Returning to Ireland - Top tips for your job search

Mar 22, 2018

As the economy and the job market have both consistently improved over the last 2 – 3 years, we have witnessed an increasing number of emigrants returning or considering a move back to Ireland. Many members are of course more than happy to stay living and working abroad, but for those moving home it can be a challenging experience.  It has the potential to be a time of mixed emotions and confusion and one during which many important life and career decisions will have to be made.

The aim of this piece is to provide you with some practical tips and advice that will help you to organise and co-ordinate the move from a career and professional perspective.

Take time to make the decision

If you have been living and working abroad for a number of years, the decision to move home is a significant one and should not be made in haste.  Push the pause button and allow yourself time to consider all the options and to fully understand your motivations.  Consider carefully what is driving your move home.

Check out the job market in advance

Before making the final decision to move back to Ireland, it is advisable to check out the local job market to make an informed assessment of the likely job opportunities that exist for someone with your qualification, skills and experience. You can do this by reviewing various job and recruitment websites, speaking to contacts in Ireland as well as checking with other credible market contacts and resources. Your network can be a good source of on the ground market intelligence.

Have an appropriate CV ready

To show your commitment to making the move home, it is essential to have a well-structured and professional CV which you can send to prospective employers and recruitment agencies. Seek advice and guidance on your CV to ensure that the format and content is appropriate to the local market. It is important to note that there can be some key differences in relation to the standard format and style of CVs across various countries. Be mindful not to include any acronyms or terminology that may not be relevant in the Irish market. You may also need to give details in relation to the organisations that you worked with as those reviewing your CV will not be as familiar with them as with companies based in Ireland. Key details such as sector, revenue and employees will be of interest.

Your CV will not only have to clearly demonstrate your offering to a potential employer, it will also have to show how you will transition your more recent skills back to the Irish market. A focus on recent achievements and competencies will help you to do this.

Update your LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile is often the first introduction someone will have to your career history and therefore it is really important that it is professional, comprehensive and a solid representation of your skills, knowledge and experience. A professional headshot photo is a must to portray the right image. The more active you are on LinkedIn the more beneficial it is for you in terms of raising your visibility. Consider sharing or posting articles on interesting and relevant topics.

Use your network

Networking will form a key part of your strategy to move home. Your network has the potential to be a good source of job opportunities, especially for those at a senior level. Reach out to those already in your network and work on expanding the contacts you have. Look to connect with former colleagues, alumni contacts, professional network groups and of course other Chartered Accountants. LinkedIn is the ideal tool to assist you with this process.

Transferability of skills

Making the most of the skills you have developed during your time abroad and leveraging these will be an important aspect of a move home. You need to think carefully about how you will explain and promote this experience as well as how you can best demonstrate that it has a value in the local market. Generally this process is similar to when you are moving roles within Ireland, but where the challenge can arise is when you have been in a specialised sector or role and where there is nothing similar in the local market. In this instance the focus should be on the generic skills and competencies you have acquired and how you plan to utilise these in a positive way in a new role.

Know your value in the local market

Salary levels vary significantly from country to country and you will have to be well informed in relation to what you can expect to earn when you return. This is an important factor to consider when deciding on a potential move back to Ireland. Obviously you want to secure a salary and package that reflects the value of your qualifications skills and experience in Ireland whilst balancing this with not pricing yourself of our consideration for some roles. A good understanding of the market rates is a fundamental part of this process. The best means by which to obtain this information is to speak to recruiters and your contacts in the local market. Be careful not to pitch too high or indeed end up on a salary that is below the market rate.

Be interview ready

As with any process of moving role, preparation for an interview is important. Again seek advice in relation to the likely style of the interview so that you are ready to do your best. Competency based interviews are quite common place now and although not all interviews will be completely competency focussed, most will include some competency based questions for example, you may be asked to describe a situation where you had to demonstrate your ability to influence at management level.
If you are still based abroad your initial interview may be via Skype or telephone so be mindful of the particular nuances of these interview scenarios.

Be clear on your timings and availability

Before launching onto the job market it is advisable to know what your timings are going to be in terms of moving back and more importantly regarding your availability to commence in a new role. Having definitive dates and timings will create a better impression with employers and recruiters. You might also want to allow yourself a break between arriving back and starting a role so factor this in when working out your availability.

Have your reference details available

As part of any job search process you will need the contact details for your most recent referees as well as their permission to provide their details as a contact point. You will make life significantly easier for yourself if you do this before you move back to Ireland rather than having to chase your referees afterwards.

Details of your qualifications obtained overseas

As with your reference details, it is advisable to obtain any certifications or accreditations for courses you attended abroad, before you head home. It will be so much easier than trying to chase them after you have returned.

Give yourself time to adjust socially and emotionally

Moving home from an extended period abroad is a life changing event and the impact of this move shouldn’t be underestimated. Give yourself the time and space that you need to adjust and to settle back in. The mistake that people often make is that they believe that life will continue on the same as it did before they left. However, this is often not the case and you can’t expect to pick up where you left off as other people’s lives have moved on in the meantime. It is good to chat to others who have made this transition to see how they made the adjustment.

There is support and help available

Please note that the Career Coaching and Recruitment team in Chartered Accountants Ireland are available to provide you with guidance, advice and support with this important move. Please email us on

Other Resources:

Citizens Information


Irish Embassy

Finding a job