The MU International Office is the first point of contact for international students applying for full-degree, Erasmus, Study Abroad, and Summer School programmes, and supports MU students who wish to study abroad.
Did you know that jobs for after your degree are advertised in final year? Being ready to apply means starting before final year. Applying for jobs takes a lot of work... use the tabs below to find out how you can be prepared, develop your skills and enhance your employability, where to find advertised roles and where to find roles that aren't advertised.
A list of current opportunities is available in the Careers Connect portal, which you can log into with your MU login details. Use Careers Connect to find Graduate Jobs, Graduate Programmes, Graduate Internships, Summer undergraduate internships, micro-internships, competitions and challenges and graduate level/relevant part-time work. If you are considering speculative applications or interested in seeing which employers have previously advertised opportunities with us, use our Organisations Listing in Careers Connect to view employers who have previously advertised roles for MU students/graduates. For Placement opportunities specifically, you can view a list of openings on the Placement Connect portal. Current undergraduate/postgraduate students: please login with your MU student number/password. Past graduates: please register to view the portal.
If you are ready to start applying for jobs, using our Job Search Strategies below will help identify where to find available yet sometimes not obvious opportunities. Making a good application is also a crucial step, and our CVs and Applications page provides tips on CVs, cover letters and application forms. Each year Maynooth University Careers Service works closely with many employers seeking to recruit Maynooth University students and graduates.
As you look through this section you will notice that some employers are recruiting on an ongoing basis with excellent opportunities available all year round. You can use Careers Connect to sign up for email alerts on advertised jobs.
Are you looking for work during your time at university?
Join the Maynooth SU Jobs Facebook Group, also drop into the MSU Information Centre (Front Desk), in the MSU Information Centre check out their Noticeboard (including Jobs Wall). They both advertise bar work, catering, cleaning, housekeeping, hotel work, office work, retail work, etc. This work experience and the skills you learn are also valued by employers.
Deciding on a career area and defining your goals is usually the part of their career journey that students find most difficult. Once you know what you are looking for, your job search is usually much more straight forward. There are 2 main ways to approach your job search.
The job search strategy that usually springs to mind first is: respond to a job ad on a Job Search, employer or organisation website. You will find more information on where to look in the "Advertised Jobs" section below. The other job search strategy, which can initially seem more daunting is to avail of the "hidden job market". Our fear of the unknown can make us uncomfortable with this approach, so the links below will give more detail on how this type of job search works and what you can do to make it work for you.
"The number of jobs on offer to graduates is increasing but the market remains competitive." gradireland.com
Advertised jobs can include any positions that appear on any of the following:
Hidden Job Market
The 'hidden job market' refers to any available employment opportunity which is not advertised publicly. Finding a job this way holds many advantages over the more obvious method of waiting for a position to appear and then applying for it. It usually means that you are not in direct competition with as many other applicants, have time to fully research the potential employer without the concern of application deadlines, and present yourself as someone who is 'keen to help'.
To access this market you will need to begin by selecting a number of potential employers. Use professional body websites, trade magazines, the Golden Pages etc to locate companies / organisations that fall into the area that you are interested in. Never underestimate the power of networking and the usefulness of telling people that you are looking for a certain type of position. Find out as much as you can about the employer by researching them online, seeking any company literature they have published, phoning them to get further information or speaking to a supervisor in the department you are interested in working. Define what they need, and then present yourself as someone who can be be of use to them – someone who is capable, interested, qualified and skilled using your CV, cover letter, phone calls, emails or personal visit, etc.
Networking Why should I network?
Networking is a valuable tool in finding out about a particular career area and in seeking out employment opportunities in that area. It is estimated that advertised jobs are only about 25% of jobs actually available. Many employers, rather than spending money on advertising vacancies, fill available jobs through recommendations, referrals, word of mouth or from speculative applications.
When should I network?
Before you start networking you should have done some initial career research. You need to have worked through the Starting Out Step (what you are interested in, what skills and abilities you have) and the Some Ideas Step (occupational research on career areas of interest to you). You may have started building your network with Information Interviews as part of your occupational research.
How do I Network?
Say, for example, you want to find out about careers in advertising? Start with your own friends and family, do you know anyone or know of anyone who works in that area? Ask around! Maybe you don’t know anyone working directly in advertising but you know someone working in sales – they may have contacts in advertising – ask if they can put you in touch with someone they know. Now things are starting! When you talk to you new contact, ask if they can suggest someone else for you to talk to… now you’re building a network.
Networking opportunities include:
Friends and relatives/friends of relatives/relatives of friends.
Past teachers and past employers.
Members of clubs and societies.
People mentioned in newspapers, magazines, professional journals.
Ex-graduates from your institution - many universities now have networks of these who can help you.
Part-time work which will enhance your industry knowledge and enable you to meet people in your target career area.
