Further Education – Sources of Information and Courses

When it comes to searching for and researching further education course options in Ireland, there is no shortage of information, especially On-Line. Every part-time, full-time, classroom, On-Line, blended-learning course is there for you to read about and understand. There are three main On-Line websites that contain any course that you may be looking for; you just need to take some time and patience to read about them and then choose the right one for you, based on your current or future ideal job / career.

 

They are:

  • www.qualifax.ie
    • Qualifax is Ireland’s National Learners’ Database and is the “one stop shop” for learners and the public.   Comprehensive, annually updated information is provided about further and higher education and training options in Ireland and further afield. Articles and links are also provided to assist students, job seekers, parents, guidance professionals and graduates to make informed choices for education, training and career pathways. Qualifax is a service provided by Quality and Qualifications Ireland.
  • www.careersportal.ie
    • CareersPortal provides all the tools you need to help you find and develop your career. We believe you deserve the best and encourage you to spend time discovering what makes you different and unique, so you can build your own future. Above you will find links to our Junior Certificate, Transition Year and Leaving Certificate pages. Select the programme which is relevant to you and make use of the resources we have developed to guide you in exploring your future. You can access a range of resources designed to assist you with making sound, informed decisions about your career direction. As you progress through college, you change and grow and become more aware of what life has to offer.
  • www.fetchcourses.ie
    • Further Education and Training or FET, offers a wide variety of life-long education options to anyone over 16. FET includes apprenticeships, traineeships, Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses, community and adult education as well as core literacy and numeracy services. FET courses and programmes are provided through the Education and Training Board network throughout the country as well as through other local providers including online through SOLAS’ eCollege. FET courses are provided at levels one to six on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Do remember that before actually choosing the course and paying for I;  you need to know why you are doing it and that it is part of your future job/career plans, where it will deliver a new job, new career, promotion and/or a brand new opportunity…

Further Education – Sources of Information and Courses

When it comes to searching for and researching further education course options in Ireland, there is no shortage of information, especially On-Line. Every part-time, full-time, classroom, On-Line, blended-learning course is there for you to read about and understand. There are three main On-Line websites that contain any course that you may be looking for; you just need to take some time and patience to read about them and then choose the right one for you, based on your current or future ideal job / career.

 

They are:

  • www.qualifax.ie
    • Qualifax is Ireland’s National Learners’ Database and is the “one stop shop” for learners and the public.   Comprehensive, annually updated information is provided about further and higher education and training options in Ireland and further afield. Articles and links are also provided to assist students, jobseekers, parents, guidance professionals and graduates to make informed choices for education, training and career pathways. Qualifax is a service provided by Quality and Qualifications Ireland.
  • www.careersportal.ie
    • CareersPortal provides all the tools you need to help you find and develop your career. We believe you deserve the best, and encourage you to spend time discovering what makes you different and unique, so you can build your own future. Above you will find links to our Junior Certificate, Transition Year and Leaving Certificate pages. Select the programme which is relevant to you and make use of the resources we have developed to guide you in exploring your future. You can access a range of resources designed to assist you with making sound, informed decisions about your career direction. As you progress through college, you change and grow and become more aware of what life has to offer.
  • www.fetchcourses.ie
    • Further Education and Training or FET, offers a wide variety of life-long education options to anyone over 16. FET includes apprenticeships, traineeships, Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses, community and adult education as well as core literacy and numeracy services. FET courses and programmes are provided through the Education and Training Board network throughout the country as well as through other local providers including online through SOLAS’ eCollege. FET courses are provided at levels one to six on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Do remember that before actually choosing the course and paying for I;  you need to know why you are doing it and that it is part of your future job / career plans, where it will deliver a new job, new career, a promotion and / or a brand new opportunity…

Presenting a Presentation as Part of an Interview

Many organizations are now requesting candidates to prepare a short presentation as part of the interview process. These presentations can occur any time during the interview process i.e. first, second or indeed third interview and are usually 10-15 minutes in duration. The topic to present upon at the interview is usually chosen by the interview board/hiring organization beforehand and is linked to the job one is being interviewed for. For example, it could be a business challenge that the organization is facing/going through and they want to hear and see how you would go about addressing/resolving it. The presentation at the interview is usually delivered at the start of the interview with PowerPoint the most common speaking medium with questions and answers after its delivery.

Why would the hiring organisation request interviewees to prepare and present a presentation?

