Monday, September 28, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

Are you ready for some football?

Here in the south, football is like a religion. As fall approaches, I've noticed both men and women stay abreast of college football, high school football and the NFL. Everyone has a favorite team. Some can quote game scores, player stats. and team standings quicker than a Bible verse. Now I'm not criticizing this ability, it simply fascinates me. Football fans often show who they support by wearing their team's colors. On game day, many come out in full regalia. Team jerseys, caps, window stickers, flags on cars and more.

Since I was born and raised in Wisconsin, I consider myself a Green Bay Packer fan. When I lived in Wisconsin, I even went to a game or two. I was impressed by the excitement and energy in historic Lambeau Field. I even enjoyed watching Brett Favre in his glory days. Packer fans were crazy (the beer helped) and some would paint their faces and scream at the top of their lungs. Even during below zero frigidly cold weather, some guys would strip down to dislplay a message on their beer-filled bellies painted in green and gold. I even sported a cheesehead once. No photos to prove it, thank God! I remain intrigued by the time, energy, passion and planning that goes into rooting for a football team.

In our lives and our job search we need good planning and a support system. It's easy to give up and become discouraged during the job search process. Who's rooting for you in your job search efforts? Now if you know anything about me, you know that I am not a big football fan. You have just read the full extent of my football knowledge. So I cannot even believe I'm about to make these points using football analogies! But the football season can teach us a lot so here we go:

1) Maintain good stats. Keep a binder, notebook or online spreadsheet that documents the name of the company, the date you applied/sent resume, contact name, date you will follow-up and an "other notes" section. This helps you track the number of employers you've contacted and keeps you moving forward.

2) Get a cheering section. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and provide good information. I've heard people say, "There are no jobs out there," so they avoid even trying. They listen to the news and do nothing but complain. Yes, it's a tough job market but you must be flexible and creative. Few people work in a job that is the same exact major they chose while in college. The perfect job may not be your first job. Avoid taking advice from people who are not in the know about local and national job trends, recruiting methods and interivew skills. Whether it is prayer, positive conversations with friends or family or motivational quotes, find ways to stay encouraged during your job search.

3) Show your team colors. Make sure your marketing tools are consistent and compelling. Yes, it STILL starts with a good, clean, one page resume. Everyone needs a good resume tells a story about their experiences. I recently had a student tell me he did not need a resume because his dad was a prominent politician in this state who get him a job. That may be true, but I still think this young man should taek responsibility to have a resume to give to his father's contacts. When networking, a resume is your best calling card. Your college career services professionals can help and it's usually a free service.

4) Practice your plays. If you get an interview, take time to practice basic interview questions with a career services professional. Make sure it is someone who knows what employers want in your industry or field. Make sure they will give you honest feedback even if it is corrective. It is a must to answer questions aloud instead of writing them down and thinking about an answer in your head. The words don't always come out the way we think about them.

5) Cheer for someone else. Finally, always give back. If someone helps you, you should help another person and expect nothing in return. It's the right thing to do and it feels good. Someone else needs something that you already have. Pay it forward even if has nothing to do with your job search.

As the football season comes into full swing, I expect to see even more people wearing their team colors, cheering wildly, tailgating at stadiums and gathered around t.v. sets. If you are searching for a job, make sure you have the right tools, focus on the right teams, stay consistent and use smart tactics. Read Proverbs 16:3. It is the guiding scripture for the MC Office of Career Services this fall.