Finding Work

Job Hunting

Employers who recruit UCC graduates

This section contains information and links to employers. Working conditions, culture and your future prospects are all things to consider. A graduate scheme with a big organisation has the advantage of a structured training programme leading to a management position, while a job with a small or medium sized enterprise gives you the chance to get immersed in a smaller organisation. The public and private sectors offer varying types of culture and opportunity. Or you may be one of the few graduates who go directly into



The Employer Hub on GradIreland -  outlines the Organisation Type; the Organisation Profiles, and the different sectors....all in handy Alphabetical Listings.

What is a Graduate Programme?  Find out all about it here.

What is a Work Placement? Find out more here

What is an Internship? You'll get the answer here 

What are employers looking for in Graduates?

What are employers looking for in Graduates?

  • Firstly that the student had chosen a degree in which they have a personal interest and, as such, can demonstrate consistent and strong academic results.
  • The student can clearly identify the areas of interest opening up for them through the degree.
  • The student has the ability to identify the transferable jobs skills, developed through academic course work, projects, work experience, hobbies and interests, that can be transferred into industry.
  • The student has used their summer months to secure relevant or related work experience, paid or voluntary, to confirm an interest in a particular industry sector.
  • The student has worked closely with Careers Service staff, in completing targeted CV’s/Application Forms, gaining Interview and Assessment Centre experience, attending the Postgraduate Fair, Recruitment Fair and Milkround, to access graduate employers directly and gain an insight into employment and recruitment trends.
  • As a graduate, can identify what industry sector he/she is going to target and utilise the above experiences and skills to market himself to potential employers through graduate CV/Application Form and Interview.

Graduate + MATCH = Employer Needs


Development of Skills through your Degree

Attending university for the first time presents new challenges for younger undergraduates, which can include living independently for the first time, becoming financially self-reliant, spending a summer abroad and meeting new people.  These challenges are recognised and valued by employers as contributing to personal developmentand maturity. 

Numerous job skills are developed during all undergraduate degree programmes, for instance, students must learn toorganise their workload and manage their time effectively in order to meet deadlines.  Students will also manage their own personal schedules to allow enough time to undertake paid or voluntary work, hobbies as well as study.

Many degrees assessed ongoing coursework as well as end-of-year exams.  As a result, students must therefore lean to ‘juggle’more than one project at a time. 

In addition, students learn to communicateinformation both verbally and in the written form through project work, report writing and oral presentations.  Group work exercises taken during the degree together with participation in team sports develop an undergraduate’s teamworking skills.

What skills and attributes are graduate employers looking for?

Possessing a wide range of skills and attributes, which are transferable into all industry sectors, is considered by graduate employers to be as important as a strong degree qualification. 


Personal Attributes and Skills sought by Graduate Employers:

Willingness to Learn – the ability to learn and continue learning throughout life.

Intellect – the ability to analyse, critique and synthesise information in order to solve a problem.

Commercial Awareness – an understanding of workplace culture.

Flexibility and Adaptability – the ability to respond to change, to pre-empt change and ultimately to lead change.

Self-regulatory Skills – self-discipline, time-management, the ability to deal with stress, to plan and prioritise your workload and to ‘juggle’ several tasks at once.

Self-motivation – being a ‘self-starter’, resilient, persistent and determined.

Self-assured – self-confidence, self-awareness, self-belief and self-direction.


Interactive Attributes and Skills sought by Graduate Employers

Communication Skills – the ability to communicate, formally and informally, verbally and in the written form, with a wide range of individuals both internal and external to the organisation.

Interpersonal Skills – the ability to relate to, and feel comfortable with, people at all levels and to be able to make and maintain relationships as circumstances change.

Teamworking – the ability to work effectively in teams, often more than one team at once, and to be able to re-adjust roles from one project to another in an ever-shifting work situation.

Creative Job Hunting

This involves taking a creative, active approach to researching careers and making job applications.

The main elements to a creative job search are to develop a network of people who can help give you advice and/or information, and making speculative applications with your CV and covering letter.


Step One

Research! Find out as much as you can about the job/career in which you are interested using the booklets, videos, and reference files in the careers information centre and the Internet. You might also find lots of information in libraries.