Voluntary work to build experience and show your commitment – remember to be clear about what you are offering to do and for how long.
Industry internships and keeping in touch with colleagues you met on your placement.
Professional associations, which may run networking events/conferences or useful training where you can develop new links.
Employers presentations/stands on-campus and careers fairs, speaking with representatives from many organisations in one place.
Online professional networking websites - LinkedIn is a popular example that allows you to build an online profile, widen your network and join groups within your industry.
When seeking out contacts you will need to be proactive, it takes work but is worth it. The Careers Service Organisation Listing (Search Organisations) in Careers Connect is a useful resource.
Actively pursue contacts within your chosen industry.
Publicise your name and interests, making it easier for those in your field to approach you and suggest collaborations.
Keep in touch with people you come into contact with, i.e. friends, tutors, past colleagues and prospective employers, etc.
Speculative applications can build on your informational interviewing and networking and involve submitting a CV and Cover Letter (samples in Word format are available on our Key Information And Resources page - Maynooth University log-in required) to an employer and asking whether they have openings for which you are suitable.
Having done your research you will already know:
About the employers - what they do, the type of roles for which you would be suitable.
About yourself - what skills, abilities and experience you have and how this meets the employers needs.
What do I do?
Attend the Careers Service Information Session on Preparing a CV and Cover Letter.
Review the list of employers attending and prioritise those you are most interested in talking to
Register to attend through the gradireland.com website
Research the employers you are interested in
Follow their social media, find out about their work, any upcoming projects they are involved in – this can add value to your conversation with them at the fair.
Research their values and their vision- does it match with yours?
Think about what additional information you’d like about the company – you can ask informed questions (see some sample below) when speaking to them at the fair.
Being prepared will enable you to show a genuine interest in the company and to ask thoughtful and focussed questions at the fair.
It’s not just about the employers – what would you like them to know about you? Prepare a few “About me” sentences (30 seconds – 1 minute) - your career interests, your degree/course, the type of work you are interested in, your key skills/experience).
At the fair
In person fairs can be very busy so having a plan makes it easier and less overwhelming.
If possible, arrive early as it gets very busy as the day goes on.
Have a list of the employers you wish to speak to, when you arrive, you’ll be given a floor plan indicating where to find each employer.
If you are anxious about speaking to employers, it can be useful to approach an employer that you are less interested in first – this will help settle your nerves and help practise your “About Me” content and the questions you want to ask.
Large queues can form at some employer stands, if you find this, consider moving to another employer and then coming back when the stand is less busy.
Seminars – have a look at the seminar list and schedule in time to attend any seminars of interest to you. CV Clinic – careers advisers from many universities will be available at the fair to review your CV. The CV Clinic is always very popular so it is advisable to book your CV review slot as soon as you arrive at the fair – you can then start visiting employer stands and return to the CV Clinic at your appointment time. Bring a printed copy of your CV with you.
I have read that (company name) is working on a project to…. Could you tell me more about that project / would graduate hires be involved in that initiative? If so, how?
What specifically do you like about working here? What do you consider to be (company name)'s main strengths? What do you consider to be key areas for development?
Do you recruit people for my course/subject?
Do you offer internships or micro-internship opportunities?
Having come through the graduate recruitment process yourself, what do you wish you’d known in advance of applying?
Have a look at the list of employers attending the fair – find out more about them and their graduate opportunities from their website and their social media.
Follow the companies on the social channels at the fair – you may be able to send them questions on the day or afterwards.
CV Clinic – remember you can contact your careers advisers anytime for a CV review. You can either send your CV in a “Query” in Careers Connect and we’ll reply with feedback, or you can book an appointment in Careers Connect, upload your CV, and we’ll give you feedback at the meeting. You can also access Sample CVs and CareerSet CV Review software in the Resources tab in Careers Connect.
Work/Employment experience can be short term, long term or part-time and could be paid or unpaid. It includes internships, volunteering, part-time/week-end jobs and all provide an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and experience. In an increasingly competitive work environment, having employment experience can demonstrate to employers that you are ready for work. Many of the employers featured in the gradireland directory (available free from the Careers Service) and profiled on gradireland.com annually recruit for summer positions.
Benefits of getting work experience
Getting work experience during your degree is useful as it will value to your CV, showing employers that you have experienced life outside of study and that you have initiative and general employability skills
It can show potential employers your knowledge, suitability for and commitment to a particular career area. Relevant work experience can help you gain an edge in employers' eyes in a very competitive jobs market
Some Internship programmes in larger companies are used as part of the graduate recruitment selection process, where employers recruit from the group of participants on their internship schemes
Opportunity to develop and learn new skills, evaluate the skills you have and identify those you need to develop further
Opportunity to try out and learn about the jobs and industries that interest you
Experience is a great teacher and work experience provides a good opportunity to test out a job/industry/sector and really see if it suits you
Some post-graduate courses leading to careers in social work, psychology and counselling, for example, expect applicants to have prior experience (such as volunteer work) in that area
These are structured work experience programmes where students/recent graduates receive supervised, practical experience in a career-related area. Some features of internships include:
Fixed time period.
