Internships are hugely popular in Ireland yet many people are still sceptical of them due to the bad reputation they get – “interns are taken advantage of as free labour” seems to be a very common opinion nationwide however, speaking as someone who undertook a 3 month unpaid internship and secured a full-time paid position at the end, I can only speak highly of the experience I had.
Looking back, the reason I undertook an internship was to test the water. I wasn’t 100% sure of my abilities or what career direction I wanted to take and my internship with Sigmar Recruitment gave me the opportunity to try out the business world. I was also in the typical young person seeking job scenario where each job advertisement I saw featured that sentence ‘1-2 years’ experience required’, something I didn’t have. An internship was an opportunity for me to gain this experience and it also gave me a chance to prove myself for a position that I would not have qualified for, had the role been advertised.
Now I’m not going to lie, an internship is not easy. I wasn’t getting paid and to top matters off I wasn’t working close to home, in fact I was travelling from Kilkenny to Dublin each day. But in saying that, the on-the-job experience I gained was invaluable. Yes there were times I was stuck doing monotonous tasks but there were also times I was involved in fascinating projects. Being completely honest I didn’t know exactly what I was doing half the time but that’s the purpose of an internship: to learn!! So how did I go from clueless wannabe to landing a job I love? Here’s how:
Take it serious
The best way to describe an internship is that it’s an extended job interview so adjust your attitude accordingly. No matter how small a task you’re asked to do, do it well. Never act as though a task is too pointless or tedious, it’s all experience that you can add to your CV at the end of the day. And once you’re seen to be competent with the smaller tasks you’ll gradually be given more and more important tasks.
Might seem like an obvious one but genuinely work you socks off. When given a deadline – try and beat it. When given a project – go above and beyond. Exceed expectations wherever possible and leave your manager with a positive impression of you as a worker.
Take on as much as you can
It’s simple the more you do, the more you have to show for your internship. If at points you find yourself idle, don’t just sit there and wait for your manager to give you tasks, ask for them. Also if you hear of projects taking place that you are interested in, ask if you can help out.
Finally don’t be afraid of asking questions! You’re new to the working world and you’re not expected to know everything. If you’re unsure of how to do something, ask for help – how else will you learn?
Posted by Julia Purcell, Marketing & Communications Manager Sigmar on 28 November 2017
How To Avoid Feeling ‘Burnt Out’ When Applying For Jobs
How To Avoid Feeling ‘Burnt Out’ When Applying For Jobs
Let’s be honest here, the first week of job hunting can feel pretty demoralising, spending hours, days or weeks applying for jobs whilst receiving little to no response from employers. I myself, have been personally guilty of the somewhat selfish mindset when faced with a lack of an immediate response during my days applying for positions, in a similar narrative to ‘Yes, I know you’re a massive company and you’re very busy, but please respond to me!’ The fact of the matter is that employers receive hundreds of new applications every day and must give time to all potential candidates who have shown an interest in the company. Of course, the way to stand out in this particular crowd is to make your CV as eye catching, optimised and applicable to the role as possible, but that’s a blog post for another time. So how do you stay motivated during the job search? You’re Not Alone, We’ve All Been There Everybody has to start with one foot on the ladder before they can start to climb and all successful men and women in business would have started exactly where you are. The payoff with spending time applying for jobs is landing yourself a position where you can flourish, feel motivated and ultimately progress to your career goal. Though things may seem bleak or monotonous right now, have faith in your own self worth and abilities, and trust that the right employer will recognise your skills and potential. The Hard Part is Over Of course, many would consider the most challenging part of the job application process to be the interview, but we aren’t worried about that step just yet! The most important thing to remember is that at this point, your professional materials are in the best shape they can be. You’ve spent time making sure your LinkedIn is professional, your CV is in the best state, and your cover letter is engaging and conveys all your passion you have for the role in question. Perfecting these will have taken time, with a lot of trial, error, re-writing and designing. So with these fully optimised tools at your disposal, you can apply to jobs with confidence that your personal marketing material is bound to turn heads and catch eyes. Set Your Goals By FAR, the best way to avoid getting demotivated or bogged down with repeated job applications and searching is to set yourself a control or goal to make sure you’re not spending every hour of every day at your computer. Namely, a set time or set number that you can work towards. This could be a set number of hours you spend searching for and applying for jobs, or perhaps a set number of applications you can complete each day. By spreading out your time, you’re taking steps towards your future career without compromising on your downtime, which will result in you feeling less demotivated and worn out. For example, you may