Table of Contents
Disclaimer. If this is your first time reading the Moving to Ireland series, please read this first.
I moved to Dublin, Ireland in August 2016. I wanted to give you some information about moving to Ireland. This series is from my perspective (a Canadian on a two year Working Holiday Visa). If you’re from another country or you want to get a permanent visa/plan to attend school in Ireland, you’ll need to do further research. Here is an excellent place to start.
I am not an immigration lawyer or expert. I make no guarantees your experience moving to Ireland will be the same as mine. Failure to do the proper research and apply for the correct visa can result in serious legal trouble. You need to make sure are moving to Ireland (or any country) legally. Still, I hope this series will give you some information and inspiration for moving to Ireland.
Ireland refers to the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is a part of the UK and has different rules about visas. If you are looking to work/live in Northern Ireland, you will need to research visas for the UK.
The fifth part is the final part of the series, which is about getting a job in Ireland. Most of the information in this post is about finding a job in the Dublin area (since that’s where I live). However much of the general information in this post can be applied to other cities/towns in Ireland. Previous posts in this series include
Part 1 – Should you move to Ireland?
Part 2 – Before You Arrive
Part 3 – Getting Settled and Paperwork
Part 4 – Finding a Place to Live
What Types of Jobs Are Available
All kinds. Many people on working holidays will gravitate to working in jobs with *relatively* easy entry-level positions such as in hospitality, retail, food services, call centres, etc. If you have professional experience and education in a particular industry, then feel free to apply for those types of professional jobs as well. It’s worth noting an employer may be hesitant to hire you for a permanent position because your visa only allows you to work for two years. If you decide to apply for a professional job it could take time before you land anything. You might want to apply for entry-level positions in retail, food services to earn some money while you wait.
I do some freelance writing, but I wanted another job working with other people. I love writing, but it can be very isolating. Plus I like having a job (and extra income) as a way to socialize. If you do freelance work (writing, graphic design, etc.) you can keep doing freelance or contract work on the side or as your primary job if you can afford it.
Ireland uses a CV format. If you are going through the USIT program, they can check your CV and do mock interviews. Unlike resumes, which usually condensed to one page, the CV is two pages. Put your most recent job at the top and only put in jobs that are relevant to the job/industry you are applying for. Use bullet points to help with readability when listing the duties/skills learned on a job. If you have a post-secondary education you can put that under the education category. A CV (depending on the job/industry your applying for) could include things like Achievements (work/industry related of course), IT/Skills/Languages, Volunteering, and Professional Memberships.
IrishJobs.ie has a bunch of different CV templates. You don’t have to make your CV look precisely like the ones on this site, but it gives you an idea of how to organize your CV. Remember to double-check that you have no spelling or grammar mistakes. In Ireland, they use the British way of spelling, not the American way.
When it came to recommendations from employers and supervisors back in Canada, I listed those references by email. Chances are most employers won’t be calling your old boss in North America for a reference, especially in an entry-level position. Once you start working in Ireland, you can get local references, which will be helpful.
Using a cover letter depends on the job you are applying for. If you’re applying for a professional/career job, then you need to include a cover letter. Be sure to modify and change your cover letter for the job/company you are applying for. I also included a short cover letter for online entry-level jobs and made changes to it for each company/job I applied for. When I dropped off my CV in person for entry-level retail/hospitality/customer service positions, I did not include a cover letter as I was dropping off 15 to 20 CVs per day.
Where to Apply For Jobs
For entry-level hospitality/retail/food services, etc. type of positions I had the best luck applying directly in person. Try to drop off your CV when management is available. For example, if you go to a hotel at 9 pm with your CV, the manager probably won’t be there. Heading out with your CV during the day (Monday to Friday) will give you the best luck.
Finally, if you’re not having luck with these options, you can also try recruitment companies. I used a recruitment company for my most recent job (more on that in a bit), and it worked out great.
What to Wear for Job Interviews
When applying for a job in person or if you have to go in for an interview be sure to dress professionally. Even if you’re applying for a casual position at a bar, you’ll want to wear professional clothes for your interview. My interview attire was a blouse, black trousers, and black flats. If you are looking to work in a restaurant/bar, you may want a black button-up shirt and black trousers in case you’re asked to work a trial shift. If you need an interview outfit, you’ll be able to pick up some basics from Penney’s.
If you are applying to work in a restaurant or bar, you may be asked to come in for a trial shift, which usually lasts a couple of hours (in my experience). Trial shifts let the company see how you work, and how you will fit into their environment. It’s also a way for you to know if you want to work there too. Trial shifts are unpaid, so don’t work more than a couple of hours for one. Trial shifts are also not legal, but if you’re asked to work a trial shift, and you say no the company will likely pass you up for someone who will do one. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to work a trial shift.
I worked at six different trial shifts while in Ireland. Four were for restaurants/bars (including one where I got hired). One was for a sales job. The other was for a hotel receptionist position. This last circumstance was confusing because after the interview I was under the impression I got the job (they asked when I could start, gave me a training schedule, got me a uniform and a locker with a key, etc.). About 30 minutes before my first training shift ended the manager told me this was just a trial shift and they were still reviewing candidates. However, since I worked for 8 hours, I was paid for that shift. It was very confusing (more on that later).
Here are a few things that you should be aware of in regard to trial shifts. Before accepting a trial shift be sure to find out
- Exactly when and where the trial shift will be taking place (especially if you’re applying for a job at a chain with multiple locations).
- How long the trial shift will be. A couple of unpaid hours is one thing, but if you’re asked to work a full shift unpaid, I’d say no.
