Identifying Your Target Market in the Job Search Process

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Editor’s Note:  The Coffee House Mentor is a series of 10 topics that discuss all aspects of the job search process.  This blog on targeting your search is the fourth article in the series.

Last week we discussed how Rick was extremely organized when he developed a plan for his career.  He had researched the steps and strategies that he would take in order to create an effective plan.  This research led him to identifying the process, and the corresponding strategies he could use, to attain his dream job.

Rob, the mentor of the group, built upon these thoughts and continued on by discussing the process for identifying the people and organizations a person should target in their job search campaign.  While many people wait for a job to open and then they apply for the position, Rob is teaching his five mentees the value of being proactive in their job search.  He reasons, “If you have already made contact with the people within an organization, when a job opens up you will have a leg up on your competition.   This is because you already know the people within the organization, and people hire people they know.”

To help Rob get his point across, he passed out three worksheets.  For the next 35 minutes, the group reviewed the worksheets and discussed the process of targeting the job you want.  The following are the three worksheets the group reviewed:

  • Establishing Your Target Market
  • Institutions Within Your Target Market
  •  Target Market Contact List

“Establishing Your Target Market” is the first worksheet they discussed.  This worksheet is a summary and review of the information that Rick presented earlier in the session.  This form has you outlining the type of position you want to pursue.  It includes the specifics about the organization such as the type of sports organization, the level of competition, the geographic location, and the size of the community.  Rob went on to say that “Once you have identified this information, you will move on to the second worksheet which is entitled “Institutions Within Your Target Market.”

This second worksheet has you identifying each organization that meets the criteria from the first worksheet.  For example, if you are interested in working at an NCAA Division I institution within the state of Washington, your target market will include Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Seattle University, University of Washington, and Washington State University.  If your criteria also includes that the organization has football, then you have narrowed your list to Eastern, UW, and WSU.  Once you have listed every institution within your target market, you will now move on to the third worksheet.

The third worksheet, entitled “Target Market Contact List”, has you identifying the name of the organization and contact information of the supervisor or manager you will want to connect with.  Once you have organized your target list and identified the contact information, you will now want to create a strategy for how you will network with the people within the organization.  This networking is key for eventually getting a job in the company.

By knowing where you want to work, you can identify the people you want to network with in order to build a relationship.  This information is helping the mentees to become very organized in their job search process.  Rob instructed each mentee to insert the three new worksheets into the fourth section of their worksheet binder.

For more information about the job search process, please contact Howard Gauthier at howard@sportscareersinstitute.com or go to our website at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.  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 latest book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

 

Planning Your Career

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Editor’s Note:  The Coffee House Mentor is a series of 10 topics that discuss all aspects of the job search process.  This blog on career planning is the third article of the series.

As the career mentoring group gathered for this week’s meeting, the group was prepared to have a strong discussion about how to properly and effectively plan their career.  Rob, the mentor and leader of the group, began the session by asking the group members if they knew what their ultimate career goal was, and if they knew how to position themselves to achieve this goal.

Two of the mentees had a pretty clear concept of what they wanted in a career and two were really trying to discover their way in life.  But Rick knew exactly what he wanted.  He wanted to pursue coaching and wanted to coach basketball at the Division I level.  He went on to say “When I was first fired as the head coach at the local high school, I was confused and didn’t know if I still wanted to coach.  However, as I reflected upon my strengths and weaknesses, I knew that my strengths are in teaching and coaching young people.  In fact, I love the game, I love teaching and coaching, and the firing might be the prodding I needed to help me pursue my dreams and passions.”

Rick went on to discuss a formula he uncovered for mapping out his career and a step-by-step process to help guide him as he planned a career toward becoming a basketball coach at the Division I level.  This formula for planning your career includes four steps and several strategies on how you should plan and position yourself for your dream job.  These steps and strategies include:

Step One:  Identifying Your Dream Job.  This includes identifying the following elements,

  • Type of Position (e.g. basketball coach)
  • Industry (e.g. college level)
  • Type of Institution (e.g. Public/Private, 2-year/4-year)
  • Level of Competition (e.g. NCAA Division I)
  • Where You Want to Live (e.g. region of the country)
  • Size of the Community (e.g. urban or rural)

As you continue on in this four-step process, you will want to research which organizations meet the above criteria for your career.  You should list these organizations in a personal notebook.

Step Two:  How To Get There.  As you plan for your dream job, research and identify the type of education, experience, and skills you will need in order to be hired for this position.

Step Three:  Positioning Yourself.  Working backwards, what type of positions will lead to your dream job?  The assumption is that you are just beginning your career and that your dream job is approximately 10-15 years into the future.  This also assumes that it will take approximately four career moves before you reach your dream job.  These assumptions will change depending upon where you currently are in your career.  Therefore, it might only take two moves instead of four.  With this in mind, work backwards from your “dream” situation in step one, and identify what the logical job would be that could lead to your career goal.  This is your “One-Position Removed” job. List this position in your notebook.  Continue on with this format and identify the type of employment that would lead to your one-position removed job.  This is your “Two-Positions Removed” job.  You will also want to list this in your notebook.  Complete this process by identifying your 2-Year Career Goal.  Your 2-year goal should lead to your “Two-Positions Removed” job and is the job you want to secure within the next two years.  List this position in your notebook.

Step Four:  Your Current Situation.  In this step you will list your current position and then identify the strategies you need to employ in order to become hired into your next position within two years.  These strategies can include:

  • Repositioning yourself within the industry
  • Obtaining an entry level Job
  • Staying in your current position and begin a networking plan
  • Volunteer to gain experience
  • Attend Graduate/Undergraduate School
  • Complete an internship (paid or unpaid)
  • Find a mentor who can give you perspective and advice

These four steps gave Rick the necessary process and strategies that allowed him to gain a clear focus into attaining his dream job.  The mentoring group was pleased with Rick’s input and Rob continued on by discussing the process for identifying the people and organizations you should target in your job search campaign.  This will be discussed in next week’s blog.

For more information about the job search process, please contact Howard Gauthier at howard@sportscareersinstitute.com or go to our website at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.  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 latest book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

Assessments: Know Your Strengths and Abilities

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Editor’s Note:  The Coffee House Mentor is a 10-week blog series that discusses all aspects of the job search process.  The assessments piece is the second blog of the series.

Rob Taylor, the mentor of the careers group, just finished introducing Cece Davis to the other four mentees who meet weekly at the Rose Street Coffee House.   As the group shared the 10 elements of the job search process, Rob asked Cece what her career goals were.  Cece hesitated a bit and then replied I’m not 100% certain.

You see, Cece was in her mid-twenties and was recently downsized, as her company was laying-off employees.  Now she’s out of work and the prospects for securing another job at times seems like a pipe dream.  Sometimes the interviewer would tell her that she didn’t have the necessary experience.  Other times they told her that she had too much education and was over qualified.  And still, other times, she never even received a letter or phone call telling her she didn’t get the job.  She just assumed she didn’t because she never heard back from the potential employer after her interview.

Rob then asked, “Cece, what are the strengths you bring to an employer and what are your weaknesses?”  The group saw these questions coming a mile away as Rob always asks these same questions to all new members of the group.  As a former coach and athletic director, Rob wants to make sure that his mentees are well prepared for the job search process.

Cece thought for a moment and then replied, “I guess my strengths are my work ethic, college education, and my computer skills.”  “I’m not certain how to answer the question about my weaknesses.”   Rob then asked the group why do we need to identify our strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities?

Lizzie was the first to speak up and said, “We need to know our strengths and skills for four main reasons:

  • It helps us to write a cover letter that can really sell us
  • It helps us in answering interview questions
  • It provides us with confidence during the interview
  • It helps us in trying to influence the hiring decision after the interview.”

Steve jumped in and suggested that the only way to truly understand and know our strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities is by completing self-assessments.  These assessments become the foundation for every thing we do in the job search process.  He summed it up by offering that “a person shouldn’t begin applying for jobs until they have completed the assessment stage of the job search process.”  These thoughts made sense to Cece and her mission for the next week would be to complete the assessment worksheets from her career development book.

Next week’s blog will discuss the process of planning your career.  For more information about the job search process, please contact Howard Gauthier at howard@sportscareersinstitute.com or go to our website at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.  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 latest book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

The Coffee House Mentor: An Overview of the Job Search Process

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Coffee-Shops-Amsterdam-Ban-e1321980515514The music obnoxiously blared as the alarm clock read 6:45am.  Unlike most days, Cece Davis popped out of bed and was excited for the day.  You see, Cece has been looking for a job for several months now, and today she was joining a careers mentoring group headed by Rob Taylor, a retired college athletic director.  Rob has become known as the Coffee House Mentor because the group meets every Tuesday morning at 10am at the Rose Street Coffee House, and every mentee he has mentored has gotten a job.

Rob Taylor had a 40-year career as a coach and athletic director, and he is now giving back to the community by mentoring five young people who are at various stages of their careers.  The group is limited to five people at a time because Rob believes he is most effective as a teacher in a small group setting such as this.

As Cece arrived at the coffee shop, Rob introduced her to the other four mentees.  There was Lizzie Sather who has been with the group for three and a half weeks after being downsized in the computer industry.  Next to her was Steve Huntley who is a senior at State University and is majoring in Finance.  Continuing to move around the room was Rick Edwards.  Rick was a teacher at the local high school and was considered to be a rising star as a basketball coach.  When a new athletic director was hired, Rick’s coaching contract was not renewed and the new AD appointed himself as the new coach.  As the introductions continued, Brian Graham was next in line.  While Brian is really talented in designing and operating websites, he is painfully quiet and shy.  He was the Vice President of Operations for a three person up-start website design company.  When the recession hit, people tightened their belts, and the company had to close its doors.

As a way of introducing Cece to the group, Rob asked the group to share with her an overview of the job search process.  They identified 10 elements that are necessary for conducting a successful job search campaign.  These elements are from the book “Getting Hired in College Sports”.  It’s a “how to” book for the job seeker and Rob requires each mentee to buy a copy so they can use the worksheets that are included.  As they began this week’s session, the group shared with Cece the following 10 elements that a job seeker must know, and must execute perfectly, in order to secure a job.  These elements include:

  • Properly Assessing Your Skills, Abilities, Strengths and Traits.
  • Completing The Career Planning Guide.
  • Establishing The Target Markets For Your Job Search Campaign.
  • Effectively Promoting Yourself Through a Cover Letter, Resume, References, and Networking Strategies.
  • Developing Your Personal Sales Pitch.
  • Completing Your Interview Preparation Form.
  • Preparing To Answer Interview Questions.
  • Organizing Your Job Search Campaign.
  • Using Proven Strategies For Your Job Interviews.
  • Being Strategic in Following-up After Your Interview.

In the next few weeks, the story of the Coffee House Mentor will continue to unfold in this blog as we discuss each of these 10 job search elements in much greater detail.  For more information about the job search process, please contact Howard Gauthier at howard@sportscareersinstitute.com or go to our website at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

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 new book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

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