Not sure what to be put on the CAO yet…?

 Coming to the end of another year and only six months or so to the Leaving Certificate examination. And you are still unsure as to what you want to do for the rest of your life. You have met the Career Guidance Teacher, you may have met a Professional career Guidance Counselor and you may well be closer to a decision, but still not quite sure, you are not definite. You would like to have clarity by year end, complete the CAO also by year end and start the New Year (the last most important six months of your life to date) with a 100% focus on study so as to achieve the highest points possible. And this you should strive to do.

In order to have this focus, how do you come to a decision about your ideal Career and ideal Third Level Course?

I presume you have met with your Career Guidance Teacher in your school and / or a Professional career Guidance Counselor outside of the school and have some ideas on where your aptitude, skills, talents competencies are? If not, you need to, this is priority and foundational i.e. gathering information, facts, knowledge about you so as to make an informed decision, mainly completed through Psychometric Career Assessments / Tests.

By the process of elimination initially, and then most interest, choose your top three career areas / fields. For each start studying the course contents, speak to people that you know who work in each field, research and read about each really getting into the vision of working in it, the environment, the people, stakeholders, customers, clients. Then you will find that one to two career fields will come to the fore. If these are still two and they are both very different, do more of the above until it comes one clear winner and complete your CAO accordingly.

It’s all about being ‘Disciplined’…

The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that ‘discipline’ means the following:

  • [uncountable]the practice of training people to obey rules and orders and punishing them if they do not; the controlled behaviour or situation that results from this training. The school has a reputation for high standards of discipline. Strict discipline is imposed on army recruits. She keeps good discipline in class. Lack of discipline at home meant that many pupils found it difficult to settle in to the ordered environment of the school.
  • [countable]a method of training your mind or body or of controlling your behaviour; an area of activity where this is necessary. Yoga is a good discipline for learning to relax.
  • [uncountable]the ability to control your behaviour or the way you live, work, etc. He’ll never get anywhere working for himself—he’s got no discipline. Her determination and discipline were admirable.
  • [countable](formal)an area of knowledge; a subject that people study or are taught, especially in a university. The new recruits were drawn from a range of academic disciplines.

(Source: http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/discipline)

From now until June 2016, it is all about discipline in everything you do. It’s about having a study plan and sticking to it. Being strict with how you manage your life and time around this study plan and accepting a routine that when abided by will deliver on your end goal. This end goal is achieving the required number of points that will result in you being offered a place on your preferred Third Level Course that in turn results in you realising your ideal profession in only a few short years from now.

All our achievers that we see and witness around us have all had discipline. They had a goal that they wanted to achieve; they set out to design a plan on how to do it and then they stuck to that plan. Your plan is your study plan that has the hours of homework and study at its epicentre. It needs to be challenging, to test you, but at the end it will help you deliver on the end goal.

Know this: Develop the discipline to stick to the plan and in only a few short months you will realise your potential…!

How To Write The Perfect C.V With No Experience

For college graduates and young interns taking those first steps into the real world without any prior working experience can be a daunting task. This should not discourage you from going for the job you desire.

Everyone has to start somewhere and by providing a well presented Curriculum vitae you can show a potential employer exactly what you have to offer and why they should hire you.

Summarise Yourself

This is effectively your sales pitch to an employer. Talk about who you are and what you have to offer, since your work experience is limited make sure you emphasise your skills and educational achievements.

In terms of skills try to list any that may be relevant to the job that your are applying for. Displaying the right attitude and listing appropriate skills may be enough to convince an employer to hire you.

Any Experience Counts

Just because you have never been in previous employment doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have experience in life. If you have ever volunteered for an organisation or a charity make sure to put it in. Maybe you helped coach a children’s sports team or provided a babysitting service.

All of this counts as valid experience and just because they were on a voluntary basis does not mean to that they didn’t help you develop skills that could be used in the future. For example let’s say you helped organise a summer project, you could list leadership and project management as skills you possess.

Make sure to list all relevant experience, even things you may think are irrelevant, you would be surprised how many employers will look at those things.. If you do choose to leave the experience section blank, then try focus on your practical and interpersonal skills instead.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

This is essential. Many people who have little or no previous experience feel the need to exaggerate certain details on their curriculum vitae in order to make it more appealing. This approach will NOT work.

One of the main factors an employer will take into account when assessing a potential candidate is honesty. Always remain honest and open about your work history if any. Claiming to possess skills that you have yet to require will only cause problems for yourself down the line.

Everyone has to start somewhere and a good employer will know that and help the candidate develop their skills from the beginning.  If a candidate has claimed the ability to take on a task that they’re unable to complete to then they may quickly find themselves out of their depth.

 

Study Plans…

It’s October already and you are into your 5th week of school, whether it be primary or secondary. You by now should have transitioned from the summer vacation back into the routine of secondary school, learning, books, homework and study. Of these the most challenging is homework and study as no one is making you do it, while the former you are obligated to by your parents / guardians and teachers. So, how do you make homework and study somewhat more enjoyable, structured and worthwhile?

By developing a Study Plan!

A study plan is a one page document in a Word or Excel format (in colour) summarising the seven days of the week and up to 15 hours in each day. Each day is divided into the number of hours you need to spend on each part of the most important areas of your life primarily focused on your education. With respect to homework and study, you divide the plan into 45 minute and 15 minute segments, where 45 minutes is the time period for completing homework and doing study and 15 minutes is the time period for taking a break and letting what you have done in the previous 45 minutes ‘sink-in’ and to feel a sense of accomplishment and reward. We do this for every day i.e. Monday to Sunday.

Daunting I realise and appreciate, but this is only for 8-9 months of the year and it will yield and you will reap great benefits by having this type of plan and discipline during your academic years, especially towards the latter part of your secondary education.

Complete the study plan with a specialist or expert or a parent / guardian so as to make it fair and realistic, yet challenging.

And remember, stick to the plan…!