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On job-seeking and doing the best you can

It’s just not simple being a job-seeker these days it seems. This morning, yet again, on some radio show there was a guy talking about how his job-seeking routine drove him nearly to distraction. It got me to thinking about how did that all happen to the poor guy.

But when you listen to all the experts talking about the demands of looking for work, it nearly is no surprise that the whole process would wreck people’s heads. It’s all about looking at all the job sites and recruitment pages for jobs that hardly exist. Then “bate” your cv into shape to suit the recruiter’s demands, then prostrate yourself on a spike at interview, then dutifully wait for the rejection letter and suck it all up before you go at it all over again. There must be an easier way!! – when I find out what it is I’ll let you know.

But in the mean time here’s one simple thought which may help the struggling job-seeker – that is to do the best you can.

It’s worth saying again, “Do the best you can“.

Don’t worry about the things that you can’t do. Don’t apply for jobs that you know you can’t get, all you will be doing is adding to your collection of rejection letters. Don’t think for one second about the qualifications and experience that you “don’t” have. Don’t even wish that you had them. Don’t panic about the thing’s that you aren’t, regardless of how much you might think it’s holding your career back that you’re not those things.

Instead, focus on all the things that you “can” do, the qualifications, interests and experiences that you already “do have” and the things that you “actually already are” which can help you to find work.

The recruitment industry is required to hold up the bar as high as they can get away with so that they can secure the best candidate for any job. To the extent that they’re nearly wrecking their own heads these days because the candidates in many job types are just not out there either, such is the changing nature of the employment market. But if that whole process is just getting you down, then try a different route to getting yourself gainfully employed.

I’m noticing these days more and more people on my LinkedIn list of “People you may know” who are now contractors, freelancers or otherwise self-employed. Would it be the end of the world if you just had to make yourself available to work for an hourly rate for a while  even with a temp agency? If it gets you working quicker then give it a go. Once you’re back to feeling more positive again, then take on the job of leveraging your contacts again and seeing if you can get back to PAYE work, if you still want to. But the main message is all you can do is do your best. And then you can never have any regrets. That’s not to say to sit back on the task at hand and wait for the work to come to you either, but at least don’t be too hard on yourself to the extent that whenever you do land a job you’re burnt out already before you even get your feet under the desk.

Finally, if you’re a man and in a similar position to the guy on the radio, the organisation of men’s sheds seem to be worth a visit, or check out for some really practical constructive support.


Actor Michael Douglas in the movie Falling Down

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CV Tips etc.

There’s been some requests for CV tips in recent days from registered job-seekers. The best advice going is available from CPL’s Job-seekers Roadshow. This guy doesn’t pull his punches. Very direct, to the point, no messing. To be fair he’s drawing off his own wealth of experience in the business, he’s not precious about his knowledge and he doesn’t mind sharing his valuable insights. It’s really worth down-loading the slides so you can read his own notes at the bottom of the Powerpoint show. To access his talk, click here.

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Survive & Deal with Redundancy – Seminar in Tullamore Thursday 18th June

Offaly County Enterprise Board are organising an evening Seminar for those who have been made redundant or who are seeking to identify new career opportunities.

The event takes place in the Tullamore Court Hotel on Thursday 18th June starting at 4:00pm running until 6:30. Registration from 3:45pm. The event will be followed by an exhibition. For more details about the event see the Offaly County Enterprise Board website – click here

This event is free of charge but prior registration is essential. To see more information about the guest speaker, see this link



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If you’re a Professional or Manager and have recently been made redundant, you could possibly do worse than check out . The lady who set up this networking conference spoke on Today FM and certainly sounds like she’s not taking her own redundancy lying down. And fair play to her, we hope it’s a success for all concerned. After the event we’d be interested to hear feedback from anyone who attends.

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Jobseekers: digital Ireland – a safe career bet for the future

If you’ve had enough already of silly season journalism and in particular the over-pessimistic predictions for workers’ futures here, you could do worse than read the Ditigal Ireland supplement released once per month by the Irish Independent (Thursday business edition produced by Silicon Republic). It provides a welcome ray of light through the gloom.