choose to complete 7 applications a day. That adds up to nearly 50 applications in a week, which will drastically increase your chances of a response! Switch Up Your Location Spending every hour of every day in the same space can lead to cabin fever setting in pretty quickly. So, break out of the routine and find yourself a new setting to complete your applications. Spend some time outdoors if the weather is conducive. Take your laptop into a coffee shop and work from there. You’ll find the benefits of being around others very motivating and being surrounded by life and conversation will stop you feeling lethargic. Don’t have a laptop? Download jobs apps like LinkedIn or Indeed to your smartphone! You can apply to jobs through these apps via an uploaded CV attached to your profile, or even save jobs applications to complete the next time you’re sat at a computer. Surround Yourself With A Supporting Network Never underestimate the value of surrounding yourself with like-minded, motivated people. The positive energy of strong supporting friends or family that want you to succeed will be essential in helping you take the first steps. These people will remind you of your own merits and bring the best out of you, which will stop any feelings of negativity or demotivation creeping in. Listen To Motivational Materials We all like to fill time in our day with audible media, be it during a walk, or a commute, or even just as passive listening in our homes to fill the room with a sound. So why not switch out your playlist for some motivational content. There are many different forms of communicating information than just reading books about business, so do some research, find people in your industry you identify with, and engage in their content, be it podcasts, lectures, talks or even just their Twitter feed. You’ll be surprised how one TED Talk can strike a chord with you and give you a new burst of motivation and energy. And Most Importantly, Be Your Own Biggest Supporter Everyone has the capacity to be WAY too hard on themselves sometimes. When things don’t go to plan, or life throws us a curveball, we often give ourselves a rough time. Recognise your own self-worth, and constantly remind yourself that each day is another step in the right direction to achieving your goals. Visualise where you want to be and remember your value doesn’t decrease just because someone hasn’t noticed it yet. Keep on going until the right person recognises your potential and soon enough, you’ll look back at this process and see that the hours spent job hunting all paid off in the end.
What to do When You Lose Your Job
What to do When You Lose Your Job
Losing your job can be a very difficult life change to cope with. Getting the initial news will come as a nasty shock, but with these tips from Sigmar Recruitment you will get through this trying time. Try Not to Panic You feel shocked and that’s natural. This has happened to so many people across Ireland and the world so suddenly. Hopefully it will only be for a short amount of time, there will be increased government support financially for you during this, and then to support the industry you worked in when the pandemic ends. Start Your Job Hunt Even though this is temporary, job hunt immediately. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile. Upload your CV to job boards, get in touch with recruitment agencies and ask your friends and families if they have heard of eny opportunities. It’s important to get the ball rolling straight away so you can stay active. Remember, the sooner you start looking, the sooner you will find a new job. Look at where you can reduce spending When you’ve set yourself a standard of living it can be hard to re-adjust, but it’s important to reflect on your wants and needs at this time. Your employment status has changed so you may need to adjust the money you spend regularly in order to cope with this significant drop in your cash flow. Consider shopping for cheaper brands, and with social distancing it will be likely you would be spending less over the coming weeks anyway. Don’t Neglect Your Wellbeing Be aware of your stress levels. It’s not easy losing your job and you will feel stressed and anxious at times but now that you have more free time, it’s the perfect time to try something new to help with your stress. Try mediation or yoga or adult colouring. Exercise is also a great stress reliever. ------------------- Take a look at these successful people who received painful rejections before they accomplished all their goals Walt Disney Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because, his editor said, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” JK Rowling JK Rowling got fired when working at the London office of Amnesty International because she would write stories on her work computer all day long. Photo: Daniel Ogren Flickr Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey was an evening news reporter and apparently got fired because she couldn’t sever her emotions from her stories. Photo: Ian Evenstar Flickr Elvis Presley After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis was told by the concert hall manager that he was better off returning to Memphis and driving trucks (his former career). Bill Gates When Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard he started a business with Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data, which flopped. Luckily, they tried their hand at business again and this time Microsoft was born. Photo: OnInnovation Follow Flickr Albert Einstein Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four and didn’t read until he was seven. He was subsequently expelled from school and was not accepted to the Zurich Polytechnic School. Long story short, he came around.
