This Year Will Be Different.

Now that January is behind us, and we are officially enjoying the new year, it is time to address those resolutions which were made during the past weeks of rest and recuperation. It is time to action that decision – THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT.

It is important to make a plan, and set achievable daily, weekly and monthly targets, if we are to achieve our goals. wishing them to happen is not enough. We have to invest time, energy and work if we want our dreams to become a reality. Success does not happen by accident – it needs a plan and an investment of time and energy.

Perhaps you need help with a Career Change, Interview Preparation Skills, CV Review or Job Search Strategies.

If you would like some help to turn your dream in to a reality, think about investing in the expertise and skills of a Career Coach. Take the first step now to achieve your goal – This Year Will Be Different.

Contact Angela at Career Coaching Matters.

Email: Facebook:  @CareerCoachingMatters

Decisions to make – Considering a Career Change or Perhaps it is time to explore the alternatives.

At what point do you decide to leave your job?

A few decades ago, it was considered unwise to leave your job, even if you had a new job lined up. It was the accepted norm to stay with the organisation as long as possible. Build up your reputation, your credibility, your experience and stay loyal to your employer. The social contract of loyalty between employer and employee is disappearing. Permanent positions are no longer a guarantee of a job for life. Up to 50% of employees leave a job within year one, because their expectations were not met in terms of role and training.

Are you leaving the job you are doing, or the organisation you are working for?

This prompts the question of why people leave jobs. Perhaps the role was completely different to the one advertised, or the promised training and mentoring did not materialise. Sometimes personality clashes occur and there is no mechanism in place to deal with this. People constantly tell me that they like their job, they love the work they do, but they have a problem with other people, either work colleagues or management.

Before making any decisions to leave a job, it is essential that you stop, look around, research and make informed decisions. The grass may be greener sometimes, but this is not always the case. We need to examine why we are leaving, in more detail. Is it really about the work, or is there something we can do in order to make our lives in work more bearable or enjoyable? How we choose to react to other people is entirely within our remit, and small changes can often make big differences in the workplace.

When we start to research other jobs, we may find that the terms and conditions are not as good as we are currently enjoying. It is important to look at the small print, to speak to people working in the new organisation, and to compare both the organisations and the roles, before make a reactive decision.

Time spent with a career coach will assist you to carry out the type of research needed before you change organisation or job. Coaching will also help you to look at ways to stay in your existing job, but manage your time, your work and your reactions better, and therefore improvement your working environment.

If you have a career decision to make, contact Angela at Career Coaching Matters.



Choices and Opportunities – Decisions to be Made.

Secondary level education sound bites, still appear to focus solely on Third Level Options for students, despite the strong campaign to educate the public about alternative options.

Many second level students and their parents are still convinced that a Leaving Certificate student must go directly to a Third level college. “Any course in a third level college is better than the alternative” is still a comment we hear regularly from parents and students. The route to continue your education when you have completed your Leaving Certificate is not necessarily a straight road, with only one destination.  It can be circuitous, or possibly like the ‘Yellow Brick Road’ from the Wizard of Oz, where real learning and personal development takes place.

The decisions you make after Leaving Certificate will not determine the rest of your life, but will impact on the next year or two, or perhaps four. At any time in your life, you have the power to change direction and to make new choices.

The following options are available to you after you complete your second level education. You may choose one or two of these options now, and later on choose a third option. You are not limited to only one choice for life. Each route has many benefits. It is important to choose the option(s), which work for you and complement your learning style.

  1. Further Education Course. Post Leaving Cert Course. (PLC course)
  2. Apprenticeship Course.
  3. Third Level Course.       
  4. Employment – Part Time or Full Time.

Some people find it easy to choose their next steps in life. For many of us, we find it difficult to make choices. We are afraid of making mistakes, of getting it wrong, or disappointing others. In the end, all of us have to make our own decisions, take responsibility for those decisions and live with the consequences. It is part of life, of growing up and living our lives. The best way to make good decisions is by ensuring that our decisions are well informed:- Informed by quality research, where we ask relevant questions, where we analyse the information and we make decisions based on the evidence, and often combined with our ‘gut’ instincts.