Training is provided.
Project Work may be involved – student may be responsible for a completing particular project
Usually advertised between October and March – closing dates can be early in the academic year
Students from ALL disciplines are invited to apply e.g. Arts & Science students can often apply for business internships
Competition for places is tough but remember that an estimated third of graduate vacancies are filled by applicants who have already worked for their employer as an undergraduate
Volunteering is a useful was of gaining experience in an area that interests you. The benefits include:
Giving your time to helping others can be a source of personal satisfaction
You can get an insight into career areas of interest to you, allowing you to see what is involved in day to day work. It can help you to assess how the career matches your interests, skills and aptitudes
Gain valuable experience to strengthen your CV - experience can enhance your job or postgraduate course application
Opportunity to build your network in your chosen career area
It is estimated that around 70% of students work at some stage during their studies. While part-time jobs help to pay your way through University, they can also provide useful learning opportunities and insights into roles and industries. Part-time work experience can provide potential employers with evidence of skills such as teamwork, organisational skills, business awareness, working under pressure, dealing with people and balancing the demands of work and study.
A list of volunteering opportunities can be found below:
Studentvolunteer.ie is a network of Irish higher education institutions that have come together to create an online resource to connect students and community groups, charities, schools, hospitals, public bodies and NGOs across Ireland. There are also some International volunteering opportunities advertised.
Studentvolunteer.ie: Is a network of Irish higher education institutions that have come together to create an online resource to connect students and community groups, charities, schools, hospitals, public bodies and NGOs across Ireland. There are also some International volunteering opportunities advertised.
Kildare Volunteer Bureau: Who have a relationship with Maynooth University and an information stand on campus once a month during term
Volunteer Centre: Database of both residential and non-residential voluntary work opportunities in Ireland
Activelink: Works with non-profit organisations. Links to directory of Irish non-profit organisations, job opportunities and volunteering.
Citizens Information: The national support agency responsible for providing information, advice and advocacy to the public on social services has a database of national voluntary organisations including those involved in providing services as well as those involved in campaigning.
Comhlamh: Information and advice for making a decision about volunteering overseas for global development. Search the Volunteering Options database for volunteering opportunities.
Irish Refugee Council: Irish Refugee Council need volunteers to work with them in Ireland from time to time.
Raleigh is a youth education charity which inspires people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities to reach their full potential by working on challenging environmental and community projects overseas.
Suas: a movement dedicated to supporting high quality education in targeted under-resourced communities, with programmes in India, Ireland and Kenya.
Volunteers for Peace: A US based organisation. Contains links to other voluntary organisations world-wide including Ireland.
In recent times, graduate recruitment is moving online, find out what you need to know about Virtual Recruitment Fairs. This section also contains tips and advice on how to design your CV - what you should include, leave out and how to highlight your relevant skills and experience gained from your studies and work experience. Your CV should always be accompanied by a strong cover letter detailing how your skills and experience match the job description. Application forms usually require the same information you have included in your CV but may request more detail. As part of the application process you may have to take psychometric tests and practice is helpful in improving your performance on some of these tests. The links below will take you to sample practice tests.
There is no need to put Curriculum Vitae at the top – it is obvious that it’s a CV!
Instead put your name in larger font at the top
Generally 2 pages maximum, although academic CV tend to be longer.
Layout is very important – make is easy for employers to find the information they need! They don’t want to have to look for it.
List information in bullet points not paragraphs
Use headings to highlight sections and relevant skills
The area of a CV to get most attention from recruiters tends to be around upper middle of the first page, so make sure that this area contains essential information. You will see in our Sample CVs that this usually includes your degree and/or related skills.
If you are posting your CV, don't fold it - put it in a full-size A4 envelope so that it doesn't arrive creased.
If emailing your CV, send it as an attachment and not in the body of an email – it will loose its formatting.
Spell check (UK) and proof read.
Target each CV to the specific job or employer.
If you are applying for more than one type of work, you should have a different CV tailored to each career area, highlighting different aspects of your skills and experience.
This will normally include your name address, telephone number (home and mobile) and email. Make sure that your email address creates a positive and professional impression!
If you have a webpage you can also list this in the personal details.
We recommend using a smaller font in this section than for the rest of the content – your personal details don’t require a significant amount of valuable space on your CV.
See our Sample CVs on our Key Information And Resources page for suggested layout.
Education and qualifications
Generally content is listing in reverse chronological order i.e. most recent first!
List your university and degree title including subjects and degree result or expected result if you haven’t graduated yet. Alternatively enter Results Pending if you don’t want to include an expected result.
