It’s that time of year again.
Or should I say fantasy football season? Yep, that time of year when friends, coworkers, families, and whoever else can smack-talk, laugh, and cry at games without being totally embarrassed.
I mean, there’s an entire TV show based on this time of year and the competition that accompanies it.
So, why am I writing about this on the AfterCollege Blog?
Because all of this madness actually relates a lot to your job search. And the skills you perfect in your league might just help you land your next position. Don’t believe me? Read on, player, read on.
1. Understanding your players / teams
Part of the appeal of fantasy football is that you’re not limited to one real team. You pick and choose your players based on what they can bring to your imaginary vision. This requires you to be able to see not only what the player has done in the past but also what they are capable of doing in the upcoming season; in other words, their potential.
This is especially important for “rookie” players (the players that don’t have a strong reputation to rely on) as you move toward the end of your draft. It’s then that you have to weigh the odds. How have they done in the pre-season games? What situations do they work best in? Based on their potential, you can decide if they’re a good pick.
You can apply this same intuitive approach to the application process. While looking at job descriptions, you should be considering both concrete skills that you possess as well as your potential.
Remember that you don’t have to meet one hundred percent of the requirements listed, but at the same time, you have to be realistic about whether or not you’ll be able to learn and perform the tasks that you aren’t already familiar with.
Look at your past experiences to see if this is something you can do. Does the job description require that you take the lead on certain projects? Perhaps you took on a leadership role during a group project in school. The job requires a lot of data analysis? Think back to any research papers you wrote. What was your process like? Did you enjoy the work?
Takeaway: Learn to understand what you have to offer. What are you already skilled at and where do you have potential to grow? Take this into account when reading job descriptions and remember that potential (especially as an entry-level job applicant) is an important factor.
Part of fantasy football is trash-talking. Actually, a large part. There’s even a section in the Yahoo! draft that is designated for each individual member to throw silly little digs at each other.
Now, I’m definitely not encouraging you to trash-talk to future employers. In fact, talking bad about a previous employer will probably stop you from getting the job. But there is a connection between this “all in good fun” teasing and getting hired.
While part of smack-talking is poking fun at other people’s picks and teams, another part is bragging about your own stats. When you draft a favored quarterback or your wide receiver catches that ball and runs yard after yard, you’re supposed to rub it in everyone else’s faces.
Though I wouldn’t recommend a victory dance in front of your prospective employer, knowing what you’re good at and being able to voice it is an important component to the job search. We’re so used to talking ourselves down, but this can’t happen during an interview. If you want the job, you have to be confident that you’re capable of doing it.
Takeaway: Know your strengths and learn how to talk about them. Practice the story you’re going to tell so that you don’t come across quite as “braggy” as you do on the fantasy football message boards. Learn how to effectively speak to your strengths and convince others that you’re capable of doing this job.
3. Being on time
When choosing your fantasy team, your league’s commissioner will set a time and date for the draft. You’ll want to prepare to show up to the board a little early, get into that lineup quickly, and get an early pick of the players.
Then, when the season actually starts, you have to be on top of your game. Know which teams (and consequently which players) will be on the field and switch up your team accordingly. This has to happen at a certain time each week and if you miss the deadline, you’re out of luck. Players that could be helping your fantasy team will be sitting on your bench as you watch in horror at the sports bar down the street from your house.
The same goes for interviews (and on the job). Showing up late to any sort of business meeting is a strict no-no. Don’t miss out on a job you’re totally right for just because you didn’t make it to the interview on time. Most employers won’t consider you if you’re late to an interview. It’s good to show up five to ten minutes early (but not too much earlier than that because that’s often uncomfortable for your interviewer).
Just like your office fantasy football coordinator won’t cut you any slack when it comes to missed deadlines, prospective employers will show no mercy when it comes to scheduling interviews or getting additional documents from you. Be sure to promptly respond to any request you get from a company you’ve applied to.
Takeaway: Pay attention to deadlines. Being punctual is not an option; it’s a requirement.
4. Researching your future team
Now, in order to have any shot at winning in your league, you’re going to have to know a little about your options. You don’t want to pick blindly. What team has the best defense? Which quarterback has been throwing on-point recently? Who is injured? You definitely have to do your research.
The same is true of the job search. Don’t go into an interview or start writing your cover letter without understanding the company. Be ready to discuss why you will fit in with the company culture, its mission, and what you will bring to the table in regards to these things.
While doing your pre-fantasy draft research, you’ll probably be thinking about which players from different teams can work together. One real-life team might have a great quarterback but a not-so-good running back. You can solve this problem in your fantasy team by picking and choosing from different teams.
In the job search, you can do something similar by researching an industry and pain-spotting for the company you’re applying to.
Takeaway: As a job-seeker it’s important to understand the industry and company you’re applying to. Doing research can help you show an employer why you’re qualified as well as help you gauge whether you really want to work for them or not.
Homework time! Are you a job-seeker and involved in a fantasy football league? Approach both with the same amount of commitment and creativity. Do your research, be punctual, and take some time to understand yourself as well as you understand your fantasy players. After all, if you devoted the same amount of time to the job search as you did to assigning who’s buying the next pitcher or which insult to throw during the game, there’s no way you’d fail.