By Mairead Cremins
Andrea Pappin, Executive Director of European Movement Ireland, was in College on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 November to talk to undergraduates and graduates about the career and internship opportunities available to them in Europe.
Part of European Movement’s “Grad Jobs in Europe” campaign, the career talk focused on informing students about the internships and graduate positions available both within and outside of the European Institutions. “When Irish people go to Brussels we do extraordinarily well” she said. When applying for a “stage” in Europe, Pappin hoped the second language requirement would not put people off.
She urged people not to “underestimate the value of your Leaving Certificate French.”
The Secretary General of the European Commission is the most senior civil servant in the Commission and two out of five Secretary Generals have been Irish, including the current holder of the position, Catherine Day. According to Pappin, this is testament to how much Irish people are respected in Europe.
She said that “Ireland is seen as a broker, it comes from the work we did on the Northern Ireland agreement and the constitutional negotiation that was involved.” She added: “It is not underestimated and Irish people are well regarded as a result.”
More than anything else, European Movement Ireland is working hard to help graduates overcome the biggest barrier to succeeding in Europe – confidence.
There are four avenues in which one can obtain a stage: the academic route, the non-institutional route, applying to one of the institutions or applying to one of the many agencies in the EU that are sometimes overlooked.
She also discussed the steps undergraduates can take while still studying to maximise their chances of obtaining a stage when the time comes to apply. As a former stagiaire herself, Andrea is well-placed to advise students on the ins and outs of the stage system. She said going on an Erasmus year was an invaluable experience that everyone should avail of.
She also emphasised the point that a phone call is a lot harder to ignore than an e-mail and she said not to be afraid to “ring people and make yourself stand out”.
“Your CV makes you competent but your cover letter makes you human” said Pappin.
She stressed the importance of putting time into your cover letter and making it no longer than one page. “You don‘t have to be studying law or politics to get a stage,” Pappin said, “there really is a place for everyone”.
For more information on the “Grad Jobs in Europe” campaign, log onto the European Movement Ireland website www.europeanmovement.ie.