Coaching for Success: 7 Inspirational Quotes from Coaches to Motivate Your Job Search

May 15th, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson

The job hunt can be a grind. It’s time-intensive, daunting and frustrating at times. As a result, it can be easy to get discouraged when things aren’t going as you hoped.

Grind, daunting, frustrating—these are certainly feelings many athletes and sports fanatics have intimate experience with. And in times of need, athletes turn to coaches for inspiration.

Coaches understand the game, their players and what it takes to win. They use their knowledge and skill to artfully motivate players to fight through adversity, keep a steady eye on the prize, and to dust themselves off if victory escapes them.

At Masterson Staffing, we like to think of ourselves as career coaches, and we’ve spent nearly 50 years helping job seekers achieve their career goals. To help inspire you as you search for your next career opportunity, below we share some of our favorite motivational quotes from famed sports coaches, as well as some helpful tips.

1. “Stay focused. Your start does not determine how you’re going to finish.”

—Herm Edwards, Head Coach, New York Jets (2001-05), Kansas City Chiefs (2006-08) 

The big takeaway: If you feel your interview has gotten off on the wrong foot, relax. You still have time to correct your course.

Get your focus back by taking a deep and quiet breath, and zeroing in on the interviewer. Try to tune out any other distractions, and listen carefully to what they’re asking of you. In addition, as the interview goes on, if you feel like you’re not ready for the question, simply ask the interviewer to clarify the question by giving you an example. You’ll not only get a little more detail to hone your response, but have a few extra seconds to gather your thoughts.

Another option is to simply acknowledge that you may not have given the best answer to a question, and take that as an opportunity to get it right. For example, you may say something like:

“I’d like to circle back to one of the first questions you asked me about my experience working on tight deadlines. …”

2. “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

—Jimmy Johnson, Head coach, University of Miami (1984-88) Dallas Cowboys (1989-93), Miami Dolphins (1996-99) 

The big takeaway: Go the extra mile. You’ll be competing against a number of qualified candidates, so find a way to help yourself stand out from the pack.

One way to do this is by showcasing your company knowledge. By taking the time to research the company, you’ll signal to interviewers that you did your homework. In addition, that research can be worked into your responses and help interviewers actually see you in the role you’re going for.

Start by reviewing the company’s website to learn about their history, mission, and product or service they provide. In addition, peruse their social media channels and use a search engine to find the latest company mentions.

Also, take the time to write a thank-you note following the interview. While this seems simple, many job seekers don’t take advantage of it.

3. “Try not to do too many things at once. Know what you want, the number one thing today and tomorrow. Persevere and get it done.”

—George Allen, Head Coach, Los Angeles Rams (1957, 1966-70), Chicago Bears (1958-65), Washington Redskins (1971-77)

The big takeaway: Take the interview one step at a time. If you try to encompass all your experience and skills in every question response, you run the risk of rambling and making it difficult for interviewers to pull out key insights.

Practice makes perfect. Outline your talking points ahead of time, practice your answers to commonly asked interview questions, and prepare a closing statement. This will help boost your confidence, calm your nerves and position you for success.

4. “You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.”

Bum Phillips, Head Coach, Houston Oilers (1975-80), New Orleans Saints (1981-85)

The big takeaway: If you don’t get the job, take the experience as an opportunity to reflect, grow and refine your approach to interviews, rather than embracing the mentality that the interviewer just couldn’t see your potential.

From your posture to the responses you gave, write down as much detail as you can remember about the interview. Then review your notes to look for high and low points, and make additional notes for steps you can take to ensure you maintain your strengths and capitalize on opportunities for improvement.

For example, many job seekers find it easy to talk about their experience at a high level, and can easily be tripped up on behavioral questions such as “Tell me about a challenge you faced at work, and how you overcame it”. If this sounds like you, a step you could take is to dedicate more time to prepping for those types of questions, writing down a variety of situations that could fit the bill and crafting detailed yet concise responses.

5. “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

Bobby Knight, Head Coach, Army (1965-71) Indiana University (1971-2000)

The big takeaway: Invest in the preparation process. Those who are well-prepared to deliver a great interview will stand out from the rest.

Start out by reviewing the job description multiple times. The job description not only outlines what a position entails, but also specific attributes and skills the company is looking for in an employee. Then practice your responses to some of the most commonly asked interview questions, looking for ways to connect your unique skills, job experiences, strengths and personal interests with what’s listed in the description.

6. “Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”

Lou Holtz, Head Coach, University of Arkansas (1977-83) University of Minnesota (1984-85) Notre Dame (1986-96) University of South Carolina (1999-2004)

The big takeaway: Be proud of the personal and professional challenges you’ve overcome, and use that as fuel to help you prepare and ace your interview.

You’ll likely be asked in an interview to talk about your weaknesses, and workplace challenges you’ve experienced. Interviewers want to understand how you handle personal failure and move forward to overcome it, as well as your problem-solving process.

Show your humility, while also highlighting your strengths. Choose a time when you were able to successfully correct a mistake using many of the skills you’ll need to perform the job you’re interviewing for.

7. “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”

—George S. Halas, Head Coach, Chicago Bears (1933-42, 1946-55, 1958-67) 

The big takeaway: Unfortunately, you’re not always going to land an interview or the job. But don’t allow these kinds of letdowns dampen your spirit. If you can honestly say you did your best, that positivity will pay off.

Remember, basketball legend Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school’s team on his first attempt. So, if you don’t get the interview or the job, don’t give up. Keep in touch with the connection you’ve made to stay top of mind when a similar position opens, or to get leads on other related jobs.

Coach Yourself to Success

Maintaining a positive attitude and a strong work ethic is essential, not only as a job seeker but as a professional. When you land your next job, you’ll be able to carry your newly acquired habits into your job and start with momentum. Take these quotes to heart as you continue searching for your next job opportunity.

For more tips and motivation to aid your job search, check out some of our other articles with job seeker tips including:

Looking for additional help in finding a job? Partnering with a professional staffing agency like Masterson Staffing is a terrific way to boost your job prospects. Take a look at our Job Seekers Services page and learn how we can help you land your next job.

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