Break out the brackets and start picking teams. Whether you pick based on records, hunches or team colors, it's NCAA Tournament time. Basketball friend or foe, you can't escape the tournament, because like everyone's favorite announcer, Dick Vitale, says "it's everywhere, baby!"
The NCAA Tournament never disappoints when it comes to close games, unbelievable shots and heart breaking losses. Every year's tournament is different — but if you look back, you'll see some trends that I can't help but notice make great analogies for a job search.
- It's a long road to victory - A team will have to win six games to be crowned champion, so players need to have stamina and drive to keep the momentum going. Job searches can take a while, too. And for many, frustration can set in early. But it's important to stay the course and keep sending in applications. It's not uncommon for job seekers to submit upwards of 30 applications before they land a job. But in the end, you will get to do your victory dance.
- Everyone loves a Cinderella story - Sure, I have a soft spot for VCU's Cinderella run in the 2011 tournament (sharing a ZIP code with the school, and all), but everyone loves when a small or underdog school does well in the tournament. These schools never see themselves as the underdog. They play like they are No.1 seeds, and that's what you have to do in your job search. Don't worry if you don't have a lot of experience or don't have experience specific to a certain job. Volunteer experience is still experience. Babysitting jobs help you learn multitasking skills. Customer service skills are valuable across the board. Think about the skills that you have, play them up and be your own Cinderella story.
- Always be on - The second a game ends, the players have cameras and reporters in their faces. Regardless of the game's outcome, the players should act (and their coaches expect them to act) as the representatives of their schools that they are. Like those players, at all times you need to act as the representative of your job search. Everything from your email address and resume to your interview and your follow-up can help a potential employer determine if you’re the right fit for a job. Put your best foot forward and make sure you’re always “camera ready” during your job search.
Apply these NCAA Tournament lessons to your job search, and you may find that you land a new job before the championship team cuts down the net.