As In Sports, Persistence Pays Off In Your Job Search

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

One of the lessons a person learns from participation on a successful sports team is the value of persistence.  In some games a team will be clicking on all cylinders and everything just seems to go right, but in others nothing seems to work.  The key to a successful season is picking yourself up after a defeat, dusting yourself off, and working extremely hard for the next game.  This same strategy can be used in a job search campaign.

If you are actively searching for a new job, you will want to be persistent in your search.  This means working hard to put your best foot forward with each application you submit to a potential employer, dusting yourself off when you receive a rejection letter, and working extremely hard on your next application.

Application Process

Applying for a job is more than just submitting a cover letter and resume; it’s being active and persistent in the process.  This means doing research on the organization and tailoring your cover letter to them.  It also means researching each person within the organization to see if there is a connection between any of them and any your contacts/colleagues.  If so, you will want your colleagues to help you in the process.  Your persistence in each job application could include submitting application materials that are completed in a professional manner, calling the hiring manager to find out more about the job (building a relationship), requesting your colleagues call and recommend you, preparing extremely well for an interview, and properly following up after the interview.

Job Search Process

While you are working hard (and smart) on each job application, you will also want to conduct this same process for several positions simultaneously.  In a full-blown active search, you will want to have dozens of applications in the works at the same time.  Each application will be at different stages of the process so it is key that you are organized and know exactly where you are with each application.  You should have a “job search status form” that identifies both the jobs you have already applied for and the jobs you intend to apply for.

For each of the jobs you have applied for, you will want to keep a list with the name of the organization, the position you applied for, and the status of the search.  This status might include the date the job closes, what information you submitted, and the date of your interview.  As you receive rejection letters, delete those positions from your status form, dust yourself off, and focus on the other applications.

For each job you intend to apply for, list on your status form the name of the organization, the date the position closes, the position, and the status of your application.  Persistence is a good quality in the job search process, but make sure that you are not being overbearing with the hiring manager and balance your persistence with patience.  Some jobs take longer to fill than others.  Understand this, stay active with the process, and persist in your job search.

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 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at


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