Job Hunting Lessons from America’s National Pastime

The vast majority of job seekers will vehemently disagree with the decision, but the most common reason job seekers don’t make the cut during the initial screening phase is it was determined that “he/she is not what we’re looking for.”

Coast to coast this scenario repeats itself thousands of times a day, and more often than not over and over again for the same people. Rejection is frustrating and difficult to accept, especially when you feel you have the requisite experience, skills and education required for the job.

So unsuccessful job seekers must consider this: Are my actions or inactions responsible for the outcome?

The answer and a possible solution can be found in an analogy of baseball players in a hitting slump.

Usually the players’ problem are they become over or under selective in the pitches they see trying to ‘not’ strike out or trying to hit a homerun every time at bat instead of just trying to wait for their pitch, make contact and put the ball in play.

A reason other baseball players fall into slumps is they approach each at bat the same way regardless of whether the pitcher is a righty or lefty, whether he has a 98 mph or 85 mph fastball, whether he favors his breaking pitch, off speed pitch or knuckle ball, or whether they are at bat with men on base, men in scoring position, or with the bases empty. Each affects the outcome differently for different players.

In baseball a hitter must pay close attention to the circumstances surrounding each at bat and make the necessary adjustments to put himself physically and mentally in the best possible position to succeed. This is why the team’s coaches are so valuable to the team and the individual players.

A skilled hitting coach knows, in most cases, the solution to ending a prolonged slump is mental as well as physical and he will get the hitter to do his homework on the pitchers he will be facing, return to the basics in his preparation and adjust his mechanics accordingly. [Ok I’ll admit it. Spring training is a few weeks away and I’m psyched for the start of the 2012 baseball season.]

I can tell you screening is difficult nowadays. There is an abundance of talent to choose from and they generally present themselves in one of three ways: Qualified, Over Qualified, Under Qualified. The candidates most likely to be considered as “not what we’re looking for” are the ones deemed as over qualified and under qualified.

As a job coach I can honestly say what a struggling job seeker needs to do is get back to basics and adjust the way they present them self to others.

Here are some examples of what must be looked into and addressed.

1: Your resume must showcase you as being exactly what an employer wants. This means you can not treat every employer as wanting the same qualities. Even if you are over or under qualified there are ways to come across as the ideal candidate a company wants. A good resume writer and coach can train you to view each position as being unique and help you make the major or minor adjustments to avoid coming across as over or under qualified.

2: You need to know when and how to prepare a cover letter. Some cover letters are needed to screen you into a job and some people have a habit of writing cover letters that screen them out of a job. You need to learn which is which and how to make your cover letter a positive, not a negative.

3: Your elevator speech must be practiced, fluid and adaptable rather than coming across as a rote presentation.

4: You need to learn how to use all available resources in concert rather than giving off mixed signals about who you are and what you are looking for.

5: Just like a hitter you need to wait for your pitch. You need to learn to focus your efforts on jobs and activities that will generate positive results and get you closer to where you want to be instead of using a shotgun approach that gets you nowhere fast.

Perry Newman CPC/CSMS is a nationally-recognized career services professional; an executive resume writer and career transition coach, certified social media strategist, AIPC certified recruiter and charter member of the Career Rocketeer team. Passionate about all things related to career management, Perry has been critiquing Career Rocketeer readers' resumes at no cost since 2009. For a complimentary critique, email your resume to

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