Preparation, Process, Results: Steps to Achieving Career Goals

As an athlete, at some point, a coach has asked you to trust the process. Fortunately, achieving your career goals after athletics requires the same skills you developed to become a professional athlete. As Hall of Fame Coach, John Wooden stated in explaining the difference between winning and succeeding,

“I think our tendency is to hope things will turnout the way we want them to, much of the time, but we don’t always do the things that are necessary to make those things become a reality.”

Click here to hear Coach Wooden describe “success” in his own words.

According to Forbes, on average, 118 people apply for a given job, while only 20% are invited to interview. Likely, that 20% of applicants making it to the interview round are the ones doing what is necessary to get the results they want. Read the following strategies to give yourself a realistic chance of achieving your career goals.



According to the U.S. Labor Bureau of Statistics, in 2015, 73% of all hires came from having a referral from someone within the company they applied for. Time spent on the networking process is time well spent. Consult your AthLife advisor for more information.


Be Prepared

By far the most important tip for a successful interview is preparation. First impressions matter, be ready to demonstrate why you love the company. After interviewing hiring managers on what it takes to be a successful job candidate reports, “Hiring managers love talking to candidates who’ve invested their time in getting to know the company and develop a relationship with it. During the interview, explain to the interviewer how you genuinely care about the growth of the company and how you plan to contribute to its success. Take a look at any unique challenges the organization faces and come up with some solutions to the problem. This shows hiring managers you’ve done your research and you’re enthusiastic about working for their organization.”

Be Approachable

According to’s Five Secrets of Likeable Job Candidates, hiring managers take note of candidates who are friendly to the company receptionist. In addition to giving a quality handshake and eye-contact, practice asking open-ended questions. These are questions that ask who, what, where, when and how – as opposed to questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Your goal is to explore ideas and opinions and also to show your listening skills.