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The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.

Kevin Keary, Parliamentary Assistant
Government, Politics & EU

Kevin Keary, Parliamentary Assistant

Kevin Keary is Parliamentary Assistant to MEP Sean Kelly. He recieved his BA International in Spanish and Sociological Political Studies from NUI Galway. His job is based in Brussels where he has worked on projects such as the International Fund for Ireland.

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

The main career milestones in my life have been my decision to go to Sweden to do a Masters Degree in European Affairs at Lund University which led me on the road to EU studies. Also my decision to move to Brussels when there were options elsewhere.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

The people who influenced me most would be my parents, and also a particular University Lecturer in NUI Galway. Friends I have met along the way when I was studying abroad also had a great influence on me.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I went about getting this job by becoming an intern in Jim Higgins’ MEP office after spending a while pestering him. Then, after I developed experience, I was able to apply for this post as Parliamentary Assistant.

I had a series of interviews with the prior staff of the MEP and also with the MEP himself, where I was questioned on my knowledge of European Union law and also my work ethic.

Describe a typical day?

A typical day begins with a meeting with the MEP to discuss the day’s agenda, followed by, typically a committee meeting, which could involve taking votes on certain issues. We could then have a lunch time meeting with visitors from Ireland, followed by an afternoon meeting with stakeholders such as farm and environmental groups.

In the evening there are usually further informal events, such as dealing with animal welfare. Other daily tasks would include researching important issues for the MEP, briefing them prior to meetings, assisting in drafting amendments and helping them generally in their day to day work.

I am currently working on drafting the new Data Protection laws that will cover all five hundred million people in Europe, allowing innovation in the online environment.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

The main tasks and responsibilities are assisting and advising an MEP in all aspects of their job, from research of current issues, to writing amendments for legislative proposals, helping the MEP on their work on different committees and also helping to communicate to constituents in Ireland. I also organise the MEP’s wider agenda such as meetings.

What are the main challenges?

You have to test yourself negotiating with people from other countries.

What's cool?

It’s very interesting because no two days are the same so that’s good. You get a sense that you’re representing your own country and also you have the opportunity to develop a broader outlook on the world.

You also gain friendships with people from all over Europe that all have interesting things to say and as a result, have a very active social life. You’re never stuck for too long behind your desk either.

What's not so cool?

The hours are quite long and you’re also not close to your family.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

The skills I bring to the position are an awareness of EU politics and Law. I have good interpersonal skills and am able to get on with people of different nationalities. I also have a strong work ethic.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I chose a good variety of subjects at school- I did History, Biology, Geography, German and of course English, Irish and Maths.

What is your education to date?

I went to Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew and then I went on to NUI Galway where I studied a BA International in Spanish and Sociological Political Studies. I also have a Masters Degree in European Affairs from Lund University in Sweden.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

The most important aspects of my career so far have been the knowledge and skills I learnt on my masters programme in Sweden. It taught me about negotiating and decision making in the EU and also about some of the EU policies. It also gave me a flavour of how the EU works.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

The most rewarding events so far have been working on issues such as the International Fund for Ireland and helping that to be moved quickly through the parliament so that the money could be spent on building peace projects in the North, and also working on Data Protection Reform.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

I am a people person and enjoy interacting with people from a range of nationalities. My strong work ethic also helps as my days are often long.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be the Irish version of Chris Hadfield, playing music in orbit around the earth.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

It enables me to have a happy work life balance. I work long hours but my job is very sociable. I meet a lot of people within the job, but outside of that I play sport in my free time with the Belgian GAA club and I also do some travelling at the weekends.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Be proactive and look for the areas that interest you whether it’s the Environment or Human Rights and find MEP’s or interest groups that specialise in those interests and take the initiative to send them your CV.

Having a European language would help you considerably in this career. Irish should also not be ruled out as an option as this is considered as a second language.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

• Multi-tasker • Hungry for new knowledge • Exercise good judgement and discretion

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

I always try to keep my knowledge current by constantly doing a variety of courses such as those on languages or IT. It’s very important to keep life- long learning going all the time.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Working in a small business would be an ideal background for this position because it’s very people orientated - You’re constantly dealing with people on the phone or via e-mail. You’re also expected to give a good service to people with queries. I worked in a small business when I was in University and I think it gave me good skills to have that service-mindedness in this job.

What is your current job title?

Parlimentary Assistant

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