Saturday, June 13, 2009
Getting a Job in Ireland
Re-wind to 1982: a wet-behind-the-ears Yank climbs off a flight, Irish wife and new born daughter in tow. His first impressions are positive: 'Hey, it's raining, but it sure is pretty. This shouldn't be too hard,' he thinks to himself.
'I have a degree! I'm an American. I have skills and experience! Surely, I can find a job pretty quick...'
Then a torrent of rain smacked him in the face, as if God was telling the poor slob that nothing in Ireland is ever easy. And, folks, God was right.
Getting a job back in the '80s was hard. I was out of work for six months. Mind you, the Ireland of the early '80s was in recession. Unemployment was high - almost 20 percent as I remember. Long queues of people stood miserably outside the local dole office (unemployment office, for those of you with a US persuasion) waiting for their unemployment cheques. The world of Irish unemployment was bleak indeed, and the last thing it needed was an unemployed Yank to add to its troubles.
But...and here's the good part...six months after I got off the plane I had a job (okay, it offered subsistence level pay, but what the heck. It was work!) Two years later, I had a better job (working for Hyster, the forklift company, on a new government backed project that they started here. I was still paid miserably - just slightly better - but it was a start on the Irish corporate ladder! Unfortunately, a few years later, they suddenly pulled the plug. I - as well as many others - were once again unemployed). And following that, I actually sucked it in and started my own business! Twenty seven years later, I'm still working for myself. And I never thought that I had it in me. Honest.
So. What do you do if, like me, you're a somewhat wet-behind-the-ears American who is determined to live - and work - in Ireland. Here are some suggestions.
If you're not an Irish national or EU citizen, qualifying to get a job in Ireland can be tricky. You need to have a skill that is not (technically) found in the country. You need to have a Work Permit and a Visa. It's a technical area. Click here for more information on Irish Work Permits. It's a whole area fraught with difficulties and new legislation (including a new Green Card scheme), but the bottom line is this: you need to have a prospective employer offer you a job before you can get a job. The Employer must help you to organise your Permit. That company also has the responsibility of paying the fee for that Permit. So aren't you the lucky one? First you have to have a skill that is in high demand in this country. Then you have to find an employer who loves you enough to fork out good money for a work permit. But that's the way it's done here, so start looking!
The Internet and Page Advertising
Ireland has many fine job-related Internet sites. Google 'finding a job in Ireland', and you'll invariably pull up some good ones. Do please sort of ignore www.fas.ie, however. This is a training and job support organisation for Irish (and EU) citizens. If you're not, you don't qualify.
Some of the good sites include Irish Jobs.ie, My Jobs.ie, and Monster.ie. However, there are many more, so spend some time and do your research.
But don't forget about the major national newspapers (many of whom have online editions - just Google them!) That list includes The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish edition of the London Sunday Times, The Examiner, The Sunday Post, and The Herald, to name a few.
If you're not getting anywhere on the Internet or in the papers, and assuming that - like me - you've come over on a wing and a prayer with the hopes of getting employment, then try this: Network!
Ireland is a nation of talkers. People here like helping others (assuming, that is, that you're a likable sort). Therefore, when you meet someone new, don't be shy. Tell them what you're trying to do. That you're looking for a job in your chosen field. Ask them to help. Ask them who they know that might know someone who might know somebody else that has a job opening. Take their name and phone number (and make sure you buy a mobile phone - a Cell Phone - to make certain they can contact you!) Give it a few days and ring them back. Gently pester them with your enthusiasm and professionalism.
Given enough time, you too could land that Irish job. Just look at me! When I came here I didn't know a soul. But I networked (and I must admit that I was never any good at it). One guy new another guy who knew a fellow, that knew an Uncle, who knew his first cousin. And that fellow knew about a small company in County Meath that needed the inexperience and brash enthusiasm of this newly-arrive Yank.
Remember, Ireland is populated by only 4 million souls or so. In some ways, it's a village. And for that reason, everyone knows someone else. So keep networking!
Start Your Own Business
I'm not going to run through how to write a business plan, or what constitutes a great business idea, or how to get finance for a start up. That's up to you, the would-be Irish entrepreneur. But what I will say is this:
Ireland is a country of shopkeepers and business people. Like their US cousins, Irish people love to own and manage their own businesses, and the country's economy is driven by small and mid-sized enterprises.
So if you want a challenge, now's your chance! Back in the '80s, I never ever thought that I'd own my own small business. Yet here I am.
Just Remember, We're in Recession
Yep, just like every other place in the world, Ireland is in recession. What's more, and based on what I've been reading, it seems that the recession here will be longer and deeper than elsewhere. That said, take heart! People here are still buying things; the economy is still turning over. To beat this, you just have to be dogged, persevere, and keep focused on your goal. If you want employment hard enough, you'll get it. Just keep trying!
For more information on how to Get a Job in Ireland, you might want to purchase my E-Book, A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland. Only 20 bucks! Cheap at any price!
Posted by Tom at 3:28 PM