We are never too young to begin research, to learn about ourselves and to discover what we want and why we want it. At Career Coaching Matters, we start this process with learners from every age group, for indeed we are all learners in this life. We go to school every day until we leave this earth.

Career Coaching Matters offers supports and challenges via mentoring and coaching for people who wish to develop personal insight, in order to engage with education, training and employment.

Please contact Angela for an appointment.

Manners Matter – Especially in Business

You may not think that good manners matter in the modern – Fast paced – Ruthless – Survival of the fittest, world of business.  Good manners in business is an indication that this is a professional organisation which treats both staff and customers with respect.

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.”  Clarence Thomas

Unemployment figures are down. We have more people at work and unemployment fell to 5.4% (lowest in 10 years) in March 2019. Despite this we have many sectors where it is still challenging to secure employment. I regularly hear about, and meet many prospective applicants who send out numerous CV’s and Applications forms for advertised jobs. I also hear that many of these employers do not reply to the many applications received.

 Job seekers spend many hours preparing material for advertised job vacancies. Organisation research involves interaction with current or previous employees, checking out the organisation on LinkedIn, looking up their website to find the latest news and researching the specific industry or career sector.

Creating a CV or completing an application form will require a forensic approach, comparing your experience, qualifications, skills and abilities with the job specification criteria. Ticking all the relevant boxes and supplying the required information within the space allowed, is not always easy. People who excel in their own field of work do not always find the application process easy, but they persevere and carry on, in order to achieve their goal – An invitation to Interview.

So what happens when you do not get an invitation to interview, but rather you get a Letter of Regret. Surprise – Surprise – Job seekers tell me that if they were lucky enough to get a letter of regret, that would be a miracle. Most employers do not send a letter of regret. Candidates are left wondering if the job is still open, if the recruitment process is still ongoing or if the company has changed their mind and decided not to recruit after all. (Last one is very common)

At Career Coaching Matters, we advise all our clients to follow up after sending in an application. However, it is not always easy to get the information you require, despite leaving voicemails and sending emails. Even the smallest organisations have email nowadays. It doesn’t take long to set up an email facility to send a generic message to multiple email addresses without disclosing those email addresses. It is very easy to send a regret letter stating that the recruitment campaign is over, or that you have not been shortlisted for interview, or that you have decided not to recruit at this time. This would fall under the heading of good manners, and a little bit of respect to all the applicants who spent many hours preparing an application for the advertised job in your organisation.

Message to Employers – Recruiters – HR Departments.

Please think about the people who apply for jobs in your organisation, who read your website and research your company. Someday, you might want them to work in your organisation. Make sure that their initial experience with your company is positive, even if they don’t get the first job they apply for. You can ensure that they keep you on their ‘Good Organisation to Work For‘  list, by sending a simple courteous email with a word of thanks.

Message to Job Seekers – Candidates.

Follow up after you submit your CV or application form. Wait a week or two, unless otherwise informed, and contact the HR department or Hiring Manager. Telephone or send an email. If they do not respond to your email, then you have to question if this is about resources or policy. When you get a response, either positive or negative, remember to say thank you. If you are invited to interview, please send a note of thanks within 24 hours, regardless of outcome. You may wish to apply again for a different role at a later stage.

It’s not rocket science, it’s just good manners.

If you have any questions regarding Job Application, CV Creation, Interview Tips for both Interviewee and Interviewer, please contact Angela at @careercoachingmatters


Facebook: @CareerCoachingMatters

Making a Difference.

Sometimes I spend hours with clients, mentoring, coaching and helping them prepare for career and education challenges. Often, I wonder if I have made a difference! Have I done enough? Could I have opened up a few more avenues, practiced a few more scenarios? And then I remind myself, that my role as coach and mentor is about helping the client achieve their potential. I am not the athlete, I am not the job seeker, I am not the candidate.

In my role as a Career Coach, I can encourage and I can empathise. I can carry out research, I can look at new perspectives and I can get clients to examine, to question and to develop their own personal awareness. Together, we can explore the world of education, the range of new courses, the labour market and the changing world of work. I can work with a client to make a career and education plan. In the end, every client makes their own decisions. Every client has choices and opportunities. Each client decides whether to help themselves by implementing new changes or repeat previous behaviours and hope for the best.