If you don't know what career you want to enter, try Careers Report, a powerful program to help you with career



Networking is just asking people to help you . You can develop a network through existing contacts, or create your own using the ideas below.

Below is a list of some sources you could use to find contacts for your network:



•  Friends and relatives

•  Tutors, academics

•  Ex-teachers

•  Community contacts - doctors, accountants, bankers, family solicitor, church members, Chambers of Commerce, local councillors and MP

•  Local employers

•  Professional Institutes and Associations

•  Members of clubs and societies

•  People mentioned in newspapers, magazines, professional journals

•  Ex-graduates (Check with the Alumni Office in UCC)


Methods of Approach

There are four main methods of approaching employers - writing, emailing, phoning, and cold-calling or door-stepping. Choose the best method for you or try a mixture of approaches! Below are listed some of the pros and cons for each method.



Send a CV and covering letter tailored to the organisation - this may be done by post or email. If you use email as your contact method, put your covering letter as the body of your email and send the CV as an attachment. It is wise to format the letter as plain text (use the format heading on Outlook Express to do this) as it can then be read by any email reader. Your attached CV is probably best in MS Word format as this is the most commonly used, but Rich Text (.rtf) or html format are also acceptable. Avoid humourous or offbeat email addresses and go for something plain based around your name, such as

If you haven't received any response to your letter or email after about ten days then follow up with a phone call. Sending a stamped addressed envelope with a postal enquiry may help if you are applying to smaller organisations but adds substantially to your costs.



You can include the web page address of your CV in an email or letter to an employerThey have the advantage that you can easily use graphics, colour, hyperlinks and even sound, animation and video. The basic rules still apply however - make it look professional.

These CVs can be very effective if you are going for multimedia, web design or computer games jobs where they can act as a demonstration of your technical skills. A portfolio can be a useful tool here.



Getting past the secretaries and receptionists can be an art, and you may be asked to send a CV. Think through your phone call carefully in advance, since the person you call may be very busy. Your call will have to make a positive impact! Your first two or three words may be missed so say something like, "Good morning. This is Mary Murphy speaking ....''?. Have I called at a convenient moment or would you rather I called back?''

This allows the listener to adjust from the dial tone to your voice.  



This is a very proactive approach. Dress smartly. At the HR office, you may leave a CV and ask for an interview. Consider mapping a route round several employers using an A to Z, and make notes - following up with a phone call may be necessary.



This is gathering information on which to make decisions!

•  Gather information about various careers by speaking to professionals in those fields.

•  Learn what types of job opportunitie s exist in a given field/organisation.

•  Develop contacts with key people who either do the hiring or who know those who do.

•  Enhance your confidence and improve your interview skills by speaking to a variety of professionals in a non-threatening, open-ended situation.

•  Visit people in a variety of work settings to gain insight into different working environments.

You need to go to the person having done as much reading as you can about the job, so that you come across to your new contact as a clued-up and interested person over whom it's worth taking time and trouble.

•  Take a notebook in which you have written the questions you want to ask and also use it to take notes.

•  Be prepared to take the lead in the conversation, if necessary. Remember, you are interviewing him/her.

•  Respect the person's time. Be appreciative without being apologetic and plan a manageable agenda. Do not wear out your welcome.

•  Recognise that everyone has his/her own attitudes , biases and feelings which must be evaluated. By talking to several people, you will gain a variety of opinions.

•  Keep your eyes open for other clues about the organisational environment.

•  At the end of the interview, ask if there is anyone else that they can recommend you to see , thus extending your network.

•  Send a thank you letter immediately following the interview. You can also use this to tactfully remind your contact of anything they promised to do.

Advantages of Creative Jobhunting

•  It unearths jobs which aren't advertised

•  It impresses employers by showing that you have initiative/motivation

•  You find out about a job before entry rather than afterwards when it is more difficult to change your mind

•  It bypasses application forms -this could be useful if your academic qualifications are weak

•  You get advice on other routes into the job

•  It makes you feel that you are in control of your situation rather than feeling powerless

•  It can be combined with traditional techniques


•  It takes time - as much, if not more, than normal jobhunting

•  It requires "gumption" (confidence and assertiveness)



Speculative applications are those you make to an employer when you don't know if there is a vacancy. The standard method is to send out lots of CVs and generally the response rate from employers is low. There are, however, a number of techniques you can use to increase this response rate dramatically:

•  Make sure that your CV and covering letter are of the highest possible standard.

