Dayna Mathews: Career Coach and Founder of Dayna Marie Coaching

Dayna Mathews, career and personal branding coach and founder of Dayna Marie Coaching, photographed in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Dayna Mathews, career and personal branding coach and founder of Dayna Marie Coaching, photographed in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Dayna Mathews

Dayna Mathews wants everyone to have a kickass career, which is why the career and personal branding coach founded her own consulting company, Dayna Marie Coaching. The 26-year-old Phoenix resident works with clients to help them land their dream jobs, and her services include resume writing, LinkedIn profile makeovers, interview preparation, and job lead assistance. She’s also a public speaker, conducting career training around the Valley.

Mathews shared her top tips for scoring a dream job, as well as shared why she loves calling the Valley her home in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I graduated college in May of 2010 with a bachelor of arts in communications from University of Minnesota Duluth, and I just knew I wanted to get out of my small town of Taconite in northern Minnesota and see what else the world had to offer. After college, at the time, I was with someone who wanted to move, too, and we moved to Phoenix in October of 2010. I thought I’d be here for three years but haven’t looked back since.

How did you get into career coaching?

Before I graduated college, I did an internship with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development as a disability program navigator. I was helping youth with disabilities better represent themselves to employers and helped them with their resumes.

When I moved here, I got into insurance for a couple months, and that was absolutely not the right fit, but it got me used to networking. I ended up getting a job at a nonprofit in Phoenix called Arizona Call-A-Teen Youth Resources and was a career adviser there for six months, before I was recruited to work for a small private company in Tempe called Focus Employment Services as a contracted career counselor with the state of Arizona vocational rehab program. I was working with adults with mental, physical and developmental disabilities to help them overcome their barriers to success, with job coaching and mentoring.

I was there for about a year and a half when decided I wanted to work for a community college. After doing some networking, I went and worked for Glendale Community College as a career adviser in career services, helping students, community members and staff figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, with resume writing, interview skills, LinkedIn profiles, and more. You name it, I did it.

In March of 2014, I decided to bite the bullet and start my own business, Dayna Marie Coaching. I started to realize every place of employment I would go, I would consistently do really well, but I would get this itch to do more. I’m a person who really enjoys my freedom.

I knew I was good at what I was doing, and I had met a couple of mentors who did career coaching themselves as a business. I would meet with them periodically, and they’d tell me I could do this on my own and should make it happen. It took about a year to get up the guts to do it, but I thought, “You know what, I have to try this. If I don’t, I’m going to regret it.” It’s been going greatly so far, and I’m glad I made the leap.

What’s your typical week like now?

What I like about it is there’s no typical week. The majority of my time is helping people, mainly women, figure out how to find a happier career. That includes re-branding them online and helping them with their resume, their LinkedIn profile and anything they need in that transition process from where they’re at now to where they want to be in the future. I do a lot of one-on-one coaching, whether it’s in person, on the phone, via Skype or a lot of emailing back and forth.

You can find me doing do a lot of LinkedIn profile makeovers and nearly weekly public training and speaking events, on everything from LinkedIn, to resumes, to choosing a career that fits the real you. I also do consultations with potential clients and go to a lot of networking events, because I love being around other really smart business people and learning as much as I can.

What are the biggest indicators people can look out for to know it’s time for a career change?

One is if you are waking up every day, and you’re feeling like you don’t want to get out of bed and have a sinking feeling in your gut, like, “Ugh, I have to go to work again today.” I also think of it in terms of, if on a Sunday night, you have this sad feeling, like, “Here starts another week of doing something I don’t really like to do.” It’s not always the career. Sometimes, it’s just a bad employer who’s not the right fit for you.

I always tell people to think about, “What makes me happy on a regular basis? How do I feel when I’m going to work? Am I inspired? Am I tired? Do I feel exhausted? Do I feel like I’m excited to contribute something, or do I feel like I’m a robot, just doing the day-to-day, and I can’t wait until five o’clock rolls around?” That’s not a fun life to live, and I don’t believe anybody deserves to go through that.

What are the biggest benefits you as a coach bring to someone?

