Game Plan Your Career

Every great sports coach or even player prepares a thorough game plan prior to every game. The best coaches and players study film and know a great deal of moves the opponent will make. They spend countless hours dissecting where they or other players failed to execute and they can see why plays collapsed or worked well. The coaches then share their notes with their players and show them the same things they saw on film and the players work on their areas of improvement in practice. A game plan to improve their skills is executed for the next game. Do you take this same approach when deciding your career and taking action to your career search? Every moment of your career search, from how you assess yourself (self-assessment) to how you market yourself, to how to determine the right fit in a company should be done with a thorough game plan.

When you apply to positions do you have a game plan? Do you have an idea of where you want to go in your career? Do you have a well-crafted resumé? Is it crafted for a particular position? Can you clearly articulate your career accomplishments? Have you researched companies to learn what skills they are seeking from candidates? Many people cannot answer these questions and have never assessed themselves. They have just been hoping an employer has been waiting for them to walk in his or her door. Remember the days when you could walk into an employer’s door and ask if they were hiring, and they’d ask you tough questions and then hire you on the spot? Or how about students who have been dreaming that once they attend their graduation and walk across the stage an employer would be waiting at the end of the podium to hire them. If this is you it’s time to stop the fantasies and buckle down to create a realistic game plan.

Your career pathway is far more than just building a resumé and applying for a job. I hear from so many people saying they need a job and want help building their résumé and after working with them, building their resumé turns into on-going career coaching. I know so many people who spent their entire life of career searching using the same resumé when applying to tons of jobs. No strategy, no game plan. Well, those days are long gone. Let’s begin our well-thought-out, self-gratifying game plan to get you on the career path to happiness. There are stages to your career pathway and I suggest starting with a simple career/self assessment.

**Darren Cox serves as the Associate Director of Career and Alumni Services.