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The 5 Positions You Need to Play in Your Job Search

March Madness is beginning this week, which means soon every TV will be taken over by basketball, brackets, and drama. Basketball itself offers plenty of career lessons – and we’ve written about them before – but this year we thought we’d look at how the five different positions in basketball can motivate you in your job search:

Steph Curry


Point Guard


The point guard is often called the “coach on the floor,” or the “floor general.” They know the game well, and they help lead the team’s offensive strategy on the court. They are also often the team’s leadership during the game.


Famous point guards: Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, Magic Johnson


Be the point guard:


Before applying to a position or going into an interview, think about your own expertise and your leadership skills: in what fields do you confidently lead, and how you can convey these leadership skills during the job search process?


Prepare examples of when you have taken control of a situation or when you’ve demonstrated leadership, and be ready to speak specifically about how you lead your teammates.


 



Dwayne Wade


 

Shooting Guard


A team’s shooting guard is meant to do just that: shoot. They can dominate behind the arc or hit mid-range jumpers, but no matter where they are, they know how to hit net.

Famous shooting guards: Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade

Be the shooting guard:

Companies want to know you’ll be able to produce, just like a shooting guard hitting a clutch shot before the buzzer. Stories about your success are important, but make sure to back them up with data: how much money did you save for your last company? By how much did you help the company grow their workforce?

You can add these types of performance metrics to your resume, or have them ready during interviews. Show potential employers that given the opportunity, you can shoot and score.

 

Cavaliers at Wizards 11/21/14


 

Small Forward


Small forwards are the jack-of-all-trades in basketball. They are quick, athletic, and capable of owning several roles on the court. They are the most versatile players, moving from scoring points to creating defensive stops to grabbing rebounds.

Famous small forwards: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony

Be the small forward:

No matter what kind of job you want, it’s important to show hiring managers that you’re well-rounded: companies want employees who can contribute not only their skills and expertise but their personality and attitude, too! Talk about your soft and hard skills during interviews; sell yourself on more than your resume. If appropriate, you can talk about interests you have outside the role, like running or reading.
Tim Duncan

Power Forward


Power forwards are lethal because they can play several positions: their role varies based on who they are matched with, and they make adjustments accordingly. Some games they need to play in the paint, other times they need to hit mid range jumpers and drive to the basket.


Famous power forwards: Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Garnett


Be the power forward:


In any job, you need to be flexible and ready to adjust to changing circumstances. Perhaps a planned strategy doesn’t deliver the expected results, or your manager puts a last-minute project on your plate. How do you react? Obstacles and interruptions are an inevitable part of any workday, and companies want to know how you’ll handle them.


Think about examples of when you’ve made effective adjustments at work to share during an interview… and have examples of when you haven’t been flexible, too. Sometimes stories about a lesson learned from mistakes can be just as powerful!



Shaq


 

Center


Centers are matched with big players, and they are traditionally taller, stronger players themselves. When a center has a mismatch and their opponent is taller or stronger, they have to find a way to compensate because this mismatch can have a huge impact on the game.

Centers also have to have a big presence inside because their job is to protect the paint and grab rebounds. Centers have to be smart as well as strong because most fouls happen in the lane… where they live.

Famous centers: Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Be the center:

The center position is the rock for a team. They are reliable and steadfast on the court, and they can be counted on to finish big plays when it matters.

In what ways do you offer the same consistency at work? Do you hit every deadline, or are you the teammate your peers come to for advice and support? Part of knowing your strengths includes knowing what you will do well, every time. This is what you can – and should – sell during interviews.  Companies want to know they can count on you to not only produce but to do so frequently.

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