Creating an Effective Presentation for Your Interview

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Micki wanted to get a leg up on her competition during her current job search.  To aide her in the job search process she contacted a Sports Careers Consultant for advice on strategies she should use.  In particular she wanted advice on how she could out-work her competition and shine by submitting a supplement to her application in the form of a sales pamphlet, a proposal or a video presentation.

The consultant had significant experience in the college sports industry and shared some of his thoughts with her regarding the use of presentations in the job search process.  He suggested that supplemental materials submitted with the application don’t usually provide an advantage to the applicant.  However, a very well presented sales pamphlet or proposal could definitely assist during the on-campus interview.

He went on to explain his views.  The consultant shared that during the application process, the pool of applicants are first narrowed down by the search committee after reviewing their cover letter, resume, and references.  If a person meets the minimum qualifications they would typically move on to a second round of review.  Further review of qualifications, and discussions with references, helps to create a list of finalists.  At this point supplemental materials and presentations probably won’t help. 

The consultant spoke about his philosophy for the job search process.  He believes that along with a person’s resume and cover letter, contacts help you to get an interview – and once you get the interview, it’s up to you to secure the job.  Intrigued by this concept, Micki asked the consultant about the types of presentations she could pitch to the search committee during an on-campus interview.

In many industries a candidate is asked to make a presentation during a job interview.  The consultant recommended that if Micki were ever in this situation, she would want to find out from the employer what type of presentation is expected and what should be included.  Typically this includes a PowerPoint presentation.  However, in college sports, interviews don’t usually include a PowerPoint or any type of formal presentation.  But one format you could use is an Interview Portfolio.  This type of presentation is something that most candidates won’t use, and if done properly you could definitely stand out from the crowd.

The consultant explained that an Interview Portfolio is a written plan and vision for the job you are interviewing for, and he shared an example of a portfolio that another client developed when he was interviewing for an athletic director’s position.  His client’s portfolio was a 24 page document that outlined his plan and vision within eight areas:  departmental goals, departmental infrastructure, student support, compliance, marketing & promotions, fund raising, and an outline of the model athletic department.  The portfolio included a binder that had a nice color cover and 12 clear plastic pages inside.  He created eight portfolios, one for each of the search committee members.  During the interview, he was able to “walk” the committee through each section of the portfolio and was able to describe his plans and vision for the department.  Soon after his interview he received a telephone call from the president of the university and was offered the position.  He found out later that he was the only candidate during the interviews to use a presentation.  The Interview Portfolio is a sales tool that really works.

The key is that you know the basic fundamental skills that are associated with each stage of the job search process and that you effectively performing these skills.  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 www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

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