When it comes to Major League Baseball, anything can happen once you get to the playoffs. Other professional sports try to claim this in advertisements getting you excited for a No. 1 seed to play a No. 8 seed, but the odds are stacked heavily against the underdog. In baseball, that is not the case.
In the 2016 MLB Playoffs, fans have already witnessed the No. 1 seed in the American League (Texas Rangers) not only lose to the lowest seed (Toronto Blue Jays), but get swept in three straight games. The Cleveland Indians—despite losing two of their top three pitchers to injury in the final month or so of the regular season, came out and stifled the top offense in all of baseball in route to a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox.
In the National League, the Chicago Cubs finished the regular season with 103 wins, yet they had to scratch and claw their way to a win in the ninth inning against the 87-win San Francisco Giants to advance to the NLCS. They are waiting on the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers (91 wins) and Washington Nationals (95 wins), who face each other one last time on Thursday night to determine who moves on.
No other sport brings the postseason drama like the MLB can. It is pretty much the only sport where season in and season out, teams with a 16-win regular season difference are battling into the final inning, or heavy underdogs like the Blue Jays can come out and sweep the No. 1 overall seed in a league.
The chance for greatness is endless in the MLB playoffs, which is why job seekers should use the parity of baseball as inspiration for their next job search.
Think about it, if a team that has been written off by the entire world before even playing a game can do the impossible—you have a chance to beat out anyone for that promotion or new career you have been putting off applying for the last six months. Just because you do not think you have what it takes to beat out other candidates for the job, does not mean a hiring manager is going to eliminate you in the first round.
So, what can you do to channel your inner MLB playoff team mode to attack your job search this fall? Well for starters, start doing these three things.
Do Not Fear the Competition
In this technological age of applying for jobs, many job seekers seem to think every single job they are interested in is going to have more qualified applicants applying for it. Once this mentality creeps into their head, many do not pursue the job thinking it is “just a waste of time.”
This mentality needs to be removed from all job seekers right now. Do you think a team like the Blue Jays went into the series against the Rangers thinking they did not have a chance to win? Absolutely not, and it is the reason why they are getting ready to take on the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series.
It is human nature to think others are better than us, we are constantly reminded of this fact every single day by advertisements and 24/7 coverage of celebrities and what they are doing with their millions of dollars. However, when it comes to your career—you control your destiny.
Sit down and make a list of all the things you are good at when it comes to your current job. Now read over the job description of that new career you have been putting off applying for—notice something? You probably have the majority of, if not all of the qualifications they are looking for.
Taking yourself out of the game before you give the manager an opportunity to give you the start guarantees you will not play. Just like in baseball, not taking the time to apply for the career you want because you are afraid better candidates will apply is the only way to ensure you have no chance at the job. So go apply, now!
Spend Extra Time in the Cage
Major League players are willing to put in the time and effort to prepare for what they want. For them, it means spending extra time in the batting cages to make sure their batting mechanics are on point for the upcoming series.
For a job seeker, spending extra time in the cage means putting in the extra effort to make sure your cover letter and resume are fine-tuned before you hit submit. It also means putting in more effort to research the company and prepare yourself for that interview when you get the call to come in and meet the hiring manager.
Just like making sure a swing is perfect heading into a major series, job seekers need to make sure they are ready to hit their first impression out of the park. Also, do not forget to look in the mirror a few days before that interview. You just may find a shave or a trip to the barber/hair salon is in order as well.
Prepare Yourself for Situational Hitting, Pitching and Fielding
One of the things very few people who never played baseball fail to understand about the game is that there is more to it than swinging a bat and catching a ball. There is a mental aspect to the game that separates the great players from the average ones.
Knowledge of situational hitting, pitching and fielding is also what makes managers like Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians a cut above the rest. Time and preparation have been put in to understand the tendencies of every player his team will face. He also has moves and counter-moves to go up against the managers he will face, and understands their managerial tendencies during the flow of the game.
How can job seekers prepare themselves in this manner?
First off, having an in-depth knowledge of the company you are interviewing with is key. It ensures you will not be surprised by any questions or situations that are discussed during an interview. Nothing is worse than being asked a question you do not have a response to, just like if a player is inserted into a game that Francona does not have a scouting report on so his pitcher knows how to pitch to him.
On top of this, job seekers need to know when to press during an interview and what questions/comments should probably be held for the second conversation or follow-up opportunity. This is no different than when a manager needs to decide whether they should pull their pitcher at first signs of struggle or let him press on to get the next batter out.
Making sure you are prepared for anything that can come at you during the job seeking process is key—even if that means you have to spend a little more time “studying the film.”
As the MLB playoffs continue on into October, teams will have more preparation and adjustments they need to make than ever—but that is what makes this time of year exciting and gut-wrenching at the same time.
So as you sit there and debate your next career move, try and take a page out of the playbook of the players in the MLB playoffs. Do not be scared of the competition, make sure you are prepared for whatever comes your way during the interview process and make sure you are putting the extra time in when it comes to getting that cover letter and resume together.
Once you understand you have the power to control your career destiny in the way MLB players can control their team’s fate in the playoffs, attaining your next career move will go from being something you have dreamed about for years to something you could be doing in the near future.