Engineering Week: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering
Engineering Week: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering
A polarizing topic and a polarizing question, who wins in the battle of the sexes?The topic of equality in the workplace and lack of transparency has come to the forefront of many internal and external discussions. According to the Society of Women’s Engineers, in 2003 only 20% of new graduates from an engineering discipline were female in the United States. Compare that to a recent study in 2018 by Roberta Rincon, PH.D., Manager of Research at the SWE, where only 30% of women who earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering are still working in that profession 20 years later and only 13% of engineers are women in the USA. However, there was a 54% increase in women being awarded engineering and computer science degree between 2011 and 2016.If we bring this closer to home, just 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce were female in 2017, a 2% increase since 2015. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineers in the EU, under 10% where the likes of Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have nearly 30%.One step closer again and we are in Ireland where less than 25% of the people working in STEM related professions are women. Accenture conducted a survey which conveyed that there are negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers.Certainly, there is still a long way to go before we reach true equality, it is a highly important issue. Yet, how about we move away slightly from representation and focus on pure achievement and contribution when discussing women and men in engineering? We provide the engineering icons and their achievements, and you decide who wins in a casual five-a-side match up!Let’s start at a time when engineering was starting to make waves across the whole of society and specifically focus in on electrical engineering, our first match up is Nikola Tesla and Edith Clarke. Edith ClarkeFirst Female Electrical Engineer and First Female Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University, teaching for 10 years.Invented the calculator while working as a Supervisor in GE.Also invented Clarke Transformation and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of FameTwo of her papers in mathematics won awards from the AIEE, best regional paper in 1932 and best national paper in 1941. Nikola TeslaThe famous Croatian began working in Edison Machine Works, troubleshooting installations and improving generators patented over 300 inventions but is most well known for the Tesla Coil and oscillator.Advised on the electrical system for Niagara Falls.Invented a radio remote control boat, dubbing it “teleautomation” but the general public considered it magic or even made the outlandish claim a small monkey was driving it. This would later go into mass use in World War I for torpedoes with Tesla getting little acclaim.Effectively dying bankrupt, he was well known for his eccentric behaviour, working everyday from 9am to 6pm, walking at least 8 miles every day and possessing an eidetic memory.So, who was the bright spark who outshone the other between this duo of electrical engineers?Next up we have the Civil Engineers who paved the way in their fields, Gustave Eiffel and Emily Warren Roebling. Emily Warren RoeblingContributed massively to the completion of the Brooklyn bridge.After her husband, Washington Roebling, the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge, contracted Caisson Disease and became bed-ridden, she developed an extensive knowledge of Materials, Stress Analysis and Cable Construction. She also became the only person to relay instruction to his assistants and aided in the plans for completion of the bridge itself.She took over a lot of the chief engineer duties and jointly planned the bridges completion and was the first to cross the bridge by carriage.Campaigned for women’s rights and against discriminatory practices targeted at women, winning wide acclaim and awards for her essay “A Wife’s Disabilities”. Gustave EiffelMost famous for the Eiffel Tower but also contributed to the liberty statue and also designed the Garabit Viaduct.The Eiffel Bridge, and Gustave’s first major work, which is in Bordeaux has been protected as a French Historical Monument.Even though he was only a contractor for the Panama Bridge project he was implicated in the financial and political scandal.Contributed massively to aerodynamics and civil engineering, he died on 27 December 1923 while listening to Beethovens 5th SymphonyThe Brooklyn Bridge vs the Eiffel Tower, who built more of a legacy, Gustave or Emily? Both certainly had their issues to overcome but left a lasting legacy behind them but who made the bigger impression on the civil engineering world?Following on from Civil Engineering, we have a match up between a physicist and a chemist who both revolutionized their own respective fields and the world as we know it. Stephanie KwolekOffered a position at the DuPont facility in New York, the vacancy arose as the majority of men were overseas in World War II but developed a career spanning 40 years, becoming the only female employee in 2015 to receive the Lavoisier Medal for outstanding achievement.She became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame after creating Kevlar and had an illustrious career in working with polymers.Stephanie never profited from the discovery as she signed it over to DuPont, but Kevlar is used in hundreds of different products that we use daily such as mobile phones and cables.She won a publication award for her Nylon Rope Trick which created Nylon from a beaker at room temperature but also received the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists and an award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society.The Royal Society of Chemistry awards scientists the ‘Stephanie L Kwolek Award’ to exceptional contributions to the area of materials chemistry outside of the UK. John BardeenAwarded the Nobel Prize for Physics twice, first in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and secondly in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory.His development of the transistor helped with almost all modern technology such as telephones and computers, effectively bringing in the information age.In 1990, John was included in Life Magazines 100 most Influential Americans of the Century.Worked on magnetic mines and torpedoes during World War II.Sony have created a John Bardeen Professional Chair post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bursar of $3 million.With both inventors and engineers leaving a massive legacy behind them both in academia and in real life application of science, it is a hard-won battle about who comes out on top between this