While those poor financial and economic commentators are busy crying into their coffee about the dire state of the nation, our techies seem to be all “brimming with optimism” and basically just getting on with the business of creating jobs. Even at a very local level. And so at a time when many people are considering their career options it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to look beyond a training in the IT sector for long-term job security. There’s a lot to be said for it

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How bad / good is it really? Putting it into some perspective

This seems to be the big question on people’s minds these days. While on the one hand some commentators seem to be delighted to be able to tell us how bad everything is, other’s just seem to be trotting out the mantra that there simply is no economic problem at all and the whole world might just be talking itself into a depression.

The real story is more likely to be somewhere in between. No matter who you believe on this subject, if you simply look  for yourself at the amount of trafic in the main streets of some of our local towns, there is clearly still a lot of economic activity still going on. Which of course there has to be in the normal day-to-day run of things. The world can’t stop turning just because of a down-turn, it never has done. There was also some more good news recently on the labour productivity figures with Ireland in the lead amongst it’s European neighbours. Many people seem to be just working through the credit scare which is the right approach.

Not even the most committed “blue sky” optimist however can talk away the fact that unemployment is on the rise in the Midlands. Despite this, there does remain large numbers of job vacancies. Many of which continue to be stubbornly difficult to fill. Which leads to the question about what sort of unemployment do we have here now? Also how long is it likely to last? If you have recently become unemployed, these questions might be worth considering carefully.

It has been well flagged for a good number of years now that one of the problems with the construction boom was that it channelled too many people (men) into that lucrative sector and away from careers in other more sustainable sectors. In other words it’s likely that the region is by now suffering from a temporary skills mis-match. Consider where is there likely to be growth in the near to mid-term future and then think about whether it would be worth your while re-training or going back to college. In particular keep an eye on the IT area. You might be better making a <well thought-out> decision on this sooner rather than later. If in doubt perhaps you could start by asking for some advice on the subject. Most people do at some stage in their lives.

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New to the Midlands ?? – Here are some local job-seeker resources

If you’re looking for some good local printed listings of jobs, here are the main ones – Tullamore Tribune, Westmeath Examiner (Mullingar), Westmeath Independent (Athlone), Offaly Independent, Offaly Express (includes jobs in Laois), Westmeath Topic, Longford News, the Mullingar / Athlone Advertiser. Also National papers including Irish Independent on Thursdays, Irish Times on Fridays and Sunday Indpendent.

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job seeking tip – 4. Please don’t apply for loads of different “types” of jobs

Going back to your plan, consider the jobs that you have a decent chance of getting. Nothing annoys recruiters more than seeing the same cv coming in for many different jobs across the recruitment spectrum. When this happens the recruiter has no choice but to think that the candidate really hasn’t got a clue what he or she actually wants. Besides all you do is confuse yourself.

Fair enough, it is possible that you have a couple of different interests. Just make sure that they’re jobs you do have a good chance of at least getting interviews for and that your applications do you justice. Be focussed.

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Job seeking tip – 3. Your CV

Think of your cv as the agenda for the interviews which you will be attending later on in the process. Imagine someone who might be an experienced and tough interviewer and imagine the sorts of questions they could ask you about your cv. This will help you to focus on keeping it relevant, truthful and to the point. Prepare a general cv format first, save it and start researching jobs you are interested in. Then alter the basic version slightly to suit the job type if necessary, as long as the changes are relevant and factual. Save each version and refer back to it if you get called for an interview later.

Try and be objective when evaluating the job you’ve done on your own cv. Imagine you’re a complete stranger and trying to work out what sort of job the owner of your cv is trying to find. It should be completely obvious. If not, ask why it isn’t then remove any details from it which add any confusion.

Don’t get too hung up on design, but avoid tables, boxes, complicated logos and even photos as these things can clog up emails. In general, start with your most recent work or study and go back in reverse chronological order. Two pages should do it. Don’t waffle.