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Someone thinks I’m good at something! Woohoo!

October 5, 2012 14:54 by Conor

Got a nice email in the inbox yesterday:

Who wouldn’t want to click that?

There’s a lot of new stuff to keep track of in social media this weather – but one boxfresh development from LinkedIn will be of particular interest to anyone in the jobs market – either actively or passively – or any employers using the platform to fill positions.

At the end of last month LinkedIn rolled out a new feature called ‘Skills Endorsements’, allowing members to endorse their first-degree connections for a skill that they have listed on their profile, or recommend one they haven’t added yet.

In plain people of Ireland speak – if someone thinks you’re good at something, be it SEO expertise or finesse with a cement trowel, one click adds the endorsement to your profile. Simples.

Here’s how LinkedIn describe the feature:

  • On the top of a connection’s profile, you’ll see recommended endorsements for them. You can suggest additional skills as well.
  • You can also endorse them from the new Skills & Expertise section that now showcases these endorsements.

And here’s what it looks like:

Any time you get an endorsement you’ll get an email – who doesn’t want to click on a mail telling them they are great? Not me… - and a LinkedIn message.

If you want to see who has endorsed you, and for what, scroll to the bottom of your profile page under “Skills and Expertise”. Hopefully you’ll see lots of little thumbnails singing your praises. Or if you’re me, one (thanks!).

LinkedIn again: “You can also accept any new skills recommended by your peers that you may not have thought to include on your profile. Or you can also add a new skill by clicking on “add a skill” on your profile page.”

Guide to using new LinkedIn Endorsements (via LinkedIn on

Now anyone checking out your profile – potential employers included - can get a one-glance impression of the skills you can bring to the table. And vice-versa, natch. Trawling LinkedIn for candidates? This just made it a whole lot easier.

What does it mean?

Any active LinkedIn users will know that the platform has long had the facility for ‘Recommendations’, where anyone who knows you or has worked with you can write a few lines extolling your virtues.

So what’s the difference between Endorsements and Recommendations? Obviously there are similarities in terms of function – enabling members of your LinkedIn network to vouch for you – but in practice, there is a world of difference between the one-click action of endorsing somebody, and taking the time to consider and compose a recommendation. The new feature reflects the ways in which many members may use the platform; quickly dipping in for updates amid the bustle of their day, rather than having/taking the time to really craft their profile and cultivate their connections.

Ask yourself which you are more likely to do: Throw a few quick endorsements to colleagues before you get down to the business of the day, or take the time out of your schedule to write a well-crafted recommendation?

The Powerformula blog sums it up as part of a worth-reading FAQ post about endorsements: It is obviously easier to endorse someone with one simple click than it is to take the time to write a detailed recommendation, and thus more people are likely to endorse than recommend. And since in our society more is usually viewed as better, the person with the most endorsements will probably be viewed more favorably.”

That poster also makes the very valid point that endorsements may well come to form an integral part of LinkedIn’s pro tool for recruiters, LinkedIn Recruiter, with the possibility that employers searching for talent may well be offered the option of ordering their search results based on endorsement ranking, among other factors.

Now get endorsing – or not

So that’s an outline of what endorsements are and how to use them. It’s a brief outline, because it’s a pretty simple feature – but it’s a ‘why haven’t they thought of this before’-type development that should enable you to add value to your profile, and raise your attraction to potential employers.

As this excellent blog post puts it: “LinkedIn needed something a little shorter and with more focus which could acknowledge specific skills of an individual – but without resorting to the simple Facebook-style ‘Like’ button.  And skill endorsements seem to do just the job”

However that’s not to ignore the fact that like many social media developments, there are negative points being raised.

·        Do you want people in your network endorsing your skills? If not, how do you disable their ability to do so?

·        How do you prevent this feature becoming just a ‘click-for-click’ exchange which has no real currency?

·        Is it presumed that an endorsement will be reciprocated? What if you didn’t invite it and don’t feel that it is appropriate to return?

·        How many endorsements will be of equivalent value to a well-crafted recommendation from a trusted figure? 10? 20? 50?

It’s likely that these questions of etiquette and value will work themselves out as the feature beds in, but in the meantime we’d love to hear your initial thoughts.