I think for me, the benefits I bring are vastly different than some other coaches I’ve met. Every coach has their forte and things they’re great at. I have personal experience with a lot of large transitions in my own life, and I know what it takes to mentally prepare yourself to make a transition. I’m very empathetic, and I understand where people are coming from. While I’m very understanding, and I can understand the hardships of why people aren’t making changes in their lives, I have an ability to inspire, or so I’m told by the individuals I’ve worked with.

I also have four years of direct, grassroots career coaching experience and have built up a lot of contacts and know recruiters at many different companies. I’ve done more than 500 resumes, and I’ve been on LinkedIn daily for nearly five years now. All that experience combined into one makes me different.

For people who are out of work and are looking at their budgets closely, how would you describe the return on investment employing a coach can provide?

You have to think about how long you’ve been out of work, how many resumes you’ve submitted and not gotten a response back from, and how long you’ve been out of the job search world. If you’ve been out of the job search world for awhile, there are a lot of things that have changed. Even if you haven’t been out of the job search world for awhile, if you’ve been searching for more than two months, something isn’t working. Either your strategy is off, or your resume doesn’t have enough keywords in it, or your branding online isn’t what recruiters are looking for.

By spending a couple hundred bucks on a career coach to make sure you look as good as possible, and to make sure your resume is selling you for what you’re actually worth, can get you paid thousands of dollars more each year.

What are the most common mistakes people make on their resumes?

The biggest mistake I see with resumes is people are making one resume and sending that for every job they apply for. It’s a pain to have to tailor and switch them around for every job they apply for, but it’s important.

Also, outdated formatting is a common mistake. Having an objective on a resume is absolutely not good. If a recruiter sees that, they know you’re not up-to-date with how things currently work, and that’s really unattractive to an employer. That doesn’t mean you’re not a great employee, but there are things you should stay up-to-date with.

Another thing is people are not selling themselves with accomplishment-based statements. There are not enough numbers or tangible outcomes. I typically see a whole list of duties, what they did every day, but that doesn’t tell me anything about how good they were at the job. Recruiters, and people who have 10-30 seconds to look at your resume, want to scan it and be able to see what you contributed in your most recent jobs.

Depending on your experience, having a two-page resume is OK as long as the information you include is relevant. As far as design, simpler is better – don’t include graphs, boxes, pictures or color. Keep everything left-aligned, make sure the font is simple, such as Times New Roman, and make sure it’s no smaller than 10-point font or bigger than 12-point. Make sure your personalized LinkedIn profile url is on your resume, as well.

Include your contact information on top, and put a paragraph right underneath that summarizes who you are professionally as it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. Under that, include a skill summary, listing at least six very specific skills that match the skills that are being looked for in the position. Below that, include work or professional experience, with job title, company name, city and state of employment, and details of the job. Below that, include education, awards and activities. Also, if you have technical proficiencies, such as computer skills or very specific certifications, include those in their own section, as well.

For people who lost their jobs and didn’t keep track of those numbers, what advice do you have for crafting those statements of accomplishment?

In some careers, you really can’t track numbers because everything is kind of arbitrary, but think about how you can put numbers to your tasks. For instance, I was a person who created workshops in my last job, and I was going into classrooms. I would take that, and say, “Created seven different workshops and went into 25-plus classrooms teaching 500-plus students.” Ball-parking is OK. You don’t want to exaggerate too much or ever, ever lie, because that will come back to bite you, but approximations are good. Even going back to some of your co-workers you worked on projects with is a good strategy.

What are your biggest tips for LinkedIn profiles?

First, you need to have a complete profile. You need to have a nice photo – no selfies – and no one else in the picture with you. Make it professional if possible.

Your headline should be more than just your job title. It’s what people get to see first besides your picture. Is that headline attention-grabbing? Is it attractive? Does it tell me more than just what your job title is? That’s really important.

In addition to making sure your profile is complete with details of your last job, your education, your volunteer experiences and your skills and expertise, ask people for recommendations, and get at least three of them. You will never get to All-Star status on LinkedIn if you don’t have at least one recommendation in your profile, as well as a current job title. If you’re not working right now, you can get creative with what you put in there, but you need to have something to maintain All-Start status.

I recommend asking for at least three recommendations for every job you have listed on there within the past 10 years or so. If you are a person who has been in the workforce for decades, don’t feel like you have to go back that far. You can go back further than you would on a resume, but you don’t have to list every single job you’ve ever had.

