Every year, the coaching carousel begins as the regular season ends. Athletic Directors fire Head Coaches and Head Coaches fire staff members. As these positions are filled, other positions are left open elsewhere. And thus, the carousel continues with most positions being filled during December and January. This change is a constant in the coaching profession – You cannot avoid it but you can prepare for it.
Every coach and every aspiring coach needs to position themselves for their next job. In addition, most of these jobs are already filled by the time they are posted, so do not be caught waiting. This is why career fundamentals are so important.
Here are some strategies to get ahead:
- Be in the Know - Follow social media to stay up-to-date on the latest coaching moves, good sites to follow include footballscoop.com and coachingsearch.com.
- Find Your Champion - It is important to identify the people you know that can help you in your journey to secure a coaching position and let them know you are searching. Create a list of the coaches in your network using the Coaching Tree worksheet (you can get this from your AthLife Advisor).
- Planting Seeds – Networking will require a lot of time and effort before you see results. The more people you meet, the more likely it is you will meet someone who is in a position to hire you or can help you access the hidden, not-yet-posted job market. Look into attending a coaching symposium, like the one the NFLPA does each year.
- Perfect Your Resume
- Don’t Waste My Time - It is true that your resume may not actually GET you a coaching job, but it could keep you from one. Working on your resume will help you prepare for interviews by giving you time to review your qualifications, helping you answer questions with confidence.
- Give Them What They Want - The focus of your resume should be on the skills you have that will meet the Head Coach or Athletic Director’s needs for their program.
I Am Your Guy - Insert key words and examples of previous experience throughout your resume that relate to the specific position you are targeting, showing you are qualified for the position.
- Prepare for an Interview
- Practice, Practice, Practice - Your goal during an interview is to convince the interviewer that you are qualified for the position and will fit into the existing team culture. To do this effectively, you will need to practice your answers.
- This Is Me - Your elevator pitch presents your story and frames accomplishments in terms of what you want to be doing. Once you have a general pitch, you will use it throughout your job search, modifying it depending on how you use it, your audience, and how long you have to deliver it.
- I Am Who I Say I am - It is common for a coach to be asked about his coaching philosophy. To help focus your answer, consider what “coach” means to you and what kind of coach you want to be.
- Who Doesn’t Love a Good Story? - Throughout your job search, effectively present information about yourself. Create “SOAR” (Situation - Obstacle - Action - Result) stories to help you demonstrate a specific skill, personal strength, or achievement.
Mark Twain said it best, “The key to getting ahead is getting started.”c