The Job Search Continuum

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

The experiences you have are key to securing the job you want. The more aligned your experiences are with the job you’re applying for the better your chances are for getting the job.  I liken this to a continuum where at one end you don’t have any experience and on the other end you have the exact experiences that the position requires.

This would be like an athletic director at a Division I institution applying for an athletic directors position at another Division I institution, exact job experience.  But even with this exact job experience, this doesn’t mean the person will get the job.

This is because there are other factors that comprise your overall experiences within the job search continuum.  Exact job experience is important but so is the type of education you have, your skills and abilities, and being the right fit for the institution.  All of these experiences are important factors that move you up or down the continuum.

Somewhere along this continuum lies your experience.  The closer you get to the exact qualifications of the position you want, the more likely you are to get the job.

So what is your career goal?  What is your current job?   What steps do you need to take to get from your current situation to where you want to be?  The answers to these questions will help you to identify how to move up the continuum toward gaining the experiences you need for the job you want.  More specifically, once you have identified the job you want, answer the following three questions.

1.   What educational training will you need in order to attain the job you want? (e.g. a master’s degree in Sports Management)

2.   What experiences are necessary in order to attain the job you want? (e.g. coaching experience, marketing experience)

3.   What skills are necessary for you to attain the job you want? (e.g. budgeting, public speaking, management skills)

Once you have identified the skills, experiences, and educational training that you need, you will want to create a personal training and development program that will help you to gain these experiences.  In turn, this personal training and development plan will help you to move up the job search continuum and get you closer to the job you really want.  Continuing to learn, and continuing to improve, is necessary as you strive to reach your career goals.

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  or his new book Execute for Success at


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