Three Golf Analogies That Might Help a Job Search

I live and work in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and we experienced probably the most brutal winter in our history this year. Needless to say, I was delighted to get away last week for a few days of golf in Myrtle Beach, SC. I not only love golf, but am an avid sports fan and make frequent life analogies to sports. One of the first comments my boss, Steve Gallison, made after reading my book was he couldn’t believe it took me more than 60 pages to present my first sports analogy. Well, I’m at it again. Here’s my take on common strategies one must take for both improved golf games and job searches. 

Success in both requires working hard at multiple, diverse skill areas. Successful golfing requires mastering long, medium and short range shots as well as putting. Similarly, a successful job seeker will need to create strong marketing material (résumés, cover letters, social media profiles) to attract employer and recruiter attention. Secondly, he must develop and nurture a solid network of contacts to discover potential openings that will not appear on public posting forums. Also, she will have to articulate good sales and interviewing skills to get hiring managers interested in bringing them on board. Both golfers and job seekers are prone to a common mistake when either their game or search struggle. When trying to improve, they sometimes focus on improving only one particular area; often the one they are most comfortable working on.  Such a strategy will lead to only limited improvement and results. Dedicate yourself to continuous work on all phases of your job search strategy.  

Keep the good or bad in proper perspective. Golfers often let one shot hurt the next several they make, whether it’s feeling too good about a great shot or beating themselves up about a bad one. It can affect their concentration level on several subsequent shots.  Sometimes, a job seeker can become so enthralled with a great interview with a particular company and put less effort into other job search efforts while awaiting results of that interview. Sadly, if that opportunity doesn’t pan out, other opportunities where minimal attention was paid in the meantime may wither away in the process. Similar problems can come after a bad interview, when job seekers spend excessive time beating themselves up, hindering  subsequent efforts for days and sometimes weeks. Treat each event or shot, good or bad, as history immediately after completion. Then proceed as though it never happened. This will assure stronger efforts on all shots and job events.

A golf philosophy that might help with cold calling. Little in job search can be as tedious and frustrating as cold calls, especially when the only time you ever need to conduct such them is in a job search. Sadly, this applies to most of the population. Yet you are aware that reaching out to people you’ve never spoken to before is part of the process, whether you like it or not. Kind of like hitting out of sand traps! I want to share with you a consolation that golfers of all skill levels have used after a bad round. They think of the one shot that worked perfectly. Golfers call that shot “that’s the one that brings you back for the next round.” Well, no matter how many cold contacts you plan to make in a given week, at week’s end don’t look back and think of how frustrating the process was. This will make you dread that part of next week. Look at the one call that produced the best results and move on from there.


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