It is not recommended to include a long list of modules in your as modules titles will not necessarily give an employer a clear sense of your skills.
You can list all your modules in an Appendix on an additional page and attach it to your CV. This can be particularly useful for technical degrees.
Language skills (e.g. fluent French, conversational German) and
Computer Skills (e.g. strong working knowledge of MS Word, Excel)
Use action/power words (e.g. managed, organised, developed, planned)when describing your duties – Power Words - Strengthen Your Application and Positive Action Words - Sell Yourself should help with this.
All employment experience provides skills valued by employers so make sure you research and highlight yours!
Relate your skills and duties to the job for which you are applying.
Use headings to categorise your interests/achievements e.g. sport, community, culture
Try to include some variety – gives the employer a better sense of “who you are”.
Normally you will list two referees generally one academic (e.g. lecturer/ project supervisor) and one from an employer (e.g. from part-time or summer job). Include referees title, address, telephone number and email address.
Make sure to ask referees permission before listing them on your CV.
Additional information: Sample CVs (general and subject specific) are in Word format so you can add your details to the prepared format and layout! Advice on content and layout of Academic CVs can be found at Vitae - The Researcher's Portal.
CareerSet - AI CV feedback
CareerSet is an online CV Optimisation Platform, available to MU students which enables you to:
Find out where your CV ranks amongst your peers
How to improve it via suggestions related to Language, Style and Presentation
Targeted your CV to specific job descriptions, based on keywords and skills
To access the platform go to Careers Connect. After you have logged in, click Resources in the top right corner and scroll to CareerSet. You can register on CareerSet and login by entering your MU email address and requesting a link to be send to you, which logs you in for the duration of one session. Upload your CV to get your score and get a full analysis of the areas where you can improve. Guide to using Careers Connect (MU Students).
Highlights how you match to job description (skills/experience/knowledge etc)
Not longer than one A4 page
Proof read and spell-checked for any grammatical or spelling mistakes
Typically a cover letter can include four paragraphs
What job? Indicate to which position you are applying
Why that organisation? Explain why are interested in that particular company, show that you have researched the company (mention their name!), what you like about them and the work they do. This part of the letter should be specifically tailored for each application.
Why you? Highlight what specific skills and experience you have that meets their needs. Tailor this to the job description and be clear about all you have to offer. Indicate what you will bring to the job, skills developed from your experience (including experience which may seem irrelevant, for example, experience gained in a different employment setting).
Conclusion: Indicate your availability for interview (or any times when you won't be available for interview e.g. exams)
Have you decided if the job is right for you? Does it interest and motivate you? Does the position fit in with your core values?
Our Starting Out page will help you identify your skills, values, interests and personality preferences and clarify what you have gained from all kinds of experience - study, work, volunteering, extra-curricular activities.
List the skills sought by the employer so you can show how your skills and experience match these. What are your transferable skills?
Can you offer the qualifications, experience, skills and personal qualities that the employer is seeking?
Paper application forms
Make sure you are using the correct form - some employers have different forms for different job functions.
Read carefully the instructions on the form.
Photocopy the form first. Do your first (and second!) draft on a photocopy of the form, to make sure that you can fit everything you want to include into the space available.
Find a quiet place to fill out the form - the library, your room - wherever suits you.
Read through the form and follow all instructions.
Use black ink as your form will probably be photocopied and this makes it easier to read.
The form should be neat (no smudges!) and well-presented.
Pay attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Read over the form when finished, reading the form aloud can help check that all your sentences make sense. Have a friend read over it too – a fresh pair of eyes are very useful here!
If applicable, don't forget to sign and date your final form.
Devote the same research, time and attention to detail for completing online application forms as for paper-based forms.
Check whether you can register and return later to the form.
Keep a note of your log-in and password.
Compose your answers in a word document and then copy and paste into the form.
Ensure that your application is targeted and the tone is formal.
Make sure your use of language and grammar is professional – use punctuation and capital letters where appropriate.
Do not use text message abbreviations.
Some employers utilise software packages that scan applications for key words and phrases - use the language in the job specification if appropriate.
Check the form for spelling and grammar – use Spell-Check and read over it!
Don’t leave your application until the closing date – the company system could crash and your application may not be submitted.
Try to fill all the space provided.
If you haven’t enough space, it is usually ok (unless otherwise stated) to add an extra sheet, for example for your academic achievements/results.
Don’t leave a section blank unless it is not appicable to you – in this case enter n/a (not applicable).
Keep a copy of your completed form because if called for interview you can be asked questions based on the content of your form. You may also be able to use some answers again in other applications!
If you have any particular health problem or a disability read the section "Disclosing a disability".
Highlight the content of your course, particularly any relevant modules and/or subjects, your results (if you achieved a high standard) and skills gained.
