Meet the Coaches – Issome Ghama

A Qualified Business Coach, Issome is our facilitator extraordinaire – passionate about mental health, authenticity and collaboration, he specialises in career acceleration one-on-one and in teams.

Issome, let’s get started…

Issome, what is your top tip to lead to successfully getting a job?

You need to always remember that job searching is effectively a sales oriented task. For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to just list skills, qualifications, etc when communicating with potential employers. Always remember the old adage of “turning features to benefits”. For example, don’t just talk about that you have a certain qualification, but also discuss how you can apply that qualification into the role.

Name one thing you would do if you were looking for a job today: 

Can I give two? Really have a good look at the structure of your resume and cover letter and make sure it talks to the role(s) you apply for. Secondly, make sure you’re applying for roles that work with both what you can do as well as who you are as a person.

How long is “too long” to be searching for a job without successfully getting a job?

This is a tricky one to answer. It really depends on effort and industry. Effort refers to how often are you searching, are you customising your applications to each role, following up applications and being deliberate in your day to day behaviours by prioritising time to apply. Industry comes into effect by considering how many candidates could be out there that are applying for the same role. If there are many, consider the effort again – are you doing anything to bring you to the top of the candidate list, such as calling the employer directly or connecting with them at industry events so that they know you.

My advice to a job seeker who feels stuck or like their job search is taking too long:

Firstly, take a breath. Job searching is a big effort. Get some external advice about your applications. Regularly update your CV. Take the opportunity to upskill yourself while you are looking – complete an accreditation or qualification online so that you can balance study and job searching effort.

My advice to applicants who want to stand out:

Create relationships with employers. Get to know them. Build connections in the industry so that, when an opportunity arises in their organisation, you have someone to back you up.

The most common mistake I see people make when searching for a job:

There are two: Firstly, cookie-cutter application approaches where the candidate sends the same resume and the same basic cover letter without ensuring it directly talks to each job in which they have applied. Secondly, not making the effort to create connections with the employer. Again, this is about putting effort into calling them, meeting them, going to industry events, etc.

The most common career mistake I see people make:

People often forget that they are an entire person and not just a set of skills and qualifications. I find the most fulfilling jobs are the ones where a person can connect skills, experience and qualifications as well as aspects of their identity and values.

What’s the most common thing you see hold people back from getting the job they really want?

Internal self-talk is a big battle for practically every person. It’s natural to have negative self-talk, but it’s important to fold it aside for the moment while you get the job done.

What does it really mean when you get a “thanks but no thanks” reply to a job application?

It means you need to look back at your application and see if you answered the requirements of the job in good detail. Sometimes it means you need someone else to look at it, since you are emotionally invested and believe it was the best effort, which could stop you from noticing errors or inconsistencies in your message.

What is something someone searching for a job can do today to improve their chances of landing a job?

Become familiar with what employers are looking for. An easy way to do this is to look at a whole bunch of job advertisements for the same type of job. What is common in all the ads? Is there a skill or qualification that they all request? Do you have it? If not, create a plan for how you will gain that skill. It could come, for example, through study or through voluntary work. Is there terminology in those job ads that’s common to all of them (think: keywords). Are you using those keywords in your applications?

What’s your favourite piece of advice or “words of wisdom” to give the people you coach?

Check in with yourself often. How are you feeling? If there are negative emotions building, be kind to yourself and take a break. Acknowledge yourself in the situation and how the situation is impacting you. If you can understand that your emotions are at play constantly, you build the ability to observe the emotions whilst maintaining momentum in your work.

Now let’s discover a bit more about the man himself…

Issome, what gets you fired up in the morning?

I feel like I should say coffee here. But really, I realise that, every day, I work to help people become more than they feel they are in the moment. I’m very motivated to help other people because I had that same experience when I was younger. People helped to change my outlook on life and now I have the privilege of doing the same thing for others.

How do you maintain your motivation?

I always remember that what I’m doing is not about me. It’s about improving the lives of others.

What do you do when you just don’t feel like it?

Take a break and reconnect with myself. I take note of the idea that not feeling like it means there’s something else going on. Maybe I’m tired, maybe I’m doubting myself, maybe what I’m doing is actually something that I don’t have full faith in. There are thoughts, beliefs and feelings at play here. I need to identify them first before I “force myself” to keep going.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Be yourself. It sounds simple, but it’s often really complicated. Finding a job that matches you as an entire person is an absolute gem. They do exist, but it takes work to get there. A lot of the time in the coaching work I do is spent helping the client identify who they are in the moment so that they can understand their behaviours better.

What’s the worst?

“Just punch out as many applications as you can. Eventually one will stick”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career/working life?

HAHAHA… Ok I’m repeating myself here, but here it is: Be your entire self when you work. Take into account what your values and beliefs are when you consider a job. I had a beautiful conversation with a lady recently who worked in Risk Management (to me it sounded like one of those boring-but-important-sounding jobs), but she loved it because it helped her bring her faith to life in her work by ensuring the safety of others. In her case, she connected her work to her religion. I never had thought that something like Risk Management could connect to faith in that way until I chatted to her.

If you could go back and tell your teenage self one thing related to jobs/career, what would be?  

Learn about yourself as you go along. Reflect on your day-to-day experiences and then search for the jobs that align with your identity. That’s when you’ll have the greatest joy at work.

Connect with Issome here: