Career Zoo offers trove of job opportunities, say past participants
L-R: Emma Heneghan, Orla Byrne and Michael Clyne pictured at Career Zoo 10 launch. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Career Zoo offers trove of job opportunities, say past participants

10 Sep 2015

Career Zoo, Ireland’s premiere tech recruitment event, is taking place this Saturday in The Convention Centre Dublin. It is a veritable treasure trove of job opportunities, with some huge companies in the line-up aiming to fill positions in their Irish operations.

Last year alone, companies exhibiting at Career Zoo took in an average of 440 CVs apiece. Many of those CV exchanges resulted in permanent hires.

Michael Clyne, Emma Heneghan and Orla Byrne were all hired to their current positions as a direct result of Career Zoo. Here are their stories, as told at the Career Zoo 10 launch earlier this week.

Networking and serendipity lead to success

Last February, Michael Clyne headed to Career Zoo, Ireland’s leading tech recruitment and networking event.

With a background in digital technology, design and innovation – and having recently finished a fixed-term contract with the Irish Stock Exchange – Michael was keen to meet the employers participating in the event, and find out more about the jobs on offer.

One of the companies recruiting in February was Bank of Ireland, a headline sponsor of this weekend’s event. Michael met members of the bank’s HR team, who introduced him to the Head of Innovation, who subsequently encouraged him to attend a panel discussion on digital innovation taking place at the event.

Garvan Callan, Director of Customer Digital and Innovation at BOI, was one of the panellists for this session. When the panel discussion ended, Michael introduced himself to Garvan, and the pair exchanged contact details.

Career Zoo: Michael Clyne

Michael Clyne, Bank of Ireland. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Within a week, and as a result of a “series of serendipity moments”, Michael had his first interview with BOI.

Although he also received an offer from a major telecoms provider after Career Zoo, Michael chose to work with Bank of Ireland because he felt the opportunities were “much more exciting and interesting”. He is now a full-time member of the bank’s digital innovation team.

His top tips for attending Career Zoo 10? Get there early, and pre-register.

Five job offers, one great job

Emma Heneghan’s story is typical of many people her age.

When she graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in civil, structural and environmental engineering, it was 2009 and Ireland was crippled by the recession.

Like many of her peers, she decided there were better work prospects abroad, and she moved to Vancouver, where she worked for a mining engineering company for three years.

In 2014, convinced by her sister that there were good jobs to be had in Ireland in IT, Emma returned to Dublin and enrolled in a higher diploma in computing and software development. Nine months later, she attended Career Zoo.

Career Zoo: Emma Heneghan

Emma Heneghan, Ocuco. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

“Before Career Zoo, I had started to look for jobs, and applied for junior positions, intern positions and even unpaid positions, but I didn’t hear back,” she says. “On the back of Career Zoo, I got five interviews and was offered jobs in all five. My resumé hadn’t changed; Career Zoo gave me the time to meet employers face-to-face.”

The employer that ultimately wooed Emma was Ocuco, a company that supplies off-the-shelf software to opticians and optical retail chains.

Emma had researched the company before attending Career Zoo, and had spotted a problem with its online security system. She approached Ocuco staff at the event, told them about this problem and how it could be fixed, and they were so impressed, they invited her for an interview.

Two months later, she took up the role of personal services engineer with the company.

Commenting on her experience at Career Zoo, she said: “You had a great opportunity to speak with the actual people working in the companies, and find out if the jobs that they were offering were the jobs you were interested in”.

How to successfully re-enter the workforce

Orla Byrne had an impressive CV when she attended Career Zoo last February.

During the 1990s, she lived in Germany for nearly seven years, working in the European space industry. She returned to Ireland in 2001, and worked for the US firm Avid Technology for 12 years in the role of manufacturing programme manager. Her role was a global one, delivering product, technology and business change projects in a fast-paced environment across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

When Avid Technology were downsizing in late 2012, Orla had just completed an MBA and decided to grasp the chance of a career break. She spent two years travelling and working in roles that were “completely different” to what she’d done before.

Then, in February 2015, she attended Career Zoo.

Career Zoo: Orla Byrne

Orla Byrne, IT Alliance. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

“When you haven’t been in the workforce for a period of time, it can be intimidating re-entering the recruitment market,” she says. “I definitely lost confidence in my value.

“The Career Zoo event was a fantastic opportunity to be able to approach participating companies in a very relaxed and informal environment, face-to-face, where you get instant feedback on your skills and experience. It was a pivotal event for me to successfully return to the workforce. It gave me the confidence to step up my level of networking and it provided me with an effective platform to engage with potential employers and discuss opportunities.”

Orla had read about IT Alliance Group before attending Career Zoo, and knew they were recruiting for roles that interested her. She was keen to talk to companies that would value her significant project management skillset and business experience, and she felt IT Alliance Group met that bill.

The Irish-owned IT service and project management company – which employs 500 people and will be recruiting again at Career Zoo 10 – subsequently offered Orla a job, and she is now working as a project manager on one of their large client sites, managing service provision to a major telecoms/multimedia company.

Orla’s top tips for those attending Career Zoo 10? “Do your research, investigate the companies, have a look and see what they can offer, but also what you can bring to the table… dress well, present yourself well.”

Watch Michael, Emma and Orla speaking at the Career Zoo 10 launch:

Career Zoo 10 takes place in The Convention Centre Dublin from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, 12 September. Register now to attend.

Looking for tech jobs in Ireland? Check out our Featured Employers section for information on companies hiring right now.

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