pair.Now to look at more of a celebrity type of engineer and inventor with a flair for the limelight. Hedy LamarrAn Austrian born, inventor and actress who both helped develop a radio guidance system for allied torpedoes and starred in the likes of Algiers, Boom Town and Samson and Delilah.With no formal training, she created improved traffic stoplights, torpedoes that could resist frequency jamming and advised Howard Hughes on changing the design of his aeroplanes to sleeker, streamlined versions.In 1939, she was awarded the “most promising new actress” and has a Hollywood walk of Fame star.She became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundations Pioneer Award and also was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.She has had her fair share of controversy with her film Ecstasy being banned in numerous countries for its content, being convicted of shoplifting twice and a few other scandals. Elon MuskThe South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla with other massive companies such as The Boring Company which cover infrastructure and construction to Neuralink, a neurotechnology company.He founded X.com which later became PayPal and was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion and also Zip2 who were later acquired by Compaq for $340 million.Elon has stated that the goals if SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity are humanitarian in reducing the effect of global warming by increasing the use of sustainable energy and even found a colony on mars.He has been ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Business Insider named him in the top ten of business visionaries creating value for the world.Who has the bigger wow factor, the movie star who escaped Nazi occupation to become a massive film star and inventor or the modern-day entrepreneurial engineer changing the landscape of the world?Up next are two engineers who have represented two of the biggest companies in the world with very different backgrounds but still inspirational stories. Ann KelleherBorn in Macroom, Co. Cork who was one of 5 women in a class of 55 studying engineering in UCC. She continued her studies achieving a master’s in electrical engineering and became the first ever female to receive a PHD from the NMRC.She began her career as a process engineer in Intel Ireland later progressing to factory manager, eventually site managing Intel’s New Mexico plant.She became the first woman in Intel’s history to be named Vice President, later becoming senior vice-president.In 2018 she became one of 25 women to be recognised in “Ireland’s Most Powerful Women Award” and was even tipped by Forbes as a good candidate to replace Elon Musk at Tesla.She is a huge advocate for women working in engineering and has called for more girls to study engineering and that more women should be applying for senior management roles. Steve WozniakElectronics engineer who co-founded Apple who is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the personal computer revolution.After a traumatic plane crash, he suffered from amnesia using Apple II computer games to regain his memory but later leaving apple to invent and patent a universal controller.He has a long line of philanthropic programs he works on, ranging form founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sponsoring the Tech Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and provided the entirety of the budget for the technical program for his local school district in Los Gatos.In 2014 he was induced into the Manufacturing Wall of Fame while also acting as the Innovator in Residence at High Point University and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Museum of Natural History.As well as holding an electrical engineering degree from the University of California, he has 10 honorary degrees from American, English, Canadian and Spanish degrees.Is it the Cork native with her extremely impressive CV who comes out smiling or is it Woz with his contribution to Apple and personal computers? Overall this is not to split opinion or be divisive, it is an insight into the major engineering feat’s that have been achieved by men and women. Despite low female representation in the engineering sphere, female leaders such as Hey Lamarr and Ann Kelliher still emerged changing the world for the better. These female leaders went against the grain in spectacular fashion portraying that we can do more to further the conversation on diversity in engineering.
How to Organise Yourself and Be More Productive
How to Organise Yourself and Be More Productive
Start Your Day Right If you're overrun with many different tasks at the one time and find it difficult to know how to structure your day in the most productive way possible, don't worry, you're not alone. A simple solution is to try coming into work 10 - 15 minutes before you are due to start and use that time to make sure your desk is tidy and you lay out all the tasks you need done on that day and during the week in a notebook or use an online tool such as Google Tasks or Google Calendar. Write a list of what you need to do today and a list of the deadlines you have for the week. Taking the time to do this in the morning before emails start flying in and your phone is going off will start you off on a productive path and it should help to keep you on that path throughout the day. Prioritise Once you know what you want or need done in your day/week, the next step is to learn what tasks are the most important. One of the key elements to being organised is being able to prioritise the important stuff and know what needs your time first. A handy way to decide this is by using the below table. For every task you need to complete, you should evaluate each one by placing it in the below table. You should never have more than two priorities that fall in the box of ‘urgent and important’. The rest fall under the other categories of ‘important and not urgent’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘not urgent and not important’. Always structure your time around the urgent and important things. This short film about prioritising might inspire you... Ask For Help Most days you will handle your workload just fine on your own, but every now and then when you see your to-do list is particularly long, sometimes the best (and only) way to get things done is to ask a colleague for help. If you have too many urgent and important items on your to-do list, you should go to your boss to look at delegating some of your workload or see if some deadlines can be adjusted. Missing a deadline is much worse than letting someone know in advance that you need some help to get something done. Being organised doesn't mean you must manage everything yourself, it's being able to look at your workload and know how it will be done and when it will be done.