Our Top Tips

colm caveyView the various articles and blogs written in our Top-Tips which are mostly comments on some of the less obvious issues relating to work, career change and/or job searching. Less obvious - yes, but important nonetheless.

The links to all these articles are on the drop-down menus below and listed under their relevant topics. As always, your comments are welcome.

'Top-Tips' are short extracts from the Jobdoctor's Career Change Manual all of which is freely available to all our clients.





Self Employed – Unemployed – Re-employed?

A difficult journey, but it's done all the time.


There are a great many self employed people from all over the country that because of the current pandemic find themselves with no option but to shut up shop.


Their businesses can be in thousands of different sectors right across industry, and the prospect of having to start job search into the unknown is something that is alien to them, and can be terrifying indeed.


I hear people say things like, 'what can I do? I just ran a news agency'. Who wants to hire a shopkeeper even with twenty years experience?


This past experience could be from any walk of life, but again, with those coming from self employment I often hear the comment, 'I have nothing to offer that an employer might want, I just worked for myself'.


That’s a miss-belief, and it’s wrong.


That kind of statement reflects someone who is very unsure of their prospects and is looking for an excuse as to why you might not be employable. They are afraid of failing and quite understandably, lacking confidence.


Stop and think for a moment. If you were a Newsagent, for example, you probably negotiated a bank loan to get going, retained a Solicitor at the time of set up. You oversaw the refurbishment of the premises, you oversaw the design, maybe negotiated with a Symbol Groups as a supplier. You interviewed and hired staff, purchased fittings, dealt with Revenue, did the returns, did your advertising and marketing, got your website going, maybe took online orders, dealt the accountants and auditors, learned all the I.T. processing required. And most importantly, you maintained good communication with all stakeholders, and especially your relationship with customers reflected by the strong return business you developed from satisfied customers over the years.


All the topics listed above probably only touch on some of the areas of your experience.


Go into any large company and ask the I.T. guy about corporate bank rates, or ask the finance guy about refrigeration systems and you will get a blank stare. However, you could probably answerer those questions easily as you have 'been there – done that'.


Now you say you have nothing to offer an employer?


You probably have an enormous amount of experience but never gave it a thought. You confronted issues and dealt with them and moved on. For the self employed, that's what you do.


Six things to address carefully.


- 1 - When embarking on a Job Search, you are going on a journey, and like any journey, you must have a destination in mind before you start. Otherwise, you will meander on your way and off course.
You must first reflect on your background, think through your achievements and experience and identify the areas of work where you were successful. Usually what you’re good at, is what you like.

Thinking carefully about your business experience to date, your skills and your personality traits, try and identify the sectors of industry where you can contribute. Then ask yourself is this area of work "saleable". Would you be seen by an employer to be a match to that market segment? If yes, then that might be your best target area.

There will be times when some will be unable to define their target area of work, so that decision making process may require professional help.

Your career direction, when defined is the basis of all that follows, so it's essential to get it right. Your initial overtures or applications must be seen to be a match to the market to which you are directing yourself.


- 2 - Having defined your career direction, you must prepare a good, well written, professional looking and reading C.V.

Be ever mindful of the person who will be viewing your C.V. Different people will be looking for different things. If for example, you are a graduate at entry level, then Qualifications, Projects Completed, work experience while in college and relevant skills developed will be of importance.

On the other hand, if you are making an application for a Financial Director role in a major multi-million euro company, then your C.V. will have to have a completely different presentation. The person reading this will possibly be a CEO who will want to hear about your financial prowess, experience of P&L administration and the negotiations you may have had with Banks, Revenue, Suppliers, Governance, Compliance, etc.

These two scenarios may seem somewhat extreme, but they are only intended as an example. Designing your C.V. will therefore need to be developed for the eyes of the likely hiring manager. No matter who the reader is, however, there are a few golden rules.
Your C.V. must be short, concise, and factual and contain achievement with a price put on them where possible.


    - I negotiated a significant contract valued in excess of €4.4m.
                         sounds better than;
    - I negotiated a major contract.


Your C.V. should not go beyond two pages except where there is some necessary technical or other forms of information needed. That being the case, those details should be on a third page as an addendum.

While your C.V. should accurately record your career history, it must also be 'flavoured' with the direction you wish to travel. A good, well worded, two or three paragraph profile at the top of the C.V. will prompt the reader's mind to relate more closely to your chosen career direction.
Keep the language simple and easy to read.

Avoid the overuse of acronyms; they are not always helpful and not always understood.
When complete, read, reread, spell check and spell check again. Give it to someone to do the same again and when that's all done, put it away overnight. You will always find corrections or improvements after you have slept on it.


- 3 - Select the medium through which you will make applications.

For maximum exposure log onto, register and post your details. IrishJobs is continuously trawled by employers and hiring managers looking for talent. Ensure you are there with a short, concise record of your background and experience. is now a major provider of information on opportunities for those in the course of a job search.


- 4 - Always remember, despite what anyone may tell you, a very effective and successful route to a new job is through your Personal Contacts.
Think about whom you know, and they don't all have to be senior managers in large companies. Anyone working in any organisation will be the first to hear if new positions will be forthcoming shortly.
Talk to your friends, remind hem of what you do for a living and let them know you're on the move. Ask their advice; don't ask them to keep a lookout for you; that's applying pressure. If they casually hear of new roles coming up, they will advise accordingly. And that's your queue to sprint into action, and get in ahead of the rush.


- 5 - Assuming you have done all the right things and, the next step is to ensure you know your C.V. and can speak with ease and with instant recall on any item you are asked about. Your C.V. is your scrip for an interview, and if asked about any item you mention on your C.V., and you can't recall or expand on that topic quickly, and with ease, you can consider your application void.

You must know every line on every topic with instant recall. There is no second chance on this. Know it or get ruled out. It's quite simple.


- 6 - First interviews are now almost all conducted by Skype/Zoom/Whatsapp or other, which are difficult at the best of times.
Always check over your shoulder and check out what you interviewer will see behind you.


In addition, there are recruiters and Executive Search Consultants who should be pursued and also, Post a good LinkedIn profile.


And when the day comes for attending an interview whether face to face, online, please remember to smile. Yes, smile and lots of it. You will present yourself as a much nicer person.


The very best of luck.

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Top Tips. PCC provides professionally delivered, supportive and most importantly, successful career change and redeployment assistance to private clients from all sectors of industry. Enquiries are welcome and in confidence. Email; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Tel: +353-86-3017207 & +353-1-2819056

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