Where To Begin Your Job Search – Answer These Four Questions

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

So you are beginning to look for a new job. Where do you start? How do you begin your job search? There are five stages to the job search process. These include the assessment stage, the preparation stage, the connection stage, the interview stage, and the follow-up stage. Each of these stages is so very different. To have a successful job search campaign, you will need to be able to effectively execute the fundamental skills for each of these different stages.

Everybody is at a different place in his or her job search. Some are just beginning their work life and they need to complete various self-assessments so they truly understand their personal strengths, skills, and abilities. Others need to understand how to prepare for a job search by understanding how to effectively write a cover letter and resume. Still others need to brush up on their interview skills and/or their follow-up skills.

To help you determine where to begin in your job search, and learn the appropriate job search skills, you should answer the following four questions to see which one best applies to you. By determining which of the four questions is closest to your situation, you can determine which stage of the job search process is the best place for you to focus your energies. I highly recommend that you do not skip any of the stages of the job search process, because the better you know yourself, and the better you know the job search strategies, the more likely you are to land the job of your dreams. But, by identifying where you should begin your job search, you can place the majority of your focus and energies in that particular stage of the job search process.


  1. I feel as if I am lost. I am not sure what type of job or career I want.
  2. I think I know what type of job I want, but is there a type of job that I am better suited for?
  3. I know what type of position is right for me, but I cannot get an interview.
  4. I am getting interviews but I cannot land the job.

Where Should You Begin?

If you answered #1 or #2, you need to initially focus on the testing and assessments stage. Once you have completed this stage and have a better understanding of your career path, you will begin to focus on the preparation stage. If you answered #3, your greatest focus needs to be on preparing for your search. Finally, if you answered #4, you need to review the information regarding interviewing skills and your follow-up strategies. You also need to look to expand into different types of markets within the sports industry.

By knowing which stage of the job search process you are in, you will be able to place the majority of your focus and energies in this area so you can learn and get better. You will be able to learn the fundamental skills and strategies of each stage of the job search process so you can effectively execute the various skills and strategies of the job search process. Good luck with your job search!

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.ThePositiveLeader.org.  


The #1 Careers Book in Sports

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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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“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators.  This is a must read for anyone who wants to work in college athletics”

-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University