Graduates, it’s time to get organised

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By Sabina Trench, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers

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As you approach the end of your college studies, your focus will naturally be on the final exams,. But if you are planning on applying for graduate placements, you need to get organised, writes SABINA TRENCH, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

You are in your final year of college, so it’s time to start thinking about your options. For some, you will continue with your studies, but for others you are ready to start your career. While it’s only March, a quick scan of will highlight just how many graduate opportunities are currently open for applications across the island of Ireland.

The deadlines are scattered across the next few months, so you need to get moving. While some of the higher profile graduate management programme deadlines have passed, some are still open. That said, some companies will only open for applications later this year when final results are available.

GraduatesWhat sectors are included?

The array of sectors is very impressive and includes accountancy, engineering, software development, human resources, teaching and education, retail and sales and banking, to name but a few. While searching, I found jobs for trainee accountants, summer jobs, foreign language placements. I also found a host of attractive positions in high profile multinationals and successful Irish companies.

Where are the opportunities?

While the urban centres offer the most jobs, I was very encouraged by the spread across the country, including Northern Ireland. Sligo to Derry is only two hours by car. Dublin to Belfast is just two and a half hours by train.

Are there any public sector opportunities?

Yes, there is a dedicated website with a lot of excellent information about graduate opportunities in the public sector. Apart from traineeships in the European Court of Auditors, there isn’t much available at the moment. But you could create a personal profile on the site and sign up for Graduate Opportunities job alerts.

What are they looking for?

In most cases it’s a curriculum vitae and a cover letter, but some employers are using application forms, which can be more time consuming. When completing your CV or application form, it is vital that you tie your college studies in to the role on offer.

And of course, the challenge of limited experience is always an issue for graduates. So you really need to think about how your summer jobs, voluntary work and practical college assignments can help you bridge the gap. Don’t worry, though; employers will understand that you are a graduate at the start of your career.

Also, many of the employers stipulate honours degrees, so see what you can manage between now and the finals to get those grades up.


Go to or the graduates section of mainstream jobs sites such as for example. Find your area of expertise, and identify jobs that are most attractive to you. I recommend that you send out three good applications rather that ten generic CVs and cover letters. Less is more when it comes to your applications strategy.

There are some terrific opportunities out there. So the next time you take a break from the books, get working on your CV, or call in the professionals if time is limited. This is an exciting time in your career, good luck.

If you would like to make a booking with any of our career coaches, see HERE for CV Preparation, Application Form writing, LinkedIn Profile writing, Interview Training and other career services.

You can read more blogs from Sabina HERE

Sabina Trench is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers, who have offices in Galway, Limerick, Athlone, Sligo and Mayo, plus a full online service. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, personal statements and application forms.