Do You Have a Bracket For Your Job Search?

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March Madness brackets are due March 17. It’s that time of year where we “bet” on top college basketball teams in hopes of a promising end to the season. If you pick a March Madness bracket – what’s your strategy? Do you choose your favorite team no matter how well they performed during the season? Or do you research the best teams and make your best bracket based on that? It can feel overwhelming to narrow down the teams based on their performance.

In many ways, you can set up a bracket for your job search. Start with a wide net of job prospects and narrow them down based on fit and secured interviews. Think of yourself as the NCAA championship trophy and the potential employers as the teams. When you match the trophy with the best-suited team – YOU with the best potential employer – you have a winning pair.

Here are a few ways to set your job search up with a bracket:

  1. Get Organized - Whether you’re planning your March Madness bracket or your job search bracket, the first step is to get organized. Research and list all the relevant potential employers and job openings in your region. If you’re open to relocation, list employers in those regions too. Use spreadsheets to stay on top of your communication, status, and next steps. Housing all this information in one spreadsheet will put you in scoring position for your next job.

  2. Start Broad - Cast a wide net and start narrowing it down based on your experiences with the employer. You won’t win every interview, but play the long game and stick it out. Not every job will match your skill set perfectly. If you’re really interested in a company, keep them in your bracket. While it may not be a slam dunk, at least you gave it a shot.

  3. Invest the Time - The job search, like March Madness, is a time-intensive process. But it’s worth it to find your dream job, so stick with it! Invest the time upfront selecting the teams and roles you could see yourself fitting in with best. Tweak each resume and cover letter personally to the employer and role.

  4. Find Takeaways - Job hunting and interviewing is a tough process, but aim to focus on the positives each step of the way. You may discover new must-haves for a job, or things you can do without. Every interview is a learning experience where you can reflect and improve for the next one.

  5. Play Until The Buzzer Rings - Don’t stop pursuing other opportunities simply because you found your ideal job at the ideal company. You never know how things will play out until the offer letter is signed. You may find out your dream job has mediocre benefits or less than ideal salary. If you don’t play your best with the other employers in your bracket, you may lose your opportunity. Stay strong and play out each game.

Are you ready to get the ball rolling on your job search but don’t know where to start? We admit it can be overwhelming. At the Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help people identify their strengths, prep for the interview, and coach throughout the entire job search process – from the application all the way to negotiation. If you need help setting up your job search bracket, we’re here to help.


Posted on March 5, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.