What Andre Agassi’s Coach taught me about the job search.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job Search
I recently read OPEN, Andre Agassi’s book. If you haven’t read it, you ought to. It’s an incredible read (and I’m not just saying that because I went to high school with J.R. Moehringer, the guy who co-wrote it).
At one point, Agassi’s coach is reminding him that it doesn’t matter if you take the best shot in the world. If it’s the wrong moment, it’s the wrong shot. It got me thinking about how people go about job search. Too often, someone takes their best shot. But, it’s the wrong moment. And instead of winning the grand slam, they double fault.
So what does it take to ensure you don’t waste your best shot on the wrong moment? Well, it takes a lot of experience. It takes giving your best shot in the wrong moment (hopefully not too many times!) and being aware that although you could’ve walked away with a win, that shot wasn’t getting you anywhere today. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to regroup and establish a new approach.
I think about a couple people in their job search. Their approach is to let everyone know they’re in the job search. They call people and say they’re looking. They send emails (monthly in fact) letting people know they’re looking. They let me know, on the QT, that they’re starting to put feelers out and if I hear of something, please let them know.
I don’t know how to break it to you, but those feelers don’t mean anything to me. I don’t want to know that you’re open to the possibility of finding a new job. I want to know that you’re serious about actually getting one. I want to know who you’re targeting, which companies, which industries. I want to know by name the people you need to meet in order to build some relationships with those companies. I want to know that you’ve done your research and you’re taking this seriously. And I want to know that if I give you a contact, you’ll actually take the time to follow up (this is a shot that is rarely wrong).
Before you announce to the world that you’re out in the job search, be sure to figure out what you want back from the world. Understand your target. Understand your environment. Understand your competition. Understand yourself. And then, and only then, hit the rest of us up with how we can help. But not in a general, mass email kind of way. Just like Agassi, pick us off, one by one. Have an individual conversation with each one of us. Spend some time learning about us. Learning about where we need your help. Learning about who we know. Learning about what our game is made of. And then, when you see the perfect moment, take that shot. Ask for help. Ask for specific contacts. Ask for referrals.
And you may find yourself a lot closer to the finals than you were yesterday. In fact, you might find that your best shot gets you the point. Game. Set. Match.