It’s that time of the year where the job market is saturated with job seekers. Timelines are becoming dotted with “Join our team!” tweets. The job boards on Teamwork Online, NCAA, CoSIDA and wherever else you look for jobs in sports are updated daily with new positions.
If you’re about to embark on a new phase of your career, this is an exciting time for you! You’re combing through those openings, thinking, “I never want to live anywhere it snows,” or, “I don’t want to work with those sports,” or “I grew up a big fan of their rival and could never work for them.”
But we’re here to burst your bubble: When you’re looking for that first full-time position, you can’t afford to be picky. Chances are, you won’t land your dream job right away.
When I was about to finish my graduate assistantship at San Jose State, as a New Jersey native who had now had a taste of the good life in California, I never ever wanted to return to the cold. I certainly didn’t want to live in a small town after years of living in bigger cities like Buffalo and San Jose. But in April of my final year, an opening at Penn State came up, working with women’s soccer, softball and a winter sport to be determined. I had worked with women’s soccer and softball for two years at SJSU, and, while I was qualified for the position, I desperately didn’t want to return to the east coast. I had successfully fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving to California! Why the heck would I choose to once again don my knee-length North Face parka and Ugg boots?
Because even though the location wasn’t ideal, the position was.
Penn State has hockey and lacrosse, two sports I have always loved both watching and working with and, while I didn’t interview to work with those sports, I figured maybe I could eventually work with them. So, on a whim, I applied for the position and got the job.
Two months into my tenure at Penn State, sport assignments were shifted around and I got to work with women’s hockey and men’s lacrosse.
Moral of the story? No job is perfect. I had to suffer through an east coast winter - I’m being a bit dramatic, but I did move to San Diego after that year in State College, so that should tell you something - and live in a small town that is three hours from an international airport. But in the end, I weighed the pros and the cons. Did the prospect of working with my favorite sports, even if I may not be working with them right away, outweigh my absolute hatred for small towns and cold weather? Absolutely. I learned more in that year, professionally and personally, than I have learned anywhere else.
If you come across an “almost perfect” posting, know that what you learn from that position may help you get that perfect role. Know that, for every posting, 100 other people will apply, and if you’re lucky enough to land an interview, you can learn from every interview experience. And remember that, at this stage in your life, you may not be able to be picky, so look at every role as a potential learning experience to help you land your perfect job.