Think again about what the employer is looking for. Is your project/thesis relevant to the job application? If so, describe and summarise it clearly.
Mention the skills acquired e.g. technical skills, or transferable skills such as time management, organisational skills, team-working skills.
Employment and work experience
Consider the skills you have gained, i.e. customer service, communicating, taking responsibility, initiative, etc.
Be specific about your achievements – mention outcomes and results such as increases in business, profits, customer satisfaction levels, reductions in time wasted, money spent etc.
Focus on those skills most relevant to the job for which you are applying.
Don't dismiss anything as irrelevant without careful thought. Students often assume that their holiday or part-time work as a waiter or shop assistant can be of no possible interest to a graduate employer. This is not so - employers can learn a great deal about your motivation and skills from jobs such as these - so include them.
If a company has several offices you may be asked for a preference. Be as flexible as possible, but if you have a location preference state it.
Interests and achievements
Interests can often be a good indicator to the employer about your motivation and what you are enthusiastic about.
How you answer a question on interests can give a more rounded picture of your passions and skills. Do your interests show you as motivated, confident, a self-starter, a good communicator, a good team worker?
Include those interests most relevant to the position
An achievement can be any activity or task that had a satisfactory conclusion, such as combining study and family responsibilities, organising an activity, coming up with or implementing a good idea, gaining a good result, winning at a sport or learning computer skills.
Don't just make lists: "reading, cinema, sport" will not tell the employer anything useful about you - give details of your interests such as memberships of clubs, societies and any achievements or positions of responsibility related to them.
list your own achievements and then the skills developed by each one.
You could mention skills developed from unpaid or voluntary work here or any additional useful qualifications.
Deal with 'gaps' in your educational or employment experience - present this in a positive way e.g. what you gained in the time out.
Specific skills - State your relevant competencies for this job and provide evidence of how they were developed.
Career choice - State the reason why you have applied for the job.
Offer evidence of your suitability.
Refer to the job description or company website and say why you would be an ideal candidate.
Sell your achievements, personal qualities, and skills here.
Ask potential referees in advance if you can nominate them as referees.
Include one academic and one employer reference.
Types of questions
Most application forms contain challenging questions - generally relating to your motivation and skills/competency for the job. In answering these questions provide specific evidence of your skills and suitability for the job. Examples of motivational questions:
These all require you to demonstrate motivation and knowledge of the job or the organisation. In your answer focus on matching your abilities and experience to the employer’s requirements.
Why do you want this job?
What do you think you can offer our organisation?
Why do you think you are suited to this kind of work?
What attracts you to this job?
What qualities do you think you can offer?
Explain how your interests and experiences might make you a better...?
What criteria would make you decide to accept a job?
Skills/Competency based questions
These try to establish your personal skills for the job. They generally ask for a specific example of when you used a particular skills e.g. leadership, team-working, organisation etc. Use the STAR acronym to help you answer these and briefly describe the:
Some forms simply have an open page for you to complete. Try to structure the space allocated using key headings in accordance with what is requested. If guidelines are not provided, this section could include:
Information about your career motivation and how you have reached your decision to choose this job.
Relevant skills and qualities, and examples of how you developed them.
The reason you would like to join the organisation and what you will bring to it.
Assessment centres & psychometric tests
Psychometric tests have two common functions. Some can help people explore their own strengths and interests and others are used by employers as part of the recruitment process. Useful links:
When applying for jobs people often wonder when or if they should disclose a disability. There is no correct answer to this question. Ultimately you make the decision regarding what stage of the application process you will disclose. Some application forms ask direct questions about health and disability, example "Do you wish to note that you have a disability? If so please detail any specific requirements (access, assistance, software etc.)". In this case it is advised to answer the question honestly. If you decide to disclose your disability in a written application, do so in a positive way. Highlight any additional skills you have acquired through managing your disability as well as successful previous employment or voluntary work. For example, you could demonstrate your ability to be flexible, to cope with change and, if you have a support worker, managing people. Your disability can be seen as a strength - however, it is up to you to get that message across to potential employers.
As we navigate the internet and interact with websites and social media channels, we leave a trail. Many websites require us to register and log in before we can access their full suite of services. In one way or another we leave our details on each website. On the surface this is not a problem. We have all become accustomed to using the internet for our own needs and we likely don’t give this a second thought. However, the tools and websites that we use to navigate the wealth of information availabl online are the same tools that can cause us problems during our job application process.
What would an employer find out about you if they searched for you on-line?
An experienced recruiter will invest time and effort into their recruitment practices. They are looking for someone who will fit into their organisation and present a positive image to clients. Lengthy application forms and assessment centre activities are common among graduate recruiters because they help organisations identify candidates with desirable skill sets and traits. However, a keen recruiter may seek further information about an applicant to help them decide on the best applicant for the job. Applicants are usually able to identify exactly which skill sets and traits employers seek by ‘doing their homework’ on a company – using a search engine to research a company. It is easy to forget that employers use search engines too when they want to find out about an applicant.