The most successful clients are the ones invest time and energy in their career and education journey. We often joke about homework during a coaching session. Whether you work smarter or you work harder, one truth remains:- If you want to succeed you will need to put the work in. Of course, a little luck goes a long way too. But I think that we make our own luck.

  • Did you follow up your job application with a phone call to see how the recruitment process was shaping up?
  • Did you send an email after the interview to say thank you?
  • Did you send an email after the rejection letter, to let them know that you were still interested in working for the organisation – Possibly at a future date?
  • Did you really practice your interview questions and answers, until you knew that you could be your best self.
  • Did you do the background research on the the organisation?
  • Do you really know why you want the job?
  • Did you research the course material or the course delivery? Does it align with your preferred learning style?

During the last few months, I am delighted that many clients have contacted me to say that they got the job, the promotion, or the pay rise. It is great to hear that others have been called for interview against all the odds, and some has returned to education in order to expand their career opportunities. It is so wonderful to hear that a student is enjoying their chosen third level or further education course. The common denominator usually revolves around the work invested in by the client. If you want to make a difference in your life – If you want to change your career path or your education route – then the choice is yours. There is no quick fix. Engagement with the coaching process, combined with determination and work will reap real rewards.

Contact Career Coaching Matters for an appointment.


Many Job Applications – Not enough Interviews

Have you ever wondered why you did not get called to interview for that job – the one you really liked?

When creating a CV for a specific job application, it is important to remember that this CV will not get you the job. Your CV is a tool to get you shortlisted for interview.

Do you complete a forensic review of the Job Specification and match it to your CV?

Do you send off the same CV for numerous jobs?

Does your Cover letter compliment your CV, or does it repeat the same message for each job?

Do you complete research on the hiring company at this stage, or will you wait until you get called (or not) for interview?

Have you ever looked at a Job Specification and decided not to apply, because you thought you did not have enough qualifications or experience for the advertised job? Then you discovered that people with similar backgrounds to you were appointed to the position. Recognising your ability to do the job is vital. Underselling yourself is not an option.

At Career Coaching Matters, we show you how to create a CV and Cover Letter specific to each application.

More importantly, we look at your suitability for the jobs you are applying for and show you how to assess this for future applications.

CV Tips and CV Review available at Career Coaching Matters.   Contact:       

June 2019.



Every time I read this article by Katherine Donnelly in the Irish Independent, and it reminds me of the last time I raised the issue about the lack of understanding and respect for Further Education – Apprenticeships and PLC courses. (See link at the end of this piece – Westmeath Examiner October 2017.)           “One of Ireland’s most successful businessmen says apprenticeships need to be seen in a different light by students and teachers, and not as a “fall-back option” to the CAO. Martin McVicar, co-founder and managing director of the world-leading Co Monaghan company Combilift, says the perception around apprenticeships needs to change.”                       

Working as a Career Coach, I see the reluctance of some educators, parents and students to engage with or promote, further education routes such as PLC and Apprenticeships courses. I am often disappointed to see the attitude displayed, that this route to education is ‘the last resort’, and only to be looked at, if the student does not get their degree choice. We need to educate people – including the educators – to promote further education courses side by side with degree courses, as an equal route to education choices and career opportunities. Each student needs to look at their own abilities and their learning styles, in addition to their interests.

These attitudes are not new, and many of us work against the tide to promote the many and varied education opportunities, to second level students and their parents. All education choices are valuable, Degree – Diploma – Further Education PLC and Apprenticeship courses. As long as the course you complete is accredited, and encourages you to learn at your pace, complimenting your learning style, then you have made the right education choice for you.

Read an article written by Carl O’Brien, in the Irish Times about the influences on career choices.  “Mothers are the single biggest influence on students choosing their career options even though they may be out of touch with developments in work and education” h

Education is about opening your mind to all possibilities and opportunities, all the while understanding that learning does not begin and end with one qualification.

Career Coaching Matters.
January 18th, 2019.

