Finding paid work to support your stay is probably the most stressful of new-comer tasks. Casual work seems to be easy enough to find, especially during the summer months when the tourism industry is in full swing. Professional fields will probably take a while longer, but it also depends on your experience, qualifications, external business environment and economy, and a bit of good luck! Ireland’s largest professional growth industries are IT and finance, and a lot of multinational corporations such as Facebook, Google, Deloitte, and Symantec base their European headquarters in Ireland.
A lot of companies will be hesitant to take on employees with a temporary visa, so most of the time temporary contracts are best for Stamp 1 visa holders. Temporary contracts last anywhere from a day to 1-2 years, and deal with an employment agency 9 out of 10 times. However, if you’re looking for a permanent job, it can be done! Temporary contracts might just be a foot in the door to show you’ve had experience in Ireland, and a way to build up a network from the inside.
You can find a shit-ton of agencies all around Ireland. And some of them are, for lack of better word, shit. I soon found that it is best to sign with a smaller handful of good quality agencies. Pretty much all agencies will request that you sign up and submit your CV (resume) online first, and they will then follow up with a phone call 2-3 days later to ask you in for a face-to-face “interview”/assessment. Be prepared to take software competency tests and treat it as a real interview!
I’ve only had experience in Dublin, but below is a compilation of agencies (and links to their websites) I have had good experiences with:
Orange Recruitment – very fast response time and great staff, with jobs in pretty much all fields. The only issue I found with Orange is that they didn’t really match the role with the person. They asked which fields I was interested in and my bottom line for pay, but basically gave me way too many roles to choose from, and most of them were too far away location-wise. But this might be a good option for you if you haven’t settled into an apartment/house yet, or if it will be your first job in Ireland.
Grafton Recruitment – also very fast response time and great staff. This seems to be a “higher end” recruitment agency that has roles in several fields such as office administration, finance, IT, and marketing. They hand-pick not only their candidates, but the companies as well. When you are called for a job interview, they will sit down with you and prep you with information about the company and practice questions. They also have multiple offices that specialise in their locations. If you’re looking for office administration work, the Walkinstown (Dublin 12) office seems to offer the most of those.
Morgan McKinley – specialises in the finance field. They are great at matching the role with the person, but as a “higher end” recruitment agency, be prepared for a challenge. They sign with a lot of large companies and you might need to already have some outstanding experiences, references, and formal education to get a callback as the competition will be rough. Dublin currently has a demand for compliance, tax, and risk accountants, but these often require some solid know-how and certifications from within the State. There are several trainee accountant roles that call for part-qualified accountants, so there are also some great starter opportunities if you’ve got the knowledge. I will definitely come back here when I’m ready to advance in my career.
Reed Recruitment – this is the agency that got me my first job in Ireland. I signed with them and got a job after two days. They are very quick at responding with some great staff members, and have lasting relationships with companies that tend to hire a lot of international temps. Because the time I spent with them was so short during the selection process, I’m not sure what other fields they specialise in. Based on what others say, Reed seems to offer many office management roles. I myself work in accounting and financial services, as does one of my colleagues who also signed through Reed.
Many people have had good experience with La Creme, but I found it to be extremely impersonal. They never ask to meet you in person, and only send you automated emails. I have also never gotten responses from emails/calls to staff.
I would also apply directly to companies without going through an agency. You can often find HR contact information on company websites, or just drop into their offices and leave your CV/request to speak with HR personnel. Doesn’t hurt to take initiative! If you had an interview and didn’t make the cut, you can always ask for a post-interview assessment to see where you need improvement.This shows effort and dedication, and you can always re-apply to the same company/position when they have another opening.
In terms of CV’s, the SWAP office will give you a general template of what an Irish CV looks like. However I soon found that for professional fields, I had to modify it to look more like how it did back home. The only difference is that surprisingly, a lot of companies prefer Word documents as opposed to PDF’s; and that adding a line about your interests is acceptable (though I don’t think anyone has ever really read it). If necessary, creating several versions of your CV also helps, but this is a long separate post in itself!
I have found the Irish to be relatively open-minded when it comes to CV’s. They aren’t as anal as they were in Toronto about experience – as long as you can do the job well and take initiative to continually improve your skills, they will most often give you a fair chance.
So… it can be done! Personally, I graduated college and came straight to Ireland without even attending the convocation ceremony. Luckily I started working since my freshman year, but I was going into a field that I didn’t study in college. So it took about a month, but I started on a 3-month temporary contract and took the initiative to pursue an accounting qualification in Ireland. I was then offered a permanent position, and here I am, officially part of the financial operations team in one of Ireland’s largest national corporations.
Permanent contracts can be a great benefit if you’re looking for some stability and means to travel. It comes with the security of not needing to worry about meeting the month’s rent, private life and health insurance (Toto, we’re not in Canada anymore), paid annual leave, and in some cases, financial compensation and study leave for professional development courses.
Remember that it takes time and effort to find a professional job. Being an expat can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, so you have to really understand and express yourself well. I was quite discouraged when I first came here, because I was always lucky enough to get every job I ever interviewed for. But the playing field is different now, and talking to other SWAPPER’s gave me strength to keep going. I’d definitely advise that if you are feeling discouraged, to just take a break and go out with friends (or make new friends). We are all here for you! Good luck!