As an exercise, open a search engine webpage and search your name. What do you find?
Most of us will have different usernames for the different websites that we visit. If you enter your various usernames into a search engine, what do you find? Remember that if your username resembles your real name, then it is safe to assume that an employer may be able to guess what it is and find information about you!
What websites/social channels do you have an account with?
What other websites do/did you visit on a regular basis?
It is likely that there is still information available there about you! YouTube video about how a search works. "When you do a google search, you aren’t actually searching the web. You are searching google’s index of the web." The video shows that finding information about a given topic (e.g. you) can be sourced from many different sources: university websites, school websites, your own social networking sites, your friend’s social networking sites, old recruitment agency websites where you uploaded a CV, basically any websites with which you are registered or have created an account. Employers are aware that this information is available online, and can easily access it. If they find comments, blog posts, photographs or videos of a job applicant that seem unprofessional they may well take this into account in their recruitment decision. Remember, they can make a judgement about you based on what they find online and it could cost you the job you desire.
What you can do about it
Make all your profiles private. You can usually toggle different levels of privacy in the settings tabs.
Untag / delete photographs or videos that don’t show your ‘professional qualities.’ (e.g. night out!)
Be aware that 3rd parties can sometimes access your private profile through your un-private friend’s profile. Close any gaps.
Clean up or delete any comments, posts or blogs that could be interpreted as inappropriate, unprofessional or something that would be difficult to explain at interview.
Make sure your email address is appropriate.
If you have a voicemail on your mobile, make sure it is professional.
Create a professional image of yourself on www.linkedin.com and use the site to link with others. The more you use this, the more prominent your page will become on search engines.
Once you put something out there it is almost impossible to take it back.
Avoid poor spelling/grammar in posts.
Use privacy settings and block comment features as appropriate.
Consider using an alternative email address or alias online.
Ask webmaster of particular websites to remove anything by or about you that you (or others) may find offensive.
So you’ve been called for interview – well done! The secret to doing well at interview is preparing well before you go! The steps below give useful information on how to prepare, what to expect and on the various types of interviews you might encounter. Use these guidelines to help you stand out for all the right reasons.
Preparing for an interview
You’re almost there! Believe it or not, when called for interview an employer wants to give YOU the job. They have a position to fill and finding the right candidate will solve their problem. Its up to you to show them that you are the right person for the job. How do you do this? One word....Prepare!
Research the Employer
Have a thorough look at the employer’s website.
Find out about any recent developments with the company or in their industry in general.
Google them, Like them on facebook and follow them on twitter.
Network- if you know anyone or know of anyone in the company contact them and get their advice.
Know what you have to offer
Have you clearly identified your skills, abilities, experience and qualifications and how they match what the employer is looking for.
It is not enough to tell and employer that you possess certain skills you must be able to give examples (sometimes more that one) of where you developed/used the skill.
Your CV or application form got you here – they are likely to ask you about it (this is why you kept a copy of it!).
Read through the CV or Form and imagine you are the interviewer – what questions would you ask?
Practice answering questions out loud – an answer can seem clear in your head but saying it aloud is another matter!
Read through the job description and identify the key skills, abilities and experience desired. Prepare answers giving evidence of when you used these skills. See gradireland's Interview Questions.
Be ready for the common questions
“Tell me about yourself?”, make sure the answer is relevant to the job. Four or five sentences maximum is all that interviewers expect here.
“Why do you want to work for_________?” Know why the company appeals to you and also what you will bring to the job and the company.
Bring any correspondence from company – it will have address and phone number in case you get lost.
Make sure you know the name of the person you’ll be meeting (if given).
Leave plenty of time and aim to arrive 15 minutes early.
Ideally do a trial run before the big day.
Bring a bottle of water.
Dress to impress
Dress appropriately – you can’t go wrong wearing a suit.
Avoid bright colours.
Clean nails and hair.
Not strong smells perfume / aftershave / cigarettes
Minimal make-up and jewellery.
This is not the day to break in new shoes!
Phone – silent is not enough!!
At the interview
It is normal to be nervous and employers expect this, but being well prepared will remove some of the “fear of the unknown”.
Shake hands – a firm handshake is a must – practise if you need to!!
Smile! Show that you are enthusiastic and happy to be there.
The interview starts the moment you are at risk of meeting anyone from the company – be friendly and polite to everyone you meet there.
Know you Skills
Have examples of where you have demonstrated the skills they desire.
You can use examples from university, experience, voluntary work, hobbies etc
Don’t lie – you can easily get caught out.
Read Types of Interviews below for more information on Competency Based Questions.
Speak positively about past negative events – show what you learned from the experience.