From the career centre:

And because there’s more to online job hunting than LinkedIn

Guest post: Welcome to the Last Chance Saloon

October 1, 2012 14:16 by Conor

Welcome to the Last Chance Saloon - or, Julian and his one-man recruitment fair

We've been talking a little recently about creative job-hunting ideas and how easy-to-use online CV tools can help in your job search. Given the thousands of CVs that pass through recruiters' hands and given the cursory glance that most 'traditional' CVs are afforded, it makes sense to use a little imagination to create an online presence that showcases your experience, skills and creative abilities.

Our attention was grabbed last month by one such creative approach, taken by Julian Alubaidy (@awbeg on Twitter).

Finding himself still searching for a 'Real Job', Julian took the opportunity provided by a 10-day work placement in Cork city to advertise a 'one-man recruitment fair' on his page, inviting potential employers in the areas of customer service, copywriting and admin/logistics to come and see what he had to offer.

Taking to Twitter, Julian advertised himself as being open for business. 

Interesting idea, right? We certainly thought so. So we asked Julian to guest-write a blog post for us about his experiences.

Here's how he got on:

Welcome to the Last Chance Saloon

By Julian Alubaidy

"If you spend enough time patiently kitchen portering and telesales-ing and general-labouring, while you send off a CV every now and again and wait for a Real Job to descend, suddenly years have gone by, it’s too late, and nobody believes you when you tell them how great an employee you still might be. This is slowly dawning on me.

 I’ve had to resort to drastic measures, even if they are all day-one stuff for the more highly evolved job-seeker:

  •              I made a cv just like everyone else’s, for people and machines that love keywords;
  •              I talked to some recruitment agencies (as soul-destroying as I’d feared);
  •              I joined LinkedIn (would rather volunteer as a pole-dancer);
  •              And I’ve been dropping hints to anyone who’ll listen who might put in a word for me anywhere.


Of course, once you start sacrificing principles and abandoning shame, you may as well keep going. Which is why I tried to draw a bit of attention to myself with an ‘online CV’. I’d been offered 10 days’ work in Cork, at Bubble Brothers in the English Market, which is a great place to meet and chat, and it’s very central. All I had to do was get potential employers to call in. I might even persuade them to buy a bottle or two.


I’d read about Jordan McDonnell’s This is not my Résumé – on this blog, maybe – and looked at a few other similar presentations, and I could see how they might be useful. I’d been looking at and, though, and decided on a landing page as less labour-intensive – and easier to take in at a glance – than the slide show option. Circumstances for the time being dictate that everything I do has to be free of charge.

So I coloured in my flavors page with an invitation to employers, a bullet list of skills and links to LinkedIn and twitter.


Here's what my online calling card looked like:


During the week I varied the background image and the ‘headline’, and sent correspondingly varied tweets out once or twice a day with the #jobfairy hashtag. I expected some reaction at least, but I couldn’t see anyone giving me a job on the strength of just a tweet, anyway.


The ‘campaign’ got off to a good start, with retweeting galore on the first day.

After that the interest seemed to dwindle as the days passed – but from a couple of things I’ve heard, there may be some word-of-mouth doing the rounds.


The total response from potential employers to date, however, is nothing at all. I guess they’re just not that into me. I can’t change what I have to offer, but at least I can change and develop how I present it, now that I’ve started the online ball rolling.




Julian may be still looking for that Real Job, but his eyes have been opened to the untapped potential online and his proactive approach to the employment game struck a chord with us.


It showcases the myriad ways in which potential employees in today's jobs market can put themselves 'out there' using online tools and a bit of creative flair.


What do you think? Is there anything in Julian's approach that could be of benefit in your own job hunt?


Read more


September 17, 2012 14:50 by Conor

Looking for a job or just dipping your toe in the market? Ensure your CV is up to scratch with our ten top tips.

