Six Strategies For Managing The Gaps In Your Resume

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

The carousel of football coaching changes has begun for the 2015 season. Recently, June Jones stepped away from the helm of the SMU program and on Sunday, Charlie Weis was fired at Kansas. For these two, landing a job will have to wait until at least mid-December. This is when the hiring of football coaches begins again. For these two, their resume and success is well known and they probably won’t need to worry about the gaps in their resume. But for most people, if you lose your job, how long would it take to get another one? You might get fired from your athletic director’s position, have to quit your compliance position because your spouse took a new job in a different city, you were down-sized because your marketing position was outsourced, or your internship came to an end. Regardless of the reason, someday you might need to manage the gaps in your resume.

Whether you’re a veteran in the sports industry or just completing your internship, the thought of effectively managing your resume is real.  Below are six strategies you can use to help manage the employment gaps in your resume:

Stay Active In The Industry – One of the most important strategies for minimizing gaps in your resume is to stay active in the industry.  This might be as a volunteer coach or administrator in a high school or college athletic department, taking a role in an organization that is closely related to the profession, or even being a consultant in the industry.  As a consultant you might not make much money (if any) but you might be able to help a friend or a colleague with a project, which in turn keeps you active in the industry. And this activity looks good on your resume.

Use Your Contacts – Quite often when a person loses their job, they retreat into a shell.  You can’t do this.  You need to let your friends and colleagues know that you are actively looking for a job.  Be up front with them and let them know that you are actively searching for a job and ask them for their help.

Properly Format Your Resume – If you are unemployed for any length of time, you can minimize the gap in your resume by listing your employment in years instead of months.  This could eliminate any noticeable gaps in your resume and might eliminate any red flags in your employment history.

Be Prepared To Explain Your Gap – If you have a gap in your resume, be prepared to explain why you weren’t employed for this period of time.  You don’t want to be untruthful, or speak negatively about your previous employer, but have a good reason for your employment coming to an end.  This could be that your contract wasn’t renewed when a new president was hired, or that your internship came to an end.  Whatever the reason, make sure you have a well-rehearsed explanation that turns a negative into a positive.

Gain More Training – If you aren’t able to stay employed in the profession, you will need to stay active in the industry.  This could be by taking a class that will help to further your skills and abilities.  This strategy could also assist you in how you are able to answer the questions about your employment gap.  Additional education and training could include taking a course in social media (if you are pursuing jobs in sports information or marketing), or could include a course in NCAA compliance if your area of expertise is compliance.

Get Outstanding Recommendations – It is vitally important that you have 3-5 people in the industry who will provide you with an outstanding recommendation.  If you can’t trust what a former employer will say about you, don’t use them as a reference.  You don’t always need a former employer as a reference.  The key is that you have 3-5 great references.

These are six strategies you can use to help manage the gaps in your employment.  Being unemployed is an extremely stressful life event.  By implementing sound strategies in your job search process, you can reduce both the stress from your job search and also the length of your employment gap.  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.


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In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:

  • The types of jobs that exist in college sports
  • How to plan and navigate your career
  • How to create an effective job search campaign 
  • The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
  • How to properly brand yourself
  • Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
  • How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions 
  • How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager

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

 -Greg McDermott
Head Men’s Basketball Coach
Creighton University

 

 


How To Effectively Approach Your Interview

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Reflect back upon your most recent professional interview. How was your interaction with the search committee or hiring manager? Did you take charge of the interview or did the search committee control the environment? When searching for a job, you need to know how to properly execute the job search process. This includes knowing how to properly approach the interview.

One of the major keys for properly executing the interview is to approach it with the mentality of “interviewing like a consultant.”  But what does a consultant do?  A consultant sells their expertise to an organization; and then gathers facts, identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and analyzes their problems. He or she then communicates these strengths, weaknesses, and problems to the appropriate people within the organization. They then follow this up by making recommendations for solving their problems.

This is your role during an interview. You need to be prepared to sell yourself, to provide a good impression, to ask quality questions so as to gather facts, to identify the problems that face the organization, to develop solutions to these problems, and to communicate these solutions to the search committee.  This process is categorized in three stages known as pre-interview research, interview strategies, and post-interview strategies.

During the pre-interview research you need to be extremely organized in your approach.  You will want to gather information about the job search, the search committee, and the organization. You will want to uncover the strengths, weakness, and challenges that face the organization, and find out who is on the search committee. You will want to research the members of the search committee and find out more about them.  For example, do you share commonalities with any of the members on the search committee? This could help you as you work towards building a positive relationship with each person you meet.   Additional pre-interview strategies include knowing when to interview, making sure you visit the interview site prior to your interview, and practicing your answers to potential interview questions.

During the actual interview, you will want to make a great first impression.  This includes arriving early to the interview, knowing what to wear (and what not to wear), being aware of your body language, knowing what to bring with you to the interview, and asking probing questions.  Once the interview is over, you will now need to begin to strategize on how you should follow-up with each person you met during the interview. You will begin by sending them a letter, note, or e-mail that thanks them for their time. You will also what to reiterate your qualifications, share with them why you are a good fit for the position, what strategies you have for solving their problems, and finishing your follow-up correspondence by letting them know that you want the job.