  • The role involves speaking in public to small/large groups
  • The role is a sales role
  • The role is a managerial role
  • The role is a leadership role
  • The role is a project management role
  • They want to see how interviewees perform under pressure
  • They want to see can you prepare and deliver a presentation that is engaging, inspiring and motivational to them
  • They want to see how much you know about the organization

If you are called for an interview and the interview process involves having to prepare and present a presentation at an interview consider the following:

  • Make sure to address the topic question/challenge/criteria
  • Do all you can to get to really know the organization i.e. information, documentation, speak to people
  • Plan to finish one minute before the allotted time
  • Stand during the presentation delivery
  • Use the organisation’s marketing/branding/colours/fonts
  • Speak from the heart, giving an authentic delivery knowing that as of now you are second in the race

 

How to Handle Being Made Redundant…

Losing one’s job is not a pleasant experience when it is compulsory, even if you do receive a generous redundancy package and benefits. After working in the organization for all of that time, given what you believe to be your best and then to be told through no fault of your own that you must leave, can be traumatic, lonely and disheartening. Leaving teams, work colleagues and/or internal and external customers/vendors can be difficult, especially if you had been working in the organization for a number of years. So how do you make the most of this milestone in your career/life and see it as a positive, rather than as a negative?

Think about the following:

  • Take time out to way up your options. Are you going to return to a similar job to your previous or a different type of job in the same industry or are you going to consider a new career or look at your own business initiative?
  • Take a job break. If finances allow you, consider taking an extended break between this redundancy and your next employment to do something you always wanted to do. You might not get the chance again.
  • Look at your qualifications. Do you need to retrain, upskill or return to education? Based on your future ideal employment, what do these employers need you to have to make them interested in you and want to meet with you.
  • Update your Résumé and your LinkedIn Profile. Consider a professional input, making them the best they can be, tailored to your new ideal employment so as to secure interviews.
  • Finally, look at your own life with respect to health, well-being, hobbies, interests; had you a balance in your life when you were employed? If not, balance it now and for the future…

Putting yourself on paper…

There are seven ways of putting yourself on paper so as to impress interviewers who read about you and then want to speak/meet you for a general interview and/or a competency-based interview through a telephone interview, Skype interview or a face-to-face interview. These seven ways are:

  1. General Curriculum Vitae
  2. Tailored Curriculum Vitae
  3. Tailored Cover Letter
  4. Executive Summary
  5. LinkedIn Profile
  6. Application Form
  7. Target Letter

Let’s discuss each one in turn briefly and how they are all different, to help you use them according to your needs and preferences and ultimately to secure a general interview or a competency-based interview in a role and organisation of your choice.

General Curriculum Vitae

A General Curriculum Vitae is primarily used when working with recruitment agencies, where the document covers all of your experience relevant to the various types of jobs you want

Tailored Curriculum Vitae

A Tailored Curriculum Vitae is where you tailor your Curriculum Vitae against a live, open job that you wish to apply for, where you use specific words and statements from the job description and the organisation’s website.

Tailored Cover Letter

A Tailored Cover Letter is where you tailor a Cover Letter against a live, open job that you wish to apply for, where you use specific words and statements from the job description and the organisation’s website.

Executive Summary

This a one full page document summarising your Curriculum Vitae, normally used for people applying for high level managerial / directorship roles.

LinkedIn Profile

www.linkedin.com is like having your Curriculum Vitae On-Line, where you set up a profile and transfer relevant general information from your Curriculum Vitae. You would also include your LinkedIn Profile link on your Curriculum Vitae.

Application Form

Many public sector organisations are requiring the completion of Competency-based Application Forms, rather than Curriculum Vitae’s when they advertise new opportunities. They require you to give examples to certain and specific on-the-job competencies.

Target Letter

This letter is used when you want to find the unadvertised jobs and it is where you target organisations that you want to work in and write a personal / posted letter to decision-makers, not HR.

Outplacement Services


Outplacement services are services an employer offers to employees who are made redundant from their job in the employer’s organisation. Whether the employee is taking / accepting a voluntary severance package or it is a situation of compulsory redundancy, the employer can help their ‘now’ previous employee make  a great start in their search for a new employment income. The employer can choose an external organisation to provide the outplacement service to the employee(s) over a number of hours; a number of days or a number of weeks depending on their available budget.

Outplacement services can include the following help and supports for the employee:

  • Designing Your Destiny & Identification of Your Ideal, Realistic Job / Career
  • Identification of Further Education, Training, Learning & Development Needs
  • Presentation on Paper (Cover Letters, Executive Summary’s, Curriculum Vitaes, Target Letters)
  • Job Hunting Skills (Six ways in how to secure interviews)
  • Interview Skills & Techniques (Competency-based)
  • Return to Work Programmes
  • Own Business Development, Planning & Management
  • Personal Development in a Business Framework (Coaching)

Outplacement Services

Advantages for the employee upon receiving these services include:

  • They can secure a new form of income much faster
  • They don’t feel isolated after becoming unemployed
  • They know that what they are doing in securing a new form of income is being carried out correctly and professionally
  • Confidence and self-belief is maintained or at least enhanced
  • They have an opportunity to change and realise their ideal job / career  

Advantages for the employer / organisation include:

  • They are seen as a great place to work in
  • The employee receiving the outplacement service is grateful to them
  • Remaining employees appreciate that the employer is helping their fellow employee
  • The employer feels a sense of satisfaction having helped the employee
  • They are creating employment / business for their outplacement service partner

