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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