Meet the Coaches – Trish Coleman

Originally from Ireland, Trish had a past life in the Financial Sector, before switching to coaching fulltime about 10 years ago. Highly qualified in Coaching Psychology, and a trained counsellor, she loves helping people find their best self, and have a laugh along the way.

Welcome Trish, let’s get this party started!

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

Research on job boards at least 20 minutes a day 3-5 days a week. Focus on key requirements of roles to identify job titles that match your skill set. This research also helps you identify key words and language to help develop your resume, what organisations are recruiting in this space and also then identify the recruiters.

It is also crucial that you understand your value proposition – what do you bring to the table as well as knowing what you want from your next role.  Doing the work upfront (self assessment to gain self awareness) including understanding your own value proposition, key skills, top 3 to 5 values, what you are looking for in a role and understanding the market through research will support you to make a more informed decision about your next move and career pathway.

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

Reach out to my network with the objective of expanding my connections: talk to friends, friends of friends, colleagues, referees etc.… They can provide feedback, advice become eyes and ears for you and can also be a referral source and support base as you navigate through your job search. The benefits:’

By gathering information about the Industry or professional trends, problems and needs, you can demonstrate how you have the experience or skills to address the problems or challenges they or others are facing.  In order to be able to achieve this you need to know what these challenges are by asking the right questions and actively listening and learning.

Networking enables you to enlist additional “eyes and ears” in your career search. By bringing your contacts into your search for new employment, you are less likely to miss opportunities that are never advertised or listed with recruiters.  Thus it is important to maintain communication with your contacts during the course of your networking.

Your objective in networking is to get referrals from your contacts and meet even more people who will give you valuable insights and even keep an eye open for you.  In fact, you will know you are networking correctly when you begin meeting new contacts (friends of friends) who were previously strangers. Don’t forget the follow up!!!

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

This depends on a number of variables i.e. the saying “how long is a piece of string” comes to mind. E.g. how much time is being devoted to job search, the financial situation of the individual, the quality of their job search activities, the role, the market, time of year etc… On average it takes 3 to 4 months. However, I have had clients who landed a role within a month and some senior executives where it has taken 6 + months.

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

Again this might depend on the individual, the context etc… but the first thing that comes to mind is review your job search activities and if necessary create more structure and boundaries e.g. diarise activities:

  • Job Board exploring and number of applications a week
  • Identifying recruiters through LinkedIn, job description and your own connections
  • Direct organisation contact through websites or our networks
  • Networking calls / meetings. Ask yourself, your friends, your referees this question: “Who else should I be talking to”.

My advice to applicants who want to stand out:

1 – Resume:

  • Keep it simple – needs to be easy to read and understand – well set out with plenty of blank space on each page (keep it to three pages).
  • Align your positioning summary to the role/s you are applying (thus research roles first: explore the key attributes and key requirements/selection criteria and then develop a resume that aligns).
  • Your resume is an information piece, a marketing document, designed simply to get you to an interview (it is not a biographical essay). Do not be tempted to place too much information in this document.  It needs to be easy to read and understand with no spelling errors.
  • It should be designed to include what the reader wants to see with achievements written in bullet points (not prose style).
  • It is also important to focus on the “so what” the impact of your actions – to this end a resume should be 70% to 80% achievement focused. Not a series of job descriptions with a long laundry list of responsibilities.

2 – Cover Letter:

Tailor your cover letter to the specific role you are applying for – aligning it to the key requirements of the role. Also needs to be succinct and easy to read – keep to one page. Addressed properly to the relevant person. Tell them why you would like to work for them (do your research and cover why you are suitable for this role and organisation.

3 – LinkedIn:

A good social media profile is recommended, mirroring your resume but doesn’t need to have as much information around achievements etc.  As with resume ensure key words are peppered throughout.

4 – Recruiters/Hiring Managers:

A quick call to the recruiter if there is a contact number prior to applying can help you stand out (ensure you have a good reason for reaching out / a good question re the role) and follow up call after application end date especially for roles you feel particularly suitable.  This shows your interest in the role and may differentiate you from others (as long as you prepare for conversation in advance).

