Career Center Blog

February 4, 2014

Some super job-search lessons learned from the Seahawks


NWjobs

So what were you doing on Sunday? Did you hear that there was a football game going on? That's OK -- even if you were supposed to be job hunting, no one should fault you for enjoying the dominant performance of the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.

But just because you were watching football doesn't mean you weren't learning anything about finding work. If you know where to look, you can find lots of great advice from the Seahawks -- and cautionary tales from the frustrated Denver Broncos -- that may help you land your dream job. Here are a few nuggets of job-search wisdom that can be gleaned from that 43-8 shellacking on Sunday.

Make a good first impression. In recent years, job interviews have stretched to three, four or five rounds. But inside the brain, things work much more rapidly. According to studies by New York University, most people can make fairly accurate assumptions about a stranger's trustworthiness, likeability, competence and other qualities within the first 30 seconds of meeting.

For Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, about 12 seconds were all that were needed. On the very first play, the center hiked the ball too soon, sending it past a terrified-looking Manning and bouncing into the end zone for a quick 2-0 lead for Seattle -- the equivalent of missing the interviewer's hand during a handshake attempt or not making eye contact. The team looked rattled and never really got into a rhythm after that.

Show, don't tell. Cornerback Richard Sherman's boasting after the NFC Championship game had nothing on the Seattle media over the last couple weeks. The chest-thumping and shouting from fans and local sports commentators were at a fever pitch. But the players themselves were low-key and relaxed. Running back Marshawn Lynch, famous for refusing to talk to the media, said he preferred to let his "Beast Mode" actions on the field speak for themselves.

Job seekers would be wise to take similar advice. Rather than talk endlessly about what you could do and will do in a new job, show what your greatest accomplishments have been and give some evidence of the positive contributions you've made. What better resume builder could Lynch have than the video of his earthquake-inducing long runs that have helped decide close playoff games in the last few years? No words are needed.

Choose a game plan and stick with it. All year long, the main strength of the Seahawks has been its stalwart defense. But when the running game struggled in the first half and the team had to settle for field goals, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll didn't panic and force his quarterback, Russell Wilson, to throw more or resort to trick plays. Instead, Wilson played cautiously and methodically, never turning the ball over, knowing that his defense would keep them in the game.

The same challenge is often faced by job seekers who get difficult questions during an interview and start trying to "wing it" by saying whatever comes to mind. The savvy interviewee will try to anticipate some of these challenges and will have a few anecdotes at the ready in case they are needed. This shows that you won't get flustered under pressure.

Diversify your portfolio. Employers today are looking for some specific skills, but they don't want a one-trick pony. Job candidates who show that they can perform not only the duties described in the job description but also other in-demand skills are more likely to move to the top of the resume pile.

During the Super Bowl, the supposedly defense-oriented Seahawks scored 43 points, with two field goals, the safety, offensive touchdowns by passing and running the ball, a pick-six interception return and an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. In other words, they racked up points just about every way a football team can score and beat the Broncos on offense, defense and special teams, and in nearly every statistical category.

That's the exact kind of multidimensional performance that every job seeker should aspire to, only in resume form.

Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

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Contributor

Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant.

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."

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