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Execute Fundamentals to Win in Today's Job Market

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi used to say; “Fundamentals win it. Football is two things: It’s blocking and tackling. If you block and tackle better than the other team, you’re going to win. Execute the fundamentals and the rest will follow”.

There are three fundamentals in today’s challenging job market that need to be executed in order to win. They are:

Preparing thoroughly
Strengthening self-confidence
Networking consistently

Job seekers who execute these fundamentals will be successful in today’s job market.

What does it mean to prepare thoroughly? To be thoroughly prepared, you must be knowledgeable of the industry, company, job and the interviewer. A job seeker must research:

Industry trends
Current impact of the economy on the industry
History, problems, successes and outlook of the company
Company products
Competing companies
Company’s reputation in the industry
Job description and expectations
Interviewer’s background

Information on these subjects can be found in industry journals, company Web sites, annual reports, analyst reports, webcasts on company earnings, and by talking with company employees, competitors and customers. The information is available; it just takes a little work to get it. The investment in time and effort to review this information will pay huge dividends in the interview.

As one unknown author said, “The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle”.

Having gleaned information about the field, company, position and interviewer, a job candidate can begin to think of reasons why he or she is uniquely qualified for this position. Consider what skills, experiences and knowledge you have that will differentiate you from other job candidates.

Based on that assessment, the next step is to practice answers to interview questions:

Alone
With family and friends
Until you are convinced you are prepared

Once you believe in yourself, believe you are the best candidate for the position, then and only then are you thoroughly prepared for the interview.

Strengthening self-confidence is the second job market fundamental. A person’s self-confidence is rarely static in the job search process. Wide emotional swings are common place. Yet, an interviewer looks for job candidates that convey self-confidence.

What can you do to build your self-confidence muscle?

Nothing builds self-confidence more than thorough preparation. Doing the research and practicing your answers will build your self-confidence.
You also build self-confidence by:

Setting a goal
Developing a game plan
Modifying the game plan when necessary
Sticking to the overall game plan

For example, each year thousands of novice runners finish their first marathon: 26.2 miles. A year earlier, many of those same runners would not have believed they were capable of running anywhere near that distance. But they set a goal and followed a daily marathon training schedule. After 16 weeks of scheduled daily runs, they arrived at the finish line to claim their finisher medals.

If setting a goal and following a plan works for running 26 miles, it will work for winning in today’s job market. Setting a goal to acquire a job, developing a game plan with specific steps needed to accomplish that goal, and working that plan on a daily basis will help insure your self-confidence is ready to meet the job market challenge.

The third and final fundamental is to network consistently. On average, people change jobs more than 10 times and their careers 3-5 times over their lifetimes. Since we change jobs that often, it’s a good idea to know where we will find those jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. Staying in touch with friends, acquaintances, former employers and employees through phone calls, emails, and/or online social and business networks is a job market fundamental that should be practiced on a daily basis. The mantra for the third fundamental is: Network, network, and network!

Like football, winning in the job market requires focusing on fundamentals. And, to repeat the words of Vince Lombardi, “Fundamentals win it. Execute the fundamentals and the rest will follow”.

BoomersNextStep Guest Author

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