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.

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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.  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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A Strategically Written Cover Letter is Key To Securing an Interview

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

In last week’s blog we discussed five general types of mistakes to avoid when developing your resume.  This topic received quite a bit of discussion because people generally understand how important an attention-grabbing resume can be.  Just as important, however, is having a strategically written cover letter to compliment your resume.  While the resume is a relatively static document that only changes when you receive more education or gain additional experiences, the cover letter, on the other hand, needs to be adjusted with every new job application.

The constant need to update your cover letter makes this a dynamic document that must be changed, tweaked, adjusted and personalized for every new job application you submit.  You will want to be strategic in your approach if your letter is to be effective.  In particular, you will want to understand the purpose of your cover letter, write the letter so it is specific to the organization and the position, and make sure you follow the IBS format (introduction, body and summary) for creating a strategic cover letter. 

Purpose

Your cover letter and resume are your marketing materials for your job search.  They should be used to sell you as an applicant for the job in which you are applying.  In particular, the purpose of your cover letter is to sell you and prompt the search committee to take a closer look at your resume.  A quality cover letter can catapult you forward in the job search process.  Conversely, a poorly written cover letter can eliminate you from consideration.

Specific

Your cover letter needs to be personalized and written preferably to the hiring manager or to the search committee.  Do not address your letter to “To Whom it May Concern.”  If the job announcement doesn’t specifically identify who the hiring person is or the chair of the search committee, you will need to do your homework and find out whom you should address your cover letter to.  This could include addressing your application materials to the athletic director (or the person who the position reports to), the HR manager, or even the search committee – but never “to whom it may concern.”

Your cover letter should be written in a way that introduces you and your resume to the hiring manager or the search committee.  It should tell them who you are, how you are qualified for the position, any applicable accomplishments you have, and why you are a good fit for the position.  More specifically, you will want to make sure you address how you meet each of the qualifications listed on the job description.

Format 

Your cover letter should not be any longer than 1 1/3 pages of 12-point font.  Preferably, you should try to limit your cover letter to one page if at all possible.  But don’t try to squeeze your letter on to one page by using 10-point font.  This font is too small and most people won’t continue to read your letter.  If they stop reading your materials you have just been eliminated from the candidate pool.

Make sure you follow the IBS format for writing a cover letter.  This includes having a minimum of three paragraphs and a maximum of five.  The first paragraph is considered an introduction and it tells the search committee which job you are applying for and what actions you are taking to apply for the job.   

Following the introduction is the body of the letter.  The body will range between one and three paragraphs in length.  It is designed to show the search committee how you meet the qualifications for the position (education and experience); what strengths, abilities, and traits you possess; and what accomplishments you have achieved in a similar position.  The final paragraph is a summary of your interest in the job and explains why you are a good fit for the position. 

A well-crafted cover letter will aid in the sale of you as an applicant.  If properly prepared, the cover letter will prompt the search committee to want to take a closer look at your resume and will get you one step closer to the coveted interview.  Therefore, in order to move your candidacy from the application process to the interview stage, it is extremely important that you have a properly formatted resume that is complimented with a strategically written cover letter.  These are essential elements that are necessary for receiving an interview.

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.

 

Finding Passion in Your Current Job

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

The alarm clock sounded again as Adam hit the snooze button for a second time.  This was a daily routine that would start his day each and every morning.  But today could be different.  Today Adam was attending a seminar on executing for success.

Adam was going through the motions at work.  His passion is college sports and he has been trying to land a job in a college athletic department since his graduation last spring.  He has not been able to find the job of his dreams and he is beginning to become withdrawn, and a bit depressed over his inability to pursue a career in a field he is passionate about.

But as the speaker began his keynote, something the speaker said touched a chord with Adam.  He started out by saying that most people aren’t able to work in a field that is aligned with their passion.  The example the speaker presented was fly-fishing.  Many people love to go fly-fishing but very few people are able to pursue this as their career.  The speaker presented a different view.  He spoke of becoming more passionate for your current job while pursuing your passions on the weekend.  He would go on to state that this strategy is important for two reasons – first, you need to enjoy each and every day, and secondly, nobody wants to hire somebody who is grumpy and depressed.  But Adam has these nagging negative thoughts that he just can’t shake.  His self-talk is negative and he keeps thinking thoughts like “I’m not good enough” and “but someone else will get the job”.

As the speaker continued, he asked the audience – “so how do you find your passion?”  He went on to define passion as a strong enthusiasm or affection toward your activity.   And an abundance of research has shown that passion leads to high levels of performance.  So how do you become more passionate for what you are currently doing?  The speaker shared that passion is an outgrowth of engagement, which includes being both engaged with your activity and having an optimistic and positive disposition.

The speaker continued by stating that to become more passionate, you need to become more engaged in your activity.  He shared that working hard at building relationships and becoming more engaged isn’t enough, you also need to be able to positively frame your thoughts and your outlook on life.  You need to dispute negative thoughts with strong arguments and evidence that reframes your thoughts in a positive nature.

Many people are looking to pursue their passions in life.  A large portion of these people will not have an opportunity to follow their passion.  But each and every one of us has an opportunity to become passionate for what we do.  In order to become more passionate for your current job you need to become more engaged in the job, the other staff members, and the customers; and you need to become more positive in your thoughts.  This includes filling your mind with positive thoughts, reading and listening to positive information, and disputing any negative thoughts you might have.  By becoming more engaged and optimistic, you will become more passionate for what you’re doing.

Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is best 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 80-20 Rule for Career Development

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Jon was interested in improving himself and he started reading several books and magazines on success and personal development.  In his readings he came across an article where Brian Tracy mentioned the 80-20 rule.  Tracy would refer to this concept in many situations, but in particular he spoke about 80 percent of the sales in any industry is accomplished by 20 percent to the sales force.  Intrigued by these statistics, Jon decided to further investigate this concept.

It turns out that this concept is attributed to Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto.  In 1906, Pareto used a mathematical formula to describe the distribution of wealth within Italy where 20% of the citizens secured 80% of the wealth.  This was originally known as Pareto’s Principle, but since this formula has become applicable to many other situations, it is now commonly referred to as the 80-20 Rule.

This concept can also be applied to job applicants in the world of college sports.  From my 25+ years of experience in hiring coaches and administrators in college sports, I have noticed that approximately 20 percent of the applicants were both qualified and had professional-looking promotional materials.  In contract, 80 percent of the applicants either did not meet the minimum qualifications for the position or their resume and cover letter was not professional in nature.

You can’t blame a person for applying for a job even if they don’t meet the minimum qualifications, but submitting a resume or cover letter that isn’t professional is inexcusable.  When applying for a job, a person will want to know the basic fundamental processes for the job search process.  This includes knowing your strengths and weaknesses, putting together a quality sales pitch, developing a simple and clear resume, and creating an outstanding cover letter.  These are the minimums, yet far too many people in the job search process either cut corners or they haven’t learned the proper techniques for securing a job.  Learn from Jon’s research and Brian Tracy’s suggestions – to get hired in this tough economy you must become one of the top 20%.  You will want to apply for jobs you’re qualified for, and apply for these jobs using a solid sales pitch, cover letter, and resume.

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.

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 for attaining 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.