Targeting Your Job Search

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Geoff was not focused when it came to applying for jobs.  He wasn’t sure what type of job he wanted within sports, but he knew he wanted to work in a college athletic department.  His applications ranged from a position in compliance in the New England area, to marketing in the South, to a fund raising position in Texas.

As he was having lunch with a colleague, Lisa, one day, she mentioned that he needed to become more focused on the type of position he wanted.  In other words, he should specialize in a particular type of job (or profession) and target the institutions where he’d like to work. Lisa went on to say that when you specialize in a particular profession you are able to become an expert in that area, and people want to hire experts.  She also provided him with some advice for targeting the type of organization he should apply for within the college sports industry.

Geoff definitely had an area within the profession that he enjoyed doing and was good at performing.  He told Lisa that he understood the concept of specializing in a particular profession (even though he wasn’t practicing it), but wanted to know more about targeting specific institutions.  Prior to her current job, Lisa had read the book “Getting Hired in College Sports” and used the worksheets in the Getting Hired Workbook to help her establish a manageable and detailed job search campaign.  She went on to explain “By narrowing your target market you are better able to focus and identify the institutions where you’d like to work.  From there you can network into these organizations; and most jobs are secured through networking.”

Lisa went on to share five criteria that you could use to help identify the type of organizations that meet your interests within the profession.  These criteria include indentifying:

  1. The type of organization within college sports that you want to pursue.  This could be an athletic department, a recreation department, a conference office, a national office, or a professional association.
  2. The type of institution you want to work for.  This could include a state supported college, a private college, a private organization, a community college, or a 4-year college.
  3. The level of competition.  This could include organizations within the NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, the NAIA, or the NJCAA? 
  4. Where you want to live geographically This would include the state or region within the country.
  5. The size of the community you’d like live in.  You might prefer a metropolitan area, a suburb, or even a rural location.

Of course, these five criteria are only an example of what you might use to narrow the organizations within your job search campaign.  The point is that you will want to narrow your search so you can focus your attention and energies on a manageable group of institutions.  Once you’ve identified these organizations, you will then want to begin to network your way into those institutions.


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 book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at or his newest book Execute for Success at


Be Prepared When The Right Job Opens

2nd edition Image


Be prepared when the right job opens up.  Give yourself the book that provides you with the top job search skills and techniques.  It’s a competitive industry, so be prepared!

Click Here To PurchaseOnly $23.95


This book is fantastic – it is very practical for people who want to get into (or advance) in the sports industry.”

 -Greg McDermott 
  Head Basketball Coach 
  Creighton University


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