5 Ways the World Cup is Like Your Job Search

How the soccer tournament resembles your hunt for work.

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You just knew someone was going to make a job hunting metaphor out of the World Cup events. No? Well, you can count on me. 

Here are five ways the World Cup is like job searching:  

[See 21 things hiring managers wish you knew.]

1.  It only comes around once every four years or so.  For most job seekers, job hunting is not something they do every year.  Keep in mind that during the long periods you have a job, job-search techniques evolve and improve.  New job boards or job search engines show up to challenge the traditional sites. The job seeker may rely on trusted friends or his/her own research to find resources that can actually help, as opposed to that who are trying to get his money.

[See 6 ways to keep your employees from jumping ship.]

2.  Those vuvuzela horns are like your parents, spouse, and friends during your job search. If you have watched the games this week, you've heard that irritating buzzing sound that you simply cannot tune out.  Those are vuvuzela horns, noise-makers really, that almost all the fans use.  They remind me of all the people, well-intentioned or not, who constantly ask  you how many resumes you sent out, and did you apply anywhere today, and how did it go today?  Buzz buzz buzz, enough already!  You wish you could turn them off, but like the vuvuzela horns, you can't.  They are trying to “help" you.

3.  Like Michael Jordan  once said, “you don’t make the shots you don’t take.”  Did you see England's goalie let through that shot that you, me, and your grandma could have stopped? Goes to show you that one should always be shooting, ie trying and applying.  Because you never know when that perfect job will open up and the HR manager will say: “We have been waiting for someone just like you to apply!”

[See 9 symbolic gestures from a good boss.]

4.  Soccer seems unnatural to us, er, many of us.  You can’t use your hands, for example.  Job seeking is like that, it uses few of the on-the-job skills we have learned, and certainly few of the specific ones you have been paid for recently.  You have to learn how to network, how to write, even how to condense your life and career aspirations into a 3-minute sound bite.  It is unnatural, not to mention frustrating.  At least you can use your hands and feet together.

5.  The red card.  In soccer, they make sure you--as well as everyone watching--know that you just fouled or screwed up.  In job searching, however, they do not do that.  They (mostly HR people) just don’t return your calls, acknowledge your applications, or even bother to treat you with a modicum of respect.  They all get the red card in my book.

G. L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig, which operates LinkUp, one of the fastest-growing job-search engines.. His blog can be found at WhatWouldDadSay.com.

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