Creating a Job Search Campaign

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Marcia is passionate about sports, and her goal is to work in marketing and event management for a college athletic department.  She has just completed her master’s degree in Sports Management and is struggling to find a job.  Recently, she read a book on career development within the sports industry.  The book suggested that one of the techniques she should utilize is to create and conduct a job search campaign.

Intrigued by the thought of a job search campaign, Marcia wanted to explore this concept in greater detail.  What she found is that a job search campaign is an organized method for finding a job.  It is a focused approach that is designed to help you promote yourself to the organizations within the industry.  She also found that there are five stages that comprise the typical campaign.  These include:

  1. Identifying the objective(s) of the campaign
  2. Identifying the organizations that will be included in your campaign (this is your target market)
  3. Identifying which promotional techniques you will use to contact people within your target market
  4. Deciding which promotional materials you will use to make contact, and
  5. Deciding how you will monitor and evaluate your campaign

Following the first step in the job search campaign, Marcia identified her campaign objective as wanting to promote herself for a job in sports marketing and event management within an NCAA Division I institution in the Midwest.  A second objective was to promote herself for a similar position to schools below the Division I level that were also located in the Midwest.

With this in mind, Marcia compiled a list of all of the marketing directors who were employed within Division I athletic departments within a six state region.  This is the second step in the campaign.  She would go on to complete a similar list of the athletic directors at all NCAA Division II and III institutions within this same six state region.  These institutions would be the target market for her search and would be the focus of her campaign.

The third step of the campaign would have Marcia identify how she would contact the people within her target market.  She decided that she wanted to brand herself as an expert in sports marketing within the Midwest and began to follow the advice from the blog – Who Are You?:  Seven Techniques For Improving Your Brand Image.  She also set a goal to make personal contact with each of the marketing directors and athletic directors who were on her lists.  Since she was on a limited budget, she began slowly by making contact with the people who were located within a 100-mile radius of her home.  She sent an email to each of these people and asked if she could arrange an informational interview with each director.  Within the next three weeks, Marcia was able to visit with seven of these people.

During her meetings Marcia presented a resume and a personally tailored cover letter.  She had a great sales pitch, and asked if she could assist them with game management.  Presenting these types of promotional items comprise the fourth step of the job search campaign.  In the fifth step of the process, Marcia was extremely organized and it showed as she created a form that allowed her to track who she has contacted, when she contacted them, and what she provided to each director.  This detail would be extremely beneficial as she is able to personalize all of her communications.

Marcia’s organization and efforts are beginning to pay off.  While she is still following her branding plan, and her plan to contact each person within her campaign, she has recently accepted a part-time position helping in game management within an athletic department at a local college.  This will help her to build her resume while she continues to follow her job search campaign.  It’s only a matter of time until she receives a full-time position, but in the meantime, she will continue to follow her campaign plan.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 8 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

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