- If there’ll be a manager or supervisor on duty while you’re there. I worked one trial shift where there wasn’t any management on duty, which I found strange. You want someone from management to be there so they can see how you work. After all, they’ll be deciding whether or not to hire you.
- If you’re competing with anyone else. A couple of places had me and someone else doing a trial shift at the same time. Unfortunately, both times were during slow periods with there no customers making it hard to demonstrate how I’d get on with customers. I was sent home early and unsurprisingly was not hired.
- When (after the trial shift) they’ll be making their decision on who to hire. If they don’t get back to you in time, then follow up to see where you stand. Meanwhile, keep applying for other jobs. Don’t put all your hopes into one job, even if you worked a trial shift.
Since you won’t get paid to do a trial shift if you don’t like it, you can leave. With the sales job, I knew after an hour that it wasn’t the job for me. I contacted the supervisor, said thanks for the opportunity, but I wasn’t interested and went home.
Wages and Hours
The minimum wage for employees over 18 with two years of working experience (in any industry) is €9.55/hour. If you have less than two years of work experience (anywhere in the world, not just in Ireland), the minimum wage is €7.64/hour for your first year and €8.60 for your second year. This is of February 2017, and the minimum wage might be higher now. When you start a job, you’ll get a contract that details your salary, how many hours/week you’ll work, vacation time/pay, etc. It will also layout conditions of probation (usually your first six months).
If you are Canadian, there are no maximum hours that you can work for a job. If you have a Working Holiday Visa for Ireland and you’re from another country, there may be restrictions on the number of hours you can work. You may also be required to change employers after a certain amount of time (again Canadians on the Working Holiday Visa for Ireland don’t need to worry about this). Be sure to check your visa for specific working information and restrictions.
In Ireland, you don’t have to worry about filing taxes unless you are self-employed, starting a business, or have additional income outside your job (like rental income or capital gains). You will be taxed through the PAYE (pay as you earn) system. Of course, there is some work you need to do. In the post Getting Setting and Paperwork, I mentioned you need your PPSN and tax credit certificate to come off the emergency tax fund (41% of your income). You can go to your revenue account online to fill out the information for your employer to remove the emergency tax fee.
When you leave a job (no matter the reasons) you should get a P-45 form along with your final wages (the P-45 form is mailed to you). There’s a part of the form you keep for yourself and another part you give to your next employer. They’ll put in the information to make sure you’re taxed correctly. You can always go online to your revenue account to make sure the new employer details are in your file.
Revenue.ie will send you information about your taxes, including any credits you may be eligible for (lowering the amount of tax you need to pay). In January you can review your account to make sure you’re not paying more tax than required, but you don’t have to file anything unless you are self-employed, run your own business, or have income outside your job. It’s a pretty easy system once you get through the initial paperwork done.
My Job Experience in Ireland
Similar to my experience of finding a place to live and getting the paperwork done finding a job took time and wasn’t easy. At the beginning of September, I got hired to work at a call centre. While the people I worked with were friendly and I liked the company that job wasn’t for me and I left after a couple of weeks. I applied for more jobs, went on interviews and did a couple of trial shifts. I didn’t get any offers until mid-October. That’s when I went to a hotel for an interview. It went great, and they asked when I could start. As mentioned in the trial shift part earlier I was under the impression I had a job, but it turns out I didn’t. I learned you technically don’t have a job until you sign your employment contract.
The hotel experience got to me. I was upset and wondered why the hell I was having such a hard time finding a job (mainly since this position was similar to one I had done back home). That experience was so stressful that right after I got sick with the flu. For two weeks I wasn’t able to do anything, except stay in bed and sleep. Even going online and trying to apply for a job while I had the flu was exhausting. I took a break and focused on getting better.
After that I started to realize that part of the problem with my job hunting was I was going with the, “I’ll take any legal job (except stripping…not for me)” approach. I was applying for different jobs and telling myself “this will be fine,” but I wasn’t interested in these jobs at all. It was a delicate line to draw because I couldn’t be too picky. I needed a job and to start making money to pay my bills. Likewise, I needed to work somewhere that I would like and where my contributions would be valued.
A couple of weeks after I’d recovered from my flu I got hired to work a short holiday contract at a department store. While it was just for December, it was nice to have a job. The company was great, and I worked with some grand people, but it was on the other side of the city from me. I had a two-hour commute (each way). It was okay for the few weeks I worked there, but I wouldn’t have been able to handle it for longer than that.
When that contract ended, I took a few days off after Christmas and went to Bath. I decided to wait to apply for jobs until the new year. After a couple of weeks of looking for employment, I got hired for a waitress job at a pub in Malahide. I work during the day, and while it’s a bit slow now (not high season for tourism), it’s given me time to learn what I need to.
In December 2017 my shifts at the pub started getting cut because it wasn’t busy. So I started looking for a new job, or even a second job. I got in touch with a recruitment company for temp office work. I met a lady, and she said she had a receptionist job I’d be perfect for. It was for a student housing company. I went in for an interview and got a call back that afternoon asking if I could start the next day. Now I work a Monday to Friday from 11 am to 7 pm (my perfect work hours). My commute is a little further out, but I can still take the train to work. Plus now I’m working in Dublin so that I can wander about the city on my lunch break
Finding a job in Dublin wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. There were many times when I wondered if I would have to go home, but once I started applying for jobs that I wanted to work at I started seeing better results. And I learned it’s always better to have extra emergency funds when on a holiday visa in case it takes a while to get a job. I’m quite happy where I have ended up.
Check out some more posts about Living in Ireland
Have you worked abroad before? What was your experience working abroad like? Leave your comments below.