By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Kari graduated with her master’s degree in sports management this past May. She has been struggling to find a job in intercollegiate athletics since this time but now she has some hope. As Kari was looking through the various sports job listings on the Sports Careers website, she noticed that her alma mater was advertising for a compliance officer. She thought she would apply.
As Kari was reviewing the job announcement, she read through the minimum qualifications. She noticed that she didn’t meet all of the minimum requirements, but she also exceeded them in other areas. A bachelor’s degree was required and a master’s degree was preferred. She clearly surpassed this requirement. The school also wanted, at a minimum, someone with two years of NCAA compliance experience. The preferred level of experience was 3-5 years. The problem was that Kari only had a 6-month internship in an athletic department’s compliance office. The final requirement was that the applicants needed to submit three letters of recommendation.
Kari printed out her resume and wrote a good cover letter. She planned to send them to the Human Resources Office tomorrow. She then called two of her sports management professors and also her supervisor from her internship, to see if they would write letters of recommendation for her. As she was visiting with one of her former professors, Dr. Rosbach, he asked Kari if she met the minimum qualifications. Her response was “I don’t have the amount of experience they want, but I make it up by having a master’s degree.”
Dr. Rosbach was careful in his words as he thoughtfully responded to Kari. Encouragingly he said, “You know Kari, you certainly won’t get the job if you don’t apply.” “However, without meeting the minimum qualifications, you probably won’t get the job.” Dr. Rosbach went on to coach Kari in how to approach the job. He shared with her that most people get jobs through networking. And since she knew some of the people within the athletics department she has a “leg-up” on her competition. However, very seldom will someone get hired into a position when they don’t meet the minimum qualifications. In fact, in some universities, the Human Resources Department screens the application files to make sure the applicants meet the minimum qualifications. They will forward to the search committee all of the application files from the applicants who meet the minimum qualifications. For those who don’t meet minimum qualifications, their files aren’t forwarded to the search committee and that person is sent a rejection letter.
This is a pretty standard practice – meet the minimum qualifications and you will be considered by the search committee; don’t meet the minimum qualifications and your resume won’t make it to the committee. I’m not saying don’t apply for the job, I’m just saying – know that the chances of getting an interview are extremely slim if you don’t meet the minimum qualifications. But again, you definitely won’t get the job if you don’t apply.
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 www.sportscareersinstitute.com or his new book Execute for Success at www.execute4success.com.
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