evolving so ensuring you're aware of the political and economic changes wherever you end up post-graduation is something that will really help you. All of this is to say, whatever path someone chooses to take post graduation is just the beginning of a very long and successful career and this can change, evolve and pivot several times - while the initial skills you develop while in university will always play a key role in your overall career growth.