Optimism and Your Job Search

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Last year Daniel was “downsized” when his contract was not renewed after five years as the athletic director at a small college in the Northeast. The college had hired a new president and the president wanted his own person in this position. At first Daniel was confident he would get another job relatively quickly since he has the reputation of being a hard worker and being a quality administrator. But the new job never came.

Daniel had interviewed for several other jobs, but the outcome was always the same – he didn’t get the job. After six months of unemployment his attitude became negative and he started becoming depressed. It was at this point that he sought the advice from a well-respected colleague. In their discussion, the colleague recommended that Daniel research the best methods for developing his job search skills, and search for strategies that would help him to have a more positive attitude.

Daniel purchased a book on career development in college sports, and as he read about the proper techniques he should be using during the interview process, he was surprised at how much he needed to learn in order to be competitive in the job search process.  He then found a blog on the Internet by Brian Tracy that discussed the need for being an optimist.  In his blog, entitled “Be an Optimist at All Times”, Tracy discussed the need for mental fitness so you can feel good about yourself and your situation.  Tracy outlined seven items a person should focus on in order to develop a positive attitude.  These seven items are listed below and include the lessons Daniel took away from each item.

  • Control Your Reactions and Responses – You need to be aware of how you react and respond to your situation.  People like to be around positive people, and your attitude will affect your relationship with the members of the search committee. Therefore, you need to have a positive and optimistic attitude.
  • Isolate the Incident – Stay positive and know that each interview is an isolated event. In other words, your next interview is disconnected from your previous interviews and you need to be optimistic that your next interview will lead to a job offer.
  • See Setbacks as Temporary Events – Know that you won’t get every job you interview for and that you need to be persistent in your job search. This is just a part of the job search process.
  • Don’t Take Failure Personally – Quite often a person doesn’t get the job because the position isn’t the right fit for you, or someone else had an “in” with the organization. Understand this, don’t take it personally, and move on with the process.
  • Remain Calm and Objective – The job search process can be frustrating. You need to accept this, learn along the way, and stay positive.
  • Take the Long View – Refuse to take the rejection letter personally, and know that it’s a numbers game.  The more interviews you have, the more likely you are to be hired.  It all takes time.
  • Action Exercises – Continually provide yourself with positive self-talk and remind yourself that your situation is temporary. Stay strong and look at each job interview as not being connected with the previous interview, but recognize when things go wrong. You will want to analyze your performance from each interview and improve your performance for your next interview.

It took Daniel another two months to land a job as an athletic director at another small college. He credits his success in securing the job to learning the proper job search skills, and from the teachings of optimism by Brian Tracy. Daniel is now a big believer in the power of positive thinking.

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.


The #1 Careers Book in Sports

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

Only $23.95 Click Here To Purchase 

“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators.  A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”

-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University



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