Three for Thursday: 3 Ways to Approach the Job Search Like an Athlete
Every Rocky movie is the same thing, sorry it’s true! Sure, the characters and challenges change but most unfold the same way. Rocky is first pitted against a challenger that he’s not supposed to beat. He then begins to train as any boxer does for the big fight. As the fight nears, he begins to formulate a plan of attack for facing his opponent. Finally, the match arrives and Rocky is ready to execute his training and planning in what turns out to be a fight we could only dream of seeing in real life.
In all honesty, how could the Rocky movies unfold any other way?
This is a process every athlete goes through. Athletes are often faced with very lofty goals before their season or events begin. They reach these goals by first training their body so that it is at peak performance for competition. As the season or event nears, they begin to plan their strategies and how they will attack their opponent. Finally, when the time of competition arrives the athlete relies on their training and preparation to take over to give them the best performance possible for reaching their goals.
As we near the middle of the spring semester, many NCAA athletes will be graduating and you will be pitted against a challenge that may seem impossible to beat: The Job Search. After all the time and effort spent perfecting your sports performance, you may feel like you’re at a disadvantage when it comes to beginning a career outside of sports. The truth is that you actually have an advantage when it comes to the job hunt. Just follow the same model you’ve followed your whole life!
What is that model? Well, it is a simple one you have been doing for years, and you can find it in this week’s edition of “Three for Thursday” below.
While you are most likely used to training for the physical aspect of your sport, training for the job hunt is going to be a bit different. No matter what kind of employment you are looking for, they are going to be expecting you to have certain skills and knowledge of certain processes. If you haven’t already, start researching what skills and knowledge are required and preferred in your field.
A good place to start when training for the job hunt is to become familiar with terminology that is used in your field. Chances are as a college athlete, you’ve neglected reading the text books here and there. Now is the time to open them up and familiarize you with some language.
Another awesome way to learn more about your field are through company blogs. Companies will often demonstrate their industry knowledge in their original articles and provide you with advanced insight into their working landscape. They will also be impressed and happy that you took the time to read and review their content!
As for training your skills, this can vary depending on what kind of job you’re applying for. However, there are skills like interpersonal communication, time management and organization that you can practice right now! Companies will always be looking to hire candidates that can demonstrate these traits.
For an athlete, this is perhaps the most crucial stage, and the same can be said for a job hunter. Sticking a four-year old resume on a job board website isn’t going to cut it. You need a plan of attack before you start your hunt.
To begin your plan of attack, create a schedule. Begin by first writing out the goals you hope to accomplish in your job search. This is the most important step because you need to focus on what it is you want to accomplish. Entering the job hunt without a sense of direction is a hopeless cause. Chances are you will not get lucky, and you will either end up with no job or settling for a position out of disparity.
Once you see your goals on paper, figure out what steps need to be taken to reach them. This might involve updating your resume or visiting career services for interview practice. No matter what the steps are, you must hold yourself accountable for fulfilling these steps. The best way to make sure you fulfill them is to set deadlines of when they need to be completed by.
An important thing to remember in the planning stage is that not everything is going to go as planned. Realize what you can and can’t control in this stage. For the aspects that you can’t control, build contingency plans. A solid contingency will save you a lot of time and worry on the job hunt.
Contrary to common sense, this should be the easiest stage. Execution is simply a culmination of your training and planning. All the hard groundwork has already been completed. You should be able to go right through your schedule and check off everything you wrote down.
As your plan begins to unfold and you start to get interviews, it will be time to let your training kick in. By this point in the job hunt, the things you learned through training should be second nature, just like running if you are a track athlete or throwing a baseball if you are a baseball player.
The most difficult part of this stage is adjustment. Just like competition, the field of play can change in an instant. It could be you were given an interview question you weren’t expecting, or a company closes a position you had planned to apply for. No matter what it is, it is important to never panic and either fall back on one of your contingency plans or adjust on the fly just as you would do when playing sports.
I’m sure for many of you searching for a job may feel like Rocky Balboa vs Ivan Drago. It’s an uphill battle against an opponent that seems thoroughly unbeatable. However just like Rocky did and just like you’ve done through sports, you can beat the job search through training, planning, and execution.