Where Should I Begin?

Plan of a football game on a blackboard.

Mark and Sara are both searching for a job in the sports world.  Mark is a former college football coach whose contract was not renewed after five years and Sara is a recent graduate with a master’s degree in Sports Management. Both are looking for a job in college sports, but each is at a different stage in their career – how should they proceed?

Mark knows that he wants to continue to coach but he is having a difficult time getting an interview.  Sara on the other hand is confused as to what type of job or career she wants.  They both seek the assistance of a career coach to help them with their search process.

The career coach shares that there are five stages to the job search process:

  1. Assessment Stage
  2. Preparation Stage
  3. Connection Stage
  4. Interviewing Stage
  5. Follow-up Stage

In Mark’s situation, the career coach suggests that since he knows what type of job he is interested in, the majority of his energies should be focused on the preparation and connection stages.  The preparation stage would have him review his cover letter, resume, references, and sales pitch.  He needs to make sure that his sales tools are excellent, and that they are effectively selling him.  The career coach continued by explaining that most jobs are secured through networking, and that the connection stage would help him to be active and effective in networking within the profession.

In Sara’s situation, the career coach suggested that she begin her job search process in the assessment stage.  She needs to understand the various types of jobs that exist in the sports industry, and to understand which type of job best fits her personality, skills, and lifestyle.  The career coach went on to share that during the assessment stage, Shannon will also discover her strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities.  These will help her as she identifies what type of career she wants to pursue, and in developing her promotional materials.

The career coach also recommended that both Mark and Sara spend the majority of their attention, at this point, within their specific job search stage, but the coach went on to suggest that they familiarize themselves with the other stages as well.  This is so they will be prepared to interview when the time comes, and to properly follow-up after an interview.

So where should you begin?  If you are lost and not knowing what type of job you want – you’ll start with the assessment stage.  If you know what type of job you want but aren’t getting interviews – you’ll need to assess your situation and focus on both the preparation and connection stages.  And if you are getting interviews but not the job offers – you’ll want to focus on both the interviewing and follow-up stages.  The key is that you know the basic fundamental skills that are associated with each stage of the job search process and that you effectively performing these skills.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS! 


Howard Gauthier is a 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 including Getting Hired in College Sports, The Positive Leader, and Execute for Success.  Check out his new book, Getting Hired in College Sports – 3rd Editionat www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.

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