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As we get closer to the Super Bowl, with just two teams remaining, the fans really start to come out. The die-hard fans are wearing more gear. The fairweather fans are being more vocal about their support. Even big-name celebrities make public announcements, giving shout-outs to star players, and cheering them on.

This is what fans do — they rally together and inspire their team to succeed. As you look for sports jobs, you may realize that you’re no different than Super Bowl contenders.

Your job search ‘season’ can feel long, especially if you’ve been stuck in an unemployment rut. There’s a lot of pressure on you as you move closer to scoring that big career touchdown. And just like major sports organizations and athletes, you have a legion of fans on your side.

Your former boss. Your mother. Your college roommates. Your best friend. Your aunt-in-law. Everyone in your life wants you to succeed in your search for sports jobs, and they can actually help you.

This is how you can enlist the help of your biggest fans during your job search:

Share Your Needs

First, allow yourself to be vulnerable with your friends and family. Reach out directly and explain the frustrations you experience as you look for sports jobs. It’s ok to say that you need some help. Just make sure you’re specific about the role you want each of your fans to play.

Let’s say you’re preparing for an upcoming networking event, but you don’t feel comfortable starting conversations with people you don’t know. Ask your extroverted friend to join you. Don’t forget — your friends are a major part of your network. If you know someone who is good at building new relationships, bring them to the event.

A major part of a job search is networking. In fact, building a network and engaging in a professional community gives you an advantage as a job seeker. Our 2017 survey found that 64 percent of employers say that joining professional organizations helps candidates stand out.

When you develop your job search strategy, you are going to face obstacles that are bigger than others. Be honest with yourself, identify specifically where you need support and reach out to your fans.

Establish Goals

This is a vital aspect of your job search strategy. If you’re simply scrolling through job boards randomly at night when you can’t sleep or when you’re waiting for the train, you’re not going to get very far.

Stick to a schedule, where you dedicate blocks of time to searching for sports jobs, tailoring cover letters, sending applications, and following up with hiring managers. Ensure your schedule aligns with your goals.

Your goals need to be specific. For example, apply to 10 sports jobs each week; attend three networking events each month; and earn four new Linkedin connections at each event.

When you set realistic goals, you are more motivated and understand what success looks like. This is a great way to ease stress. Without goals, you will always feel like you didn’t do enough. At least at the end of each scheduled day, you can clearly see what you accomplished and track your progress.

Seek Out Accountability

Don’t keep your goals to yourself. Instead, post them publicly through your social media or contact your closest fans individually and tell them what you want to achieve.

Going public holds you accountable to more than just yourself, which is incredibly effective. According to a 2013 study published in Translational Behavioral Medicine, participants who published their weight loss progress on Twitter lost more weight than those who kept their progress to themselves.

By sharing your goals and the progress you make, you give yourself a better chance of achieving those goals.

Team up with a few close people and request weekly check-ins. These accountability partners are great because they can ask you specifically about what actions you’re taking to make sure you’re on the right path to finding sports jobs.

Request Feedback

The best part about your biggest fans — they’re brutally honest. True fans let their team know when they don’t agree with a decision. They will boo managers who pull pitchers too early or take to the forums online to rant about bad trades.

Ask your fan base to do the same. They don’t have to — and should not — be mean. They just need to be honest and constructive.

You’re going to want to vent and complain about setbacks and shortcomings. Your fans are there to listen and provide you with a new perspective.

Let’s say you didn’t get an offer for that dream job. Reach out. Complain. Express your disappointment. Then, let them respond. A great support system will sympathize, then offer you constructive feedback. They will help you reflect and determine what you learned from that situation so you can move forward with confidence.

Finding sports jobs can be difficult. Running backs don’t score touchdowns every time they get the ball. Sluggers don’t hit home runs every at-bat. They succeed because their fans are on the sidelines or in the stands, supporting them through every win and loss.

Don’t forget to look to your fans.

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