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11 Apr

Type the word Careers into the Books section of Amazon and you will be presented with a startling 102,866 results. Which are the best ones to read?

Sometimes I meet people from different occupations and at varying stages in life, who are considering a career change or an entirely new vocational direction, or simply want to reflect on their choice of career so far. Is this career still right for me? If circumstances dictate that I must stay in this job for the time being, what can I do to make it a more rewarding experience for everyone? I need to build a new career. What can I do? I hate my job but I need the income! How can I reconcile the two?

There are plenty of excellent blogs and websites, and good careers advisors and coaches about. But if you are finding it difficult to make time to meet with a careers advisor, books remain excellent value in terms of quality careers advice and exploration and can give valuable insight into what makes you tick in terms of career and job satisfaction.

So if you don’t have time to browse through the 102866 publications on Amazon or elsewhere, here are some well regarded books currently available and worth seeking out:

1    What Color is My Parachute? 2012 by Richard N Bolles

Now in its 40th year and as the title indicates, updated annually, Parachute is an international best-seller published in over twenty different languages. This practical manual tackles everything from cv’s, to networking, to starting your own business. It helps you to identify your skills and find your mission in life. There is even a very helpful guide on finding and chosing a good career advisor. Tailored versions of the book for teenagers and those approaching retirement are also available.

2    The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success: Nick Lore

‘Go for Vitality – not Comfort,‘ is the advice of this long-time career coach, who is highly regarded by everyone from senior executives, at the very pinnacle of success to midlife career changers, to students preparing to embark on their first career journey.

3    One Person / Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to The Slash Career: by Marci Alboher

It’s becoming more and more common for people to build a livelihood from an array of occupations, allowing them to tap into a range of skills, competencies and genuine passions. Sticking a single career label on any one individual is never advisable and Alboher’s book and blog is full of insight and advice for what she terms slash careers – those with slashes in their job descriptions – doctor / musician / lecturer – TV producer / farmer / columnist. One Person/Multiple Careers is a good read if you are a career slasher or think you may become one by choice or necessity.

4    Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type: Paul D Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger

Also aimed at the midlife job seeker and built around the Myers-Briggs personality Indicator (MBTI). Full of tips on identifying what type of person you are, how you make decisions and interact with the world. There are guidelines on how to play to your strengths and how to manage your weaknesses in the job application process.

5    Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success: Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk is a breath of fresh air in the Careers world. Her blog is full of thought-provoking and surprising advice such as: Don’t go to Grad School &Don’t do what you Love. Not everyone agrees with Penelope – but she’s worth reading. Her advice is often sound and will definitely make you think.

6    The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Mid-Life: Marc Freedman

If you have reached middle age and maybe even passed it but you are not yet old or ready to take up permanent residence in the armchair, Freedman’s book with inspire and re-energise you. He identifies this stage of life as a potential ‘sweet spot,’ where wisdom, ability and impetus combine to make the beyond mid-life stage potentially one of the great opportunity moments in our lifespans.

7    Flourishing: Maureen Gaffney

Not specifically for Career Changers but a useful book for those facing adversity in their careers and working lives or elsewhere. Gaffney, a clinical psychologist, gives the psychologist’s perspective on why it is important to do what really makes you happy, to take on what she calls life projects. She writes well on the joy of losing your self in doing the things you enjoy, activities that offer some challenge and that require skill. Whether you are seeking to build a career, to change career or to manage a life change, Gaffney’s book is full of wisdom and useful reflection.

8   Me 2.0 Revised and Updated: 4 Steps to Building Your Future: Dan Schawbel

Schawbel is a renowned expert on Personal Branding through the internet and Social Media. He gives excellent tips on how to build your career by discovering, creating, communicating and maintaining your own brand. The book also contains good practical advice for job seekers and potential entrepreneurs.

Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time: Keith Ferrazzi & Tahi Raz

Takes the slimy connotations out of Networking and shows how good Networking is about real connecting, being generous, respectful and genuine, about helping other people and not keeping tabs on the score. As the title suggests – eating alone is a waste of a networking opportunity – unless you’re a writer or an artist – or a lighthouse keeper – in which case it’s often a necessity.



1 Feb

ONLY AT POINT NUMBER ELEVEN DOES HE SAY: ‘I can do in painting whatever may be done.’For this particular job application, his art skills were not quite so relevant. . .

Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.

1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.

2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.

3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.

4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.

5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.

6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.

7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.

8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.

9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.

10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.

11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.

Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.


12 Jan

I’m new to Twitter and a little suspicious of what it can actually and practically do to make working or personal life better. But I have been using it for three months now and thought I’d share some of what I’ve learnt. Most of it is common sense. I decided to set up a non-professional account first as it would be an easy and comfortable way of learning. I put up a new novel on Amazon KDP in October 2011 and used this as my Twitter starting point. I ran that for a couple of months and built up a little following. Then when I felt comfortable enough to engage with other career advisors and professionals, I set about developing a work account. Below is some of the stuff I’ve learned. Thanks to all those that have followed, re-tweeted, mentioned and engaged in discussion or exchanging of information.



  • Listen to what people in your area of professional expertise are saying – observe how they interact
  • Share resources – be helpful
  • Connect with fellow professionals / business links – lists – who to follow – Network!
  • Raise discussion / promote debate on issues that people can engage with comfortably
  • Use Twitter to get feedback on a particular issue
  • Use Twitter to raise your professional profile or the profile of your business or organisation
  • Use Twitter to source resources
  • Words to remember – Connection / engagement / respect / curiosity / Prudent Humour
  • Think local / think national / think global
  • Do remember the eyes of the world are potentially on you – Twitter can be a time to shine – but also to corpse, plank, bottle, make a complete fool of yourself
  • Remember in business – quantity does not equal quality. Keep  your list / lists lean and make sure they work for you
  • Use those same instincts and sixth senses about people that serve you well in to real world when you are on Twitter. If somebody you have no link to, that has no followers, and whose profile says ‘call me. Let’s take it from there,’ starts to follow you, chances are you should ignore them and report any problem.

Just my opinion here but much of what happens on the internet and on Twitter specifically falls into two simple categories – the good and the bad. Engage with the good – professional, hard-working, serious, generous, beneficial, intellectually challenging and constructive tweeters. Ignore the bad – the rude, show offs, shoddy, lazy, unhelpfully negative and those simply tweeting to blow their own twumpets.


  • Forget your reasons for using Twitter as a business / educational / networking tool
  • Use Twitter to snipe at people or grind axes in an unreasonable, inappropriate or abusive way
  • Make humorous comments at other people’s expense
  • Use Twitter to hurt or exclude people
  • Swear
  • Share personal experiences excessively. The contents of your belly button are not usually a subject of global interest
  • Be conned by the idea of breaking down boundaries. Sometimes, and especially in the world of work, boundaries can be there for very good reasons – ie self preservation, mutual respect, avoidance of misunderstanding. It’s worth remembering the old ‘Good fences make good neighbours’ rule when engaged in any form of social media.
  • Mix business with pleasure. It’s quite common on Twitter to have a number of accounts or alternatively lists. One option is to run a fun account that ties into your hobby or leisure activities and the people you enjoy following. Then you can run another that is business related. You can also operate different lists on the same principle.
  • Use Twitter excessively to market your product. Tweeting fifty times a day that you have just published yet another scintillating new novel on Amazon KDP will not result in any great increase in sales or the type of followers you want to attract. It will annoy and may result in people unfollowing you.
  • Panic if a peculiar tweeter starts following you – you can report them if a nuisance arises but most just go away when ignored
  • Mistake late night familiarity from someone like Charlie Sheen for friendship or even connection.


  • Say thanks for the follow / the retweet / the favourite – I’m told this becomes impossible once you have a few thousand followers. But good manners costs nothing and is almost always appreciated. So do it while you can.
  • Acknowledge someone else’s work where ever possible by using RT = retweet or a direct reference
  • Reply to comments and connects and mentions as much as possible
  • Remember people are busy, may have painful stuff going on in their lives that you can never know about, so always show respect. A wise person once said In all your dealings with people, you should factor in that they may be suffering in a way you will never see or know or comprehend. Then take them as they are and find a way to make your connection with them work to the benefit of all.

I began my Twitter journey three months ago. Since then I have gone from being vehemently anti-Twitter to a point where I now recognise the opportunities for professional connectedness and sharing of resources. I mistakenly thought it was all about celebrities tweeting about the mundanities of their lives and loudly proclaiming the end of / beginning of various affairs. But I have found it to be a useful and efficient means of networking with co-professionals and keeping up with developments in my particular field. I have learned a great deal and connected with some truly inspiring career professionals across a broad spectrum of interests.

