Wednesday, April 15, 2009
How Albert Pujols Would Conduct a Job Search
Albert Pujols will likely never hold a real job. He’ll never write a resume or go on an interview. He’s an two time National League MVP, All-Star in 8 of his 9 seasons, and has the highest career batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS (for baseball geeks) of any active major league baseball player. Given his current career trajectory, Phat Albert will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Mr. Pujols has been rewarded for his excellence with a $111MM contract with Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals. So working outside of baseball is unlikely for him. But if Albert had to go out and find a job, I could envision him using the same approach to his job search as he does at the plate.
The three things that separate Albert from other major league hitters are Mechanics, Discipline, and Consistent Contact. At the plate, Pujols has a near perfect mechanical swing – hands held high, weight balanced, and a short, compact, efficient swing with a great follow through. In the job search I could see Albert spending time to craft an elegant and effective resume that made a simple, clear value statement to employers. I’d see Albert doing extensive interview preparation, wearing a suit and shined shoes to interviews, and following up with appropriately timed Thank You and follow up notes. The basic mechanics behind effective job hunting.
Great mechanics are the foundation of a good hitter, but Discipline at the plate is what allows for those mechanics to be fully leveraged. Although Pujols has staggering power in his swing, it’s rare to see him strike out, and even rarer still to see him swing at a bad pitch. He’s selective. He looks for pitches in his zone, ones he can hit and hit hard. I think Albert would be equally as selective in the job search. I don’t think Albert would be spamming his resume across the Web for jobs he wasn’t remotely qualified for, or trying to spin his resume and experience to pretend he was something he wasn’t. I think Albert would have the discipline to know that his time would best spent networking and searching for openings that were truly in his wheelhouse. Jobs he could hit, and hit hard.
Great mechanics and disciplined pitch selection put Pujols in position to make solid, Consistent Contact with the baseball. Sometimes his laser-like line drives find the gap or are hit high enough to clear the fence for a home run. Other times he hits balls just as hard, but directly into the shortstop’s glove for an out. Pujols knows that sometimes you do everything right, but things don’t work out. However, the goal for his next at bat remains the same – make solid contact. Over time, those who have good mechanics, pitch selection, and make consistent, solid contact end up coming out on top. I don’t think Albert would get frustrated with the job search. Each failure would drive him to work harder on his mechanics and pitch selection to make solid contact again the next time at bat.
The job market is tough these days, and it’s hard not to focus on the end result. But my advice to job seekers is to run your search like Albert Pujols would. Focus on the mechanics – solid resume, interview prep, dress, follow-up. Be selective – Look for companies and positions that you know you are qualified for and then network like crazy to get to the table for an interview. And remember that in this market, you might do everything right, make solid contact and still hit a screamer into the shortstop’s glove for an out. But that’s OK. Go back to the dugout, focus on the fundamentals, and keep hitting line drives until one clears the fence.