To young to retire – To old to get a new job?

Job Search – Decision Making – Better Planning – Not just for the younger generation.

 I heard a discussion this morning on Midlands 103 about people who are receiving long term unemployment payments. The topic gave rise to the a number of themes including one about people who have “retired” from employment and are finding it difficult to obtain new employment opportunities.

For many years now it has been my opinion that we are not addressing the challenges facing people who are seeking employment due to redundancy, retirement or returning to the work force after a career break. It is not my place to define the word ‘older’ people. We all know when the day comes that we feel a bit older. The disposable throw-away society is not just about getting rid of broken toasters and washing machines. We appear to have a similar attitude when it comes to people of a certain age. While the throw-away society might create more products and more jobs, the same mindset is dispensing with a wealth of experience, common sense and the understanding of loyalty.

Some people who retire in their late fifties or early sixties are quite happy to do so. They have a plan for activities, for employment, for travel or for more engagement with family, and they have worked out a budget, which enables them to do this.

However, many people who have to retire before they are ready to do so, find themselves struggling financially, physically or emotionally. While government has a role in this area, I would like to see employers working with staff so that the transition from full time employment to retirement is seamless, or at the very least, planned to make it a little bit easier.

  • Retirement planning should take place at some point during the five years before retirement date.
  • This is the time to complete a budget, to revisit your existing work place pension and to investigate your state pension entitlement. How will you manage your bills on a smaller income?
  • Will you have to find a job or sign for unemployment payments, because your pension payment does not start for 3 – 5 years after your retirement date?
  • Consider reducing your current working week in stages, rather than retiring with a bang. What about other employment opportunities? Will you get similar work in a full time or part time capacity?
  • Would you like to work at something new? Will you need to up skill or retrain?
  • Are you interested in returning to education?
  • Will you miss your work colleagues and the social interaction? Will you miss the routine of daily work? Will you miss having a pre planned purpose or goal?
  • How about getting involved in your community, in voluntary work?
  • Will you take up new interests, activities and hobbies?
  • Perhaps you might start your own business.If any of the above makes you anxious, or reminds you that you have some work to do, then now is the time to make a plan for the next stage of your life.

Even after a lifetime of work, we can all have issues surrounding confidence, fear of change and decision making. If you are moving in to a new world with changes and challenges, give yourself the time to research, to explore and find the path that is right for you.

Planning for retirement takes time. If you have spent 40 years of your life working in a job or various employments, spending a bit of time now to plan your retirement is not a big ask!

Career Coaching Matters. Email:

One Size does not fit all.

CV Tips – One Job Application – One CV.

Every CV starts with a Job Specification.

  • One CV per job. Do not use the same CV for more than one job application.
  • Your CV must be personal to you. It must also be relevant and specific to the advertised position and relevant to the organisation.
  • Look at the job requirements, the organisation culture and highlight your relevant experience, knowledge and skills.
  • Your CV does not need to showcase all of your education and your work experience to date. Only include what is necessary to get you an interview.
  • Tell the employer/recruiter that you can do the job.
  • You may have additional experience, qualifications or skills that you believe will enhance the position, and was not requested on the original job specification.
  • Highlight additional information in your profile and in your cover letter. 



Facebook Page:



CV    Job Search   Cover Letter   Job Specification




Researching and Exploring Courses

Attending Career Expo’s and Higher Options events should not be left until students are in their final leaving certificate year. Attending these events  while students are more concerned with study and points,  leaves very little time for follow up research.

Leaving Cert students do not always have time to investigate the myriad of courses available, as they are concerned with working towards a points race.

It has become very evident to me that the skill of research is not embraced by second level students. The attraction to ‘The Headline Course or the Popular College’ is gaining huge traction. Quality research needs to start after Junior Cert. This research is not necessarily geared towards a Job or a Career, but rather focused on finding a course to study which will engage and interest each student, and provide an opportunity for the student to contribute to their own learning. That course may be a P.L.C. course or an Apprenticeship Course or a Third Level Course.

Exploring course opportunities is not just about the end goal. This is a fabulous learning journey which can be enjoyed.