Football and Job Searching: More in common than you think

Football season is in full swing and some of us fans are already crying in our beer - Steelers fans I feel you! The range of emotions I’ve experienced over the last three weeks got me thinking how football season is not unlike something we all experience at least once (if not multiple times) in life: the tedious, the frustrating, the sometimes lengthy and dreaded…


Preseason football is full of excitement as we all await the start of the actual season. Four “games” are played to determine the final roster and everyone is brimming with hope and anticipation for a winning season as we bake in the sun in 90-degree heat to watch a winter game in the middle of August. I mean the similarities of this experience to the anticipation one feels right before launching a job search are uncanny. As one finds themselves ready to consider changing jobs, feelings of hope and new opportunity abound. We work hard, have invested in developing our skills and expertise at our current employer, and are ready for a new challenge. We ask ourselves whether we can’t find an better use of our talents out there somewhere. So, we suit up and start the process of discovering potential new job opportunities with a glint in our eyes and a pep in our step.

Then the real fun begins…

The slog that is on the horizon for us football fans through October and November will be a long one. Hope and anticipation give way to pure, unadulterated loyalty and grit to get through the season as you watch your team try (and sometimes fail) to get better every week. They keep showing up so you do too, even if your team isn’t performing at their best. Again, not unlike a job search if you think about it: once the “newness” of the launch of a job search wears off we’re left with the very real day-to-day work that is required for success.

Jobs don’t just fall into our laps any more than a W does for your favorite team (minus bogus penalty calls). They require focus, attention, and hard work – even when you’re not winning.

And many of us just don’t really want to do that. And who can blame us? It’s just too much work, too much of it is out of our control (e.g. recruiting/hiring processes we don’t understand) and the uncertainty is too great. But here’s the thing: what’s on the other side could be great. It could be better than great - if we invest enough in ourselves to get educated on how to intentionally manage our careers, how the job market works, and how to position ourselves for target opportunities.

How about instead of treating the job search like a “one and done” effort full of slinging applications online and crossing our fingers for a call/email back, why don’t we start thinking of it like our very own version of the road to the Super Bowl?

Teams spend 16 weeks plus the playoffs working, improving, winning, and losing all for a chance to achieve the ultimate prize. So, I ask you: What is your Super Bowl? Have you figured that out yet? If not, please do not start or continue job searching right now. Take some time and answer these questions for yourself first:

Have you written down/typed/smoke-signaled the purpose of a potential job change and search? Whatever the purpose it should align to your personal and professional values. Specificity is key here – “more money” or “better boss” is not going to work.

What are you really good at? What learned skills and natural talents serve you best in your professional life? If you don’t know (and can communicate it to others!) what you’re really good at you’re not going to fare well in a job search. 

How do your skills, experience, and talents align with the current job market needs? I might be the best ice fisher in the world (I’m not btw) but living in the Nevada desert might mean I need to re-think my job prospects.

Once you have these answers you can begin developing the game plan for getting to your Super Bowl. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take you longer to find a new job than it does my Steelers to get back to the big game. Happy job searching and remember: always leave it all on the field.

PS: Need a help with your game plan? Contact us - that's what we do! @audacitycareers

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