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March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day: Lessons for Job Seekers

March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day: Lessons for Job Seekers


Among other occurrences like the spring equinox, the month of March brings both the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and college basketball’s March Madness. Even though you may think it’s a stretch, let me tell you how those two events relate to searching for a new job.

“It would definitely be nice if we all had a little gold coin that could bring us luck (not to mention killer step-dancing moves). Unfortunately, even on St. Patrick’s Day, we’re going to need a little more than luck to get a job,” states Kellen McKillop on the After College blog. To increase your chances, it helps to take a proactive approach. 

To win a job in today’s marketplace, you must be “on your game” at all times. Many job seekers overlook the discipline and determination required to compete for employment. As in competitive sports, it takes a bit of luck but it takes a lot of skill to succeed. A good place to start is by answering the question, “Why will a company hire me?” Create an inventory of the benefits you can bring to a new employer in terms of expertise and experience.

I live in North Carolina not too far from Duke University where Mike Krzyzewski coaches the men’s basketball team. Coach K, as he is known, set a record in 2011 as the winningest coach in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He surpassed his own record in 2015 when he won his 1000th game. Off the court Coach K is a motivational speaker who readily shares his stories of success: “When you are passionate, you always have your destination in sight and you are not distracted by obstacles. Because you love what you are pursuing, things like rejection and setbacks will not hinder you in your pursuit. You believe that nothing can stop you.”

So if you are looking for that new position, here is some advice adopted from the athletic community to give you the advantage. Now is time to get off the bench and into the game. 

  • Commit to compete. Are you prepared to take on the demanding challenges of a job search? Because the campaign to secure a new position can take several months, having a competitive spirit can help you go the distance. Athletes relish the opportunity to pit their talents against other great players. You should feel the same way about the other candidates who are vying for the same position. What do you need to do to make yourself stand out?
  • Set your strategy. What daily activities will you pursue? After you have determined what you want to do and researched your career area thoroughly, including position requirements and potential employers, it is time to ensure that your activities support your efforts. Set a schedule, and then break it down into manageable tasks. Plan to spend upwards of 50 percent of your time networking. Despite the attraction of online search tools and job boards, the single most effective way people get jobs is through personal connections and referrals.
  • Do your best on “game day.” Are you prepared for the interview? Companies usually base their hiring decisions on the face-to-face meeting. Readying yourself to excel involves understanding that the interview is a two-way communication street. You must be prepared to not only answer the questions that are posed, but also to ask insightful questions about the company and the position — and of course, you are not going to ask any questions that you can easily find the answer to by conducting a Google search. This will give you the opportunity to assess whether there is a good match between your qualifications and the job.

And finally, behave and think like a winner. Dr. David Cook, a leading sports psychologist believes “confidence is the cornerstone of performance.” Whether related to performance on the athletic field or performance in a corporate setting, a positive mental attitude goes a long way to helping you score the winning point.

With good organization, determination and a little bit of luck, you’ll be on your way to finding the job you desire and deserve.

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