Be your own coach
Using athletic coaching as a guide to self-directed career success
For people managing a slow job search it is easy to get discouraged. In this market the average time for the active job seeker to find a position has been extended from six months to nine months. If you need a new outlook for your job search, one way to do that may be to become your own coach.
What does a coach do?
|Bureau of Labor Statistics: Athletic Coaches||Translated to career:|
|Instruct the athlete on proper form and technique in beginning and, later, in advanced exercises attempting to maximize the players’ physical potential;||Ask yourself if you are maximizing your full job seeking potential? Are your job search materials in shape? This includes your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and other online presence. Have you had professionals in your field give you feedback on your materials?|
|Oversee athletes as they refine their individual skills||Are you aware of your skills? Can you make a list of ten career-related skills and tell one story that would demonstrate each skill? Do your job search materials reflect those skills clearly?|
|Manage the team during both practice sessions and competitions||Have you conducted a practice interview? Does your professionalism shine through in all you do, whether it “counts” or not?|
|Instill good sportsmanship, a competitive spirit, and teamwork||Are you connected to professional associations and online social/professional networks? Are you adding value? Using LinkedIn to build your professional profile can help. Engage in online conversations with professionals in your field.|
|Select, store, issue, and inventory equipment, materials, and supplies||Is your professional appearance appropriate for your career field? Having the right interview attire does not just include a suit. Having the correct accessories, personal hygiene, footwear, and attitude are just as important.|
|Substitute players for optimum team chemistry and success||Though you can’t hire a pinch hitter to go through your interview, having a supportive team to bounce ideas off of before and after interviews is helpful.|
|Evaluate or “scout” the opposing team prior to the competition||The opposing team may be other candidates or the selection committee. Either way, use LinkedIn to “scout” out those with whom you might be interviewing. Find out their backgrounds and activities; if you never end up talking about a certain topic, at least you will feel a little more at ease knowing something about them beforehand. As far as “scouting” out your competition; look around you. Who is your competition? Students in your same major? Other interns? Use LinkedIn to search for job seekers competing for the jobs you want. How do you stack up?|
|Direct team strategy and call specific plays during competition to surprise or overpower the opponent||This may be the most important piece: strategy! Do you have a career target? Are you able to tell the stranger next to you what your goal is for a position? If not, spend some time developing your career target then creating a strategy based on that.|
If you have ever been an athlete; if you have ever had a coach, think back to what you learned from him or her. Focus on the positives. Here are a few great quotes from excellent, winning coaches to inspire you.
“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.” – Bear Bryant, American Football
“I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing. You have to be a salesman and you have to get your players, particularly your leaders, to believe in what you’re trying to accomplish on the basketball floor.” – Phil Jackson, Basketball
“The absolute bottom line in coaching is organization and preparing for practice.” – Bill Walsh, American Football
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi (NFL Champion Head Coach)
“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” — Tom Landry