Ten questions all job-seekers should ask themselves, our weekly column from various Irish newspapers


  • Do you have a good quality CV that summarises and highlights your skills in an effective way?
  • Do you tweak/amend your CV every time you send it out so that it speaks to the employer in question?
  • Do you have a neat and professional Cover Letter that you tweak so that it addresses the needs of employer in question each time?
  • Have you contacted Recruitment Agencies in your region?
  • Have you met recruiters?
  • Have you set up Job Alerts on job sites?
  • Are you a member of a Jobs Club?
  • Have you a network of friends / colleagues / acquaintances you can tap into for personal support?
  • Have you ever asked your network to support you on the job-searching front?
  • Have you written out a Personal Inventory of your strengths / skills / attributes?
  • Have you asked people to write out your strengths / skills/ attributes?
  • Are you currently undertaking training/courses to improve your skills?

When it comes to job-searching, there must be a plan. Be specific, not abstract. Be narrow, not broad.

My experience is that most people do not bring enough focus to the matter. This could be attributable to a general pessimism about opportunities in this economy, but, whatever the cause, it is unlikely there will be improvement for the individual involved without committing to an approach that is rigorous and strategic.

Job-searching is a poorly-developed skill. People who have never got on the ladder struggle to find a way. Negative public commentary can easily convince them that opportunity does not exist, despite the fact that there are still people out there getting jobs and promotions.

One of the nuances of the current economic environment will surprise some readers. There is evidence that those who have previously been successful – owned their own businesses or had good jobs – have weak job-searching skills too.

When they fall from their height, they often fall right to the bottom, without gaining any foothold on the way down. People who fall like this can really struggle to get going again because they are asked to deploy skills – such as job-searching – that they may not have used in many years.

Regardless of the category you occupy, I would argue that you need to create a job-searching plan. As with most plans – such as a marathon training plan – the first steps seem trivial, almost meaningless. It might just be writing out a list of people you worked with previously, or sprucing up your cover letter. But if you commit to the process, and take it seemingly small step by seemingly small step, you will make progress.

Alternatively, if you do nothing – or the bare minimum – you condemn yourself to making little or no progress at all.

The real gem of job-seeking is your personal network. I’ve written about this here before – by simply talking to people you know, be it professionally or from five-a-side on Tuesday nights, you can open doors for yourself. It might be a narrow opening at first – a day’s or a week’s work – but from humble beginnings you can develop opportunities.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com) have offices in Galway, Dublin, Limerick, and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Their services include CV preparation, interview training and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/cv. If you would like their Job-searching Checklist, email getthatjob@slinuacareers.com with ‘Job-searching Checklist’ in the subject line.