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.



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