This is a brief outline of how you should approach the interview process. By knowing how to effectively approach your interview, you will be more prepared so you can perform your best. Ultimately, the job will go to the candidate who is best prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process.

 

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.


*******

Best Selling Sports Careers Book

2nd edition Image

 

In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:

  • The types of jobs that exist in college sports
  • How to plan and navigate your career
  • How to create an effective job search campaign 
  • The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
  • How to properly brand yourself
  • Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
  • How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions 
  • How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager

Click Here To Purchase Only $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 Men’s Basketball Coach
Creighton University

 

 


Five Steps In Preparing For Your Interview

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Allie is actively looking for a job in sports marketing. Her resume and cover letters are constructed very well and she’s getting interviews. The problem, though, is something isn’t quite right with her interviewing process. She just isn’t getting the job. Allie solicits help from Frank Thomas, a family friend who is a retired college athletic director. Frank is more than happy to help. He originally went into college sports as a way to make a positive impact in the lives of young people.

Allie and Frank met at a local coffee shop to help prepare Allie for her up coming interview. With over 35 years of hiring coaches and staff, Frank is extremely skilled in the job search process.  During their discussion, he asked Allie if she uses an Interview Preparation Form when she is preparing for her interview.  Like most people, Allie hadn’t heard of this type of document and wanted to know more. Frank went on to share that the Interview Preparation Form is a worksheet that is designed to help you prepare for your communications during your interview.  It is composed of the following five sections:

  • The answers to questions you anticipate you’ll be asked during your interview
  • Your personal sales pitch
  • Five stories you can share with the search committee (everyone loves stories)
  • Questions you should ask, and
  • Six talking points you’ll want to communicate as you properly close the interview

After nearly two hours of discussing these items, Frank encouraged Allie to complete an Interview Preparation Form and then “. . . practice your answers, stories, and responses.”  He also presented a handout on how to develop the “stories” section of her Interview Preparation Form.  He stated “these forms will take quite a bit of homework in developing the proper communication structure you’ll need in order to have a successful interview.”

Allie took this information to heart. She became extremely organized in her communication, and she outlined and practiced each section of the form. She worked hard to prepare herself for her upcoming interview and two weeks later she was hired in sports marketing. It was Frank’s guidance and Allie’s preparation that led to the successful execution of her interview. Remember, 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.


*******

#1 Sports Job Book

2nd edition Image

 

In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:

  • The types of jobs that exist in college sports
  • How to plan and navigate your career
  • How to create an effective job search campaign 
  • The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
  • How to properly brand yourself
  • Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
  • How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions 
  • How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager

Click Here To Purchase Only $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 Men’s Basketball Coach
Creighton University

 

 


Your Personal Sales Pitch – A Critical Tool For a Successful Job Search

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Bob was working on his promotional materials for his upcoming job search. He just put the finishing touches on his resume and is now working on developing his sales pitch. He took good notes during the “careers seminar” that was part of his Sports Management program. The seminar leader used the techniques outlined in the book “Getting Hired in College Sports” and Bob understands the importance of a Personal Sales Pitch when it comes to having a successful job search.

The Personal Sales Pitch is the foundation for selling yourself in all of your interactions and correspondence. This includes using your pitch in your cover letters, while answering interview questions, and during your follow-up after the interview. Your pitch should include three sections – (a) a summary of your resume, (b) a description of your skills, abilities, and traits, and (c) your current situation. Depending upon the question or the conversation, you can use just one of these sections, or you can use the pitch in its entirety.

The first section of your sales pitch should communicate your education, experience, and accomplishments. Typically, you will only mention the educational degree(s) that are applicable to the position and only if it will help sell you.   You will then want to discuss your experiences that are applicable to the position, and also share your top three or four accomplishments. This information will be used when answering questions such as “What is your experience in working in this industry”, “What is your greatest work accomplishment”, or “What are your qualifications?”

The second section of your personal sales pitch should be developed from the information you collect when assessing your skills and abilities. You will want to take your top five or six strengths, skills, abilities and/or traits, and develop a pitch that best describes who you are and what you value. This information will be used to answer questions such as “What are your strengths” or “How would your colleagues describe you.”

The third section of your personal sales pitch is the conclusion to your pitch and should describe your current situation and how you would fit into their organization. This section of the pitch should be used for questions such as “Why are you thinking of leaving your current position” or “What are you looking for in an institution.”

Finally, you will combine all three of your sections to create your Personal Sales Pitch. You will want to write your pitch in a way so all three sections flow together. This pitch will be the foundation of selling yourself during your search and will be used in your cover letters, networking, and interview sessions. Your entire pitch should be used when answering questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume.”

Once you have written your personal sales pitch, you will need to practice reciting it so the search committee will understand who you are, what you have accomplished, and why you are a good fit for their organization. This type of organization and practice will help you to effectively execute the job search process so you can compete with the other candidates.  Remember, 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.


*******

Best Selling Sports Careers Book

2nd edition Image

 

In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:

  • The types of jobs that exist in college sports
  • How to plan and navigate your career
  • How to create an effective job search campaign 
  • The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
  • How to properly brand yourself
  • Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
  • How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions 
  • How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager

Click Here To Purchase Only $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 Men’s Basketball Coach
Creighton University