I wonder if anyone else has similar views on the subject of Twitter. Some of the content of this blog may be blindingly obvious. But it would be interesting to get a little feedback or additional Do’s & Don’ts for those of us not all that familiar with the use of social media as a tool in the work place.

©Mary Hosty January 12th 2012


9 Jan


I recently experienced what would best be described as a conversation of professional interest. It was not a job or promotion interview or a performance appraisal. It did not have a specific structure and was informal in nature. I was however sat across the boardroom table from a significant player in the recruitment and business communications field. Since part of my work is helping people with job applications, CV & Covering Letter preparation and latterly trying to manage their online profile, I felt this conversation of professional interest would be an easy one. My aims going into the meeting were to learn much by asking savvy questions and present myself in a solid, focussed and professional light. I came away from the meeting very happy and energised. It had been a most enjoyable conversation, I learned a great deal and felt I’d given a good and true account of myself.

That night though, the doubts set in and as I re-ran the afternoon’s meeting, it occurred to me that if it had been a job interview, the panel would be removing my application from the top of the pile.


1                     I didn’t always answer the question I was asked. If you are asked a question at interview –answer the question that has been asked. Don’t answer the question you would like to have been asked or the question you think the interviewer might ask later. If you are asked ‘how was your journey?’ you should answer that ‘I drove here. It was fine and thankfully I had gauged the journey time properly’ not ‘My car has been giving trouble and at the last minute I decided to take the bus. It’s ages since I’ve taken the bus. God I had no idea the tickets were so expensive. Is there a travel allowance for employees here?’

2                     At some stages in the conversation, I tended to drive the agenda in certain directions, into areas of expertise that I wanted to learn about. This is a tricky issue in a real interview situation. Are you showing initiative by ensuring you get to make your key points and demonstrate all the qualities, experiences and skills that set you up as the most suitable candidate for the job? Or are you coming across as someone that likes to set their own agenda too much? I don’t think there’s a simple straight answer to this question. If the interviewer wants to focus in on your voluntary work with the sick or the homeless, they will generally have good reason for that – even if you would prefer to spend more time on your most successful project to date. However it is also not unknown for candidates to achieve success at interview by the sheer force of their personality and their ability to control the agenda in a passionate manner that makes them appealing to potential employers. In most cases though, it is important for a candidate to adhere to the interview agenda.

3                     Let the Interviewer see how you think. Like doing Leaving Cert Maths – there are marks going for the right answer, but a great deal of attention is also paid to the thinking and calculating process. Can you think on your feet? Can you break down a problem into parts and tackle it in stages? Do you have a good sense of humour? Can you persevere with a problem? Do you have the facility to observe a problem from several different angles? In World War Two, military intelligence recruited code-breakers in some instances from the ranks of successful cryptic crossword participants in the national newspapers. Use pen and paper, or whatever materials are to hand if necessary.

4                     In my conversation of professional interest, there were a number of occasions where I had the opportunity to ask a question and didn’t. This showed I was focussing a little too much on my end of the conversation and missed the chance to ask a useful question, thereby engaging more with the interviewer. A good question gives your interviewer a chance to really engage with you across the boardroom table. It gives you the chance to show what a good listener you are and as anyone who’s ever been involved in teaching will tell you, the framing of a good question is an art in itself. So consider carefully what questions you want to ask at interview.

5                     Do your research on the company. Check out their websites. Talk to people who work there. Be familiar with their product, how the product is developed and brought to market, the markets, customers, competitors, developments in the field, strategies for future development and basically any knowledge deemed relevant to your application.

6                     Tell your own story and have some good stories to tell. Interviewers want to know how you act in certain situations, how you relate to others, how you think, how you cope with pressure, change and adversity. How do you deal with failure? Do you have examples of where you showed leadership? Where you showed you could assist in projects and be a part of the team as well as always in control? Develop and refine a bank of stories that contain examples of you functioning at your very best.

7                     Be passionate about what you do.

8                     Be  genuine

9                     Strike a balance between being excessively formal and overly casual – no text or Twitter speak LOL – OMHY. No group hugs.