Don’t talk negatively about a previous employer or a job you disliked.
Don’t ask about your planned holiday at the interview.
Don't ask about salary in a first round interview, it is better to wait until you have an offer to discuss terms and conditions etc.
Remember – its not an interrogation!
Take you time before answering, don’t just say the first thing that comes into your head.
If you don’t understand a question ask them to clarify what they’re asking.
Sometimes you may get asked challenging or probing questions, don’t panic this could be their way of seeing how you react under pressure. Take a deep breath and answer.
If you don’t know the answer just say so – Waffle is much worse and won’t fool anyone!
Having researched the company you will have an idea of things to ask e.g.
What is the next step in the process?
Training opportunities within the company?
Recent developments in the company?
And in the end
You might be asked if you have anything to add – this in your chance to re-affirm you interest in the company and the job, maybe give one or two clear reasons why you’re the person for the job –be confident but not cocky!
Be prepared to shake hands again (if appropriate) at the end.
Thank them for their time – refer to them by name if possible. Smile!
After the Interview
Make a list of the questions you were asked, noting any questions that you found difficult.
This will allow you work on these and improve you performance for next time.
Also note what you think went well and why - again this will help next time!
Competency interviews & panel interviews
A competency interview is designed to find out whether you have the skills for the job. Instead of asking general questions about your CV or application form, the interviewer will ask for examples highlighting how you used the skills they require.
Preparing for this type of interview means identifying
1. What the employer is looking for: the Some Ideas step will have helped you with this.
2. Where you have used these skills in the past: Revisit the Starting Out step if you need to re-assess your skills and experience.
Competency based questions aim to find out your personal skills for the job. They will ask for a example (or two!)of when you used a specific skill e.g. leadership, team-working, organisation etc.
Use the STAR acronym to help you answer these and briefly describe the:
Situation/Task - relevant context and task/problem to be solved (Set the Scene)
Action - you took/obstacle you helped overcome (What you did)
Result achieved (The Outcome - What happened in the end)
Tips for competency-based interviews
Work out in advance the skills and competencies they are looking.
Think of examples that prove you have these qualities: this could be from your studies, work experience or extra-curricular activities.
Try to think of more than one example that you can use to illustrate each competence.
In a panel interview, there will be two or more people asking the questions: this can be a mixture of HR specialist, technical specialists and/or managers. Generally each panel member will ask you questions based on their area of expertise.
Tips for panel interviews
If possible find who is on the panel. If you know a bit about them e.g. their area of interest/specialism you may be able to anticipate some of their questions.
When answering a question, give most of the answer to the person who asked the question while glancing at the other panel members from time to time.
Some recruiters ask questions based on your application form or CV, but interviews are increasingly structured to look for particular competencies based on the selection criteria for a specific job.
What are they?
They are REAL interviews held over the phone rather than face-to-face. You will usually be interviewed by a member of the graduate recruitment or HR team. A telephone interview will usually be given to candidates who have passed the online application form and/or psychometric test stage of the graduate recruitment process and is used as a means of identifying applicants to be invited to a face-to-face interview or assessment centre.
Who uses telephone interviews?
You are more likely to have a telephone interview with one of the large corporate recruiters than with a small or medium sized company. Telephone interviews are used by all kinds of employers –accountancy and law firms, banks, retailers, manufacturing companies etc. Employers based abroad also you telephone interviews - in which case calls may come in at all hours of the day or night! Employers use telephone interviews because they are time and cost-effective - most last about 20-25 minutes (although they can last up to one hour) and they test your verbal communication skills and telephone technique – both important skills in a work environment.
Advantages of telephone interviews:
You can refer (quickly!) to your application form or take notes.
You don't need to spend time travelling to interview or wonder if the employer will pay your expenses.
You may be more relaxed as you can take the call in a familiar setting.
Challenges of telephone interviews
You can't see the interviewer to gauge their response.
They can seem to go very quickly, without giving you much time to think about your answers - so be well prepared!
The employer may phone you unexpectedly in response to your CV/application form but more commonly you will be advised when the telephone call will be made. Either way - Be prepared!
Keep your mobile with you, charged, topped up and switched on at the appropriate time!
Make sure that the reception is OK.
It is probably best to give your mobile number if you share a house with a number of others or live in your family home but if you do give a landline number remember to prepare other people in the house for these calls so that they don’t give a negative impression to an employer when they answer the phone.
Take the call in as quiet and private a location as possible.
If the call does come unexpectedly and you are not prepared say "Thank you for calling, do you mind waiting for a minute while I close the door/turn off the radio/take the phone to a quieter room?". This will give you a little time to compose yourself. If it really is a bad time, offer to call back, fix a time and stick to it.
Check your voicemail message: is it one that you would want a prospective employer to hear? Does it give a professional impression? If not, change it! Jobs offers have been lost when employers have heard inappropriate voicemails!
