This is the part where I post something about college football and relate it to my work. Because college football is coming and I can't wait. Looks like I'll get to 3 games this year thanks to my dad. You know the inevitable Heather-at-a-football game picture is coming. It does every year. This year, I hope it's at our victory over UCLA (whoah, did I just capitalize that? That was nice of me).

Anyway, how it relates to work...this is the kind of stuff that is going through my head constantly...there's no good way to turn it off. The press is talking about USC being #1 in the pre-season polls again. For those of you not very experienced in this space, it has to do basically with a very strong team from last year with returning starters and some good years of recruiting that have produced an awesome depth chart. So we lost a running back last week....he was third on the chart. Happens. Pre-season polls are a marketing gimmick (what? Like college rankings? Shocking!); polls are irrelevant until you really get into the season (4 games, 5 games in?). What looks good on the practice field doesn't always look the same on game day.

I never really like going into the season as #1. Number 1 is supposed to be infallible. They are "expected" to be great and every mistake is given more weight. There's nowhere to go but down in the polls. A loss-free or one-loss season is what people expect. The press promotes egos. Egos make mistakes. In the meantime, people root (route? doesn't look right) for the underdog. The best you can do at #1 is stay #1.

The relevance for staffing has to do with who looks good on paper (resume = pre-season press) and who ends up actually being good (the season). We've had discussions here recently about the resume as a tool to get noticed and I do think that some people have perceived it as the thing that gets you the job. It doesn't. It just gets you eyeballs. You still have to get the ball into the end zone and through the uprights. At the end of the season it shouldn't matter where you were ranked pre-season, it should matter what you did on the field (it would be nice to think it was this apolitical...again, I hate the pre-season polls).

As a job seeker, I think the best thing that you could do to prepare for your "season" is review the game tapes, uh, I mean job descriptions; and really focus on finding the opportunities that best match your background. Same goes with potential employers...find the one whose culture best matches your needs (I think corporate culture is hugely underrated as a selection criteria for the job seeker). I'll stop with the football analogy now. But let's just say that championships are won on the field during regular season play (OK, now I am really done).  

I always say that the best way to get the job is to be the right person for it. So I just want to say, for the record, that all this talk about resumes is akin to the pre-season blather about rankings. I'm totally paying attention but it's not the most important thing. Are you going to move up to number one when you are outside the pre-season top 20? Not likely (so get that resume shiny!). But what separates the good and the great is about performance when it counts.

 PS: I'm thinking about Virginia Tech as they are starting their school year. I've always really liked Frank Beamer, partly because he seems like a great guy and partly because I love special teams play. If they were playing my Trojans, we would have to beat them, but I am hoping they have a great season after all they have been through.