  1. Is there a standard format/layout I should stick to, e.g. contact details, education, work experience, interests & achievements and referees? What about font type and size as well?
  2. Should I include copies of certificates, written references and awards with my application? Should I include my photo on my CV?
  3. Should I have a personal statement at the start of my CV?  
  4. Everyone says your CV shouldn't be longer than 2 pages - but I have a lot of experience and it tends to be 3 - is that acceptable?
  5. How do I address the employment gap in my CV?
  6. Should I focus more on my qualifications or my work experience?
  7. How you get a job when you are qualified but have limited experience?
  8. Should I have one CV or tailor each CV to the job I am applying to?
  9. What is the best way to show that I am on LinkedIn etc on my CV? What should I be including? Is an online CV a good idea?
  10.  Any tips on how to get past CV gatekeepers (agency or firms)?


Here at we’ve been running an exciting series of Live@Lunchtime live online Q&A sessions with industry experts in the field of career coaching.

The second in our series took place on September 13, 2012 hosted by our friends in the Irish Examiner and and dealt with the topic ‘Creating a Winning CV’

In the hot seat for the hour-long session was Paul Mullan from Measurability Ireland,  a regular contributor to our newsletter and a consultant with vast experience in HRCareer CoachingInterview CoachingCV writingRecruitmentPsychometric Testing and Outplacement Services in the UK and Ireland.

We had a great response from our readers with some evergreen questions being thrown into the mix (what font?) as well as a couple of curveballs – no surprise in a competitive and quickly-changing careers marketplace (is an online CV a good idea?)

We’ve condensed the live event into 10 of the best questions and answers below. We hope you enjoy and stay tuned – via Facebook or Twitter -  for details of the next Live@Lunchtime sessions.






 1. Is there a standard format/layout I should stick to, e.g.: contact details, education, work experience, interests & achievements and referees? What about font type and size as well?

(asked by Anne/Seanie B)

Paul Mullan: You have highlighted the typical information that will be communicated on a CV. A CV should be a fluid marketing document - the order of this information may change.

The important thing to remember is to get key info to the reader as quickly as possible. Keep the document clean and simple. This way recruiters and employers can find relevant information quicker.

With regard to fonts and formatting - I recommend font size 11 or 12. Anything less is cheating!! Normally people shrink the font size to fit CV into 2 pages. I like “Calibri” font style. Other common fonts include “Arial” and “Times New Roman". 

2. Should I include copies of certificates, written references and awards with my application?

(asked by Liam C/Damien)

PM: Include these documents when instructed. If a company doesn't specify then I wouldn’t include them. 

Generally an employer won’t be that interested in this info at CV-sifting stage. Having said all this, I don’t think it will go against you if you want to include them.

As for including a photo - it's not the norm in Ireland. Obviously if it asks you to, then do it. Adding a photo generally won't offend but make sure the photo is professional!

3. Should I have a personal statement at the start of my CV?

(asked by Lee)

PM: I'd include a value statement = show how you add value!! Avoid telling the employer what you want and focus on what you bring!! Make it 4/5 one-line bullet points max!!

4. Everyone says your CV shouldn't be longer than 2 pages - but I have a lot of experience and it tends to be 3 - is that acceptable?

(asked by John Murray)

PM: Try to limit your CV to 2 pages. Ask yourself if all the current content is relevant. It’s not the end of the world if it goes into the 3rd page.

REMEMBER - employers will only spend 20-30 seconds reviewing your CV so it’s far more important to focus on getting the key information onto the first page!

If your CV is too long a simple tip is to look at your early career roles and cut back here.

5. How do I address the employment gap in my CV? I have been at home with the kids for the last 3 years...

(asked by Anne)

PM: I would normally try to explain any gaps on a CV by simply outlining dates and a short explanation for the gap. You don’t want to the employer to make the wrong conclusions. 

Sometimes job seekers worry too much about gaps. They are quite common on many CVs and are often easily explained – travel, career breaks or return to training/education, etc.

Check out this article: New world of job search for parents returning to work

6. Should I focus more on my qualifications or my work experience?

(asked by Mary)

PM: It will depend on your personal circumstances. Graduates will place more emphasis on qualifications because many lack work experience. Career changers will place more emphasis on newly-acquired qualifications. Experienced professionals will place more emphasis on work experience and just list qualifications.

7. How do you get a job when you are qualified but have limited experience?

(asked by Paul K)

PM: Target graduate or junior roles that require limited work experience. Try to get some relevant experience; even if it’s unpaid or voluntary (this may make you more attractive to potential employers). Use your network to get a foot in the door. Remember many jobs are not advertised.