Keep a copy of your application and information on the company handy, plus a pen and notepad to take notes.
Before the call, make a list of your unique selling points: the things that make you stand out – the reasons why an employer should hire you
Don't read out your notes as this will sound artificial.
It’s useful to have a glass of water to hand during a phone interview - you will be doing a lot of talking and you don’t want your mouth to dry up at a crucial moment!
Smile - it really does make a difference to your tone of voice and creates a positive impression
Although the interviewer can’t see you, you may find it easier to come over in a “professional” manner if you are sitting at a desk or even standing up!It may help you sound more confident!
Listen very carefully to the interviewer and try to answer with a lively tone of voice.
Speak clearly and not too fast.
In a face to face interview, you show that you are listening by through your non-verbal communication for example, nodding your head. Over the phone you have to show this by the occasional "OK", "I see", "I understand", "yes" etc.
Immediately after the interview, write down the questions you were asked and any ways in which you could have improved your responses or anything else you feel you could improve for next time. Also make a note of anything you feel you did particularly well, so that you remember to do it again!
What questions will I be asked?
These will be identical to those asked in a face-to-face interview!
How you choose your university degree?
Why do you want to work for our organisation?
Why do you want to work in the job you have applied for?
What qualities are important to work in the role you are applying for?
What evidence can you give to show you possess these qualities?
What does this company/organisation do? Are you willing to be mobile on the job?
Tell me a time you have demonstrated teamwork/communication.
Tell me about a time when you have had to cope with pressure
Tell me about a challenge you have faced. How did you conduct the challenge? What were the advantages and disadvantages of your method? The steps you took? The results?
Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?When have you used your initiative to achieve a goal?
Can you mention a time when you have used your leadership skills?
When have you set yourself a goal? What challenges did you face?
Describe a time when you have exceeded a customer's expectations
Describe when you had to motivate others?
What do you think is important when communicating with people?
What skills do you have to offer to a team?What is your greatest strength?
Why shouldn't we hire you?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
What do you think your job would involve doing?
Commercial awareness – what has been in news recently that would affect our organisation?
Shortlist Me - simulated interview platform
Shortlist Me is a real-life style interview experience designed to help Maynooth University students to develop their interview and communication skills in a virtual environment. With a number of interview scenarios to choose from across multiple sectors, the platform is a helpful resource to anyone who is looking to practice their interview skills. Shortlist Me gives personalised feedback on your responses and excellent suggestions and recommendations to help improve your all-important interview technique. Shortlist Me works alongside industry professionals to ensure interviews reflect what is being assessed in each chosen discipline. They are designed using questions asked by some of the world’s leading employers. To access the platform go to Careers Connect. After you have logged in, click Resources in the top right corner and scroll to Shortlist Me.
A technical interview is designed to test your specialist knowledge. If you are applying for a technical job, an interviewer might show you a line of computer code or a device and ask you to comment on it what it is/what it means etc. If they don't have props they will still expect detailed answers to technical questions.
Tips for technical interviews
Be clear on what you have studied in each year of your course
Be prepared to talk about any projects or assignments you have done during your course.
If you have any project work or even anything hobby related (maybe a robot you build in your spare time), bring details of it to the interview.
The tips and guidelines from a standard interview still apply - the interviewer will be looking at more that just your technical skills.
Would you like to spend some time abroad - possibly work for EU institutions, go further afield or do something interesting on a year out? If you are thinking about working in the UK or Abroad we very strongly advise you check the travel advice about the country and region on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
Opportunities in the EU Institutions, Agencies & Bodies
A Career for EU - Strategy launched in May 2021 by Minister for State for Euorpean Affairs. The Strategy sets out a series of measures that aim to significantly increase the number of Irish officials in both permanent and temporary positions within the EU Institutions. You can find the full strategy here.
The following recruitment agencies and schools have contacted Maynooth University Careers and Employability Service to advertise teaching vacancies in the UK and abroad.
Positions available range from permanent, to one or more years contracts to daily supply. We strongly advise all candidates consider the criteria listed at the end of this document when engaging with the recruitment agencies or schools. **If you are thinking about working in the UK or Abroad, we also strongly advise you check the travel advice for the country and region on the Department of Foreign Affairs website https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/
Be your own boss. Starting your own business has always been appealing for some graduates either immediately after or even before graduation or after gaining experience in industry for a number of years. Local Entreprise Offices provide advice, information and support to you in starting up or growing your business. With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer you a wide range of experience, skills and services. The Local Enterprise Office is the First Stop Shop for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are committed to delivering an enhanced and more integrated support service for micro and small business in Ireland.
Our Careers Advisers are available to meet with you and answer your questions. We can help you clarify your options, explore what further information you need to move forward from here. That could be more information, getting experience or looking into further study options.