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

Lack of preparation is one common mistake e.g. inappropriate resumes formatting not consistent or easy to follow, too long – wordy leading to good information hidden within the resume and the reader really needs to dig deep to find skills.  Recruiters take on average 6 to 7 seconds to glance through a resume. Also, rushing to write a resume when you do not know what role you are looking for, this can be overwhelming. Whereas if you have a job description/s to align your resume to it makes the process much easier – identify the sorts of roles you want and then develop your resume. 

The most common career mistake I see people make:

No plan, no Development Plan re next role.  People tend to get bogged down in the role they have and do not consider the ‘next role’ or their future goals.  I have worked in the career outplacement / career transition space for over 6 years now and a high percentage of my clients had no career plan, then they suddenly found themselves in job search and often they are overwhelmed. Of course plans can always be changed as you gather more information and grow and develop – regular review of plans and goals are always recommended. 

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

Automatic Negative Thinking – “I am not good enough and I will be found out”.  And my experience is that females feel this more.  Looking to tick a job description 100% before applying for a role.  Food for thought: “If you are looking for a challenging role and can tick the box 100% – where is the challenge”.

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

It is not personal, it’s a vague generalised response, a safe way to inform applicants.  Perhaps the resume / cover letter was not aligned to role or your key words were not aligned to the skills and key requirements of the role.  Perhaps a lot of people applied for the role and others had more experience.  There could be numerous reasons, it is what it is, put it down to experience and see what you can learn from it.

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

Connections/network building on your connections – meet friends of friends. Ask questions to understand how you can help other people and where you could add value. Work out who your advocates are and ask for their support and guidance.  Talk to your referees, get them to proofread your resume – we often under promote so good to have someone else run their eyes over your resume in terms of “have you positioned yourself in the best possible light given your skills and experience”?.   Understand your value proposition and be able to articulate it succinctly. Networking builds confidence and is great practice for interviews, helping you build confidence over time – I recommend around 3 meetings a week. Remember “looking for a job is a full-time job”.

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

Don’t be to hard on yourself and take breaks – diarise time for job search but also for relaxation, exercise, spending time with family and well-being.

Now let’s discover a bit more about Trish herself…

Trish, what gets you fired up in the morning?

My coffee and Berocca – no seriously, I enjoy helping others and have a proven track record of this in terms of coaching, mentoring and counselling with knowledge of models and theories that are evidenced based.  I am particularly passionate about supporting others in their pursuit of specific professional or personal goals or creating new lifestyles in order to achieve an effective life balance.  Beyond the above I am an enthusiastic learner and have a long-term goal to continuously improve as a coach through practice, feedback, professional development and supervision.

How do you maintain your motivation?

Reminding myself of my successes when I feel a lack of motivation kicking in and surrounding myself with advocates who I can call if I need a mentoring session. I also keep a to do list and regularly review this list and can see progress and wins – this motivates me to keep going.

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

I just do it…. Even if you don’t feel like it you may still have to do it. This was especially true for me when I was studying.  Sure I didn’t feel like it at times but I did want a distinction average so I just did it anyway.

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

Build relationships, talk to people about your goals and your passions.  Practice active listening so you can gather information on how you could help them.  And always asking the question “who else should I be talking to?” Also, I am a fan of Amy Cuddy and her saying “fake it until you become it”. We can achieve almost anything we want as long as we are willing to take the risk.

What’s the worst?

“Why would you want to go to Australia – you should marry a rich Irish farmer” (that was my mum’s advice over 25 years ago!)

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

The importance of being authentic and helping others.  Also as a coach it is important to remember who is suppose to be doing the work. My role is to partner with my clients, guide them, challenge them, support them and keep them accountable and motivated, however the process of achieving desired outcomes is their responsibility.

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

My derailers from a Hogan language perspectives are dutiful and diligent – always trying to keep others happy.  I wish someone had explained to me that although this could be seen as a strength it can also be a derailer.  So I would tell my younger self that sometimes its okay to say no, it is okay to set boundaries.  If you don’t it may result in you resenting the very people you are trying to help.

Connect with Trish here: