Networking and Its Relationship To Getting a Job

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Jessica is in her final semester of studying for her master’s degree in Sports Management.  Last week she asked her advisor how she should go about getting a job in the sports industry.  To her surprise, the advisor suggested that Jessica should start networking and making contacts with professionals within the industry.

This response was not what Jessica had anticipated, but it sparked an interesting question that she and the advisor would discuss for the remainder of their meeting.  Intrigued by the thought of networking, Jessica asked “what do you mean by networking and how do you do it?”

Her advisor responded by sharing that “networking is the act of building personal relationships with colleagues within your profession.  It usually starts when you meet someone within the profession, and as time passes, the relationship grows stronger and develops into a professional relationship.”

He continued by saying “networking is the most effective way of getting a job.  In fact, it is estimated that 65-70% of all jobs are found through personal referrals or networking connections.  This is because when you know the person who is doing the hiring, or you know somebody who knows the person doing the hiring, you are at an advantage over the other applicants.  However, networking is much more than just meeting people so you can get a job.  It is a planned process where you interact with people and build alliances.

There are several strategies you can use to build a strong professional network.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Being active in meeting other colleagues by attending professional activities such as regional conferences, national conventions, and league meetings.
  • Being active in social gatherings.
  • Having informational interviews where you seek guidance and insights into the profession.
  • Meeting opposing coaches and athletic administrators at your team’s sporting events.
  • Seeking the guidance of a mentor.

As you attend these events and activities, you will meet potential colleagues.  And when you meet these people you will want to introduce yourself, show interest in them, ask them if they have a business card, and stay in contact with them on a regular basis.  The key is that you cultivate these connections and build alliances.

As you build these alliances, quite often you will become friends with these colleagues.  And in time your colleagues will slowly move up the ladder within the profession (and so will you).   As time passes, your group will eventually be the leaders within the profession, and be in a position to hire.  This is how networking works. 

You need to view networking as a long-term process.  You need to view the purpose of a networking meeting as an opportunity to build a relationship and gain insight into the industry, not to get a job.  Getting a job from the assistance of your contacts will happen, it just takes time.

Therefore, don’t put off networking because its payoff is too far into the future.  Be smart about your career and begin the networking process right away.  Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job search 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 www.SportsCareersInstitute.com or his new book, Execute for Success, at www.execute4success.com.

 

The Importance of Having a Quality Resume

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

 

Recently, an athletic department was hiring for a position in their marketing department.  Robert, the hiring manager, was responsible for the initial review of the resumes and when asked, Robert shared the process he goes through when reviewing resumes.

 

He began by sharing that he believes that the purpose of a resume is to show the hiring manager that you meet the qualifications for the position.  Your resume should be easy to read and it should sell you.  For this marketing position, Robert estimated that they received between 150 – 200 resumes.  So I inquired about how a hiring manager goes through each resume and trims the list to a workable number.

 

What I found out is that many hiring managers organize resumes into three categories – applicants who the search committee definitely wants to review further (the “yes” pile), applicants who the search committee might want to review further (the “maybe” pile), and applicants who do not make the cut (the “no” pile).  So how does a person land in the “yes” pile of resumes?  To answer this, you need to understand how the hiring manager thinks. 

 

When a resume is submitted for a job, it needs to be easy to read and show that the applicant is qualified for the position.  This process will take about 15 seconds for the hiring manager to scan the resume and determine if the applicant meets the minimum qualifications (education and experience).  If an applicant meets the minimum qualifications, their resume is placed in the “yes” pile.  If a quick scan can’t determine the applicant’s qualifications their resume is placed in either the “maybe” pile or the “no” pile.  And if the applicant does not meet the minimum qualifications, or the resume is so poorly written, the resume goes into the “no” pile.

 

Once this initial review is completed, the search committee might go through the “maybe” pile to see if there are any qualified candidates that should be moved into the “yes” pile, but they might not.  Then the committee gets to work and starts a thorough review of the applicants in the “yes” pile.  If your resume isn’t clear or doesn’t sell you, you might find yourself no longer in the running for the position.  For these reasons, you need to construct a resume using the following guidelines. 

  1. Your resume needs to show your education, experiences, and achievements in a quick 15-second scan.
  2. It needs to be formatted in a way that effectively uses fonts, bullets, and bolding to show the committee your qualifications.
  3. It needs to have quite a bit of white space, and you should use bullets and short statements instead of sentences and paragraphs.  Don’t make the committee search to find your qualifications and achievements, make sure your qualifications and achievements are clear and easy to see.
  4. Present your most important information along the left margin because people read from the top of the page down the left margin.
  5. Use a legible and conservative font and font size such as 12-point Times.  Headings can be 14-point, but don’t make the mistake of having a font that is too large or too small. The exception to this is your name at the top of the page.  Your name should be in a larger font size such as 20 or 22 point.
  6. Have your margins between 1 – 1.25 inches.  This helps in the white space and the eye-pleasing format.

Your resume is so important in the job search process.  You typically have one shot at communicating your qualifications and achievements.  If your resume doesn’t do a good job of communicating your qualifications and selling your achievements, you’ve blown it.  Take the time to create a quality resume.  You’ll be glad you did.

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 or his new book, Execute for Success, at www.execute4success.com.

 

Understanding Which Stage Of the Job Search Process You’re In

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Tanya and Todd are both searching for a job in the sports world.  Tanya is a soccer coach who is looking to advance in her career and Todd recently graduated with a master’s degree in Sports Management.  While Tanya is very focused on her career, Todd isn’t sure what type of job he wants to pursue.

Tanya knows that she wants to advance in the coaching profession but is having a difficult time getting an interview.  Todd on the other hand is confused as to what type of job or career he wants.  They both seek the assistance of a career coach to help them with their search process.

The career coach shares that there are five stages to the job search process:

1.    Assessment Stage

2.    Preparation Stage

3.    Connection Stage

4.    Interviewing Stage

5.    Follow-up Stage

In Tanya’s situation, the career coach suggests that since she knows what type of job she is interested in, the majority of her energies should be focused on the preparation and connection stages.  The preparation stage would have her review her cover letter, resume, references, and sales pitch to make sure they are formatted correctly and written correctly.  She needs to make sure that her sales tools are excellent, and that they are effectively selling her.  The career coach continued by explaining that most jobs are secured through networking, and that the connection stage would help her to be active and effective in networking within the profession.

In Todd’s situation, the career coach suggested that he begin his job search process in the assessment stage.  He needs to understand the various types of jobs that exist in the sports industry, and to understand which type of job best fits his personality, skills, and lifestyle.  The career coach went on to share that during the assessment stage, Todd will also discover his strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities.  These will help him as he identifies what type of career he wants to pursue, and in developing his promotional materials.

The career coach also recommended that both Tanya and Todd spend the majority of their attention, at this point, within their specific job search stage, but that they familiarize themselves with the other stages as well.  This is so they will be prepared to interview when the time comes, and to properly follow-up after an interview.

So where should you begin?  If you are lost and not knowing what type of job you want – you’ll start with the assessment stage.  If you know what type of job you want but aren’t getting interviews – you’ll need to assess your situation and focus on both the preparation and connection stages.  And if you are getting interviews but not the job offers – you’ll want to focus on both the interviewing and follow-up stages.  The key is that you know the basic fundamental skills of each stage of the job search process and that you effectively perform 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 or his new book, Execute for Success, at www.execute4success.com.