Friday, April 12, 2013

The Masters: What Augusta Can Teach Job Seekers

As an avid fan of the game of golf and an average player myself, I love Masters weekend.  The Masters is the first major of the PGA golf season where the best players in the world come together to play for the green jacket.  Winning this tournament puts you into a class of players that includes the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Arnold Palmer, among many greats.  Part of the allure of the Masters is the course it is played on - Augusta National.  The course is as beautiful as it is challenging.  Unlike the other three major tournaments with different locations each year, Augusta National is the only course to hold the Masters.  

Augusta National, however, is not perfect.  It has been criticized over the last 20-30 years because of its membership policies.  Normally, a private organization restricting who it allows or doesn't allow to join isn't a big deal but until recent years, they didn't admit African-American or female members.  Members of both demographic groups argued that they had the same rights, the same skills, the same knowledge, etc.  This led me to wonder how this could translate to the field of careers, jobs, hiring, and recruiting.

Spending the last 7+ years in recruiting and career counseling, I've often been asked about requirements and qualifications of a specific job and/or organization (typically referenced on a job description).  Candidates are typically on the far ends of the spectrum on this topic; some will apply for any and all jobs  regardless of the requirements and qualifications and others will shy away from any and all jobs because of the requirements and qualifications.  To put this into context, the requirements and qualifications generally include things like: education level, major or degree, years of experience, computer skills, language skills, class year in school, location, knowledge of a certain industry or field, etc.

When seeking out and applying for jobs or internships, be a savvy candidate.  If you meet nearly all of the criteria but fall short in one area, apply anyway.  For example, if the position calls for 10 years of experience, a Master's degree, and Spanish-speaking skills, and you have 10+ years of experience and the Spanish-speaking skills but only have your Bachelor's degree, it is still worth applying.  If an internship specifically targets juniors and seniors with a 3.0 G.P.A. and one prior internship and you are a sophomore with a 3.5 G.P.A. and two prior internships, it is still worth applying.  Be persistent, show your worth, and match your skills with their needs.  It might not be a perfect fit, but it will be close!

However, if you fall short in several categories by not having the proper degree, years of experience, computer skills, etc., don't apply for the sake of applying.  You are wasting your time and the company's time.  If you do this too often with one specific company or third-party recruiter, you will be flagged as not only an unqualified candidate but one that doesn't get "it".  Be realistic, be honest with yourself and the company, and become knowledgeable about what the company is seeking and why they are seeking it when they specify requirements and qualifications.


Mark Gress is the Associate Director of Employer Relations for Arcadia University with a Masters Degree from Drexel University.  Mark formerly worked as Co-Op Coordinator and Manager of Employer Relations for the Steinbright Career Development Center at Drexel University.  He also has experience with Turnkey Sports and Entertainment, Philadelphia Eagles, and Drexel Athletics.

Connect with Mark Gress on LinkedIn. 

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