•  Target your CV carefully.

•  Individualise your covering letter Some people use a shortened, one-side CV for speculative applications - a busy manager may be more likely to read this than a longer document.

•  Follow up your CV with a phone call or letter after a week or so if you haven't heard anything.


Pharma & MedTech Careers in Cork (Source: GetReskilled, October 2018) 

Looking for work in the Pharma & MedTech industry? The following page are a fantastic source of information about the industry in Cork: 

Pharma & MedTech industry, Cork.

List of 180 Pharmaceutical & Med Device Companies in Ireland.

Media Careers  

Most media organisations receive enough speculative applications to be able simply to select from these. Networking is therefore an essential skill for getting any media job.

•  Before you start to network, try and develop relevant practical skills through activities such as student journalism, hospital radio and film-making societies. Budding journalists will need a cuttings file to show to editors. Office and IT skills are also valuable and could be your best way in at this early stage.

•  Know your media - read/watch/listen to the output of the organisations you plan to contact and be ready with comment and ideas.

•  Be prepared to be offered unpaid or low-paid work experience rather than a salaried post.

•  Successful candidates tend to be those who are persevering - even pushy - and not easily discouraged by an initial negative answer. Be polite but persistent.

Advertising and Public Relations  

Much of the above advice on media careers also applies to these areas, but in addition you should:

•  be aware that advertising and PR are businesses whose purpose is to communicate a message

•  Read relevant publications

•  Use professional bodies - check the list of Professional Associations on our website


Again, most environmental organisations receive enough speculative approaches to be able to fill their vacancies from these. Voluntary work is a major way of building up experience and contacts. Check for a list of voluntary agencies in Ireland .


While there are many directories and websites advertising vacation placements and training contracts in the large firms, speculative approaches are essential for smaller and local firms. You can find a complete list of firms on the Law Society's website

Further Information  

•  The Creative Job Search - a comprehensive online guide to jobhunting skills and techniques, from the

•  Careers Networking - the Art of Using

•  "Can I Have a Few Minutes of Your Time?" - AGCAS video covering networking, information interviewing and work experience

Outdoor/Recreation Jobs

Outdoor/Recreation Jobs

The Youth Hostelling Association. YHA regularly recruit permanent staff, and temporary staff for the season February to October. You can apply via their web site
Camp Beaumont Day Camps. Regularly recruit students as activity instructors, group leaders, nursery leaders, and administrators. Visit and
Rockley Watersports. Often advertise for Watersports Instructors and Mountain Bike Leaders, see
Adventure Centres. Jobs are advertised at Adventure Centres across the UK and abroad at
PGL. Recruits several thousand seasonal staff for its activity centres in the UK, France and Spain. Visit for vacancies in sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, abseiling, fencing, and motorsports.
Trekking. Try to gain experience as activity instructor with YHA or PGL, or walking leader for Ramblers Holidays or HF Holidays. Some training is available via the Mountain Leader Training Board, or the British Mountaineering Council
Other relevant organisations. World Challenge, Exodus, Karakoram Experience, Outward Bound Trust ( , Explore Worldwide, KE and International Academy.
Magazines. Useful magazines include, High Mountain Sports, Climber and Wanderlust.
Brathay Management Centre - provides information about their graduate apprenticeship programme. - listing of outdoor centres. - browse for a list of outdoor business education providers. - British Activity Holidays Association this site has links to members pages some of which have jobs links. - list of outdoor and adventure organisations and job links. - listing of opportunities with this YMCA centre. - a Lake District-based walking holiday company that sometimes takes on students. - visit the work experience section on this site.

Event Management Links


Recruitment Agencies

Trade Press

Trade Associations

General Careers Info


  • The International Production Directory 'The White Book', which lists conference and events companies plus a lot more. (ISBN No: 1 874494 37-1)
  • There is a section in the Creative Handbook see
  • AGCAS Hospitality Sector Briefing has contact details of relevant professional bodies.


UCC Career Services

Seirbhísí Gairme COC

3 / 4 Brighton Villas, Western Road, (beside Castlewhite Apts) UCC., Cork, Ireland