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Job Security in Professional Sports & How It Relates To Everyday Job Seekers

I am a sports fanatic, and I especially follow all Detroit sports teams. With the announcement that the Detroit Lions have hired a new coach for the 2014 season and four other teams hiring head coaches, it made me wonder how I could relate job security and job searching in the NFL to ordinary job seekers. We will focus specifically on the Detroit Lions coaching search for this piece. The average tenure for NFL head coaches is 4 years. This may seem like a short time but you would probably be shocked to know that the average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Let’s take a look at the characteristics that allow coaches to keep their jobs and also make them attractive candidates for open coaching positions as it relates to everyday job seekers.

What Characteristics Allow Coaches to Keep Their Jobs?

  1. Winning (Results) – The coaches that win keep their jobs. Coaches like Bill Belichick, John Harbaugh, Marvin Lewis, Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton, Tom Coughlin, and Mike Tomlin are among coaches who have long tenures at head coach because they win football games. We can relate this to everyday workers. Those workers who produce results are valuable to their prospective organizations. More than likely they have job security. If you want to be attractive to a prospective organization you must highlight positive results.

What Makes Them Attractive Candidates For Open Positions?

  1. The Right Fit- During the Detroit Lions coaching search the thing I heard the most was that the targeted candidate Ken Whisenhunt was mentioned as “the right fit” for the Lions organization. Coming off a season where the Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a disappointing season, throwing 19 interceptions and only completing 58% of his passes, the team felt it needed a coach who had a track record of making quarterbacks better. Whisenhunt fit that bill since he had worked with previous quarterbacks who had been struggling and made them better. He had also taken the Arizona Cardinals to the Superbowl. The Cardinals are similar to the Lions in the sense they had never been to a Superbowl in the past. He presumably solved a problem that the organization wanted fixed immediately. The Lions also wanted to find someone that demanded respect from the players and who would hold players accountable for their actions. The previous coach Jim Schwartz had been widely criticized for not holding players accountable. Whisenhunt was presumed to be the coach of the Lions, but they eventually hired another candidate Jim Caldwell for their open coaching position. Even though Whisenhunt was considered the popular choice Caldwell was “the right fit” for the Lions organization. Businesses want employees who are a good fit for their organization and are able to solve problems that they face. One of the things that can set you apart from other candidates during your job search is if you can show how you are a good fit for the organization as well as how you can solve problems.
  2. Winning (Results) – Winning has become a part of the brand of those coaches who are candidates for open positions. Often times we hear professionals talking about “branding” and letting employers know what skills you have that can benefit their organization. As it relates to the Lions coaching search, Ken Whisenhunt didn’t have to contact them, they were interested in interviewing him, and they initialized the contact. He got interest from reportedly three other NFL teams. He as well as the chosen candidate Jim Caldwell had become synonymous with winning and producing positive results.

 If you want to ensure that you have job security then you must take pride in your work and produce positive measureable results for your organization. Those employees who produce have job security and are promoted within the organization. It is easier to get a referral or recommendation from a supervisor or co-worker since they will be more likely to speak well of your work. When looking for employment it is important to display to a hiring manager your interest in working for their organization and why you would be a great fit for their business. If possible show how you would be the candidate to help to solve problems.