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Nov 012010
Image by DaveBleasdale via Flickr

What’s the most important part of a typical job application? Is it your CV / Resume? Is it the  years of experience you’ve built up? Is it your unique blend of skills and expertise? The correct answer is none of the above! While all of those things are crucial components of the perfect job application, a really successful application is about getting you invited for interview. The For that, the single most effective weapon in your job-seekers arsenal is your covering letter. Why you need a great cover letter for your job application The term “covering letter” implies that this is perhaps a less important document than the material it accompanies. Not so! You see, when you’re applying for a job, your covering letter is much more than just a note to accompany the enclosed documentation. It is what the recruiter is going to read FIRST. It’s not so much a covering letter, it’s more of a sales letter.

Sell yourself with your covering letter

Your cover letter is the first opportunity you have to really shine… and to impress upon your employer just how perfect you are for the job. It’s worth spending a bit of time getting this right: Continue reading »

May 182010
Get the Balance Right

Image by Marquette La via Flickr

    Are you struggling to balance the demands of a busy career with a hectic personal life? Does it feel like you’re constantly juggling your commitments in a desperate attempt to squeeze everything into an impossibly short day?

    If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Trying to find the perfect work-life balance is something that countless employees around the world wrestle with every day… but for many it simply isn’t working.

    The concept of work-life balance first entered the recruitment lexicon in the 1970s in an attempt to describe the issues faced by employees looking to divide their attention between their work commitments and their personal life. It’s since gained popularity among industry commentators, recruitment and careers experts, employees, and most recently with employers, who have started to view the panacea of work-life balance as a magic-bullet solution to employee dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and boosting productivity in the workplace.

    One of the main reasons that work-life-balance has become such a buzzword is that it resonates with so many people. Almost all of us know that overwhelming feeling of desperately trying to divide our finite attention between all of the things that matter to us. But although the work-life-balance concept has been around for nearly four decades, many of us are still struggling to manage our disparate commitments effectively; we fail in our quest for "balance", and ultimately everything suffers.

    According to business and lifestyle coach Ali Davies ( the main reason so many of us haven’t nailed the work-life balance conundrum is that the whole concept is fundamentally flawed.

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Mar 022010

working two jobs... recession beater with a heavy price According to research by employment law consultancy firm Peninsula Ireland almost four in every ten Irish workers are having to take on extra work to balance their personal finances.

As the ranks of Ireland’s unemployed continue to swell, those people still in work are forced to work longer hours, or even take on a second job to meet the challenging economic realities of life in post-celtic-tiger Ireland. The survey of 837 workers on the island of Ireland took place in January and February of this year, with 39% of respondents admitting to holding down a second job, up 16% on a similar survey the firm conducted last year.

"In theory [a second job] is a good idea," said Mr Alan Price, managing director with Peninsula Ireland. "A second job means higher income, but it can pose problems for both the boss and the employee. HR laws need to be looked at to ensure that no one is breaking the law by working too many hours in one week," he said.

"Another problem you face is employee fatigue and this may well become a health and safety concern, so it’s something that both the employee and the employer need to address."

Spending more time at work means less time at home, and that brings other pressures to bear on families already struggling to cope.

“Working longer hours may not necessarily be good for your health, and people can get easily overwhelmed when they take on a second job,” commented Mr Price. "Before considering a second job look at all the risks and weigh up the benefits. It may well be that you will be in a worse-off situation, especially after taking into account travel, taxes, any other expenses,

“Think about the lack of quality time at home and any implications on your health; there really is a lot to take into account.”

If money is the primary motivator for the second Job, workers may be better served looking at opportunities to increase their earning potential in their primary role, advised Mr Price.

“There may be better ways to improve marketability, training and education,” he said. "Look to see if there are extra skills required for jobs that pay more money, such as supervisory roles. Have you expressed an interest to your employer that you would like to be considered for these better-paid roles?”

Anyone considering taking on an additional job would do well to heed the advice and consider the long term consequences rather than just the short term gain of a boosted income. Long hours, frayed nerves and exhaustion can have serious legal and safety implications, could adversely impact your performance in your primary job and potentially exact a heavy personal toll on you and your family. If you’re considering another job to plug a shortfall in your finances make sure you explore all of the options available to you, and are aware of the potential pitfalls before you make the decision.

Aug 062009
Baltimore west cork

Image via Wikipedia

Like it or not, we live in a world where work dominates our lives. In Ireland today many of us suffer long working hours and tortuous daily commutes that lock us into a seemingly endless cycle. We get up early, we go to work, we come home late, we go to bed. Then we repeat the saga, day in, day out. The irony is that in a desperate attempt to maintain our standard of living, a growing number of us are willing to sacrifice our quality of life.

Surely there has to be a better way.

All over Europe a small but growing number of people are realising that, for them at least, there is. Slowly but surely these enterprising souls are turning their backs on the frantic corporate culture of our cities and instead choosing a new life – a life where they can dictate the pace.

Rural Ireland, and the South West region in particular – with its rugged natural beauty,  scenic coastline and eclectic social mix – is proving an attractive proposition for many of these enterprising exiles.

“The region has always had an open attitude, very much welcoming of visitors and outside influences,” explains Michael Hanley, Chief Executive of the West Cork Enterprise board. “Historically important harbours like Baltimore and Schull meant that there was always an outside influence from the continent,” he said, “and I think people, particularly along the coast, were always welcoming of new influences and different ways of doing business.”

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Jul 162009
the joys of working from home

Image by Ben McLeod via Flickr

Summer holidays are always a challenge for parents. Juggling the kids, summer camps, childcare, jobs and sundry other things is, frankly, exhausting.

When you work from home some of those things become easier… but there are a host of new problems to overcome. What do you do, for example, when you’re in the middle of a conference call with clients and your five-year-old erupts into your office bawling that her eight-year-old sister has whacked her? How do you meet pressing deadlines when you’ve got a seemingly perpetual stream of minor interruptions to deal with? Nettle stings, lost ferrets, sibling rivalry, outright warfare… you name it, it happens in the day of a work-from-home parent, and during the summer holidays it happens more.

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Jun 252009
Home Work

Image by fras1977 via Flickr

Imagine waking up in the morning and not facing the horror of the daily commute. Imagine sauntering into work after a leisurely breakfast at home with your family. Imagine at the end of the working day simply shutting down your PC and being home in no time at all.

No road rage, no traffic gridlock, no hassle….

It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But according to estimates it’s already a reality for more than 60,000 Irish people around the country – at least for part of their working week. Every year more Irish employers are realising the productivity, cost and lifestyle benefits associated with letting their employees work from home.

Information and communications technology today makes the option of e-working from home more affordable and accessible than ever. With a computer and a broadband Internet connection you can often work from home just as effectively as you could at the office – sometimes even more so, because you avoid the myriad distractions typical of an office environment. A lot of work can even be done off-line, then e-mailed to clients or colleagues over a standard dial-up connection, and you’d be amazed at how many jobs are suitable for home working, at least for part of the time.

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