Beyond that, think about the function of LinkedIn. Join groups, network with people, and take it offline. Meet people for coffee, and build partnerships. I don’t care what job you have, even if you have your own business, everyone should be networking all the time. You never know when you’re going to lose a job, and it’s going to be your network that helps you.

For people who get nervous about networking offline, what advice do you have?

Try to think of networking not as networking for networking’s sake, but as making friends. I think everyone can handle one bit of five to 10 minutes of small talk once a week. When it comes to networking, all you have to do is ask questions. You don’t have to talk. You can just listen. If you do meet someone offline, think about the potential the person has to be a lifelong friend, rather than just trading business cards and talking business.

What tips do you have for interviews?

For any interview, your preparation should be your first priority. As soon as you get that call for the interview, take a deep breath, celebrate, and then ask yourself why you’re a good fit for the job. Then, dive in to doing research on the company and the position you’re interviewing for. Every interview is to see if you’re a good fit for that company, not just for the job. When most people don’t get job offers, it’s not because they’re not qualified or don’t have the skills, it’s because they didn’t showcase they were the right fit for the job enough.

Think of it like dating. You can learn more about what the employer is looking for by learning about who they are as a company, looking up reviews on, even by reaching out to employees who work for that company and asking for tips for advice. The more of that you can do, the more you can give them what they’re looking for. Be sure to showcase what you’re going to bring to them and why you’re going to be the best hire.

Don’t be afraid to say, “Pick me.” Leave the interview on an enthusiastic note, showing you’re excited to start working with them as soon as possible. If you’re excited, and they can feel it, that makes you more impressive than anything else.

What career resources would you recommend?

I love the site because it has advice for anything job-related and features online courses, checklists and articles. puts on job fairs and features job-related articles and information, as well.

On, there are a ton of different job search groups, in which they’re not only posting jobs, but also posting helpful articles. and are also great. With Indeed, you can search based on job title, skills you want to use and location.

Also, especially if you’re in transition right now and don’t have a lot of money, make sure you look at using the services at the community colleges. They have career centers where they post jobs and have people who can look at your resume and help you with that. Libraries also have free resources, and Maricopa Workforce Connections offers free education for you to go back to school to update your skills so you’re more employable.

What are your personal goals?

One of my main goals is to do more speaking in Phoenix. If I can do what I’ve done, being me and where I’m from, anyone can do that. A lot of times, women are conditioned to think they can’t for whatever reason, or there’s something holding them back.

Another goal of mine is to write a book about my personal life story, and the lessons that came out of that life story and how they can help other people transition in huge life changes and make things happen on their own terms. Ultimately, I just want to help people be happier.

For people who are thinking about building their own entrepreneurial careers, what advice do you have?

Really accept and hold on to the fact it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be a very emotional experience. I didn’t realize it was going to be that way. Know that if you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to do things, you won’t get very far. If you’re full of daily self-doubt, or if your self-confidence is low, get that in check before you go out on your own. You will be tested on a daily basis. Make sure you have people around you who support you, friends, family and mentors.

Also, for anyone thinking about going out on their own, their “why” should be more than just for money. It should be an internal drive that you want to change the world in a small way or do something to fix a specific problem. People start businesses often to make money, but is it sustainable to you to give so much to something you don’t have a strong “why” for? People can sense your excitement and passion for what you do, as well.

What tips do you have for eliminating self-doubt and building up that self-confidence?

Something I do is to examine where that self-doubt comes from. Often, it comes from childhood and prior conditioning and things you were told growing up. Try to think as objectively as possible about whether the voice in your head is true, or whether it’s something someone said to you a long time ago you haven’t dealt with yet. Sometimes, working through that takes going to a therapist.

Something I do when I have that little voice of self-doubt is to give it a name and step outside of myself and talk to that voice as if it’s a crazy person, and tell it to leave. Also, listen to a song that makes you immediately happy, and remind yourself why you are worth it by reflecting on your past accomplishments.

Why should people hire you?

I’m not right for everyone, but for people, especially women, who are positive and enthusiastic and know they have so much more potential than where they’re at now but don’t know how to get their hands on something better, and who are committed and willing to do the work to change their life, they should hire me. If you’re not ready for that massive shift or for someone to push you and make you think and sometimes be uncomfortable, then you probably don’t want to hire me.

Leave a Reply