I spoke with a senior executive this week about a job she wanted to target. She lacked some of the educational requirements listed in the ad, which led her to wonder if she should apply for the open position.
Another client – an executive who has been with the same company for 20 years – learned of an impending takeover as his management team announced they were going in a different direction with his department. The news shook his confidence and left him doubting his skills.
My advice to both clients?
The Cincinnati Bengals enter SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday largely thanks to the play of their second-year quarterback Joe Burrow. By all accounts, the brash young signalman is well ahead of schedule given the Bengals’ recent struggles and his speedy recovery from a serious injury last year.
As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I dread the next decade of Burrow owning our division, but that’s for another column.
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The Los Angeles Rams earned their Sunday ticket thanks to the resurgence of veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, who previously worked on poor Detroit Lions teams since joining the National Football League in 2009.
His first year in Los Angeles was exactly what the Rams hoped for – it just took a change of scenery for Stafford to prove his mettle.
In short, the underdog is king in sports.
The same goes for the labor market.
The pandemic has heightened job search competition, with the average open ad picking up more than 200 applications, according to Forbes.
And as usual, sports gives us plenty of real-world scenarios to consider and apply to our own situation.
Use Burrow’s Trust Factor
The young Cincinnati quarterback was nicknamed Joe Brrr due to the apparent ice in his veins in clutch moments. The dude has won nine straight “to win” games dating back to his days as a college quarterback for Louisiana State University.
When the pressure is on, Burrow is at his best.
Will he remain undefeated for the rest of his career? Highly unlikely. But you can take lessons from Burrow if you’re considering applying for seemingly out-of-reach positions.
So you don’t have the skills required for a job? Apply anyway. An ad claims 10 years of experience, and you only have seven? Apply anyway.
The big doubt about Burrow coming out of college was his relatively small hand size compared to other quarterbacks in the league.
And maybe he should have stopped or tried to hide his little hands in his miniature baby-sized gloves – sorry, I’m still bitter.
Burrow didn’t meet the prototypical requirements of the job description, but he didn’t let that stop him. Rather, he used the loophole as motivation to prove his doubters wrong.
Copy Stafford’s turnaround approach
Much like the exec I backed earlier this week, Stafford has been forced into a new situation after being traded from his longtime squad. He embraced the Lions decision, even though it’s never fun to be at the mercy of an employer.
In a recent Detroit News article, Stafford said, “If we sit here and say we’re not the product of our experiences, or haven’t learned from some of the things we’ve been through in the past , let’s pick things from great teammates or coaches along the way, we’d be lying to ourselves.
Today’s professionals – from the NFL quarterback to the hourly worker – cannot afford to rest on their laurels and ride into the sunset with a company, a team or even a position. It’s because others take night classes, hang out with mentors, or work on their craft when no one is watching.
Companies of the past could be counted on to provide 30 years of steady work, health insurance for the family, and a substantial retirement account.
Fast forward to 2022 and the era of the great resignation. Employees stay on the job for shorter periods of time, engage in work from the comfort of their homes, and hold firm for businesses that offer flexibility rather than long-term stability.
This means that more professionals are in the market. And you can’t afford to spend too much time doubting your abilities.
So while you enjoy Super Bowl Sunday, enjoy the Burrow and Stafford Roads.
Then start replicating their approach on Monday.
Joe Szynkowski is the proud founder and owner of The UpWrite Group, a small, local business that has been providing corporate communications, personal branding, public relations, and ghostwriting services since 2008. Email email [email protected] for more information.