If you’re a basketball fan, March is the month for you. March Madness is filled with all your favorite college basketball teams competing to win top bragging rights. It’s a fun time of year, but these teams have put in a lot of hard work to make it to this point. In many ways, March Madness can apply to your job search. Check out these top tips to score a three pointer before the buzzer and beat the competition during your next interview.
1. Have a vision.
What do you want to do in your career? What are your skills and talents? What excites you most about getting up in the morning? Without having a vision for your job search, you won’t know where you are going. Instead of taking a broad approach when it comes to applying for jobs, narrow your search to just those industries and opportunities where you really want to work. Doing so will energize you, make you more productive in the application process, and allow you to speak more directly to why you’re the best for the job.
2. Do your homework.
Before your next interview, make sure you take time to research the company, the position you’ve applied for, and those who will be interviewing you. When you take the time to prepare, you have a wealth of knowledge to use to your advantage. Sadly, job candidates often don’t take the time to do their homework in advance and are ill prepared to answer some of the questions they’re presented, such as talking about what the company does or the duties associated with the job opportunity. Doing a little prep work beforehand automatically gives you an advantage.
3. Condition yourself.
Just like a great athlete, you’ve got to work on your own skills and abilities. In the job search game, your resume is what gets you in the door for an interview. What does your resume currently look like? What does it reflect about you? Before you apply for that next job, update your resume so it’s more targeted to the job. Make sure it shows how your talents match the job. Also, update your cover letter and make sure you always include it with an application. Again, customize this to the job, speaking directly to how you can perform the duties listed in the job description.
4. Find a coach you trust.
In March Madness, coaching is everything. A coach provides direction and leadership to the players, helping them learn where they need to make improvements, make a change, or understand they’ve done a great job. It’s important for you to find a mentor who can do this for you too. Find someone who has experience in your industry of interest and allow them to review your resume and cover letter, conduct a mock interview for you, offer tips and suggestions to ace your big day, etc. No matter what stage you’re at in your career, it’s always important to have a mentor.
5. Be selfless.
It’s not a bad thing to pursue a job opportunity for the impact it can have on your career, income, and overall happiness. But, it’s important those desires don’t overshadow what you can do for a company. Potential employers want to know what you can do for them, not necessarily what they can do for you. They want to ensure you’re not going to be a flight risk, can complete your tasks on time, be a team player, and help advance their business in new ways while finding ways to save money. At your next interview, if you really want to impress the interviewer, let them know how you can add to their team.
These are just a few lessons from March Madness that can help you get a slam dunk in your professional life. Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Susan J. Berg