Monday, February 24, 2014

Curling and Your Job Search - Similarities and Lessons

Yesterday, I had an incredible opportunity to join a bunch of friends as we gingerly stepped onto a curling rink -- most of us for the first time ever. After watching a short demonstration of technique and learning some game basics and strategy pointers, we were divided into teams and began to compete.

The afternoon was filled with laughter, learning, some stumbling, and wonderful camaraderie as we cheered one another on, fully realizing we were experiencing just the tip of the iceberg of this medieval-borne sport. As I think about yesterday and what I learned, I'm struck by how the sport of curling might offer insight and encouragement to job seekers. Here are 6 Tips For Job Seekers From the World of Curling:

1.  Strategy is key: Curling is not about simply 'throwing rocks' (pushing the granite stones down the course).Strategy and precision are essential to scoring. Similarly, an effective job search isn't a matter of simply emailing resume after resume and applying to online posting after online posting. Just as curlers take many factors into account - opponent's strengths, condition of the ice, the position of the stones already thrown, spin and more, so, too, must job seekers. Corporate culture, job descriptions, market conditions, and value proposition are just a few examples of factors that savvy job seekers take into account as they develop their strategic job search plan.

2.  Lingo adds to understanding and insight:  Our wonderful trainer provided us with key curling terms such as skip, first, hammer, house and end to broaden our knowledge and to add value to our experience. Job seekers would do well to learn the lingo within their target careers and companies to establish rapport and showcase understanding.

3.  It's about having a good team:  While only one person at a time actually 'throws the rock' in curling, each of the 4 team members has an active role to play. The skip is providing direction for the thrower and the sweepers, who are at the ready to impact the direction and speed of the stone. For job seekers, the team is one's personal and professional network. Just as the skip provides the direction to the team, job seekers need to let their network know how they can help.

4.  Sweeping maximizes the throw: Sweeping can transform a pretty good team into a great one in curling.Sweeping adds speed and direction to the rock as it goes down the lane. It reminds me of the follow up job seekers do (or don't do). Making phone calls, tending to one's network, and sending post-interview thank you notes support your job search initiatives in the same way that sweepers support the throwers in curling.

5.  Balance and Core Strength are essential: I didn't know this until I actually tried curling: it takes solid core strength and balance. Looking for a job also takes core strength and balance, albeit in a slightly different way. For job seekers, core strength relates to the essential need to keep on keeping on, reaching into a well of strength and executing the job search consistently. The balance piece relates to the importance of using a multi-pronged job search approach, not relying on one strategy...but striking on an effective balance by using 3 or 4 strategies.

6.  When you fall, you just get back in the game: No surprise here - ice is slippery and players can fall.  As we all played, I noticed people taking near and actual tumbles.When that happened, they laughed, dusted themselves off, and got back to the task at hand. Job seekers may find themselves on slippery ground at times. In all likelihood, there will be stumbles and tumbles. When that happens, simply dust off, stand up, and continue on! 

Whether you're about to launch a job search, are in the middle of a job search, or could use some general career encouragement, I hope this post is helpful!

In support of your success,