I was reading an article by Katherine Donnelly in the Irish Independent this week, and it reminded 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 the article written by Carl O’Brien, in the Irish Times this week 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. Mob: 087 608 2694.
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. Mob: 087 608 2694. Email:

One Size does not fit all.

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. 



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CV    Job Search   Cover Letter   Job Specification




Researching and Exploring Courses

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.

Prepare for Interview

Prepare for Interview

Preparation for every interview is essential, if a candidate wishes to convince the interviewers they they are the right person for the job. Many interview questions can be anticipated, and candidates will score low points where lack of preparation for obvious questions is apparent.

Tell me about yourself?                                                                                            

  • One of the few interview questions that can be well prepared, can be cohesive, and can clearly indicate your suitability to the job –                         
  • And yet – The answer to this opening interview question is often lacking in clarity, badly prepared and shows little or no connection between the candidates past experience and their suitability for the role.       

Interview Questions that should be anticipated.                                                   

  • Strengths  – Areas for Development (Weaknesses)                                                                
  • What can you bring to the job – To the organisation?                                           
  • Why do you believe that you are the right person for the job?                         
  • What do you know about the position?                                                                       
  • What do you know about the organisation?

Competency Questions.                                                                                                  

  • Answers should be planned using the STAR model.
  • Examples – Evidence – Scenarios – Outlining ability – Competence – Actions -Application of knowledge.  
  • And most important – Demonstrating that you have learned from your experiences.                   


The above points represent a few of the areas that you can prepare for and plan for, in advance of your interview. To learn more about interview preparation, contact me at Career Coaching Matters.    Email:



The Interview Process – What went Wrong?

  • You were absolutely thrilled to get invited to interview –
  • You researched the organisation – Googled the Website –
  • You read the latest news about the sector –
  • You studied the Job Specification again and aligned it with your CV –
  • You practised the expected interview questions –
  • You got to grips with competency interview questions –
  • You organised your smart professional outfit –
  • You checked out the interview location – Even did a test drive –
  • You turned up for the interview well prepared and in good time –

You didn’t have to wait for the regret letter. 

  • Sitting in front of the interview panel, you knew something was wrong.
  • They were quite shocked when you approached the interview table to shake hands and say hello –
  • They did not introduce themselves –
  • They talked for 15 minutes out of your 20  minute allocation –
  • They just about asked you about yourself – Nobody took notes –
  • They didn’t ask you about your experience, qualifications and fit for the job –
  • They didn’t even ask you the ‘creative off the wall question’ –
  • They talked, laughed and joked among themselves –
  • You got a sense that they were not listening –
  • The interview came to an abrupt ending or just filtered out –

Learn to Manage the Interview Process

  • Question: Who must prepare for interview?
  • Answer:   The interview candidate and the interviewers.


As an interview candidate, you must learn to manage your performance as well as the interview process in the event that interviewer is not expert in the field of interviewing. Don’t judge them, they may be your future employer. They are expert in other fields, so help them, to see what benefit you can bring to their organisation.

As an interviewer, your responsibility is to hire the candidate who can solve specific problems in your organisation – who can add value. In order to see a candidate at their best, set them up to succeed at interview, give them an opportunity to shine.

Next Steps

  • Would you like to perform better at Interviews?
  • This question applies to the both the candidate and the interviewer.

Contact  Career Coaching Matters in order to get better outcomes from interviews.

Email:       Facebook:  Career Coaching Matters.





First blog post

Career Coaching Matters.                                                                                               

I use social media to promote the services provided by Career Coaching Matters.  Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn – 

Social media platforms also provide me with an opportunity to repost Jobs , Training Courses and Education opportunities. I know that many of my business page followers use this page to assist them with their job search.

Many of you tag friends and family if you find a job that is relevant for them. Word of caution. Please check that it is okay to tag them. Not everyone wants the world to know that they are job searching.  I appreciate that you all share the post in public. It is possible to tag people using the private message option.

Thanks for sharing and liking my posts.


Career Coaching Matters.

April 2018.




For Appointment please contact Angela at   +353 87 608 2694.