Check out this Graduate Career Advice Video from Sigmar Recruitment.

8. Should I have one CV or tailor each CV to the job I am applying to?

(asked by Ana Maria)

PM: You can have a master CV document BUT you should tailor this document for every application. It’s more work BUT will ensure you make the strongest possible application. The job spec will help you tailor your CV.

9. What is the best way to show that I am on LinkedIn etc on my CV? What should I be including? Is an online CV a good idea?

(asked by Barry)

PM: Put the LinkedIn URL at top of your CV. Make sure to customise your link though. I prefer LinkedIn profiles to be quite targeted. If you promote yourself as a career coach, a musician and a dentist – who will contact you? You need to decide what are the key skills/roles you want to target.

In relation to getting people to your LinkedIn profile - here is my short video tutorial

10. Any tips on how to get past CV gatekeepers (agency or firms)?

(asked by Tony London)

PM:  I’d always try to warm up the call. Use your professional network to identify people you know working in the target company, or suppliers or customers. Linkedin is a great tool to help you here. By making an approach through a third party you’ll probably be received better. There is a great chrome plug-in (app) that may help, it's called It uses LinkedIn to show you a list of the employees of the company website you are on that you may be connected to.


Thanks to all for taking part in the second of our Live@Lunchtime series and best of luck in creating your winning CV.

For more CV, job-hunting and careers advice check out the Career Centre as well as Paul’s own website. You can allow check out Paul’s YouTube channel for tutorial videos, or follow him on Twitter at @paulmullan74

Live @ Lunchtime - 10 Tough Interview Questions

September 3, 2012 15:17 by Conor


 Ever been asked any of the below questions in an interview? Ever been stumped for an answer?



  1. ‘Tell me about yourself’
  2. How long should my answers be?
  3. Can we have your Facebook profile password?
  4. What are your salary expectations? 
  5. Why is there a gap in your work history? 
  6. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  7. Do you have any questions for us?
  8. How do I get the interviewers on my side?
  9. What types of people do you find it difficult to get along with? 
  10. What is your biggest weakness? 


 At we’re lucky enough to be able to draw on the expertise of leading authorities in the field of career advice – but how do we know that we’re asking them the right questions?

 That was the thinking behind our setting up the Live at Lunchtime series of live online Q&A sessions, which we kicked off last month with the help of our friends in the Irish Examiner and

 Here’s the premise: We regularly rope in a career expert to sit down for an hour during a lunchtime session and answer live questions, submitted by readers via the blog itself on via social media, about a specific topic related to recruitment.

 Hence the name – ‘Live @ Lunchtime

 Our first session took place on August 15 with Carmel Morrissey from Clearview Coaching Group Ireland. Carmel is a qualified career coach with a background in psychology and recruitment, and a highly respected expert in helping people make the correct decisions in their careers.

First time out Carmel was brave enough to tackle the thorny subject of Difficult Interview Questions, and we’ve gathered together a selection of the best questions from our Q&A readers and followers, and Carmel’s insightful answers.

We hope you enjoy, and do tune in to our next Live @ Lunchtime live Q&A on September 13, where we’ll be talking to Paul Mullan of on the topic of Creating a Winning CV. Paul’s Q&A will again be hosted on the Irish Examiner and websites, kickoff time 1pm.




 1. ‘Tell me about yourself’

(asked by

Carmel Morrissey: ‘Tell me about yourself’ is usually one of the first questions asked and it is a great opportunity to get an interviewer’s attention. I would view this as an elevator speech, in other words a hook.

It should be a short summary of your skills and qualifications to date that are relevant to the role. It is so important to tailor your answers based on the role that you are applying for.

This will allow the interviewer psychologically to envisage you in the role. Always finish the answer with the reason that you are applying for this role in the answer also.


2. How long should my answers be?

(asked by degmeister)

CM: This is where preparation comes in. You should spend about 6-7 hours preparing for interview. Be clear on what you want to say and rehearse your answers. I personally find writing out my answers to be a huge help and then saying them out loud. That way you have an opportunity to see if you are getting your message across in a clear, concise and tailored way.

I think that interviews can be stressful for people so you owe it to yourself not to be considering your answers for the first time in interview.


3. Can we have your Facebook profile password?

(asked by Jobless Jim)

CM:  I recently wrote an article on employers requesting access to Facebook in interview. It is a difficult one. I would ensure that your profile is on a private setting and perhaps suggest showing them your Linkedin profile instead as it is a better refection of you in a professional capacity.


4. What are your salary expectations?

(asked by Chuck)

CM: The salary question is another one that needs to be addressed in the right manner -  in the current climate employers can have a very specific figure in mind.

You don’t want to undersell yourself but you also do not want to price yourself out of the market. I would suggest answering the salary question like this: "This is a role that I really want and if you were to make me a fair offer I would be more than happy to accept." You are in a much better place to negotiate when they are ready to offer you the role.


5. Why is there a gap in your work history?

(asked by Niall)

CM: Thankfully the gap in the CV is not such an issue any longer, as due to the nature of the economy many people have been affected by redundancy.

My advice would be to not fear this question and be honest. If possible demonstrate that you have used this time to upskill or join groups etc. Also make sure to demonstrate how enthusiastic you are about returning to work.


6. Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

(asked by Dan)

CM: This question depends very much on the industry that you are working in. For instance, very competitive sales-driven companies often like to hear that you want to be a director, or even sitting in the interviewer’s chair. Other industries want to know that you are invested in them for the long-term and that you can see your career developing with them. In the current climate employers want to know that you want their job - not just a job - so this is your opportunity to remind them why you want to work for them and that you are wanting to commit.


7. Do you have any questions for us?

(asked by Emma)

CM: A good question to ask at the end of an interview is "What sort of people do well here?" It is a great question as it demonstrates to the employer that you are already considering what it will take for you to excel in the role, and it also gives you great information. So if you are called for a second round interview and they have told you in the first interview what sort of people do well, use this information to your benefit and include it in your answers.


8. How do I get the interviewers on my side?

(asked by Sean)

CM: Preparation is key if you suffer from nerves in interview. Know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Practice your answers out loud.

A good tool to build confidence before interview is to write out 10 reasons why you are right for this role. This will help to remind you why you are there and remember they are calling you for interview because they see something that they like in you.

Remember to breathe in interview and if you need to think about an answer, do so. Take a sip of water and say something like "that's a great question".

Just take your time and don't forget to show your personality.


9. What types of people do you find it difficult to get along with?

(asked by Paulie)

CM: This question goes back to a need for an employer to find out if you are the right fit for the company. Be careful when answering this question as we all have a certain type of person that we don't get on with but the interview is not the place to bring this up. I would suggest something like ‘I pride myself on my ability to adapt and to get on with people in most settings’, and allow the interviewer to probe further if they want to.


 10. What is your biggest weakness?

(asked by loads of people)

CM: It is important to understand why they ask the question. It is to get an understanding of your level of self-awareness - someone who is self-aware will ask for help. It is also a great opportunity for an employer to discuss any concerns around a skills gap, and a chance to demonstrate that while you have a weaknes - which we all do - you are willing to work on this

Choose an obvious weakness, for example: "My weakness for this role would be that I have not used that particular IT system. However, I have used several that are similar and I know that if I was lucky enough to get this role that I would be up to speed in no time."

Always remember to turn a negative into a positive!


Find more great interview advice in the Career Centre.

Find out more about Carmel Morrisey and Clearview Coaching Group.



Check it out HERE or HERE.

Blue Sky Thinking – five job-hunting ideas to inspire you

August 3, 2012 11:27 by Conor

You may well have seen the creative efforts of Jordan McDonnell this week. The UCD graduate has been making headlines this week with his innovative approach to CV writing, and he’s got us thinking.

Ditching the traditional Word-format page in favour of a neat 'anti-CV' – tagline ‘This is NOT my Resumé’ - uploaded via presentation-sharing website, the 26-year-old showcases his creative skills in an effort to make the jump from his current career in finance into a more creative industry.

Jordan’s efforts echo those made by other job-seekers in a phenomenon The Guardian has come to call ‘extreme job-hunting’ – employing a suite of online and offline tools to advertise yourself as being in the employment market.

In an age where employers apparently spend less than 10 seconds looking at CVs, making your talents stand out from the crowd seems to be a no-brainer.

Even if some of the examples seem a bit out there, chew on this - what are your competitors in the job hunt doing that you are not?

Here are five recent examples of job hunters thinking outside the box.

1.                 Jordan McDonnell – This is NOT my Resumé

 “My dream is to attain that elusive profound happiness we hear talked about so often” says 26-year-old Jordan McDonnell on hiswebsite, and happiness for Jordan is a career in social media marketing.

To draw the eye of potential employers Jordan uploaded a ‘condensed version of his life’s journey’ to, presenting an appealing visual statement of his family background, employment experience and ambitions – and an insight into his character, to boot.

With over 70,000 views on Slideshare and traction on other social media platforms as well, Jordan’s efforts can’t have escaped the attentions of potential employers and showcase exactly the kind of skillset required in the social space.

No word yet on whether Jordan’s got a job, but people are talking about him. Isn’t that the point of social?


2.                 Jobless Paddy

Remember him? ‘Jobless Paddy’ was in fact Féilim Mac An Iomaire, a marketing grad from Connemara who last May resorted to desperate measures after a fruitless nine months looking for a job.

Eager to stay at home instead of heading back to Australia, Féilim sunk his savings - €2,000 – into a billboard on Merrion Road in Dublin advertising his availability for work.

Helped by online buzz, widespread media  interest and a natty title – ‘Jobless Paddy’ does have a ring to it – Féilim soon secured a six-month placement with Paddy Power which eventually turned into a full-time job.

Now not everyone will have the funds – or the gumption – to advertise themselves via a twenty-foot billboard in the capital city, but ask yourself – what am I doing to get noticed?


3.                 A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Job hunters in certain creative industries – especially graphic and product design – have in recent years really begun to push the boat out when it comes to creating CVs that not only stand out from the in-tray, but also showcase their creative talents and abilities.

Jobless social media strategist (another one!) Hagan Blount turned heads in 2011 with his beautiful infographic CV.


Yes, that Mission Statement does read “I am a radiating center of universal love”. History does not tell us if Hagan was successful in picking up his dream job, but his website tells us that he has at least developed a sideline in infographic CVs for others.

We’ve highlighted Hagan’s as just one example of a CV that’s a visual feast, but there are many more out there and some of them boggle the mind.

“But I’m not a visual designer” we hear you cry. Don’t worry - neither are we.

However that doesn’t stop us being inspired by the creative efforts and talents of others, which might lead us to consider some useful tools that are available to help create a visual, online CV.

Remember to include links to any of the creative work you have done on your CV so that potential employers will see them when you apply to their jobs online.


4.                 The moustache in modern recruiting


And then there’s this guy.


Undaunted by the incredibly difficult process of getting hired at Google, moustachioed Matthew Epstein goes all-out to get noticed by the product management power brokers in Palo Alto.

That means not only a nifty CV, but also a dedicated website and comedy Youtube video, all with the sole purpose of attracting an interview in the Googleplex.

We like the disclaimer on the bottom of the site: “Neither Matthew Epstein nor are associated with Google, Inc. in any way. YET.”

Matthew has a thing or two to teach us about targeting your desired employer. Facial hair, not so much.


5.                 Targeted Ads

Finally, and still on the theme of targeting your potential employer, how about spending some money on Google or Facebook ads?

Ad copywriter Alex Brownstein did just that, appealing to vanity of some top Madison Avenue ad execs by buying Google Adwords linked to their names. Everybody Googles themselves, right? When these guys did, up popped an ad for Alex, asking for a job.

After spending $6, the man landed his job.

Something similar can be done with Facebook ads, which can be set up to target people in specific workplaces. Create an advert that links to your online CV and put your targeted company in the ‘employer’ box. Hey presto, only people who work for that company can see it. Hopefully one of them is the HR director….


What have we forgotten?

 Do you have any examples of 'extreme job-hunting' that have inspired you? Let us know in the comments section below.

Feeling inspired? For more tips on creating a CV with impact visit the Recruit Ireland careers centre or check out tutorial videos online from our contributing expert Paul Mullan.