Outplacement services are a good thing to offer and a good to thing to receive…

Time Management

Time Management

In his book, ‘How to be Smart with your Time’, Duncan Bannatyne, known from Dragon’s Den fame, has the following main content headings:

  • Identify your goals
  • What are you waiting for
  • What’s stopping you
  • Focus, focus, focus
  • Don’t innovate, replicate
  • Second best is close to ideal
  • Play to your strengths
  • Momentum
  • Delegation
  • Work with what you’ve got
  • Stop kidding yourself
  • Ignoring the little vice
  • Just say no
  • Detox your life
  • What did you do yesterday
  • Scheduling and planning
  • The turbo-powered ‘to do’ list
  • Clearing your backlogs (and making sure they never come back)
  • The best way to start your day
  • Get organized
  • How to be smart at work
  • What works for you
  • Be decisive
  • Beware: deadlines approaching
  • Overcoming procrastination
  • Communication matters
  • Be a smarter commuter
  • Teamwork
  • Technology

These content headings alone give us some idea of how time management is more important than ever in today’s world. We have all attended some form of time management course over the years  throughout our career and found them to be somewhat helpful and beneficial. Some of us too have read the books, such as Bannatynes book above, again to our benefit.

When it comes to time management, there are a few basic rules of thumb that I have found to be paramount:

  • Do a work list / to do list either on your smartphone or paper diary every day
  • Don’t delete / cross out anything until it is actioned / completed in some way
  • Get up early in the morning, you will definitely feel so much the better for it from mid-morning onwards
  • Try not to procrastinate, stick to the task you have to do at that time / that day
  • Get your required amount of sleep time i.e. the experts say 7-8 hours

Why LinkedIn is Part of Your Career?

LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and launched in 2003. It is an employment-orientation tool that functions using websites and mobile apps. We are told that it has almost 600 million registered users in over 200 countries. Used for networking and posting jobs, it’s primary and most usage is for employees to share the following main details about themselves (including a picture) in order to source a new employment / new business and indeed inform interested people where they are now in their career/business:

  • Career History
  • Education
  • Training Courses
  • Accomplishments
  • Interests
  • Testimonials

LinkedIn is like your CV On-Line i.e. called a Profile and unlike a CV needs to be updated consistently. We tend to update our CV when we want to change job or career, however with LinkedIn, you don’t know who is looking at your profile and when including:

  • Recruiters
  • Headhunters
  • Previous bosses
  • Previous work colleagues
  • Friends
  • Academics
  • Business associates
  • Existing clients
  • New clients

 

As with the last two points above, the self-employed, especially people working on their own, need to be on LinkedIn as many potential new clients make an opinion of whether or not to meet you, based on your LinkedIn Profile (and testimonials).

Updating your LinkedIn Profile on a regular/consistent basis has many advantages:

  • You can include the updates details when it is fresh in your mind
  • Your profile will rank higher if people look for someone of your skills, talents and background
  • People who read your profile are getting the latest, most up-to-date version of you
  • It gives you a sense of satisfaction and achievement as you update it, for example, a new job, promotion, education/training course, a new project
  • It can make it easier to update your CV when you wish to apply for new job opportunities that may have short closing date notices

 

Stay linked to the world that can help you achieve your job/career/business goals using LinkedIn…

competency-based application form

Are Competency-based Application Forms making the CV Redundant?

Competency-based Application Forms

For many people who work in the public sector and want to ‘career or job’ progress through its various departments / sections or people who want to work in the public sector, the now new norm is to apply by completing a competency-based application form. Rarely nowadays is a CV requested. A Covering Letter i.e. an expression of interest may be requested, but the CV is simply not required, as the application form covers everything that the hiring managers need.

For many people who work in the private sector and want to ‘career or job’ progress in the organisation or people who want to work in the private sector, the norm is still to apply by developing a Cover Letter and a CV. The private sector has not yet embraced competency-based application forms, though there is a huge focus on competencies at interview stage, similar to the private sector.

One would have thought that by now the private sector would have embraced and designed competency-based application forms for their specific industry / departments. However, as the use of competencies in recruiting and selecting are over 20 years in existence now, it is unlikely that the private sector will use them now, like the public sector do.

Competency-based application forms have the following advantages over CV’s:

• Allows the applicant give actual examples of where they have used a key skill in the past that is relevant to the role on offer
• There is consistency in the application forms for the interviewers
• It allows the interview to be more structured

CV’s have the following advantages over competency-based application forms:

• Are never more that 2-3 pages in length, whereas competency-based application forms can be over 20 pages
• They can give the interviewer a quicker overview of the applicant
• It is easier for the applicant to apply for the role, as competency-based application forms can take days / weeks to complete.

Competency-based Interview

What I should invest in – The Competency-based Application Form or The Competency-based Interview?