10                 FINALLY – Be a confident, passionate, temperate, prudent, achieving and smart advocate of your best personal and occupational self.

© Mary Hosty January 2012

Top Five Jobsearch & Networking Tips

5 Jan

Top Five JobsearchTips


1.    Use positive language in application forms, C.V.s, and at interviews.

2.    Maintain useful contacts from previous jobs & work placement / friends / family / neighbours / sports clubs / – in other words show you can NETWORK

3.    Talk about the skills you have developed through voluntary work, work in the home, part-time work, sport & leisure activities.

4.    Highlight your time management, organisational and multi-task skills.

5.    Emphasise your flexibility, reliability and positive can-do attitude.

70% of current jobs are not being advertised – allegedly!

SO . . .





It’s not what you know – it’s who you know – not exactly . . .


It’s not what you know, but who knows that you know what you know





  • Research the company / customers / product / college course
  • Research route / mode of travel / location of interview room
  • Have a clear understanding of why you are being considered for this job / course
  • Be 15 minutes early
  • Have a good question to ask at the end of the interview



  • Skimp on preparation for the interview
  • Underestimate the job / interviewer / company
  • Undersell yourself or try to be too cool    

© Mary Hosty

Job Simulation or Situational Judgement Test Nursing NCC

5 Jan




This part of your application into Nursing is an exercise to identify what you would be most likely to do when presented with a typical nursing scenario. The exercise measures a range of skills and qualities deemed appropriate for a career in Nursing

You are asked to choose only ONE action in each case.

There are marks available for each answer option presented – but higher marks go to most appropriate actions

Be Honest and chose what you would do based on the information provided

Situational Judgement tests will often assess the following

Verbal Communication

Ability to take responsibility

Ability to cope with Stress

Assertiveness / Critical Thinking / Problem Solving

Calm and Competent Patient Care

Developing Patient Relationships

Self Awareness & Personal Development

Reflective Practice

Patient Customer Service

Verbal & Numerical Reasoning will test Cognative ability

Skills Questionnaire & Situational Judgment tests  will measure attitudes associated with for example honesty & dependability, ability to prioritise in high stress situations, conflict resolution, relaying of important information, judgment, engaging with difficult people.




Test Your Emotional Intelligence: Philip Carter

How to Pass Numerical Reasoning tests Heidi Smith

How to Master Nursing Calculations, John Tyreman

How to Pass Numeracy tests Harry Tolley, Ken Thomas

The Numeracy Test Workbook: John Byron

Numerical Reasoning Tests Heidi Smith


On the day of your test bring the following:

  1. A printed off copy of your invite
  2. Photographic evidence of identity – passport / drivers licence
  3. 1 Recent passport photo with CAO number and your signature on the back
  4. 2 soft pencils
  5. 1 eraser
  6. 1 pencil sharpener


More hints for Mature Applicants into Nursing – The Skills / Experience Questionnaire

4 Jan




The purpose of this questionnaire is to compare your preferences with characteristics that are deemed necessary for nursing



This is a sample of a personality type questionnaire and given to you for guidance purposes only. You will find others on the internet also

Your skills/experience questionnaire will be much shorter

If you complete this questionnaire you will get a summary report at the end

You will note that the same question can be asked a number of times in slightly different formats. This is to clarify your responses.


Click on the following link:


–        Read through the information on types of questionnaire, rating statements and making choices

–        Go to the bottom of the page and click on personality questionnaire

–        The questionnaire will take at least 20 minutes

–        Answer the questions honestly



You have thirty five minutes to complete 68 questions.

If there is time left over at the end you may be allowed to complete the skills/ experience questionnaire

The questionnaire is designed to assess your interests, experiences & achievements


This Questionnaire is about you and your experiences, interests and achievements.  The purpose of collecting this information is to compare your preferences with characteristics that we have identified as being necessary for this profession, in a way that is fair and consistent with everyone.


This questionnaire will be scored the same way for all applicants.  The scoring system is designed to avoid discriminating against groups within the applicant population e.g. males, females, people of different ages, etc.’  


–        Not all the questions score. 

–        There is no obvious way of determining which responses will attract the most points. 

–        The marks awarded are driven by preferences, with the least marks being awarded to the least preferred responses, and the most marks being awarded to the most preferred responses. 

–        Be as honest as possible when answering the questions.  


© Mary Hosty January 2012