Is Your Job Search as Busted as Your March Madness Bracket? 8 tips for getting back in the game.

Luke Maye

Photo by Kevin C. Cox

It’s March Madness when everyone becomes a basketball fan, if only for the office bracket pool. If your job search is feeling as busted as your March Madness bracket, take a few lessons from your favorite team to re-ignite your search. Below are 7  tips to help you get back in the game.

  1. First, nail the basics. Free throws are the equivalent of your resume and cover letter. Both must be solid, almost second nature, and require constant practice and polishing. When you’re on the free throw line, you definitely don’t want to miss the shot.

  2. Avoid unnecessary fouls. Typos, misspelling the recruiter’s name, failing to send a timely and tailored thank you note after an interview are all job search fouls. Make one and you’ll be penalized. Too many and you’ll be out of the game.

  3. Never let your guard down. Keep your social media clean and professional. Recruiters are savvy at finding ways to search you online. You want your online presence to be on offense, not defense. A great LinkedIn profile is a good place to start.

  4. Keep your eye on the ball. Take your eye off the ball and someone might steal that dream job away. A successful job search requires consistent effort. Set up regular networking meetings and sign up for email alerts for companies you’d love to work for on sites like Indeed.

  5. Get the best coach you can find. Geno Auriemma, coach of the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team, has led his team to a record 111 game winning streak. He knows the importance of surrounding yourself with the best staff and players possible. His assistant coach, Chris Daily, has been by his side for all 24 seasons. Don’t think you can steer your search to success by yourself. It’s a brand new process for you, so seek out advice from someone you trust, a winner who has experience with today’s job search requirements.

  6. Assemble the best team you can. To achieve the winning streak that UConn Lady Huskies have, Geno knows he needs both a talented staff and a team with a top notch skills and an incredible work ethic. A successful job search more often than not is a team effort. Just like getting to the Final Four, finding a great job is a long process filled with hard work and occasional setbacks. So don’t go it alone. Have a strong team to support you. Take advantage of your college’s career office, your favorite professors, family and friends who graduated a few years ahead of you. Or consider hiring a professional career coach. All can offer valuable advice and insights in how to up your job search game.

  7. Hone the skills and traits for success in today’s job market. Geno identified both the skills and traits needed to win, recently sharing his formula for success with the Associated Press.

“He and his staff obviously recruit talented players. But beyond that, he wants someone who is supremely confident in her own ability and someone who impacts whatever team she’s on in multiple ways, making those around her better on and off the court. He also wants someone whose top priority is the team and winning. He said he can tell if a recruit will be a good fit by the way she answers his questions and by what type of questions she asks him.”

Companies are always seeking to add talented team players with a drive to succeed. Make sure you hone those critical skills for success.

  1. Earn your place in the finals. The key to getting a shot at that title (e.g. that coveted job) is making it to the final interview. Preparation and hard work are critical to ensure that your search doesn’t get busted like your bracket. So is being likeable. Fans love to root for nice guys, like Luke Maye. He’s so humble and likeable that he got a standing ovation from his classmates the morning after sinking the winning shot that propelled UNC to the Final Four. Remember, your goal in an interview is to make such a positive impression that the company will want to add you to their team roster. Practice, patience, persistence and being kind will help get you there.

So now you have 8 ways to re-ignite your search. Just remember that once you’re on the court, it’s up to you to perform and score that coveted title: new hire. Game on!

April 1 update. The Lady Huskies 111 game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Mississippi State, with a buzzer beater in overtime. Their loss provides two additional lessons you can apply to your job search.

9. Be confident but not overconfident. Truthfully, I’m not sure that UConn was overconfident. However, their crushing defeat of Mississippi State last year had to be playing in the back of their minds. Overconfidence occasionally can lead you to put less effort into your interview preparation, thinking you have it iced. Big mistake. Being well prepared creates confidence and both can help you score that job offer.

10. Never give up. UConn was favored 20-1 to beat Mississippi State. In the first half of the game, Mississippi State outplayed UConn, staying focused. Their coach, Vic Schaefer, had a game plan and instilled in his team the belief that they could win. To do so, they had to put last year’s loss behind them. In your search, you’ll occasionally face setbacks. How you face them has a direct impact on whether you’ll be on the winning side the next time you get a chance at the final interview.

About Lisa

Chief Career Catalyst @C2C, former Fortune 500 businesswoman, dog lover, avid skier, mediocre tennis player, golfer, new SUPer, aspiring surfer, cyclist, yoga & exercise enthusiast, happy wife & home chef. I am a regular contributor to the Bangor Daily News, and have appeared on WCSH6 where I offer career advice for college students, recent graduates and young professionals.
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